Hakimah Abdul-Fattah

Doctoral Student


Hakimah Abdul-Fattah is a William Fontaine Fellow pursuing a Ph.D. in Anthropology. She is a visual artist and researcher with a professional background in museums and arts organizations.

Hakimah is conducting research that is rethinking the production of heritage in Senegal, with the goal of understanding the relationship between the place-based memorialization of particular pasts and the experiences people have of those places today. Her research brings her in contact with archivists, museum workers, and underwater archaeologists, as well as students, artists, and community members, to investigate the practices of heritage-making in Saint Louis/Ndar and Gorée Islands. She is also pursuing graduate certificates in Africana Studies and Experimental Ethnography. Hakimah is an active member of the Anthropology Department’s Critical Museum Studies Working Group and Penn Cultural Heritage Center. Before pursuing her PhD Hakimah worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the African Art Curatorial Department. Before that she held positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Art Matters Foundation, The Studio Museum of Harlem, and The Smithsonian Institution Smithsonian Museum of African Art.


MA, Museum Anthropology, Columbia University 

BA, Anthropology and French, Bates College 

Research Interests

Museums, archives, reparatory justice, memory, heritage, legal regimes, African art collections/collecting, knowledge production, nationalism, colonial/decolonial 



Graduate Status