Amy Zhang

Amy Zhang

Amy Zhang

Graduate Lecturer

Art museums, globalization, museum studies, sociology of culture, critical theory, art theory, art ‎historiography, Arab States of the Persian Gulf

Xinyi “Amy” Zhang is a Term Instructor at Mason Korea and a Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Studies. She received an M.A. in Liberal Studies ‎from The New School for Social Research, a B.A. in Philosophy, and a B.F.A. in Art History ‎from The University of Texas. She researches power dynamics among institutions in the fine art world, particularly how legitimacy is constructed and maintained by art institutions in the non-West. Her dissertation research focuses on the establishment of art museums in the Arabian Peninsula and understanding their reception in the Euro-American media. At George Mason University, she has taught courses in the ‎School of Integrative Studies, Art History, Honors College, and the Cultural Studies program.

Current Research

Her dissertation explores institutional legitimacy in the global art world through a comparative ‎analysis of newly developed fine art museums in the Arabian Peninsula and established museums in the  Euro-‎American West. In part, it analyzes Euro-American media reception to three museums in Qatar ‎and the U.A.E., finding that media discourse is deeply ambivalent towards globalization and ‎divided when regarding the function of universal art museums—conditions that are not original ‎to the Gulf context but are agitated by the new art institutions arising there. It also constructs a comparative ‎socio-historical analysis of several contemporary museum practices relying on archival research ‎and ethnographic fieldwork. This analysis outlines shared dynamics experienced by relatively new non-Western actors and ‎institutions as they engage with a dominant fine arts world in transition: one that emerged ‎predominantly from Western European intellectual cultures and institutions but which has also, in various ways, ‎attempted to revise and correct for its Eurocentric heritage.‎

Grants and Fellowships

Her dissertation research has been supported by the Provosts Research Fellowship, twice ‎supported by the Interdisciplinary Curriculum Collaborative Award, and she has been a Davis Fellow ‎at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.‎ Before coming to George Mason University, she was a fellow of the India-China Institute at The ‎New School.

Courses Taught

ARTH101: Introduction to Visual Arts
INTS362: Social Justice and Human Rights
INTS303: Introduction to Globalization
CULT320: Globalization and Culture


The New School for Social Research, Liberal Studies, M.A.
The University of Texas at Austin, Art History, B.F.A.; Philosophy, B.A.