Chad Elias recently completed his PhD in art history at Northwestern University in Chicago. His research focuses on contemporary art practices and visual cultures of the Middle East, with particular interest in the self-reflexive modes of documentary video, photography and performance that have emerged in Lebanon over the last two decades. His dissertation analysed a generation of contemporary Lebanese artists who have sought, in different ways, to work through a recent history shaped by the devastating impact of successive wars and a present haunted by the continuing threat of civil unrest and military conflict.
Chad's work as a teacher and writer extends beyond the Middle East to a study of cross-cultural contact within global economies of trafficking, trade, migration and displacement. Likewise his research attends to the creation of new imagined communities facilitated by transnational conditions of image production, dissemination and display. As a graduate of the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program, Chad's scholarship also engages with debates concerning the aesthetics of protest, the activation of public space, the politics of representation and the legacies of institutional critique. He is the recipient of grants from the Social Science Research Foundation and the Mellon Foundation.