Ellen Daughtery

Ellen Daugherty
Associate Professor
Liberal Arts – General Ed

edaugherty@mca.edu  / 901-272-5144

BA, University of Virginia
MA; Ph.D., University of Virginia

Ellen Daugherty was the recipient of the prestigious Luce/ACLS Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in American Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship, and an Ailsa Mellon Bruce travel fellowship from the Center for the Advanced Study in the Visual Arts.

Professor Daugherty’s research interests are focused on American and African American art and imagery, primarily in the American South.  Her scholarly approach is interdisciplinary, drawing deeply on history and public history, anthropology, material culture, and African American studies.  She is currently working on a project, Visible Improvement: Negotiating Images of African American Racial Uplift, that engages issues of race, memory, and patronage in a study of the ways in which public imagery of African Americans—particularly civic monuments, “Negro exhibits” at American world’s fairs, photographs, and print culture—was used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries either to promote or reject ideals of racial uplift.  The book will concentrate on both prescriptive imagery intended to encourage the educational, social, and material elevation of former slaves and their descendants, and overtly racist images that were intended as obvious snubs of the aspirations of contemporary black citizens and as an assertion of white supremacy disguised as sentimentality for the “Old South.” The goal of the project is to explore how public images were used both as a tool and as a weapon in cultural debates about the role of African Americans in society.

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