Elizabeth W. Giorgis received her PhD in the History of Art and Visual Studies from Cornell University in 2010 and her Masters in Museum Studies from New York University in 2004. She served as the director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, the Dean of the College of Performing and Visual Art and the director of the Modern Art Museum: Gebre Kristos Desta Center at Addis Ababa University. She is the author of several publications. She is also a member of the editorial board for Transition Magazine, Northeast African Studies journal (NEAS) and the Ethiopian Journal of Social Science and Humanities (EJOSSAH). She is an advisory editorial board member for the Journal for Critical African Studies (JCAS), Callaloo Art and contributing editor for Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (CSSAAME).
Besides being the recipient of The Ali Mazrui Senior Fellowship for Global African Studies at The Africa Institute, she has been awarded several fellowships including, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Brown University, a Visiting Professor at the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna and a fellow at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center Resident Fellows Program in Italy. Her book Modernist Art in Ethiopia (2019, Ohio University Press) is the first comprehensive monographic study of Ethiopian visual modernism within a broader social and intellectual history.
Modernist Art in Ethiopia was shortlisted for the African Studies Association UK Fage and Oliver Prize for outstanding and original scholarship on Africa. It was also a finalist for the African Studies Association Best Book Prize (formelry known as the Melville J. Herskovits prize). It won the African Studies Association’s 2020 Bethwell A. Ogbot Book Prize as the best book on East African Studies.
She has curated several exhibitions at the Modern Art Museum: Gebre Kristos Desta Center, more recently, the works of Danish Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. She has also participated in several international conferences and public lectures. In January 2019, she served as convener for the first African Humanities Initiative called “Africa as Concept: Decolonization, Emancipation and Freedom” that was sponsored by the Mellon Foundation and the Consortium of the Humanities, Centers and Institutes (CHCI).