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UCSB HAA Fall 2020 Newsletter

Welcome, All, to 2021!

It has been a while since our last newsletter, so there is a lot to cover! As we embark on this new year, it is worth remarking on the opportunities and challenges the department has faced since January 2020. But first I want to extend my deepest thanks to Prof. Mark Meadow, who stepped down as department chair in December 2019.  His leadership over the course of four years helped forge, among other things, new curricular initiatives such as the new minors in Architecture & Urban History and Museum Studies, and emphases in Architecture & Environment and Museum Studies.  

Little did we know that March 2020 would mark a time that we all miss most fervently, when  faculty, students, and staff could meet and chat in offices, classrooms, and hallways, and listen to invited speakers together. After COVID-19 suspended normal operations and social interactions, we began Zooming with impunity from our homes, holding meetings, attending lectures and conferences, and engaging with students scattered across the world. The campus went into lockdown in the final weeks of Winter quarter, and we were immensely grateful for the various department and campus units who helped us all cope with this overnight adjustment. We can all now say “asynchronous teaching” three times quickly without missing a syllable. Our HAA students, faculty and staff all deserve enormous thanks for their time, patience and their herculean efforts to make it through this unprecedented year.

We welcome new faculty and staff to the department!  Professors Allison Caplan and Maria Lumbreras join us this year, renewing our strengths in Latin American and Iberian studies. The department is currently conducting a new search for the director of the AD&A Museum who will, as part of the newly defined position, join our faculty and become an essential contributor to our Museum Studies program. We also welcome Erin Rooney, our new Graduate Program Advisor, and Amanda Kato, our new Undergraduate Program Advisor, who both joined the department shortly before lockdown, and have been outstanding at learning and coping, despite the challenges of working remotely.Together they share the duties of keeping our students and faculty informed on all things pertaining to teaching, recruitment, and scheduling. 

As we reflect on the Black Lives Matter movement and recent events around the election and the Capitol, the whole department has been considering the essential importance of inclusivity and diversity. It is crucial that we critically reassess and renew our teaching and research methods so that students and faculty alike can think deeply about what narratives are being produced in the name of visuality, and how power is manifest in visual materials.  The department is committed to having what may well be difficult conversations about race, sexuality, disability, and inclusiveness. As the year progresses we will be challenging and educating ourselves and examining our curriculum, thinking of innovative ways to develop these issues through teaching and recruitment of faculty and students. In this spirit, I welcome everyone to join our current discussion series, "Unlearning:  Race, Space and Art," described below.

Last and definitely not least, we welcomed three ‘junior’ members to the department:
Clara, Baz, and Adrian (honors to Professors Maria Lumbreras, Alicia Boswell and Claudia Moser!)

We wish all of our department members, friends, and alumni all the best for the rest of this challenging year, and look forward to brighter days ahead.

Laurie Monahan
Professor and Chair

We welcomed Allison Caplan to the department in fall 2020. She is a specialist in the art of ancient and colonial Mesoamerica, and her research focuses on the Aztec Empire, including Indigenous art theory and aesthetics, issues of materiality and value, and the relationship between visual and verbal expression. Caplan is currently working on her first book, Our Flickering Creations: Art Theory under the Aztec Empire, which uses Nahuatl-language sources to reconstruct Indigenous Nahua art theory for precious artworks that combined valued stones, feathers, and metals.

Caplan recently coedited a special issue of Ethnohistory (see below), and her work has also appeared in Material and Visual Cultures of Religionand the joint Getty-Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition catalogue, Golden Kingdoms: Luxury Arts in the Ancient Americas (2017). She has received fellowships and grants from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Getty Research Institute. She was also the inaugural Austen-Stokes Ancient Americas Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow  in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Johns Hopkins University (2019–2020). Caplan received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Art History and Latin American Studies from Tulane University and her B.A. in Comparative Literature and Society from Columbia University.

We also welcomed María Lumbreras in fall 2020. Lumbreras is a historian of early modern Iberian art and visual culture. One focus of her research is the history of antiquarianism, particularly the roles played by replication and material experimentation in period understandings of evidence. Other interests include artistic networks of exchange, premodern environmental thinking and its relationship to art-making, archival practices, and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century philosophies of expertise.

Lumbreras is currently at work in her first book, The Facture of Evidence: Replication and the Past in Early Modern Spain, which examines the intersection of antiquarian, naturalist, and artistic practices in Habsburg Spain at the turn of the seventeenth century. Her account is the first to chart the invention and uses of evidence-seeing technologies in late Renaissance archeology against a growing interest in error, ignorance, and frailties of human knowledge––the complex epistemic legacy of Spain’s multi-confessional past.

Lumbreras received her PhD from Johns Hopkins University and her MA and BA from the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid. Her research has been supported by the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Singleton Center for the Study of Premodern Europe, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Harvard University.

