Art History studies the continuities and changes that characterize human endeavor in the visual arts. It is a constantly expanding discipline whose objects of study include not only painting and sculpture, but also architecture and the decorative arts, drawing and prints, photography and film, and video and performance art. It also entails an examination of the history of the discipline itself, its philosophical and theoretical foundations, and its critical methodologies.
Students and faculty work in a wide array of historical and geographical areas of specialization, from medieval China to contemporary America, and explore the significance of artistic expression from a range of interpretive and theoretical perspectives.
The department is characterized by small class size, close collaboration between faculty and students in research, and an emphasis on critical thinking and close looking. It aims to create a small, liberal-arts environment within the larger university.