AHA Annual Symposium 2016-17

C A L L   F O R   P A P E R S

Symposium Date: Friday, April 28, 2017

The University of Oregon’s Department of the History of Art and Architecture invites papers for its 13th Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium. This cross-cultural, interdisciplinary symposium will explore the relationship between art and politics interpreted in the broadest sense to include considerations of political art across a variety of regions and time periods. We invite graduate students of all disciplines and areas to submit papers.
Political power and the visual arts have long been intimately intertwined. Across many cultures, artists have taken on active roles in the political sphere, either by upholding the status quo through official state patronage or engaging in active artistic protest or resistance. The political influence of art is not limited by overtly political imagery, as many works have involuntarily formed sites of debate, controversy, and change. Proposed paper topics may address, but are not limited to, the relationship of art to identity politics (including considerations of the body, gender, and race), political satire in visual culture (e.g., cartoons, prints), spatial power (e.g., nationalist architectural styles), art’s role in revolution and protest (e.g., posters and graffiti), and political propaganda of parties, states, or regimes (e.g., campaign ephemera).
The Symposium will be held on Friday, April 28, 2017 at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon. Graduate presentations will take place during the day and conclude with a keynote lecture.
For consideration, please submit a 300-word (maximum) abstract and a curriculum vitae as PDF attachments to uosymposium@gmail.com by January 1, 2017. Selected participants will be notified by February 1, 2017, and the full paper will be due no later than April 10, 2017. We look forward to your submissions.
Please contact Alexa Goff, Symposium Co-Chair, at uosymposium@gmail.com with any questions.

Call for Papers! AHA Symposium

Beyond Sight: Art and the Senses

April 14 and 15, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bronwen Wilson, Professor of Art History at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), has recently written about Italian artistic experiments with physiognomy, zoology, and sensation for her book The Face of Uncertainty as well as the recreation of temporal experience in her current study “Inscription and the Horizon in Early Modern Mediterranean Travel Imagery”.

The University of Oregon Art History Association and Department of the History of Art and Architecture solicits papers for its 12th Annual Student Research Symposium: “Beyond Sight: Art and the Senses” on April 14-15, 2016. This conference invites a discussion across temporal and geographic areas of study about how art and architecture can engage, manipulate, and even disable one’s sensory reactions. In the field of art history, research on the multisensory qualities of architecture, art, and visual culture has given rise to new theories about how the different and entangled senses interact with art and architecture. Since sensory art and architecture are studied in a variety of fields, “Beyond Sight” invites students across academic disciplines to contribute papers.

Potential Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Five senses: hearing, taste, smell, sight, touch
  • Non-traditional senses: temperature, pain, balance
  • Synesthesia
  • Sense depravation
  • Multisensory engagement
  • Soundscapes
  • Modes of seeing
  • Multimedia works and multisensory art exhibits
  • Performance art and the senses
  • Art education/therapy
  • Neuroscience and embodied sensation

For consideration, please submit a 250-300 word abstract and curriculum vitae as PDF attachments to uosymposium@gmail.com by February 5, 2016. All applicants will be notified by February 19, 2016 and the full paper will be due no later than March 31, 2016. We look forward to your submissions.

Department of the History of Art and Architecture

5229 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403; Phone (541) 346-3675; Fax (541) 346-3636

Art Historian Abroad: Alex Nanneman

Three days after booking my flight, lodging, and train tickets to Paris and Antwerp,


Alex in front of the Eiffel Tower

France’s borders were closed following the series of coordinated Islamic terrorist attacks on the night of November 13, 2015. Despite these tragic circumstances, I traveled solo to one of the world’s art capitals. It had been exactly a month since the attacks when I landed at Charles De Gaulle airport, exhausted and excited, but truly having no idea what to expect on this trip. Even though I had outlined my itinerary and goals in my application for a travel scholarship, Paris was currently in a state of emergency, the Richelieu-Louvois branch of the National Library was under construction, and I didn’t know any Dutch for my time in Belgium.

