Past Event
Art History
Thursday, January 17
Katherine Tsanoff Brown Lecture Series: Cécile Fromont, Yale University

About the Event

Cécile Fromont is Associate Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, where she focuses on the visual, material, and religious culture of Africa and Latin America, with a special emphasis on the early modern period and on the Portuguese-speaking Atlantic World.

Professor Fromont’s highly acclaimed first book, The Art of Conversion (2014), examines the advent of Kongo Christian visual culture and traces its development across four centuries marked by war, the Atlantic slave trade, and, finally, the rise of nineteenth-century European colonialism. By offering an extensive analysis of the religious, political, and artistic innovations through which the Kongo embraced Christianity, Fromont approaches the country’s conversion as a dynamic process that unfolded across centuries. The book won a College Art Association Millard Meiss Publication Fund Grant, was named the American Academy of Religion’s 2015 Best First Book in the History of Religions, was awarded the 2015 Albert J. Raboteau Book Prize for the Best Book in Africana Religions, and received an honorable mention for the 2015 Melville J. Herskovits Award of the African Studies Association. This year, The Art of Conversion was translated into French by Les Presses du Réel. 

Professor Fromont’s current research projects include a study of Franciscan Capuchin images of Kongo and Angola composed between 1650 and 1750 and an investigation of the circulation of African visual, material, and religious culture in the context of the early modern Atlantic Slave Trade. These and other projects have been supported by 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. For the 2017/18 academic year, Professor Fromont was a Rome Prize fellow at the American Academy in Rome.

The Katherine Tsanoff Brown Lecture Series honors Katherine Tsanoff Brown, Rice University’s first teacher of art history, later the Dean of Undergraduate Affairs, and an ardent supporter of public lectures and visiting scholars in the arts.

Directions & Parking

The Moody Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Rice University, and is best reached by using Campus Entrance 8 at the intersection of University Boulevard and Stockton Street. As you enter campus, the building is on the right, just past the Media Center. There is a dedicated parking lot adjacent to the building. Payment for the Moody Lot is by credit card only. Maps are available at

Please note: Our address is the general address to Rice University. To find us on campus, enter “Moody Center for the Arts” on Google or Apple maps.


Moody Center for the Arts
Lois Chiles Studio Theater