Romi Crawford

Professor, Visual and Critical Studies

Romi Crawford has been teaching at SAIC since 2001. She took her sabbatical during the 2020 Academic Year.

Romi Crawford is an art historian whose research examines how race and ethnicity relate to American visual culture, particularly in art, film, and photography. She has released multiple publications regarding the Wall of Respect mural, painted by the Organization of Black American Culture during the 1960s, which featured portraits of Muhammad Ali, John Coltrane, W.E.B. Du Bois, Billie Holiday, Malcolm X, and Nina Simone. Crawford created the Blacks Arts Movement School Modality, which explores the ideological structures that emerged in Chicago from the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Crawford’s publications include Speaking of People (2014), The Wall of Respect (2017), and Fleeting Monuments for the Wall of Respect (2021). She was awarded the Jean Goldman Book Prize in 2018 and later served as a Gray Fellow and a Lunder Institute Fellow. She was Curator and Director of the Education Department at the Studio Museum in Harlem from 2000 to 2006, co-curator of the 2017 Open Engagement conference in Chicago, and a founder of the Museum of Vernacular Arts and Knowledge (MOVAK). Crawford is currently Chair of the Visual and Critical Studies department.


AM and PhD English Language and Literature, University of Chicago
BA, Oberlin College

Notable Classes Taught:

African American Exhibition Practices
Kitsch, Camp, and Bling Aesthetics