In my first three days in Paris jetlag got the better of me and I zombie-walked my way through the Louvre. France’s Prime Minister has just recently extended the state of emergency into February and every major monument and museum seemed to have increased security measures. My first three days in Paris were a test run; a tourist’s vacation if you will. I saw the sites, got my bearings, and adjusted to the time change. On the fourth day I got on a train to Antwerp, Belgium. In Antwerp I saw so many amazing museums such as the Museum aan de Stroom, Rubens’s House, Rockox House, Maiden’s House, Outdoor Sculpture Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. Plus many, many churches including the Cathedral of Our Lady, Saint Paul, St. Charles Borromeo, Saint Jacob, and St. Andrew. Every church had an altarpiece by Peter Paul Rubens. The Cathedral of Our Lady was currently exhibiting masterpieces from the Royal Museum including many famous masterpieces by Rubens. Every museum in Antwerp is full of Rubens oil paintings. Throughout the city you can see some of the one hundred and fifty statues of the Virgin Mary. After 1585, in light of the Counter-Reformation, the Jesuits played a key role in encouraging the placement of these statues throughout the city to demonstrate that Antwerp was a Catholic city once more. In Antwerp I learned so much about the Protestant Reformation, the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation, the Iconoclasm that demolished many of the images in the churches, and Peter Paul Rubens himself. I did this by immersing myself in the city, walking it everyday, and reading as much as I could (in English) about the history of this amazing city.


In the BnF

The best part about Antwerp was the escape from the crowds, because even in the off-season, once I got back to Paris it was back to crowds, lines, and security checks at every major monument and museum, even to get into the Post Office. Back in Paris I got to work at the National Libraries. I started at the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal where a helpful and forgiving staff accepted my barely passable French and helped me get set up with microfilms and 500-year-old books! I spent another whole day in the Richelieu-Louvois site, thankfully having learned the procedure at the smaller Arsenal library. I was able to access five different microfilms and five early modern books. Each remaining day I spent in Paris got better and better. I felt like I got a real sense of the culture in both Paris and Antwerp and I received invaluable experience conducting research in an international research library. However cliché it is to say I also learned something about being a global citizen in the face of terrorism. While many Americans fled Paris after the attacks (I learned this from a professor at the American University who graciously helped me during my interview at the BnF) and many Americans cancelled their winter vacations to Paris in light of the attacks, I think it is more important than ever to travel and become a member of the international community. Meet people, make friends, and make the world smaller with each interaction.


Art Historian Abroad: Rachel Smith

J A P A N  E X T R A O R D I N A I R E !


Rachel outside of Ibaraki, Osaka

Maybe going to Japan in the middle of the rainy season was a mistake. Against my expectations, the rainy season for the three weeks I spent in Japan, travelling from Tokyo to the Kansai area (home to Kyoto and Osaka) was remarkably dry, but I felt like I was constantly sweating because of the 100% humidity and bright sun. However, I found the museum, temple, and archival resources satiated my basic questions about the “Kawaguchi Amida”, an early 17th-century wooden statue of the Amida Buddha used by Japanese Christians during the period of severe anti-Christian persecution. What I think I’ll remember the most though is the kindness of the people I encountered who graciously helped me find my way around and with my research.


The “Kawaguchi Amida”

The first incident is when I went to Chotokuji, a temple in Kawaguchi City of Saitama Prefecture north of Tokyo and the temple served by a priest named Kansho who likely safeguarded and concealed the “Kawaguchi Amida”. After asking a Chotokuji priest how to get to the Nyoirin Kannon Hall, the former home of the “Kawaguchi Amida”, he asked a younger monk to give me a ride to the hall since it was a bit far. We talked about the monk’s hometown Kyoto on the way to the Nyoirin Kannon Hall. As a Buddhist hall privately managed by the neighborhood, I did not expect to see the interior of the Nyoirin Kannon Hall, but to my luck and surprise, a group of elderly women were eating snacks and chatting when the monk and I arrived. They invited me inside and showed me the replica of the “Kawaguchi Amida” and other images enshrined in the hall. Thanks to everyone’s kindness, I was able to take some good pictures of the interior of the Nyoirin Kannon Hall and understand the arrangement of zushi, votive shrines that can hold Buddhist images. Unfortunately, because I was too excited about getting pictures of the inside of the hall, I forgot to get good pictures of the hall exterior. Several days later, I traveled back to Saitama City to an arranged viewing of the original “Kawaguchi Amida” and the inserted Maria Kannon and crucifix at the Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore. Curator Nonaka Hitoshi and assistant curator Takehara Aoi assisted with the viewing which lasted nearly two hours, ensuring that I was able to take all of the photographs I needed, and answering my endless questions about motifs. I am grateful for their support and enthusiasm.

