Sarah Stefana Smith


  • Assistant Professor of Gender Studies
  • on leave spring 2024
Sarah Smith

Sarah Stefana Smith is an interdisciplinary scholar and visual artist. Their research communicates between the fields of Black art and culture, queer of color critique and affect studies, performance and aesthetics. Smith’s studio practice looks towards the blur between abstraction and representation, infrastructure and materiality, space and ecology in photography, installation, and sculptural work. As a teacher Smith is interested in cross-pollination between matter and materiality and boundaries between human and species, lines of demarcation around difference – race, gender, sexuality – and how modes of difference are used to constitute and congeal belonging.

Smith was a recipient of an Art and Change Grant from the Leeway Foundation, an Ontario Arts Council Grant, and a John Pavlis Fellowship as an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center. Smith has published in The Black Scholar, Women & Performance, Drain Journal of Art and Culture, The Palgrave Handbook of Race and the Arts Education and in Ruptures: Anti-colonial and Anti-Racist Feminist Theorizing. Their residency experiences have included the University of Pittsburgh Creativities Project, Merriweather District AIR, 77Arts, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts among others. Smith has exhibited at various spaces including Waller Gallery, Arlington Art Center, DC Art Center, the Borland Project Space, and Gallery CA.

Areas of Expertise

Critical race, affect studies, aesthetics, visual culture, Black Diaspora, Black and transnational feminisms, queer and trans* of color critique, photography and time-based media, contemporary art, cultural studies, performance theory


  • Ph.D., University of Toronto
  • M.F.A., Goddard College
  • B.A., Spelman College