Cherise Smith

Cherise Smith


Associate Professor Cherise Smith joined the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin in 2005. She offers courses in and has published articles on African American and African Diaspora art, the history of photography, and contemporary art. Her manuscript, Enacting Others: Politics of Identity in Eleanor Antin, Nikki S. Lee, Adrian Piper, and Anna Deavere Smith, was published by Duke University Press in 2011. It examines how identity is negotiated in performance art by reading closely a performance work by each artist in which she takes-on the characteristics and manners of a racial, ethnic, and gender “other.” She has worked in the curatorial departments of several museums and curated a number of exhibitions.

Cherise Smith Articles

She couldn’t see me as the leader of the class and couldn’t recognize me as a professional equal.

Reflections Of A Black Female Scholar: I Know What It Feels Like To Be Invisible

As a black female academic, I know only too well what it feels like to have people look right though you. Let me give one instance — from just a few weeks ago, when I felt unrecognized for who I am.

I approached the podium of the lecture hall at the university at which I am a tenured professor. It was the first day of class and the instructor of the previous course was still around, talking informally with her students. Looking around the podium, I noticed that the classroom was not equipped with a computer.

I asked my colleague, whom I did not know, if there was a computer hidden in the cabinet. She proceeded to instruct me: “Faculty are provided computers, they bring their computers, and use a dongle to project on the screen.”

Her words told me she didn’t recognize me as faculty; she did not see me as professor.