My trip to Kyoto and Osaka was not as fruitful in information or resources. However, I had an interesting trip to a rural area outside of Ibaraki, north of Osaka, where many underground Christians lived during the Edo period (1603-1868) and the home to a small museum of Christian objects. This was my first time going to the countryside of Japan, and while it felt a bit lonely, it was breathtakingly beautiful and much more green and quiet compared to the big cities.

Get to Know Dr. Kris Seaman

Dr. Kris Seaman wKristen-Seaman-smas educated at Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley, concentrating on Classics, Archaeology, and the History of Art.  She was a Regular Member at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece, and she carried out additional archaeological training at the American Academy in Rome, Italy. She has done archaeological fieldwork in Greece, Israel, Italy, and the United States, and she has studied the practice of stone-carving.  Her research deals with Greek art and architecture and its interaction with the Roman, Near Eastern, and Islamic worlds.  It is interdisciplinary and object-oriented, and she is especially interested in exploring issues that involve the relationship of art and text; sculpture; and gender, ethnicity, social status, and cross-cultural exchange.  Currently, she is completing a book about rhetoric and innovation in the art of the Hellenistic courts; co-editingArtists and Artistic Production in Ancient Greece for Cambridge University Press; and examining excavated sculpture from the Athenian Agora.

What’s your academic background?

I studied Classics, archaeology, and the history of art when I was a student. In graduate school, my major field was ancient Mediterranean art and my outside field was ancient history; I wrote my PhD dissertation about the Hellenistic period of Greek art. As a student, I tried to spend more-or-less equal amounts of time on both Greece and Rome, and I developed a strong secondary interest in Near Eastern and Islamic art and archaeology as well. I also worked on excavations and participated in programs at the American Academy in Rome and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. After graduate school, I’ve taken stone-carving classes because sculpture is the medium about which I write the most.

What made you choose art history?

I wanted to become an historian of the classical world who uses both material and textual culture as historical evidence. In college, my majors were in Classics and archaeology programs, and I thought that studying in a history of art graduate program would help me to complete the training that was best suited to my teaching and research goals. I continued to take Classics courses in graduate school, too, because I consider myself to be a classicist as well as an art historian. I believe that the most effective study of classical art and architecture draws upon the fields of both art history and Classics.

Does it bother you to have to teach content outside of your specialization?

No, I actually welcome such opportunities! Teaching content outside my main area of specialization often prompts ideas about new avenues for research because it gives me chance to learn about exciting issues that other scholars are currently working on.   I think that it makes me a better teacher and a better scholar.

What drew you to the University of Oregon?

I thought that I’d enjoy teaching the students here — and I do! What’s more, the University of Oregon has been a longstanding leader in the field of Greek art because it’s the academic home of Professor Jeffrey Hurwit. Working with him here is a special treat.

Do you have advice for those looking to go into teaching?

I encourage students to look at job advertisements even when they’re at the beginning of graduate school so that they can see what the “market” asks of job applicants who have their research specializations – for example, the fields (beyond their PhD dissertation’s area) that various types of two- and four-year colleges and universities ask such specialists to teach. At the beginning of graduate school, students still have ample time to seek new educational and teaching experiences that will make them marketable for a range of positions. For example, someone who writes a dissertation about Greek art could find herself in a job that asks her to teach just Greek art, ancient Mediterranean art more generally, ancient Mediterranean and Medieval art, or even the whole scope of art history if she’s the only art historian in, say, a studio art department. There are many types of jobs out there. And most positions require that professors teach broad classes such as lower-division surveys or graduate theory and methods classes. So, usually, one is never teaching just one’s own research specialization.

Any advice for those looking to go into a PhD program?

I advise students 1.) to develop a solid writing sample, revising it as necessary before submission; 2.) to take a preparation course before sitting for the GRE, if necessary, because both admissions and fellowships are sometimes dependent upon applicants’ competitive GRE scores; 3.) to demonstrate proficiency (or immediate plans for proficiency) in at least two languages that are required in the programs, so that the admissions committees have no doubts about their ability to satisfy the proficiency requirements quickly upon entrance; and 4.) to present their first-rate work to three or four professors in order to have recommenders who can write favorable and detailed letters of recommendation for their applications. I also encourage students to speak with professors who focus on their (intended) areas of specialization when devising the list of programs to which they’ll apply.

