Associate Professor of History of Art & Architecture
Cynthia Becker is a scholar of African arts specializing in the arts of the Imazighen (Berbers) in northwestern Africa, specifically Morocco, Algeria, and Niger. Her research has been supported by grants from Fulbright, the Council of American Overseas Centers, Fulbright-Hays, and the American Institute of Maghreb Studies. Professor Becker has served as a consultant for numerous museum exhibitions and published articles on the visual and performing arts of the Imazighen as well as the trans-Saharan slave trade. Her book Amazigh Arts in Morocco: Women Shaping Berber Identity was published by the University of Texas Press in July of 2006. She co-author of Desert Jewels: Jewelry and Photography from the Xavier Guerrand-Hermès Collection (New York: Museum for African Art, 2009). She is currently working on a book about the Afro-Islamic aesthetics and ceremonial practices of the Gnawa (descendants of former slaves in Morocco) that considers the history of the trans-Saharan slave trade and its implications on material culture in both western and northern Africa. Other projects include the visual expression of Amazigh consciousness by contemporary painters/ activists, the influence of Sufism on contemporary Moroccan art, and the visual culture and history of the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans (her hometown). She has also been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.