Discussion series

Check our Events page regularly for newly-listed events

Upcoming Events:

Join us for the 2021 HAA Discussion Series, Unlearning: Race, Space, Art, as we explore the entanglements of race, imperialism, spatial and artistic practices in the constitution of the “political”. We will host conversations with four authors on their books: Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism (Verso, 2019); Prathama Banerjee,Elements of the Political: Histories from the Global South (Duke, 2020); Swati Chattopadhyay,Unlearning the City: Infrastructure in a New Optical Field (Minnesota, 2012); Diana Taylor, ¡Presente!: The Politics of Presence (Duke, 2020).

Mon Jan 11    Swati Chattopadhyay in conversation with Arijit Sen
2-3:30PM       Moderator: Nuha Khoury

Fri Feb 19      Ariella Aïsha Azoulay in conversation with Laurie Monahan
2-3:30PM       Moderator: Sylvester Ogbechie

Fri Mar 5        Diana Taylor in conversation with Maria Lumbreras
2-3:30PM       Moderator: Heather Badamo (information and registration)

Mon Mar 15    Prathama Banerjee in conversation with Bhaskar Sarkar
7:30-9:00PM  Moderator: Swati Chattopadhyay (information and registration)

The 2020-2021 Lecture Series, Expertise:
Thursday, May 20, 4:00-5:30 pm, Sugata Ray (UC Berkeley), Title TBA (link forthcoming - check our Events page)

The 45th Annual Graduate Student Symposium will take place on Friday, April 23, with the theme Haunting the Canon: The Super-phenomena in Art. The keynote speaker will be Professor Robb Hernandez, Fordham University. Please keep an eye on our Events page as more details become available

Past Events:

Professor Alicia Boswell is a co-editor (with Gabriel Prieto) and contributor to Actas de la I Mesa Redonda de Trujillo: Investigaciones Recientes de los valles de Virú, Moche, y Chicama, published by the Fondo Editorial Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, Peru. In Spring 2020, she was awarded a Hellman Faculty Fellowship to support her current research project on Moche metal regalia and initial fieldwork in Piura, Peru.  

Professor Allison Caplan's dissertation, Their Flickering Creations, Value, Appearance, Animacy, and Surface in Nahua Precious Art (2019) won the 2021 Best Dissertation Award from the Association for Latin American Art. Professor Caplan also celebrated the publication of “Birds and Feathers in the Ancient and Colonial Mesoamerican World,” a special issue of Ethnohistory (July 2020) that she co-edited with Prof. Lisa Sousa, and which presents new studies by art historians, historians, anthropologists, and ornithologists on the history of Indigenous knowledge and interactions with birds in Mesoamerica. Her articles, “The Living Feather: Tonalli in Nahua Featherwork Production” and “Bridging Biology and Ethnohistory: A Case for Collaboration” (co-written with ornithologists James Maley and John McCormack) appeared in the issue. Prof Caplan also presented her work on Indigenous Nahua art theory at CAA and the “Form beyond the Aesthetic Workshop” at Johns Hopkins and gave a presentation at the American Society for Ethnohistory on her new research into the evolution of the Florentine Codex through its early draft versions. She received a grant from UCSB’s Faculty Enrichment Program to develop courses, programming, and research on Indigenous and Latin American art and languages on campus and, in 2019–2020, was the inaugural Austen-Stokes Ancient Americas Postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins, where she began work on her first book, Our Flickering Creations: Art Theory under the Aztec Empire.

Professor Jenni Sorkin gave an invited talk in the Smart Lecture series at University of Chicago in February 2020, and also led in a Mellon-funded Chicago Objects Study Initiative Workshop for graduate students, held in the Textiles Department of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was the keynote at the University of Arizona Graduate Student Symposium. During 2020, she completed her second book, Art in California, forthcoming with Thames & Hudson's World of Art series in 2021.

Professor Volker Welter published three articles during 2020, two concerning modern architecture and World War One.  RIHA journal published a study of the experiences of the British architect Adrian Berrington in Flanders, and Leuven University Press published an anthology commemorating the destruction of Leuven which includes "Rebuilding, Recovery, Reconceptualization: Modern Architecture and the First World War".  The third article, “Ernst L. Freud, Domestic Architect: Zuhause in Berlin, at Home in London,”  in the volume Freud and the Émigré: Austrian Émigrés, Exiles and the Legacy of Psychoanalysis in Britain, 1930s–1970s, discusses exile as an influence on architects designing domestic architecture. In February Prof. Welter gave a talk during Modernism Week in Palm Springs, California, on the Tremaine Houses, the subject of his latest book.  In July he presented "Gay Domestic Architecture in Southern California: Coming Out into the Suburbs" at Queer Referat, AStA, Technical University Munich.  And in July and August he was invited to contribute two papers - “Select Nothing, Collect Everything” and "Teach (with) Architectural Archives, Challenge the Canons of Architectural History" - to the international conference ARCH/TECTURES ARCH/VES, organized by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain.

