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Candace Keller - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Candace Keller

Associate Professor of African Art and Visual Culture | Michigan State University


Candace M. Keller is an expert in African art and West African photography





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Preserving Heritage in Mali Candace Keller | MSU Archive of Malian Photography



Candace Keller's work is driven by a commitment to intellectual and cultural diversity. She strives to bring African cultural practices and theoretical perspectives to the conceptual awareness of global audiences, emphasizing their critical value within our increasingly interconnected, transcultural world. With a specific focus on vernacular art and photography, her work centers on the power of representation. She investigates the ways in which cultural knowledge and markers of social identity are constructed, perpetuated, and contested via visual language systems. In this vein, she considers how individuals—artists, patrons, and audiences—ascribe meaning to images as they traverse cultural contexts, cultivating a sense of social belonging, individuality, or exclusivity, to appreciate how local means of visual expression can have far reaching significance for global citizens. Her research and courses center on issues of identity, personhood, and complex agency, as well as processes of transculturation, globalization, nationalism, and postcolonialism.

Since 2016, I have been fully appointed in the College of Arts and Letters. She is core faculty in the African Studies Center, Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities, and African and African American Studies. Her research on the histories of photography in Mali, West Africa, has appeared in several publications, invited lectures, and conference presentations and has been generously supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the British Library, Fulbright-Hays, Indiana University, and Michigan State University.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (2)

West African Photography

African Arts

News (2)

New Archive Creates Global Access to Rare African Photos

MSUToday  online


Hoping to preserve cultural heritage and change Western thought on Africa, a Michigan State University researcher will use a $300,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to digitize 100,000 original black-and-white negatives of Mali’s most important photographers, dating from the 1940s.

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Annual Student Fashion Show to Take Place March 15

MSUToday  online


The Department of Art, Art History and Design at Michigan State University is hosting the 2014 annual Apparel and Textile Design Student Fashion Show at 7 p.m. March 15 in the Pasant Theatre at Wharton Center.

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Journal Articles (1)

Framed and Hidden Histories: West African Photography from Local to Global Contexts

African Arts

Candace M. Keller

2014 The recontextualization of West African photo-graphs in international art venues is a fairly recent phenomenon. Its history dates to the 1991 “Africa Explores” exhibition curated by Susan Vogel at the Center for African Art and the New Museum in New York City. Subsequently, over the past twenty years, numerous exhibitions, biennials, catalogues, articles, and monographs have reformulated national and regional histories of photography in Africa as well as developed a new canon of artists and artworks. With their oeuvres …

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