Cécile Fromont

Primary tabs

Associate Professor
African and South Atlantic Art
Loria Room 552, 190 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511

Diplôme, Sciences Po Paris, 2002
A.M., Harvard University, 2004
Ph.D., Harvard University, 2008

Cécile Fromont is an associate professor in the history of art department at Yale University. Her writing and teaching focus on the visual, material, and religious culture of Africa and Latin America with a special emphasis on the early modern period (ca 1500-1800) and on the Portuguese-speaking Atlantic World. Her first book, The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo was published in 2014 by the University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute for Early American History. It received the 2017 Arts Council of the African Studies Association Triennial Arnold Rubin Outstanding Book Award, was named the 2015 American Academy of Religion Best First Book in the History of Religions, the 2015 Albert J. Raboteau Prize for the Best Book in Africana Religions, an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Melville J. Herskovits Award of the African Studies Association, and won a College Art Association Millard Meiss Publication Fund Grant. It has been translated into French by Les Presses du Réel in 2018. She is the editor as well as a contributor to the 2019 volume Afro-Catholic Festivals in the Americas: Performance, Representation, and the Making of Black Atlantic Tradition published in the Africana Religion Series at Penn State University Press. Her essays on African and Latin American art have appeared, among other venues, in the Colonial Latin American Review, African Arts, Anais do Museu Paulista, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics as well as various edited volumes and exhibition catalogues.

Support for her research and writing include grants and fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Michigan Society of Fellows, the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and the Renaissance Society of America. She is a 2018 Rome Prize fellow of the American Academy in Rome.

She is currently pursuing two lines of research investigating areas of intersection between visual and material culture, religion, and knowledge creation in cross-cultural environments of early modern Africa and Latin America. The first project is a study of Franciscan Capuchin images of Kongo and Angola composed between 1650 and 1750 that examines the formation and communication of cross-cultural knowledge and the second an investigation of the circulation of African visual, material, and religious culture in the context of the Slave Trade within the early modern Atlantic world.



L’Art de la conversion. Culture visuelle chrétienne dans le royaume du Kongo (Les Presses du Réel, 2018)

Afro-Catholic Festivals in the Americas: Performance, Representation, and the Making of Black Atlantic Tradition (edited volume in press with Penn State University Press, Africana Religion Series)

“Becoming the Black Rome: Bahia, Africa, and the African-Atlantic,” in Axé Bahia: the Power of Art In an Afro- Brazilian Metropolis, eds. Patrick Polk, Sabrina Gledhill, Randall Johnson, and Roberto Conduru, 54-67. (Los Angeles: Fowler Museum at UCLA, 20178

Foreign Cloth, Local Habits: Clothing, Regalia, and the Art of Conversion in the Early Modern Kingdom of Kongo. Tecido estrangeiro, hábitos Locais: indumentária, insignias reais, e a arte da conversão no início da era moderna do reino do Congo,” Anais do Museu Paulista 25, 2 (2017)

The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo, University of North Carolina Press, 2014.

Dancing for the King of Congo, from Early Modern Central Africa to Slavery-Era Brazil,”Colonial Latin American Review 22, 2 (2013)

Dance, Image, Myth, and Conversion in the Kingdom of Kongo: 1500-1800,” African Arts 44, 4 (2011)

Under the Sign of the Cross in the Kingdom of Kongo: Religious Conversion and Visual Correlation in Early Modern Central Africa,” RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 59-60 (2011)

Collecting and Translating Knowledge Across Cultures: Capuchin Missionary Images of Early modern Central Africa,” in Collecting Across Cultures: Material Exchanges in the Early Modern Atlantic World, eds. by Daniela Bleichmar and Peter Mancall (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011)

“A Walk through the City: Stories and Histories of Luanda 1575-1975,” Ellipsis: The Journal of the American Portuguese Studies Association, 4 (2006)