History of Art and Architecture

Itohan Osayimwese

Department Chair, Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Associate Professor of Urban Studies
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Research Interests Modern Architectural History & Theory, African Architecture & Urbanism, Colonial and Postcolonial Designed and Built Environments
Office Hours Wednesdays 9:30-10:30 am, Thursdays 10:00-11:00 am, or by appointment


Professor Osayimwese’s research program is built around employing the built environment as a lens through which to analyze the complex historical experiences and effects of colonialism and the globalization of capital.

Her book, Colonialism and Modern Architecture in Germany, considers the effects of colonialism on the development of modern architecture in Germany from the 1850s until the 1930s. Her current book project, From Barbados to Boston, explores the transformative effects of migration on Anglo-Caribbean built environments and societies after Emancipation. Another book project introduces English-speaking scholars to the first German-language survey of African architecture published in 1894, and revises our understanding of the origins of the study of African art.

Professor Osayimwese offers courses in colonial, postcolonial, and global architectural history, which are crosslisted in other departments in order to help students understand how architecture is embedded in larger social, political, economic processes. She has advised undergraduate theses on topics such as the memorialization of slavery, border walls, global gated communities, and Guastavino vaulting; and serves as primary advisor for Ph.D. students working on the history of housing in the Anglo-Caribbean and the afterlife of colonial dwellings in Sri Lanka.

She has served as Director of Graduate Studies in the History of Art & Architecture, is an affiliate faculty in Africana Studies, Urban Studies, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and has held faculty fellowships at the Joukowsky Institute, the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, and the Haffenreffer Museum.

Professor Osayimwese serves on the boards of the Society of Architectural Historians, the European Architectural History Network, and Thresholds journal.

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