Matthew Rarey, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Art, Oberlin College


Department of Art, Oberlin College

Art Building 2, Room 166

91 North Main St

Oberlin, OH  44074
picture of Matthew Rarey, PhD


BA 2005, Anthropology and Art History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

MA 2008, Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

PhD 2014, Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Research Interests
Matthew Francis Rarey's interests broadly span transformations in visual culture in the African-Atlantic world from the early modern period to the present day. In particular, he asks how notions of vision and ritual in the African Diaspora are both constitutive of, and pose a challenge to, prevailing conceptions of vision and visuality in the "West". Building on this idea, his current research project traces the history of protective African ritual pouches across Africa, Portugal, and Brazil; and in particular the relationship of these seemingly innocuous objects to radical political and cultural change. Matthew also maintains an active interest in fostering collaborations and collisions between the humanities and the [neuro]sciences, as well as the history and theory of museum representation and curatorial practice (having held positions at the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures and the Field Museum of Natural History before being awarded the 2009-2010 Chazen Graduate Curatorial Fellowship in African art at UW-Madison).