MA in Critical Studies


Walidah Imarisha

Walidah Imarisha

Walidah Imarisha is an educator, writer, public scholar and spoken word artist. Imarisha’s nonfiction book Angels with Dirty Faces: Three Stories of Crime, Prison, and Redemption won a 2017 Oregon Book Award. She edited two anthologies, Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements and Another World is Possible. She is also the author of the poetry collection Scars/Stars. She is currently working on an Oregon Black history book, forthcoming from AK Press.

Imarisha has taught at Stanford University, Portland State University, and Oregon State University.

Shawna Lipton

Program Chair

PhD 2016 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Literature and Cultural Theory)
MA 2008 Portland State University (English)
BA 2006 Dalhousie University (English/Gender and Women's Studies)

Shawna Lipton is Chair of the MA in Critical Studies Program at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) in Portland, Oregon.  She received her Ph.D. in Literature and Cultural Theory from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a literary scholar whose work is fundamentally informed by interdisciplinary gender and sexuality studies. Her critical writing has been published in New Cinemas and QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking. Forthcoming publications investigate textual representations of transgender girlhood, as well as intersections between queerness and neurodivergence.

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Taylor Eggan

PhD 2017 Princeton University [English]
MA 2012 Princeton University [English]
BA 2008 Carleton College [English, summa cum laude]

Taylor Eggan received his PhD in English from Princeton University in 2017. His research interests are broad, and include African literature and culture (Anglophone, Francophone, Swahilophone), postcolonial literature, global modernisms, ecophilosophy, and theories of the novel. He has published and presented on writers as diverse as Samuel Beckett, Driss Chraïbi, Willa Cather, Joseph Conrad, Martin Heidegger, D. H. Lawrence, Emmanuel Mbogo, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Ferdinand Oyono, and Said Ahmed Mohamed.

In addition to his scholarly work, Taylor is also a practicing artist. As a performer and dance maker, his artistic practice integrates improvisational investigation, virtuosic movement, and wide-ranging research. Over the past decade, he has performed extensively in Portland and Minneapolis, working in the fields of dance, theater, film, and music.

Taylor’s current projects include a book titled The Ecological Uncanny and a new dance-theater work titled Abominable.

Gitti Salami

Associate Professor

PhD 2005 University of Iowa (Art History)
MA 1999 University of Iowa (Art History)
BA 1997 San Francisco State University (Studio Art/Art History)

Brigitte Salami is Associate Professor of Art History. Prior to joining PNCA in 2012, she taught at Southern Methodist University, Dallas (2000), DePaul University, Chicago (2002-04), the University of Illinois, Chicago (2004), and the University of Kansas (2004-2011).

Her specialization is in African Art. She has conducted extensive field research in the Middle Cross River region of Nigeria (1998, 1999, 2001-02, 2006, 2011), where Yakurr and their neighbors celebrate elaborate new yam festivals. These give rise to performances practices, processions, masquerades, body arts, etc. Her interests further span modern, contemporary, and transnational African art. Much of her thought is rooted in postcolonial theory.

Brigitte is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a FLAS (Foreign Language and Areas Studies) Fellowship (1999), the Distinguished Master Thesis Award of the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (2000), a Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship (2001-02), a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institute with residency at the National Museum of African Art (2010), a West African Research Association Fellowship (2011), and a Sainsbury Research Center Visiting Fellowship at the University of East Anglia (2011). Her coedited Wiley Blackwell volume (2013), A Companion to Modern African Art, received ACASA’s (Arts Council of the African Studies Association) Honorable Mention for the 2014 Arnold Rubin Outstanding Publication Award.

Selected Publications:

The Materiality of Cement in the Cultural Matrix of the Middle Cross River Region .” African Arts 49:3 (Autumn 2016), 32-47.

A Companion to Modern African Art, Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Art History Malden, MA and Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2013, co-edited with Monica Blackmun Visona.

“Writing African Modern Art into Art History,” co-authored with Monica Blackmun Visonà, In A Companion to Modern African Art, Blackwell Companions to Art History, edited by Gitti Salami and Monica Blackmun Visonà, 3-19. Malden, MA; Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2013.

“Concrete Aspirations: Modern Art at the Roundabout in Ugep.” In A Companion to Modern African Art, Blackwell Companions to Art History, edited by Gitti Salami and Monica Blackmun Visonà, 572-592. Malden, MA; Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2013.

“Intersection of Traditional and Modern Art.” Palace Newsreel: Celebrating Royalty and Cultural Heritage 4:37 (2012), 34-38.

“Towards ‘Radical Contemporaneity’ in African Art History: The ‘Glocal’ Facet of a Kinship-based Artistic Genre.” Critical Interventions: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture 3/4 (Spring 2009): 78-99.

“Calabar Ancient Terracottas in Nigeria.” In African Terra Cottas: A Millenary Heritage in the Barbier-Mueller Museum Collections, edited by Floriane Morin and Boris Wastiou, 206-19, 436-8. Milan: Five Continents Editions, 2008.

“Umor Revisited: A Diachronic Study of Sacrosanct Principles embedded in the Yakurr Leboku Festival.” African Arts 41:3 (Autumn 2008), 54-73.

“Ubi Artist: Tribute to a Yakurr Artist from Mkpani,” Yakurr X-Ray 2:16 (2002), 8 and 2:17 (2002), 8.

Aeron Bergman

Aeron Bergman

Assistant Professor

Aeron Bergman is Chair of the Low Residency MFA in Visual Studies program at PNCA. Bergman holds an MA in Studio Art from New York University, an MA in Art History from University of Toronto, and a BA in Art History from Michigan State University. Bergman was most recently faculty in Interdisciplinary Arts and the low-residency MFA at the University of Washington, Bothell. He has taught internationally with positions including a professorship at the Oslo National Academy of Fine Art and as guest professor at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, and Trondheim Academy of Art. He was the founding chair of Intermedia at the Oslo National Academy of Fine Art from 2007 to 2013; a supervisor of the National Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship; and a faculty liaison between the International Academy of Art Palestine in Ramallah and the Oslo Academy of Fine Art. Aeron served as an advisor and professor in a low-residency MA program in Scandinavia called the Nordic Sound Art MA.

Benjamin Craig

Benjamin Craig


Benjamin Craig is a writer, editor, and critic. He contributes to and acts as editor for Propeller Magazine, an arts and culture mag, produces a film criticism podcast, and writes speculative fiction. His work draws on his background as a filmmaker and editor, his study in cultural and critical theory, and a keen interest in visual rhetoric.

Benjamin earned his MA in Literature while focusing on theoretical models of desire, body-text metaphor, and liminality. He has presented research on the professional development benefits of tutoring and writing center work for educators, and published essays on “looking” in the art gallery, and the necessity of thoughtful curation to democracy.

Recent and Current Projects:

In The Frame: A Film Analysis Podcast
The Great Pretenders: A Collection of Essays on Identity and Fakery
“Two Empty Rooms, Memphis, Tennessee: An Essay on the Power of Losing the Narrative”

Victor Maldonado

Victor Maldonado

Assistant Professor

Victor Maldonado is a Portland-based interdisciplinary artist who creates conceptually driven multidisciplinary words drawing from his upbringing in California and Mexico in a family of migrant field workers . He is an Assistant Professor and Inclusions Specialist at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and is also a freelance writer and independent curator of Northwest art. Maldonado received his BFA in Painting and Drawing from the California College of Art (2000) and his MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2005) and his work has most recently been acquired by the Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX. Maldonado is represented exclusively by Froelick Gallery, Portland OR.