Alison Boyd received her Ph.D in art history and was a Mellon interdisciplinary fellow in gender and sexuality studies at Northwestern University. Her dissertation, "Modernism for America: Negro Art and Primitivism at the Barnes Foundation," was on the history of the display of the collection. Her postdoctoral project is entitled, “Your country? How came it yours?”: Divergent Artistic and Political Claims for the “Soil” in America in the 1930s.”
Her primary field of study is in modern and contemporary European and American art with a focus on the arts of the African Diaspora, the politics of display, and gender theory. She worked on her dissertation with the support of a Northwestern University Warnock Dissertation Writing Fellowship (2014-2015), a Winterthur Library and Museum Residential Research Fellowship (Summer 2014), and a Henry Luce Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies American Art Dissertation Fellowship (2012-2013).
Since September 2015 she has been a research fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut in the Max Planck Research Group Objects in the Contact Zone – The Cross Cultural Lives of Things