Universiteit Leiden

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Stéphanie Noach

PhD candidate / Lecturer

S. Noach MA
+31 71 527 2747

Stéphanie Noach is a lecturer at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society.

More information about Stéphanie Noach

Fields of interest

  • Darkness 
  • Contemporary art 
  • Latin America 
  • Blackness


My PhD dissertation, ‘Dark Matters,’ intends to reveal the largely unrecognized potentialities of darkness through a close reading of approximately ten contemporary artworks from Latin America. It departs from the assumption that from the 1960s onwards – that is, in the decades still marked by the ‘dark’ days of colonialism, military dictatorship, and organized crime – artists from this continent have increasingly developed visually or symbolically dark artworks that provoke understanding of the potentials of darkness, and suggest a counter-narrative to the negative approach to this notion. By analyzing specific dark-colored or ‘gloomy’ installations, performances, photographs, and prints from diverse Latin American countries, my study disputes the engrained understanding of darkness as evil, barbarous, and uncivilized, and instead recasts it as a disruptive and liberating concept that can generate imageries that counterbalance enlightenment thinking, expose the arbitrariness of racial blackness, and provide possibilities to grieve and to remember victims of political violence and organized crime. This study assumes that darkness remains the ‘dark matter,’ the substance that to a great extent structures and divides the universe into black and white, civilized and barbarian, rational and superstitious, yet has never been directly observed or examined.

PhD supervisors

Prof. dr. C.J.M. Zijlmans 
Dr. N. Timmer


Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, PhD thesis, ‘Dark Matters,’ Art History and Latin American Studies 

New York University, MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, with a concentration in Museum Studies 

University of Amsterdam, MA, Art History (cum laude) 

BA, Art History (cum laude)    

Selected Teaching 
The University of Arts of Cuba, Havana, Cuba 

Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, Guest teacher Art in Context: Laughter

New York University, New York, Guest teacher Introduction to Museum Studies

Grants and awards

  • Fulbright grant, to conduct research for her PhD project Dark Matters. Recasting Darkness with Contemporary Latin American Art at  the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at Harvard University. 
  • Fundación Cisneros/Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, grant to attend CIMAM Annual Conference ‘The Museum and its Responsibilities’ 
  • Tinker Research Grant, New York, NY, grant to conduct research for MA thesis, Havana Biennial 
  • Tuition Incentive Program, New York, NY, scholarship for MA NYU 
  • Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Haarlem, scholarship for MA NYU 
  • University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, exchange with Universidad Católica Argentina, Buenos Aires

PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • KG Moderne beeldende kunst

Work address

Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden
Room number A1.30



  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • KG Moderne beeldende kunst

Work address

Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden


No relevant ancillary activities

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