Dr. Dora Apel

Dr. Dora Apel

Professor Emerita, Modern and Contemporary Art History


Dr. Dora Apel


Dora Apel is an art historian, cultural critic, and author. Her work focuses on visual culture and politics, engaging with issues of trauma and memory, sex and gender, racial and ethnic oppression, class, war, globalization, and capitalism. 

Her most recent book, Calling Memory into Place, considers the dynamic nature of memory and memorials, the ways in which memory can be mobilized for social justice, and the ways in which memory is embodied, including her family's experience of the Holocaust and her own experience of breast cancer treatment.

For a podcast/interview on Calling Memory into Place at the Library Cafe at Vassar, see: www.academia.edu/video/kLJxR1

Her other books include:

Beautiful Terrible Ruins: Detroit and the Anxiety of Decline 

War Culture and the Contest of Images

Imagery of Lynching: Black Men, White Women, and the Mob

Memory Effects: The Holocaust and the Art of Secondary Witnessing;

Lynching Photographs (co-authored with Shawn Michelle Smith).

Apel's work is also published in Jacobin, The Brooklyn RailArt Bulletin, Art Journal, Oxford Art Journal, New German Critique, American Quarterly, Dissent, Journal of Visual Culture, Mississippi Quarterly, Left History, and Theory & Event; in the online journals Essay'dOpenDemocracy, Dissent and Other Voices, and in exhibition catalogs such as The Color Line: Les Artistes Africain-Americain et la Segregation (Musee de quai Branly-Paris). 

“Ruin Imagery and the Cultural Work It Performs: In Conversation with Dora Apel,” was published in Detroit Cultural and a two-part interview on Beautiful Terrible Ruins was published in Mediapolis.

She has contributed chapters to edited volumes, including the essay "Thirsty Cities: Who Owns the Right to Water?" published in The Routledge Companion to Urban Imaginaries, and essays in Representations of Pain in Art and Visual CultureViolence and Visibility in Modern History , The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust StudiesWhat Is Radical Politics Today?, and Visual Culture and The Holocaust . Her work has been reprinted in journals such as Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art and edited volumes such as The Uncertain States of America Reader and Krzysztof Wodiczko. She is the editor or co-editor of ten exhibition catalogs for Cranbrook Art Museum.

For access to more articles, see www.researchgate.net or www.academia.edu.

She is the W. Hawkins Ferry Endowed Chair Professor Emerita of Modern and Contemporary Art History. In 2017 she was elected a lifetime member of the WSU Academy of Scholars.She received her PhD. in Art History and PhD. Certificate in Cultural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.

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