Deborah Willis

Deborah Willis

Deborah Willis

Deborah Willis, PhD Cultural Studies ’03

In June 2021, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the newest members resulting from its 2021 election, and they welcomed Deborah Willis, PhD Cultural Studies ’03.

Willis is a university professor and chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts, where she also serves as director of the NYU Institute for African American Affairs and the Center for Black Visual Culture. She was honored by the academy in the category of visual arts, within the larger class of humanities and arts.

The American Academy for the Arts and Sciences dates to 1780, when it was founded by John Adams, John Hancock, and 60 other figures in the early American republic for the purpose of collecting knowledge to serve the public good. It is an honorary society that recognizes the excellence of its members and an independent research center that seeks interdisciplinary solutions to societal challenges.

Guided by its enumerated values of advancing the common good, upholding democratic ideals, elevating the use of evidence and knowledge, fostering deliberative discourse, preserving independence, embracing diversity and inclusivity, and celebrating excellence, the 13,500 members who have been elected since the academy’s inception work to inform public policy and advance the public good.

Willis’s latest book, The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship, was published in January 2021 by NYU Press.

Published fall 2021