Dr. Greta Jennings Murphy

Greta Murphy, PhD
Assistant Professor
Riles 118




Dr. Murphy is a specialist in Native American Art History. She received her BA in Art History in 1991. She then pursued her MA in Native American Art History at the University of New Mexico, which she received in 1994, and stayed to earn her PhD in the same program. Between 1997 and 2001, Dr. Murphy taught at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, where she served on both the American Indian and Latin American steering committees. She was also the faculty advisor to the Art and Hmong student associations. She co-curated the exhibit Native American Self-Portraits in Photography. After four years, Dr. Murphy returned to New Mexico to complete her dissertation. Her PhD was conferred in 2003. She has taught at NAU since 2002, and has proudly advised the Art History Society since 2004.

Research and Teaching Interests

Dr. Murphy has a breadth of research interests, from Plains Indian aesthetic influences on Navajo Chief Blankets, to contemporary Native American art. Her dissertation, Jimmie Durham’s Subversive (Self) Portraits, concerns a contemporary Cherokee artist internationally known for his postmodern installations and performances. She also has a keen interest in documentary photography. Her most current research project concerns engraved shell cups and gorgets from a Mississippian-period Indian mound site in Spiro, Oklahoma.

Dr. Murphy teaching repertoire at NAU includes the following nine courses:

ARH 141/Western Art Survey I
ARH 142/Western Art Survey II
ARH 145/Arts of the Native North and Middle Americas
ARH 257/Cultural History of Photography
ARH 361/Native North American Art
ARH 365/Art and Architecture of Mexico and the Maya
ARH 440/Topics in Art History: Contemporary Native American Art
ARH 440/Topics in Art History: Cultural History of Photography 1839-1945
ARH 440C/Capstone: Twentieth-Century Documentary Photography

She will develop a 300-level art history course on contemporary Native American art, and plans to teach a 400-level topics course on the history of war photography.

Recent Publications and Conference Papers

As a specialist of modern Native American art, Dr. Murphy has presented papers at international conferences in England and Germany. She was invited to organize a session for the Association of Art Historians held in Liverpool, England, the conference theme of which was Culture, Capital, Colony: Art and Culture in the Other Americas. Her session was entitled "Across the Great Divide, or, Trumped by the Race Card: Native American Art and Mainstream Discourse." She also presented the paper, "Spurious Issues: Self-Representation and other Subversive Acts."

In 2007, she presented "The Racial Dimensions of Jimmie Durham’s Self-Portrait: as large as life and twice as natural!" at the 2nd International Conference for the Arts in Society, held in Kassel, Germany. She has also presented papers for the South East College Art Conference (SECAC), and the Midwest Art History Society (MAHS). The most recent of these was "The Caliban Codex: Physiognomic Fragments of a Thing Most Brutish," in Definitive Strangers: A Visual History of Madness, a session she organized for the 2008 SECAC conference in New Orleans.

On October 31 2008 she served on the panel "Insights from Post Colonial Studies" for New Directions in Diversity: Issues in Teaching and Scholarship Symposium Series. The series is hosted by the Ethnic Studies and Faculty Development Program and the Office of the President.

On November 7th, Dr. Murphy presented the paper The Objective Lens: Documentary Photographs of Hiroshima at the invitation of the Martin Springer Institute. Her talk was part of the program Hiroshima Calling: An Exhibit, Film, and Speaker Series held at NAU.

Professional Service & Awards

As a graduate student at the University of New Mexico, Dr. Murphy was awarded the Henry Luce Foundation American Art Dissertation Research Award. She was also awarded the Regents Fellowship, Friends of Art Prize, and College of Fine Arts Alumni Scholarship.

Dr. Murphy has also received grants and awards at Northern Arizona University. In 2008, she received the Dean’s Research Grant, which was instrumental in her production of two major articles. She also received a Dean’s Travel Grant in 2007, which allowed her to present a paper at the International Conference for the Arts in Society, held in Kassel, Germany, in conjunction with Documenta, a prestigious, influential, and international exhibition of contemporary art. Dr. Murphy has also served as a juror for the International Journal for the Arts in Society, and as an editorial reviewer for several books, including Mary Warner Marien’s Photography: A Cultural History.

Complete Curriculum Vitae