Nicholas Mirzoeff

Nicholas Mirzoeff

Professor of Art and Art Education, NYU

My research is in the general field of visual culture. In the past few years, I have concentrated in four areas

  • a decolonial genealogy of "visuality," a key term of art for the field, which owes its existence to the practice of Naopleonic-era generals in visualizing a battlefield that they could not see. Visuality imagined the social as war and was opposed to all emancipations and liberations. Visual culture is, therefore, against visuality. My book The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality is forthcoming with Duke University Press in 2011.
  • I work on texts for general academic use in the field, such as An Introduction to Visual Culture (2nd ed. 2009) and The Visual Culture Reader (3rd ed. forthcoming 2012).
  • I work extensively with contemporary artists, most recently with Carl Pope and Jeremy Deller.
  • I am a contributing editor for the online project Media Commons and a co PI with the Melllon-funded Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, which is developing "Scalar," a multi-media born-digital authoring software, 
  • I am currently working on a project on the visual culture of climate change in conjunction with the not-for-profit Islands First

Selected Presentations

  • Enfin, on se regarde: for the right to look
    Keynote for Visual Studies Colloque, Paris, Jan. 6, 2011.



Degrees Held

  • BA Honours Oxford University 1980
    Modern History
  • PhD University of Warwick 1990
    Art History and History


  • 2011 : Shpilman Grant in Photography and Philosophy
  • 2010 : NEH Summer Fellow "Broadening the Digital Humanities" University of California Humanities Research Institute/University of Southern California IML
  • 2009 : Co P.I. for Mellon grant "Networking Visual Culture"
  • 2006 : Steinhardt Challenge Grant
  • 2005 : Visiting Canterbury Fellow, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • 2002 : Visiting Fellow, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown MA
  • 2002 : Leverhulme Visiting Professor, University of Nottingham, UK
  • 2001 : Visiting Fellow, Humanities Research Center, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • 2001 : William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA, Visting Fellow
  • 1996 : Postdoctoral Fellow, Humanities Institute, Stony Brook University
  • 1994 : Huntington Library, Pasadena, CA, Visiting Fellow
  • 1993 : Yale Center for British Art, Visiting Fellow
  • 1992 : J. Paul Getty Center, Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art and the Humanities
  • 1991 : NEH Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies

Selected Publications

  • The Right to Look: A Counter-History of Visuality (forthcoming, Duke University Press)
  • An Introduction to Visual Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 1999) translations into Italian, Spanish, Korean and Chinese Second fully revised edition, 2009
  • Seinfeld: A Critical Study of the Series (British Film Institute, 2007)
  • Watching Babylon: the War in Iraq and Global Visual Culture (Routledge, 2005) translated into Italian as Guardare la Guerra (Rome: Meltemi, 2005)
  • (as editor) Diaspora and Visual Culture: Representing Africans and Jews (London and New York: Routledge, 2001)
  • (as editor) The Visual Culture Reader (London and New York: Routledge, 1998) Second fully revised edition, 2002.
  • Bodyscape: Art, Modernity and the Ideal Figure (London and New York: 1995) translated into Korean
  • Silent Poetry: deafness, sign and visual culture in modern France (Princeton and London: Princeton University Press, 1995)


  • MCC-UE 1410 - Global Visual Cultures
  • MCC-UE 1352 - Empire, Revolution and Media
  • MCC-GE 2405 - Communism and the Cold War: Legacies for Visual and Cultural Studies
  • MCC-GE 2420 - Visual Culture Methods
  • MCC-GE 2404 - Modernity and Climate Change

Editorial Boards


  • 2007-- Journal of Photography and Culture Editorial Board Member
  • 2001-Present: The Journal of Visual CultureEditorial Board Member
  • 2002-Present: Situation AnalysisEditorial Board Member
  • 2004-2007: British Film Institute Television Classics Editorial Board Member

Research Interests


  • Visual Culture
  • Cultural Studies
  • Climate Chnage
  • Contemporary Art and New Media
  • Disability Studies