Amy Zhang

Amy Zhang

Amy Zhang

Graduate Lecturer

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

Xinyi "Amy" Zhang is a Term Instructor at Mason Korea. She is a Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Studies. She received an M.A. in Liberal Studies from The New School for Social Research and a B.A. in Philosophy and 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 in 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 ‎socio-historical analysis of several contemporary museum practices relying on archival research ‎and ethnographic fieldwork. Her analysis outlines shared dynamics experienced by relatively new non-Western actors and ‎institutions as they engage with a fine arts world in transition: one that emerged ‎predominantly from Western European intellectual cultures and institutions which has also, in various ways, ‎attempted to revise and correct 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, MA
The University of Texas at Austin, Art History, BFA; Philosophy, BA