Debra Parr - Columbia College Chicago

Debra Parr

Associate Professor


Debra Riley Parr is Associate Professor in the Art and Art History Department and teaches courses in the history and theory of modern and contemporary art and design, including Dada, Surrealism, and Futurism and the Art Theory Seminar, among others. She has served as Chair of Fashion Studies, Associate Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts, and as Associate Chair in the former Art + Design Department. Her current research concerns olfactory art and design in contemporary culture. In 2015, she curated Volatile!, an exhibition at the Poetry Foundation on the intersection of poetry and scent. She has presented several conference papers on scent and recently began conducting olfactory workshops designed to reveal the meaning and politics of scent in a predominantly visual culture. She is currently writing a book on scent in contemporary art and design practice. A chapter of the book, ”Indeterminate Ecologies of Scent,” has been published in Designing with Smell: Practices, Techniques and Challenges (Routledge 2018). Debra received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Boston University.

Instructional Areas

Modern and Contemporary Art history and theory; Modern and Contemporary Design history and theory; Dada, Surrealism, Futurism; Art Theory Seminar; Contemporary Art: 1980 to the Present; Image and Object: Post Punk; Gender, the Body, and Representation

Creative Practice and Research Interests

Modern and Contemporary Art history and theory; Design history and theory; Olfactory Art and Design


B.A., English Brigham Young University 1978
M.A., English Boston University 1985
Ph.D., English Boston University 1994