Jasmine Nichole Cobb

Jasmine Nichole Cobb

Bacca Foundation Associate Professor


  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania 2009


Jasmine Nichole Cobb is the Bacca Foundation Associate Professor of African & African American Studies and of Art, Art History and Visual Studies at Duke University. She earned a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and, most recently, an American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women.

Her first book, Picture Freedom:  Remaking Black Visuality in the Early Nineteenth Century (NYUP 2015), traces the emergence of Black freedom as both an idea and as an image during the early nineteenth century. Through an analysis of popular culture of the period—including amateur portraits, racial caricatures, joke books, antislavery newspapers, abolitionist materials, runaway advertisements, ladies’ magazines, and scrapbooks, as well as scenic wallpaper—Cobb explores the earliest illustrations of free Blacks and reveals the complicated route through visual culture toward a vision of African American citizenship. Presently, she is editor of African American Literature in Transition, Vol. 2 (Cambridge, forthcoming), on black literature produced between 1800 and 1830 and the array of cultural, technological and political transitions associated with these works. She is also at work on a second monograph, New Growth:  The Art and Texture of Black Hair after Emancipation, which evaluates visual constructions of “natural” hair to reveal the vestiges of slavery that are latent in notions of contemporary freedom.

Cobb is also a co-director of “From Slavery to Freedom: Representations of Race and Freedom in the African Diaspora," the newest lab sponsored by the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. The "From Slavery to Freedom" lab examines the life and afterlives of slavery and emancipation through courses and research projects.



Black Visual Culture, Black Film, African American Women

Cobb, J. N., and J. L. Jackson,. “They Hate Me: Spike Lee, Documentary Filmmaking, and Hollywood’s ‘Savage Slot.’.” Fight the Power! The Spike Lee Reader, Peter Lang, 2009.

Cobb, Jasmine Nichole. “Enduring Truths: Sojourner's Shadows and Substance, by Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby.” The Art Bulletin, vol. 98, no. 4, Informa UK Limited, Oct. 2016, pp. 528–30. Crossref, doi:10.1080/00043079.2016.1215188. Full Text

Cobb, J. N. “A more perfect union: Black freedoms, white houses.” Public Culture, vol. 28, no. 1, Jan. 2016, pp. 63–87. Scopus, doi:10.1215/08992363-3325016. Full Text Open Access Copy

Cobb, J. N. “"forget Me Not": Free Black Women and Sentimentality.” Melus, vol. 40, no. 3, Jan. 2015, pp. 28–46. Scopus, doi:10.1093/melus/mlv020. Full Text

Cobb, J. N. “Directed by Himself: Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave.” American Literary History, vol. 26, no. 2, Oxford University Press (OUP), Apr. 2014, pp. 339–46. Crossref, doi:10.1093/alh/aju011. Full Text

Cobb, Jasmine Nichole. “No We Can't!: Postracialism and the Popular Appearance of a Rhetorical Fiction.” Communication Studies, vol. 62, no. 4, Informa UK Limited, Sept. 2011, pp. 406–21. Crossref, doi:10.1080/10510974.2011.588075. Full Text

Fellowships, Supported Research, & Other Grants

American Fellowship awarded by American Association of University Women (AAUW) (2014 to 2015)

Fall 2019

Representing Slavery (VMS 254.01)
Smith Wrhs A290, Tu 10:05 AM-12:40 PM

Spring 2019

Black Camera (ARTHIST 539.01)
Smith Wrhs A101, Tu 01:40 PM-04:10 PM
Women and Visual Media Studies (VMS 389S.01)
Smith Wrhs A101, Tu 10:05 AM-12:35 PM
Black Camera (VMS 545.01)
Smith Wrhs A101, Tu 01:40 PM-04:10 PM

Spring 2018

Black Women, Black Freedom (ARTHIST 643S.01)
Friedl Bdg 225, Th 08:30 AM-11:00 AM

Fall 2016

Black Camera (ARTHIST 650S.01)
East Duke 109, W 01:25 PM-03:55 PM
Black Camera (VMS 650S.01)
East Duke 109, W 01:25 PM-03:55 PM

Spring 2016

Black Women, Black Freedom (ARTHIST 643S.01)
Friedl Bdg 240, W 03:05 PM-05:35 PM
VMS Capstone (VMS 499S.01)
Friedl Bdg 118, M 12:00 PM-02:30 PM