Photo of Baptista, Lori

Lori Baptista, Ph.D

Director, African American Cultural Center

Office Phone Voice:

(312) 996-9549


An interdisciplinary scholar/artist, Dr. Baptista integrates arts, humanities and social science frameworks, practices and perspectives to examine cultural representations and their impact on marginalized communities. Her scholarly work and research interests reflect a long-standing preoccupation with how members of diverse communities transmit social knowledge and a sense of identity through seemingly mundane objects, materials and expressive formats. She brings to bear more than 18 years of experience researching, developing, and participating in cultural programs and initiatives that convene artists, civic leaders, students, faculty and staff, cultural institutions, and grassroots organizations to address pressing social concerns. Critical of the “heroes and holidays” approach towards diversity, she is especially interested in creative practices that individuals engage in to honor, validate and convey their sense of connectedness to multiple places or traditions, and has published a number of articles, working papers and book reviews on these topics. Dr. Baptista earned a Ph.D. in performance studies from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in liberal studies from Rutgers University, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches film, literature, ethnography, museum studies and performance-based courses.