Wayne State University

Dr. Dora Apel

Dora Apel

  • Schaver, Room 302

  • Professor and W. Hawkins Ferry Endowed Chair in Modern and Contemporary Art History


Dora Apel teaches courses on modern and contemporary art, photography and visual culture. She is the author of four books: Beautiful Terrible Ruins: Detroit and the Anxiety of Decline; War Culture and the Contest of ImagesImagery of Lynching: Black Men, White Women, and the Mob; and Memory Effects: The Holocaust and the Art of Secondary Witnessing; and co-author of Lynching Photographs, with Shawn Michelle Smith.

Her work encompasses traumatic imagery and associated cultural practices, 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; museum practices; globalization, cities and ruins. 

Apel's work is also published in Jacobin, The Brooklyn RailArt Bulletin, Art Journal, Oxford Art Journal, New German Critique, American Quarterly, Dissent, Journal of Visual Culture, Mississippi Quarterly, Left History, and Theory & Event; in the online journals OpenDemocracy, Dissent and Other Voices, and in exhibition catalogs. She has contributed chapters to edited volumes, including Visual Culture and The Holocaust (2001), What Is Radical Politics Today? (2009), The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies (2011), Violence and Visibility in Modern History (2013), and Representations of Pain in Art and Visual Culture (2013). Her work has been reprinted in journals such as Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art (fall 2006) and edited volumes such as The Uncertain States of America Reader (2006) and Krzysztof Wodiczko (2011). She is the editor or co-editor of ten exhibition catalogs for Cranbrook Art Museum. For access to articles, see academia.edu.

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