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Janet Berry Hess

Professor of Art History/African and Diasporic Studies

Janet Hess
Janet Berry Hess



Carson Hall 52


Ph.D., Art History, Harvard University
M.A., Art History, Columbia University
J.D., The University of Iowa College of Law
B.A., The University of Iowa

Academic Interests

My academic interests include Native American histories and cultures and the liberation-era art and architecture of Africa; gender studies; and human rights activism. I serve as Tribal Liason for CalNAGPRA and Project Director for the National Endowment for the Humanities/ATALM grant, "Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan" (SHARP), The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria: Food Sovereignty and Cultural Land Management Practices Lecture Series, which facilitates in-person public programming and virtual lectures on food sovereignty and cultural land management practices (2022). I previously served as Project Director for the California Humanities Relief/National Endowment for the Humanities grant, Native Voices: Collaborating to Build Native American Programming (2021) and Project Director for the National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Advancement Grant, Mapping Indigenous American Cultures and Living Histories (2019-Spring 2021). I have a background in social justice, serving as a research assistant for David Baldus, who conducted the multiple regression statistical analysis that went before the Supreme Court in McCleskey v. Kemp, and undertaking death penalty work for the law firm of Minami, Lew, Tamaki, and Lee in San Francisco. My teaching experience includes appointments at the University of Cape Town, South Africa; the University of California, Santa Cruz; and an Assistant Professorship at Northwestern University. I have served on the Faculty Senate and its Diversity Subcommittee and co-chair of the Women's Caucus, and on the Faculty Advisory Board of the SSU Multicultural Center (the HUB).

Selected Publications & Presentations

Digital Mapping: Indigenous America (Routledge: 2021)

“Liberation-Era Architecture in Ghana: Nkrumah, Nationalism, and Modernity,” Chapter in Phillip Meuser and Adil Dalbai, ed., Sub-Saharan Africa Architectural Guide (DOM Publishers: 2021).

Mapping Indigenous American Cultures and Living Histories—Project Director of digital map under construction funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Advancement Grant —co-creator with Victor Temprano, digital map of indigenous regions and cultures, funded by Sonoma State University’s Strategic Planning Grant

Review, Yael Ben-Zvi, Native Land Talk: Indigenous and Arrivant Rights Theories (Hanover: Dartmouth College Press, 2018), in Transmotion

Peer review of “Art as a Weapon: The Inverted Gaze in Julius Lips’ ‘The Savage Hits Back,’” ab-Original: Journal of Indigenous Studies and First Nations and First Peoples’ Cultures, July 2018

“Liberation-Era Architecture in Ghana: Nkrumah, Nationalism, and Modernity,” Chapter in Phillip Meuser and Adil Dalbai, ed., Sub-Saharan Africa Architectural Guide (DOM Publishers: forthcoming 2018).

Osage and Settler: Reconstructing Shared History Through an Oklahoma Family Archive, Jefferson, N.C., McFarland and Co., 2015.

The Art of Richard Mayhew: A Critical Analysis with Interviews, Jefferson, N.C., McFarland and Co., 2014.

"Nkrumah/Lumumba: Representations of Masculinity," in Nicholas Creary, ed., African Intellectuals and Decolonization (Ohio RIS Africa Series), Ohio University Press, Athens, OH: 27-36.

"The Art of Richard Mayhew," NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Duke University Press 2011, No. 29 (Fall 2011): 100-109.

"Spectacular Nation: Nkrumahist Art and Resistance Iconography in the Independence Era," African Arts 39, No. 1 (Spring 2006): 16-25, 91-92.

Art and Architecture in Postcolonial Africa, Jefferson, N.C., McFarland and Co., 2006.

"Imagining Architecture II: 'Treasure Storehouses' and Constructions of Asante Hegemony," Africa Today 50 (1)(Spring 2003): 26-48.

"Performing Ghana: Exhibition, Documentary and Display in Nkrumah-era Ghana,”"African Studies Review (Spring 2001): 59-77.

"Regulating/Representing the Body: South Africa," Art Journal (Spring 2001): 60-69.

"Imagining Architecture: The Structure of Nationalism in Accra, Ghana," Africa Today 47 (2)(Spring 2000): 35-60.

"Embedded Objects: The Asante Goldweight, Subjectivity Formation, and Social Control," Semiotica 119-3/14 (February 1998): 176-186.

"'An Irrational Eschatology': Nkrumahism, Post-Nkrumahism, and the Discourse of Modernity," in Nkiru Nzegwu, ed., Contemporary Issues in African Art (Binghamton, N.Y.: University of Binghamton Press, 1988): 176-186.