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VCUarts Dean

Carmenita D. Higginbotham, Ph.D.


Dean, VCUarts and Special Assistant to the Provost for the School of the Arts in Qatar


Higginbotham is an art historian whose research examines 20th century American art, and how notions of “the city” have had an impact on representation. She has lectured extensively on the history of American Art, popular visual culture, and art film, and has been a featured scholar and consultant on several documentaries including the PBS American Experience documentary on Walt Disney in 2015; the French documentary Le Story de Disney: la magie musicale in 2016; and CNN: The Movies in 2019. Her recent book, The Urban Scene: Race, Reginald Marsh and American Art (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015), offers a significant and innovative reassessment of the ways in which race is deployed and read in interwar American art. She is a peer referee for Art Bulletin, Art Journal and the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies and has served in various capacities for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the College Art Association and the Space Between Society (Literature and Culture 1914-45).

Prior to her current role, Higginbotham served as assistant and associate professor in the McIntire Department of Art, Program in American Studies. She has been affiliated faculty for the Carter G. Woodson Center of African American and African Studies since 2005. She received a B.A. in English and Art History from the University of Minnesota; a M.A. in Art History from the University of Massachusetts; and a Ph.D. in History of Art from the University of Michigan.

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