Enid Schildkrout, Ph.D.

Curator Emerita, African Ethnology

718-784-7700 ext. 110


  • Cambridge University, Ph.D., 1970
  • Cambridge University (Newnham College), M.A., 1967
  • Cambridge University (Newnham College), B.A. Hons., 1965
  • Sarah Lawrence College, B.A., 1963

Research Interests

Enid Schildkrout began her African field research in Ghana and Bourkina Faso in the 1960’s when she studied changing concepts of ethnicity and identity among second-generation immigrants living in Kumasi, Ghana. She has followed a number of families from her initial fieldwork for five decades and continues this research among Ghanaians from the same communities living in New York City. In the late 1970s and early 1980s she did field research in Kano, northern Nigeria, where she studied the economic roles of children. Her research focused on the economic interdependence of women and children and the relationship between child labor and education. She subsequently did fieldwork in Mali, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Namibia on a variety of topics centered on art and museums in Africa. She has worked extensively with museum collections and conducted an in-depth study of the history of the art of the Mangbetu people (Democratic Republic of Congo). Dr. Schildkrout has curated many groundbreaking exhibitions including African Reflections: Art from Northeastern Zaire; Body Art: Marks of Identity; Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria; and Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art.


Division of Anthropology

Additional Email: [email protected]


Recent and Major Publications
2017. Schildkrout, E. The Frobenius effect: Frederick Starr in the Congo. Critical Interventions. Issue C/1-3-2017 Fall [doi:10.1080/19301944.2018.1421810]

2017. Schildkrout, E. Book review: Sarah Van Beurden, Authentically African: arts and the transnational politics of Congolese culture. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press Africa: International African Institute. 87 (4): 856–857. [doi:10.1017/S0001972017000419]

2017. Schildkrout, E. Engraved ivory horn; figurative harp. Catalog entries 36 and 37. In C. Clarke (editor), Arts of global Africa, the Newark Museum collection: 151–157.

2017. Schildkrout, E., and J.G. Lacey. Shifting perspectives: The Man in Africa hall at the American Museum of Natural History at 50. Anthropology Now Vol. 9(2):14–26.

2016. Schildkrout, E. Épingle à cheveux Mangbetu. In Éclectique: une collection du XXIe siècle: 146. Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac. Flammarion.

2013 "Ivories in the Uele Region: Tradition and Innovation" In Marc Leo Felix, Ed. White Gold, Black Hands, Ivory Sculpture in Congo, Vol. 7.  The Congo Basin Art History Center and The Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium. Pp 50-157.  

2013 and Carol Thompson. Chapter 4: Africa 1400-1600  (pp. 66-81), Chapter 10: Africa 1600-1750 (pps.212-229), Chapter 16: Africa 1750-1900 (pp. 374-393), Chapter 22: Africa 1900-2000 (pps.546-565) in Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber, Editors, History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000. New York and London: Bard Graduate Center and Yale University Press. 

2009  Dynasty and Divinity, Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria, with Henry John Drewal, published in English and Spanish. Museum for African Art. Published also for the British Museum as Kingdom of Ife: Sculptures from West Africa.

2009 "Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria" with Henry John Drewal. Tribal Arts. No 53. Autumn 2009. Pp. 76-85. University of Washington Press (Distributor). Published as Kingdom of Ife by the British Museum in 2010.

2008 Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art. with Dale Rosengarten and Theodore Rosengarten, New York: Museum for African Art. University of Washington Press (Distributor)

2009 "Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art," with Dale Rosengarten and Theodore Rosengarten. African Arts, Summer 2009, Vol. 42, No. 2,pp. 44-55.

2008 "Les Parisiens d'Afrique: Mangbetu Women as Works of Art" in Barbara Thompson, Ed. Black Womanhood Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body. University of Washington Press. Pp.71-93.

2006 "The Beauty of Science and the Truth of Art: Museum Anthropology at the Crossroads" in Cordula Grewe (ed.), Exhibiting the Other: Museums of Mankind and the Politics of Cultural Representation (Transatlantische Historische Studien, Vol. x). Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart

2005 "Modernism and Ethnology in the Ituri: Anne Eisner, Colin Turnbull, and the Mbuti," in Christie McDonald, ed. Images of Congo, Anne Eisner's Art and Ethnography, 1946-1958. Pp.53-70.

2004 "Inscribing the Body." Annual Review of Anthropology.  Vol. 33. Palo Alto: Annual Reviews.

2004 "Drawing Tradition: Dogon Children’s Art In The Age of Tourism." African Arts.  Vol.37, No. 1, Pp.46-53, 94.

1998 The Scramble for Art in Central Africa (Editor with C. Keim). Cambridge University Press. 257 pages.

1990 African Reflections: Art from Northeastern Zaire (with C. A. Keim). New York: AMNH, and Seattle: University of Washington Press, 271 pages.

1978 People of the Zongo: the Transformation of Ethnic Identities in Ghana. London: Cambridge University Press. 303 pages.


Teaching Experience

  • Columbia University: Exhibiting Culture (2005, 2003, 2001); Body Art, Identity, and Society (2002); Museology (2000); Collecting and Curating African Art (Art History Dept, 2001); The Family and Colonialism in Africa (1994); Museum Studies (1993); Women and Children in Africa (1992).
  • Drew University. Peoples and Cultures of Côte d’Ivoire; African Art. 1997.
  • Chatauqua course for teachers on "Africa and its representation in Museums" National Science Foundation, SUNY Stony brook, AMNH. 1003.
  • Yale University, Museums and the Teaching of Africa. Summer Institute for Teachers, Yale U. (Guest lecturer), 1990, 1992.
  • State University of New York at Purchase, Social Organization. 1976.
  • Sir George Williams University, Montreal, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. 1973.
  • McGill University. Colonialism and Social Change in Africa; Urbanization in Africa; Introduction to Africa. 1972-73.
  • University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Anthropological Theory in Contemporary Perspective; Cultures of Africa; Social Change in Africa; European Peasant Societies; Ethnicity seminar; Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. 1970-1972.