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Steinhardt Professor Nicole Fleetwood Named MacArthur Fellow


Fleetwood is demonstrating that art and imagery produced and used by incarcerated individuals is a critically important form of human expression, and her work sheds new light on the toll the criminal justice system in the United States takes on human lives.

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
picture of Professor Nicole Fleetwood seated at a table.

Nicole Fleetwood has been named a MacArthur Fellow for the Class of 2021. This prestigious designation by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recognizes individuals who "help us reimagine what is possible" and who "demonstrate that creativity has no boundaries."

Fleetwood is the inaugural James Weldon Johnson Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication.

“This the most prestigious and significant award that a scholar can receive, so we at MCC are unbelievably proud of Nicole for this and all of her many accomplishments. Her work is vital, urgent, and groundbreaking," said Department Chair Susan Murray.

Fleetwood is an art historian and curator exploring how the art of incarcerated people is essential to our understandings of contemporary art, the carceral state, and the humanity it contains. Fleetwood’s earlier work focused on representations of Blackness in art, performance, and popular culture, particularly how assumptions within American culture about Blackness are disrupted or reinforced by Black artists and public figures.

Fleetwood is the author of Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (Harvard University Press, 2020), among other works. Marking Time received a 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award, the Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize, the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, and the Frank Jewett Mather Award. Fleetwood’s co-curated exhibitions have appeared at the Andrew Freedman Home, Aperture Foundation Galleries, and Zimmerli Museum of Art, among other venues.


Image credit: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation