Katherine Smith

Katherine Smith



Katherine Smith, Ph.D., is a Lecturer in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and a Visiting Researcher in the UCLA International Institute. She has held fellowships at Brown University and New York University, and publishes regularly in academic journals and edited volumes. Dr. Smith has played a curatorial role in two exhibitions: Reframing Haiti: Art, History and Performativity at Brown University (2011) and In Extremis: Life and Death in 21st Century Haitian Art (2012). She is the lead curator for the forthcoming retrospective on Haitian textile artist Myrlande Constant at the UCLA Fowler Museum. Dr. Smith is finishing a manuscript on death, art, and the religious imaginary in urban Haiti. Her current field-based research focuses on Freemasonry in the Caribbean.


My work focuses on Haiti and the Caribbean. I am an ethnographer and I have done extensive fieldwork in Haiti, specifically Port-au-Prince. Haiti is a vital crossroads of complex geographies that encompass Latin American, the Caribbean, West and West-Central Africa. Understanding Haiti requires knowledge about the transatlantic slave trade, French colonialism and US imperialism.

My interest in Haiti and the Caribbean has lead me to teach and publish on a broad range of topics, including: Visual Cultures and Museums; Religion and Urbanization; Freemasonry, Esoterism and Non-Canonical Approaches to the Enlightenment; Art and Ethnography; and Death Studies. As an interdisciplinary scholar, I approach gender, race, class, and sexuality as enmeshed in and intersecting with all of these topics.


  • Ph.D. Culture and Performance UCLA
  • M.A. Social Sciences University of Chicago
  • B.A. Evergreen State College