Adrienne Rooney

Adrienne Rooney, Ph.D in Art History at Rice University, studied twentieth-century art and (visual) culture in the Americas, with a focus on the Circum-Caribbean. She has received graduate certificates in African and African American Studies and Critical and Cultural Theory. Her dissertation, the first book-length academic study of the Caribbean Festival of Arts (Carifesta)—an initiative that has embodied Caribbean integration more fully than political or economic efforts—attends to the conceptualization of this monumental, multilingual, ongoing festival and the (visual) culture foregrounded in its first four iterations in Guyana, Jamaica, Cuba, and Barbados. With the support of extensive archival research and contemporaneous theories by, among others, Kamau Brathwaite, George Lamming, and Sylvia Wynter, it weaves a story of the festival, a meeting place for artists from Brazil to Curaçao, from Saint Lucia to Suriname, from Venezuela to Haiti, in the heady, long 1970s.

She has shared her work in a variety of ways, including through presentations at the annual conferences of the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) and College Art Association (CAA), talks at the Paul Mellon Centre, the Tate, and Oxford University, and published criticism and scholarship in and the Journal of African American Studies, among others. She is a resident of “Atlantic Worlds: Visual Cultures of Colonialism, Slavery, and Racism” a two-year remote residency program by the journal British Art Studies and the Terra Foundation for American Art (2021-2023). She was co-organizer of the three-day international symposium "The Inaugural Caribbean Festival of Arts as Prism: 20th Century Festivals in the Multilingual Caribbean" (August 2022). Adrienne is also co-organizer, with Dr. Fabiola López-Durán, of the Racial Geography Project, an initiative of the Rice University Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice. Prior to Rice, she was a curatorial assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2012–2015).

She is Co-organizer, with Dr. Fabiola López-Durán, of the Racial Geography Project, an initiative of the Rice University Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice.

Dr. Rooney is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Frederick Douglass Institute and Department of Black Studies at the University of Rochester.


“The Battle of Algiers and Colonial Analogy in the Panther 21,” Journal of African American Studies. Volume 23, Issue 4 (December 2019): 455-475.

“Material Futures / Adrienne Rooney on Lubaina Himid at the New Museum, New York,” Texte zur Kunst, Issue No. 116. 12/2019.

Exhibition Review: Mapa Wiya (Your Map’s Not Needed): Australian Aboriginal Art from the Fondation Opale, Menil Collection, Houston, TX, 12/2019.

Book review: Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago, eds. Tatiana Flores and Michelle Ann Stephens. 8/2019.

Research Areas

Afrodiasporic art in the Americas; art and architecture of the Caribbean; culture and (de)colonization; race, ecology, and the built environment

Honors & Awards

2022 Mark Claster Mamolen Dissertation Workshop, Afro-Latin American Research Institute, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Harvard University.

2022 The Donald C. Locke Award, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University.

2022 Brown Foundation Dissertation Writing Fellowship, Rice University.

2021 Fondren Fellow Project Manager, Racial Geography Project, Rice University.

2021 Wagoner Foreign Study Scholarship, Rice University.

2021 Brown Foundation Dissertation Research Award, Rice University.

2020 Brown Foundation Co-Teaching Award, Rice University.

2019 James T. Wagoner ’29 Foreign Study Scholarship

2019 Junior Fellowship, Paul Mellon Centre, London.

2019 Wagoner Foreign Study Scholarship, Rice University.

2018 Rose Library Fellowship, Emory University.

2018 First Place, Friends of Fondren Library Research Graduate Award, Rice University.

2017 Wagoner Foreign Study Scholarship, Rice University.