Tavy Aherne

Tavy Aherne

Associate Director, African Studies Program

Adjunct Faculty, Art History


  • Ph.D., Indiana University, 2000
  • M.A., Indiana University, 1993
  • B.A. with Honors, University of California, San Diego, 1988

About Tavy Aherne

Tavy Aherne is the associate director for the African Studies Program (ASP).

Dr. Aherne is an Africanist Art Historian who has taught for almost twenty years and collaborated on exhibitions with national and international museums (including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of African Art, and the Musée Dapper in Paris). Dr. Aherne received her Ph.D. in the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas and a Ph.D. Minor in African Studies from Indiana University. She was a member of the graduate faculty at James Madison University until returning to Indiana, where she taught at DePauw University in Art History and Africana Studies. Dr. Aherne also served as an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation academic curator (2015-2017), and was a Posse Foundation Faculty Mentor (2012-2015). She served as Secretary-Treasurer on the Board of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) from 2002-2005.

Dr. Aherne’s teaching includes diverse courses in African arts, African film, post-colonial theory, Museum Studies, and interdisciplinary research methodologies. Her research and writing has focused on West African aesthetic systems, African textiles and trade, and teaching pedagogies. She has conducted research with Fulbhe and Bamana artists and colleagues in Guinea and Mali, as well as archival and field research in Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tonga (Polynesia), and Europe.