Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship / Assistant Professor in Black Material and Visual Culture

Parsons School of Design, a college of The New School, seeks a scholar whose work offers a critical perspective on histories and theories of visual and/or material culture studies and the field’s engagements with race, racial equity, and social justice with particular emphasis on African diasporic design histories. Successful candidates will have a focus in one or more areas of relevance to the art and design disciplines offered at Parsons, which can be found on the website at We are especially interested in interdisciplinary scholars who interrogate asymmetrical power relationships including but not limited to race and culture, the representation of race, and constructions of Blackness, past, present and future in myriad spaces. We encourage scholars who bring a critical analysis to established approaches to design history and theory, including potentially the definition of design itself relative to other modes of practice and research.

Parsons School of Art and Design History and Theory offers master’s degrees in Fashion Studies and in the History of Design and Curatorial studies. Additionally, the School offers courses in art and design history and theory that are taken by all undergraduate students at Parsons. Once candidates become Assistant Professors, they will have the opportunity to teach in their specialty field and will be expected to contribute to our more general required courses, including for example, our First-Year course: “Objects as History.” As a community of scholars and practicing artists and designers, Parsons welcomes applicants whose teaching methods embrace the relationship of making to thinking, and who are thoughtful about how to teach humanities subjects to students also engaged in studio work.


The successful candidate will develop new humanities-based research in line with their interests and participate in ongoing research programs and shared expertise with faculty at Parsons and across The New School.

This position is part of the new Mellon Initiative for Inclusive Faculty Excellence at The New School started in AY 2020-21 when four new Mellon fellows were hired. In AY 2021-22 an additional four new Mellon Fellows will be hired across the University. The goals of the initiative are to integrate a cohort of recent PhDs into the academic community at The New School by providing intellectual community, support, and mentorship through participation in the Mellon Transformative Seminar, an interdisciplinary seminar bringing together members of the community representing diverse scholarship across The New School. The appointment begins with a two-year post-doctoral fellowship during which time faculty will develop robust research projects and professional networks, with the option to teach one course in their home department. After the two-year period, faculty will move directly into a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Black Design Studies. After appointment to Assistant Professor, they will teach five courses (or their equivalent) per year in an area of their expertise, and will be homed in Parsons, within its School of Art and Design History and Theory (known as ADHT).

The New School, a private university in New York City’s Greenwich Village, serves undergraduate and graduate students across a range of fields with a commitment to bringing practices in design and social research to studying issues of our time and challenging students to become engaged citizens dedicated to solving problems and contributing to the public good.

You can find more information about the School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons here:

Minimum Qualifications:

We are seeking applicants with a potential to build an outstanding record of scholarly research, publications, and contributions to discussions in the area of Black Material and Visual Culture, and with an aptitude for scholarly innovation and transdisciplinarity.

  • Applicants must have completed their Ph.D. in Art History or a related field in hand by the position start date (July 1, 2022).
  • Preference is for applicants within 4 years or fewer of receiving the Ph.D.
  • A clear potential for a trajectory of excellence in scholarly research
  • Experience in and demonstrated commitment to teaching at the university level.
  • Excellent research design, organization, communication, and writing skills.
  • Capacity to work well with students from diverse backgrounds, identities, and levels of professional experience.
  • Commitment to collaborating across the University and with external partners.

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