Nikki Brown, Ph.D.

Nikki Brown, Ph.D.

Associate Professor 
Director of Undergraduate Studies in History


Office: 109 Liberal Arts Building
Phone: 504-280-6135


Educational Background:
Ph.D., Yale University, 2001
B.A., History, Oberlin College

Research Interests:

My research explores the intellectual history of racism and representation in twentieth century American media.  Here are the questions I most often ask of a photograph, movie, newspaper article, or oral history: how are African Americans represented, are these representations based on racial and gendered stereotypes, and what is the historical context that produces different types of representations? Since the word “media” has many complex meanings, I usually concentrate on images of African Americans in print media, art, politics, and public humanities.  I investigate how African Americans see themselves in contrast to how white Americans view African Americans, with the understanding that neither points of view are monolithic or fixed in time. I like to call this work “the double consciousness of American visual culture.”

I am also exploring avenues of study in some uncovered arenas of the African diaspora, especially the history and culture of people of African descent in the Near and Middle East.  After I won a Fulbright Senior Lecturer award to Turkey in 2014, I have been working with the Afro-Turks, the Turkish descendants of enslaved peoples in the Ottoman Empire, on a series of memoirs, oral histories, and photography projects.

As a professional photographer I have completed two photographic essays: African American men in New Orleans from 2010 to 2015; and the Afro Turks, 2014 to the present. 


Private Politics and Public Voices: African American Women’s Activism from World War I to the New Deal, 2007. Winner of Letitia Woods Brown Prize for Best book in African American women’s history.

The Encyclopedia of Jim Crow, 2008.

From Homer Plessy to Hurricane Katrina: Photographing the African American Freedom Struggle in Louisiana. Coming in 2018.

Kolekiyisi: From Kenya to Crete to Istanbul, A Memoir of a Family Enslaved.  Coming in 2018

Courses Taught:

  • African American Survey: From 1600 to 1877; 1877 to the Present
  • African American Women of the 20th Century
  • Civil Rights in Louisiana
  • The American Civil Rights and Black Power Movements
  • Black Power in Film and History: Black Power in Blaxploitation Films
  • The American History Survey: From 1600 to 1865; 1865 to the Present
  • Comedy as Social Commentary – Vaudeville, Stand Up, and Cinema since 1865
  • History of White Supremacy in the United States, 1880 to the Present