Tashima Thomas

Art History

Assistant Professor



Tashima Thomas, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in art history at SMU Meadows School of the Arts. She is an art historian, gastronome, curator and cultural critic specializing in the art of the African Diaspora in the Americas from the colonial period to the present. Her research examines food pathways, visual and material culture, racial formation, gender, sexuality, Afro-Gothic as an aesthetic and theoretical framework, and the environmental humanities. Her book manuscript Edible Extravagance: The Visual Art of Consumption in the Black Atlantic is currently under contract with SUNY Press, The Afro-Latinx Futures Series. She is also co-editor of the forthcoming, Flora Fantastic: From Orchidelirium to Eco-Critical Contemporary Botanical Art published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Dr. Thomas is a recipient of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery Long-Term Fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; the Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship; and the Smithsonian’s Goldman Sachs Multicultural Afrolatino Junior Fellowship at The National Museum of American History. She is the founder of the food, art and culture platform papayarose.com and her work has been published in academic journals, exhibition catalogues, and edited volumes.


Ph.D., Rutgers University
M.A., San Diego State University
B.A., University of Houston

Recent Work


Art of the African Diaspora
Latin American and Caribbean Art
Food Pathways
Environmental Humanities
African American & African Diaspora Studies
Cultural Studies and Media Technologies
Afro-Gothic and the Afro-Fantastic
Women of Color feminisms

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Afro-Gothic,” special issue of liquid blackness, a Duke University Press journal, Vol. 6.2, [Guest edited by Sybil Cooksey and Tashima Thomas,] forthcoming October 2022.
  • “An Ecocritical Look at Flint’s Water Crisis and Afro-Gothic Liquidity,” liquid blackness. Vol. 6.2, forthcoming October 2022.
  • “Modern Food as Racialized Performance: Blackness and Bananas, The Josephine Baker Effect,” book chapter, Acquired Tastes: Stories about the Origins of Modern Food [Edited by Benjamin Cohen, Anna Zeide and Michael Kideckel,] MIT Press, August 2021.
  • “Literary and Visual Rememory at the 90th Anniversary of the Banana Massacre in Colombia.” Co-authored with Annie Mendoza, Ph.D. Zapruder World: An International Journal for the History of Social Conflict, “Food Fights: The Politics of Provisions in Global Perspective,” Vol. 5, September 2019.
  • “Pretty in Pink Polypropylene: Christo’s and Jeanne-Claude’s ‘Surrounded Islands.’” The Journal of Transnational American Studies. Vol. 10, Is. 1, Summer 2019, pp. 163-168.
  • “The Traveling Coconut.” Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. 31.2 Online Exclusive, Mar 2019.
  • “Sugar Babies: Confections of American Childhood in Vik Muniz’s Sugar Children and Kara Walker’s Marvelous Sugar Baby.” American Studies Journal, Vol. 57, No. 3, Jan 2019, pp. 121-141.
  • “Diagram of the Heart,” Exhibition Review, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), African Arts Journal, Winter 2017.
  • “Race and Remix: The Aesthetics of Race and Remix in the Visual Arts,” book chapter, The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies, published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2014.
  • “Afrolatinidad in the Visual Arts,” an encyclopedic entry in The Encyclopedia of Latino Culture: From Calaveras to Quinceañeras, published by ABC-CLIO, 2013.
  • Disillusions: Gendered Visions of the Caribbean and Its Diasporas, contributed six exhibition catalogue essays and interviews: published online at artzpub.com, 2011.

Exhibitions Curated

“Flora Fantastic: Eco-Critical Contemporary Botanical Art,” Co-curated with Corina L. Apostol.  Apex Art Gallery, New York City (2022)

Roberto Conduru