Wayne State University

Aim Higher


Dr. Dora Apel

Professor and W. Hawkins Ferry Endowed Chair in Modern and Contemporary Art History
Schaver, Room 302


Dora Apel teaches courses on modern and contemporary art, photography and visual culture. She is the author of three books: Memory Effects: The Holocaust and the Art of Secondary Witnessing (Rutgers University Press, 2002), Imagery of Lynching: Black Men, White Women, and the Mob (Rutgers University Press, 2004), and War Culture and the Contest of Images (Rutgers University Press, 2012). She co-authored Lynching Photographs with Shawn Michelle Smith (University of California Press, 2008). Her work encompasses traumatic imagery and associated cultural practices of war and violence; the merging of documentary, photojournalistic, and artistic practices; the positioning of contemporary documentary within a globalized world; gender and sexuality; race and ethnicity; and museum practices. Her new book, Beautiful Terrible Ruins: Detroit and the Anxiety of Decline, will be published in spring 2015.

Apel has also written numerous articles and essays in such journals as The Art Bulletin, Art Journal, Oxford Art Journal, New German Critique, American Quarterly, Dissent, Journal of Visual Culture, Mississippi Quarterly and Left History, in online journals such as OpenDemocracy and Other Voices, and for exhibition catalogs. She has contributed chapters to edited volumes, including Visual Culture and The Holocaust (Rutgers University Press, 2001), What Is Radical Politics Today? (Routledge, 2009), and The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies (Oxford University Press, 2011). Her articles are reprinted in journals such as Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art (fall 2006) and edited volumes such as The Uncertain States of America Reader (Sternberg Press, 2006) and Krzysztof Wodiczko (Black Dog Publishing, 2011). She is the editor or co-editor of ten exhibition catalogs for Cranbrook Art Museum.

She received her PhD. in Art History and PhD. Certificate in Cultural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.

Office Hours

3:15 - 4:15 p.m, Tuesday and Thursday