Do you have any experiences in your grad or undergrad that you really cherished?

I had many academic experiences in college and graduate school that are now fond memories: for example, taking particular classes; learning from my mentors outside of class, too; and traveling in Europe and the Middle East when excavating, studying, and doing research.

Did you always think that you would pursue Greek art?

Yes, my academic interests have been quite consistent since I was an undergraduate. My application essays for graduate school even addressed my special interests in Greek sculpture and Hellenistic art, both of which appeared prominently in my PhD dissertation. I suspect that this is unusual, though.

Have you had any language difficulties?

No, I haven’t. But I think that students should avoid thinking about their language acquisition in terms of “difficulty” or “ease”: it is indeed possible to acquire all the languages necessary for research as long as you set goals and work consistently, however long it takes. Keep your eyes on the prize because the prize is a fabulous one: the ability to read original texts that are related to your area of interest, many (if not most) of which aren’t translated!

Would you ever want to teach in Greece/Rome?

Yes, I’m interested in teaching in study abroad programs. I always enjoy bringing students to museums and sites, whether in the US or elsewhere, so that they can experience artworks and the built environment in person. I find lecturing to students at the National Museum in Athens to be especially fun. There’s so much to show them in one place!

What’s the one thing you wish you would have known about a PhD program before you started?

I think that it would have been helpful to know – and to internalize – that graduate school is a marathon, not a sprint, as clichéd as that sounds.

What’s your favorite piece of art?

The Great Altar at Pergamon, which dates to the 2nd century BCE, is, perhaps, my favorite monument because it has everything: a known general context; an over-the-top exterior Baroque sculptural frieze; an interior narrative sculptural frieze; architectural elements; and some archaeological puzzles for good measure. I enjoy visiting its ancient site in Bergama, Turkey and its modern display in Berlin, Germany.

An Art History Halloween

A N  A R T  H I S T O R Y  H A L L O W E E N

Art history costumes can be some of the most beautiful and creative Halloween costumes around! The ideas are endless–one can dress as a historical painting or artist from basically and time period and genre. Whether transforming into the Girl with a Pearl Earring or a Jackson Pollock painting, one can expect to have one of the most original costumes around. Here’s a look at some amazing art history Halloween costume ideas:

V A N  G O G H  S E L F  P O R T R A I T


P I C A S S O  P A I N T I N G

grid-cell-8599-1382632835-35 grid-cell-8599-1382632836-39

E D V A R D  M U N C H ‘ S  T H E  S C R E A M 

scream- thescream-645x429

M A R C E L  D U C H A M P ‘ S  F O U N T A I N  (LOL)

Fountain 1917, replica 1964 by Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968 duchamp-dress-20110609-093553

G U S T A V  K L I M T ‘ S  T H E  K I S S 

grid-cell-9154-1382631011-10 grid-cell-9154-1382631012-12

A N D Y  W A R H O L / F R I D A  K A H L O

1082108232 Frida-Kahlo-Costume

And if all else fails….B O B  R O S S


Art Historian Abroad: Allie Mickle

A L L I E  M I C K L E  I N  C H I N A !


Me in front of two works from Yang Yongliang’s The Silent Valley series on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai

I had the opportunity to go to Shanghai, China for two weeks this summer to do research for my graduate thesis. My thesis is focused on artist Yang Yongliang, whose studio is based in Shanghai, and issues of globalization within the contemporary art world. Throughout my trip I visited countless galleries and museums to truly immerse myself in the Chinese art scene, attending openings and meeting with museum professionals. I also was able to find a lot of new scholarship that is not readily available online or in America. Most notable however was my personal interview with Yang Yongliang in his studio. I was able to meet with him for two sessions, and had the amazing opportunity of seeing some of his most recent works in person, as well as at various galleries throughout the city. At the end of my trip I was able to attend the 2015 West Bund Art & Design Fair, where I visited the booths of international galleries and art houses, which was a great way to end an informative trip.

At the West Bund Art & Design Fair

At the West Bund Art & Design Fair

Exploring the various small galleries of Shanghai’s contemporary art district Moganshan Lu or M50.

Exploring the various small galleries of Shanghai’s contemporary art district Moganshan Lu or M50.

One of Yang Yongliang’s newest videos Rising Mist on view at the Power Station of Art

One of Yang Yongliang’s newest videos Rising Mist on view at the Power Station of Art