Pascal James Imperato

Pascal James Imperato

Pascal James Imperato is a distinguished Africanist, African art historian, and ethnographer, internationally respected for his studies of the Bamana, Dogon, and Peul peoples of Mali, based on extensive field research. He is also well known for his research on the Luo of Tanzania and the colonial history of northern Kenya.

In 2012, he co-authored BUNDU: Sowei Headpieces of the Sande Society of West Africa with his son, Gavin H. Imperato. In 2014, he collaborated with another son, Austin C. Imperato, on Victor Forestier Sow: A Pioneer Malian Painter. Both works were catalogs for QCC Art Gallery exhibitions of the same names, for which he and his sons served as co-curators. In 2017, he authored the catalog and curated the QCC Art Gallery exhibition Traditional African Art: Selections from the Liren Wei Collection.

Dr. Imperato is also a highly accomplished public health physician and a specialist in internal medicine and tropical diseases. His diverse career includes combating lethal communicable diseases in West and East Africa and serving as the Commissioner of Health for New York City. He is currently a Distinguished Service Professor, Founding Dean of the School of Public Health, and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the State University of New York, Downstate Health Sciences University in New York City. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Meritorious Honor Award and Medal of the U.S. Department of State for his work in Mali, and Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Tulane University and St. John’s University.

Dr. Imperato has published numerous books, including:

  • Dogon Cliff Dwellers: The Art of Mali’s Mountain People (1978).
  • Quest for the Jade Sea: Colonial Competition around an East African Lake (1998).
  • Legends, Sorcerers and Enchanted Lizards (2001).
  • Door Locks of the Bamana of Mali (2001).
  • African Mud Cloth: The Bogolanfini Art Tradition of Gneli Traor of Mali (2006).
  • Surfaces: Color, Substances, and Ritual Applications on African Sculpture (2009, co-edited with Leonard Kahan and Donna Page).
  • Spirits of the Red Savanna (2022).