Karlee Bergendorff is a sixth-year PhD candidate in Art History & Visual Culture. She specializes in contemporary global art networks, international relations, cultural diplomacy, and memorial culture. Her dissertation “Diplomatic Gifts and Cold War Strategies: The Role of North Korea’s Overseas Art Studios in Egyptian Memorial Culture” explores monuments and museums in Egypt built by Paekho Trading Company, a North Korean government-owned artist studio building throughout Africa and the Middle East from the 1970s to present. The dissertation attends to questions of representation and national identity. Her advisor is Professor Kristine Stiles, France Family Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies. She is also working toward a Duke-UNC Graduate Certificate in Middle East Studies. From September 2021 through March of 2022, she was a visiting researcher in the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations at the American University in Cairo. From April through June of 2022, she completed dissertation research as a visiting researcher at Seoul National University Asia Center. 

Karlee received a B.A. from Union College, New York in 2015. She was a Thomas J. Watson Fellow from 2015 to 2016. As a Watson fellow, she conducted an independent research project titled “The Dirty Archeology of Alternative History” in Argentina, Cambodia, Germany, India, Namibia, and South Africa.