Diane O'Donoghue

Faculty Member


Director, Program for Public Humanities & Senior Fellow for the Humanities


Diane O’Donoghue is the director of the Program for Public Humanities and Senior Fellow for the Humanities at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. She became affiliated with Tisch College, first as a Faculty Fellow and then in her current roles, after two terms as the chair of the Department of Visual and Critical Studies, a Tufts University department located at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. An art historian, her areas of specialization include the visual culture of early China, about which she authored a monograph on reflection as object and idea in the Bronze Age. From these art historical and archaeological interests came scholarship on issues of the representation of surface and depth, and memory and memorialization, work informed by visual and cultural studies, gender and postcolonial critiques, and the practice and theories of psychoanalysis. Her writings on these issues have been awarded the CORST, Deutsch, and Silberger Prizes and she is a scholar member and on the faculty of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.

“These Words,” an exhibition project created in 2016 with the Chinese Historical Society of New England, circled back to research with Chinese archival sources in the service of both public history and advocacy. She joined the John Nicholas Brown Center of Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University as Visiting Professor of Public Humanities as of the fall of 2018. Her fellowships include two visiting appointments as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Vienna, during which time she co-founded an organization of descendant families to advocate for the preservation of Jewish cemeteries and related sites in Austria. Diane O’Donoghue’s new book, On Dangerous Ground: Freud’s Visual Cultures of the Unconscious, published by Bloomsbury, will be available in October of 2018. She will deliver next year’s (2019) Liebert Award Lecture at the Psychoanalytic Center of Columbia University.