Sarah Lewis is an Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies at Harvard University (effective July 1, 2015). She is currently a Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University.
Lewis's most recent book is The Los Angeles Times bestseller, The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery (Simon & Schuster), a layered, story-driven investigation of how innovation, discovery, and the creative progress are all spurred on by advantages gleaned from the improbable foundations. The work has been translated into 6 languages to date.
She will be on leave from Harvard in 2015-16 as a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library finishing another book on the role of photography in the exposing the fiction of racial categories under contract with Harvard University Press. Her essays on race, contemporary art and culture have been published in many journals as well as The New York Times, The New Yorker, Artforum, Art in America and in publications for the Smithsonian, The Museum of Modern Art, and Rizzoli.
She is a frequent speaker and has lectured at many universities and conferences such as TEDGlobal, SXSW, PopTech, ASCD and for a wide range of organizations from the Aspen Institute to the Getty to The Federal Reserve Bank.
Lewis received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, an M. Phil from Oxford University, and her Ph.D. from Yale University. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance & Abolition, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.
Before joining the faculty at Harvard, she held curatorial positions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Tate Modern, London. She also served as a Critic at Yale University School of Art.
She has served on President Obama’s Arts Policy Committee and as a Trustee of Creative Time, The CUNY Graduate Center, the Brearley School, and the Andy Warhol Foundation of the Visual Arts.
She lives in New York City and Cambridge, MA.