Undergraduate Chair
308 Jaffe Building

PDF icon Curriculum Vitae

Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw is Associate Professor of History of Art and affiliated faculty in Africana Studies, Cinema Studies, and Women and Gender Studies. She received her PhD in art history from Stanford University and then held an appointment as an assistant professor of History of Art and African and African American Studies at Harvard University for five years before coming to the University of Pennsylvania in September 2005. During that time she was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a received a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Ford Foundation. Since coming to Penn she has served as a faculty fellow and faculty master in the College House system, directed the undergraduate majors in History of Art and in Visual Studies, and spent a quarter as a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Washington. In May of 2014 she was honored with the School of Arts and Sciences Award for Innovation in Teaching.

Research Interests

Professor Shaw is interested in studying issues of race, gender, sexuality and class in the art of the United States and the “New World”. Since coming to Penn, she has worked with students to organize exhibitions on contemporary and historical American art, Polynesian art, Brazilian art, and Cuban art.

Selected Publications

Professor Shaw’s first book, Seeing the Unspeakable: The Art of Kara Walker, was published by Duke University Press in the winter of 2004. In 2006-07 Shaw organized a museum exhibition and catalog, titled Portraits of a People: Picturing African Americans in the Nineteenth Century, with the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts. Portraits of a People travelled to the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington and the Long Beach Art Museum in California. Recent publications include, “Andrew Wyeth’s Black Paintings,” in Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect, published by Yale University Press; “Family and Fortune in Early African American Life and Representation,” in the exhibition catalog, Artist and Visionary: William Matthew Prior Revealed, from the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York; and “Creating a New Negro Art in America,” in Transition 108, published by the W. E. B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research and University of Indiana Press.

Courses Taught

  • ARTH102 Renaissance to Contemporary
  • ARTH274 Facing America
  • ARTH278 American Art
  • ARTH300 Undergraduate Methods
  • ARTH388 Spiegel-Wilks Seminar in Contemporary Art
  • ARTH505 MLA Proseminar
  • ARTH702 Art and Ideas


Field of Study