The Richard D. Cohen Lectures take up key issues in African and African American art, bringing to Harvard University thinkers and practitioners who focus on the vital ways in which art has shaped the rich landscape of African diasporic history, society, and thought across an array of artists, genres, periods, and critical issues. The series represents a unique opportunity to rethink vital questions of the past and to shape the related fields of scholarship anew. The series features scholars who address the vast expanse of African diasporic art communities through the study of contemporary works, specific historical concerns, or traditional art considerations in communities in Africa and elsewhere. Previous speakers have included Darby English, Jacqueline Francis, Kellie Jones, Steven Nelson, and Richard Powell.
- 2018: Kobena Mercer, Alain Locke's Philosophy of Culture: Aesthetics and Afro-Modernity
- 2017: Wole Soyinka, Beyond Aesthetics: Use, Abuse, and Dissonance in African Art Traditions
- 2017: Jacqueline Francis, Real Talk: Why the History of Art and Visual Culture Studies Matters
- 2016: Darby English, The Right to Reflect: Lectures at the Intersection of Art and Racial Terror
- 2016: Richard Powell, Going "There": Considering Black Visual Satire
- 2014: Kellie Jones, Art is an Excuse: Conceptual Strategies, 1968-1983
- 2013: Steven Nelson, Mapping Blackness in African and Afro-Atlantic Art