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About the Department

About the Department

Mission Statement

The Department of History of Art is a community of scholars, teachers, writers, and students; together, we aim to create a future for art history that is expansive and intersectional, that pushes the boundaries of our field, that is accessible to all, and that poses urgent questions about art’s intervention in the critical issues of our world, past and present. We bring art history to our students through real experiences, engaging directly with objects and artists, broadening our horizons through exploring cultures across the globe, and encouraging rich discussion and debate both in and out of the classroom.

The work we do is diverse, but as a community we share many key interests: in the ability of art and artists to shape social action; in theory and philosophy as tools that open works of art up to new questions; in global approaches to the movement of art across the world; and in a belief that visual representation is key to the formation of complex identities. Through our research, teaching, and partnerships across the university and around the world, we bring visual culture into critical ongoing conversations in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

We extend these commitments into the culture of our department, where learning is not hierarchical, dialogue flows in multiple directions, and diverse identities and experiences are valued. Breaking from its elitist histories, art history, we believe, is now uniquely positioned to imagine an anti-racist and equitable future and to reinvigorate interest in the arts and humanities among a new generation of students.