Dr Elvan Zabunyan, contemporary art historian is professor at University Rennes 2 and art critic. For 20 years her work has focused on North American (and mainly African American) contemporary art history. Her research questions the reasons why some artistic productions are excluded from mainstream historiographies because of racial and gender discrimination. She explored the objects linked to feminist artistic theory and practice, first in the United States, then in Canada, in Europe, in Africa and in Asia. Desirous of affirming a history of art that is connected and without barriers, the subject of her research has naturally drawn her toward notions such as centers and peripheries, cultural displacement, scattered territories, the African diaspora, notions that have been associated with a need to unlock periodicity to understand the issues in colonial history and their impact on artistic and visual representations.
Her current project on cultural production and the memory of slavery is thought as a renewal of these research activities and wishes to investigate the routes for a global art history. Being the first art historian in France addressing these themes has allowed her to spread those unexplored issues in her teaching along with supervising thesis as well as contributing to national and international publications. She is the author of numerous articles in periodicals and essays in books and exhibition catalogues.
Her book Black is A Color, a History of African American Contemporary Art published in French (2004) and English (2005) won the research prize 2005 SAES/AFEA (Sociéte des Anglicistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur – Society of English Linguistic Specialists in Higher Education)/ Association Francaise d’Etudes Américaines – French Association of American Studies). She was in 2016-2017 the co-director of the annual program of Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschiste in Paris centering on the plural decolonial perspectives of historiographies deconstructing the colonial hegemony of the Western world.