The Department of History of Art and Architecture is committed to exploring how the world has been imagined in visual form and how that world has been constructed in objects, spaces, and environments. We believe that by investigating the purposes and meanings of these cultural products, shaped and reshaped over time, we better understand ourselves and each other.
Our department’s faculty has special strengths in the areas of East Asian art and archaeology, medieval to early modern European art/architecture, and modern and contemporary art/architecture across the globe. At the same time we share a common intellectual commitment to connect these strengths to each other and to transcultural concerns, such as ritual and power; hierarchies of race, ethnicity, and gender; vision and knowledge; nationalism and capitalism; and the relationship between visual and textual narratives.
In pursuit of our mission:
- We produce scholarship that is rigorously grounded in historical evidence and in close engagement with actual objects of study. Our scholarship is also multidisciplinary and cross-cultural in approach, technologically innovative, and widely accessible.
- We seek strong linkages across area-fields in our department and with other university colleagues and interdisciplinary programs, as well as scholars at other colleges and universities, area museums, and cultural institutions.
- We train PhD students to be flexible and innovative scholars and teachers. While we strive to create an environment that supports excellent dissertation work, we expect graduate students to think and communicate beyond their research specialty.
- We empower undergraduates to think critically, speak confidently, write effectively, and learn from cultures beyond their own. Most fundamentally, we encourage students to look more perceptively at the world around them.
- We review all of our approaches in a spirit of openness to their achievements and skeptical inquiry into their potential. We exercise independent, critical thought in a spirit of constructive service to the discipline, the University, our host communities, and the wider world.