Professor Emeritus Fikret Yegul and UCLA Professor Emerita Diane Favro published Roman Architecture and Urbanism from the Origins to Late Antiquity (Cambridge University Press) in 2019. The culmination of 20 years of research, the comprehensive volume covers analysis of the Roman built environment and includes 835 illustrations.  It received the prestigious Association of American Publishers 2019 "Prose Award" (Professional and Scholarly Excellence) in the Category of Excellence in Reference Works.

“Birds and Feathers in the Ancient and Colonial Mesoamerican World,” a special issue of Ethnohistory (Duke University Press, July 2020), co-edited by Professor Allison Caplan..

Roman Architecture and Urbanism from the Origins to Late Antiquity (Cambridge University Press, 2019) by Professor Emeritus Fikret Yegul and UCLA Professor Emerita Diane Favro.
Framing the Church: The Social, and Artistic Power of French Gothic Buttresses (Penn State University Press, 2020) by Maile Hutterer (BA 2004)
Living Pictures: Jan van Eyck and Painting’s First Century (Yale University Press, 2020), by Noa Turel (Ph.D. 2012)
Graduate Student News

Sarah Bane presented "Join the Club: African American Artists and the Philadelphia Print Club" at the 2020 Fellows Lectures at the Smithsonian American Art Museum as part of her tenure as the 2019-2020 Joe and Wanda Corn Predoctoral Fellow. In September of 2020, she began her position as the 2020-2021 Getty Graduate Curatorial Intern at the Getty Research Institute in the Prints and Drawings Department. 

Hannah Kagan-Moore received a 2021 Kress Fellowship to attend the Middlebury Language School in German this summer, one of only 5 students nationally to receive Kress funding for language study at Middlebury. Hannah is attending Middlebury to advance her language skills toward her doctoral dissertation on Social Identity and the City in the Augsburger Monatsbilder. 

Thomas DePasquale’s translation of a series of letters on painting written by the sixteenth-century Italian scientist Ulisse Aldrovandi appeared in Paradigms of Renaissance Grotesques, published by the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at the University of Toronto. 

Taylor van Doorne and Felicity Backenstose Good, with a team of UCSB graduate student colleagues, have organized a graduate student journal entitled react/review: a responsive journal of art & architecture. This digital journal will showcase articles based on select papers presented at the annual AHGSA Graduate Student Symposium as well as shorter pieces on research spotlights and reviews. The first issue is set to launch in early January 2021.

A virtual exhibition featuring the work of Abelina Galustian, Womansword and Beyond, was held this fall at California State University, Stanislaus. (See alumna Staci Gem Scheiwiller's news below for more on this.)

Holly Gore was a panelist for the session, Beyond the Bauhaus: Histories of American Design Education, at the College Art Association Annual Conference in February. She delivered her paper “Cooperative Projects: The Socially-Engaged Woodworking Classroom of Molly Gregory” at CAA and at the 2020 Getty Graduate Symposium.

Ben Jameson-Ellsmore published "Hacking the Pandemic: Hackerspaces and Makerspaces Respond to the COVID-19 Crisis" on PLATFORM. His article discusses hackerspaces and their readiness to fill the "void left by gutted public programs."

Matthew Limb has been awarded the ACLS/Luce Foundation Dissertation Fellowship in American Art 2020-2021 in support of their dissertation, "'Living on the Edge': Craft and the Environment in the American West, 1964-2000."

Margaret Mansfield gave a virtual talk through Leiden University titled, "Evaluating the Sources: Incarnations of Vishnu introduced to Europeans". She has also written two blog posts for Leiden: Image Reincarnation: Illustrations of the Ten Avatars of Vishnu assuming New “Lives” in the hands of European Artists and Readers and The Future of Furniture?

Mary Okin, who is currently in  her second year as an Adjunct Lecturer for the Humanities Honors Program at San Jose State University, received a Fall 2020 SJSU Peer Connections teaching award for "compassionate and innovative approaches to working with students." Mary also published a review of Comradely Objects: Design and Material Culture in Soviet Russia, 1960s-1980s in ARTMargins Online and received a 2020 Love of Learning Award from Phi Kappa Phi.

Rachel Winter advanced to candidacy during the spring quarter, and received a dissertation research grant from UCSB’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. This funding supported research which she presented in her paper “Who Speaks for British Muslims? The Politics and Presentation of the 1976 World of Islam Festival in London” at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) annual conference in October. Rachel also received a Center for Craft Project Grant, one of ten grants awarded nationally to senior scholars, curators, and PhD students. Rachel was the only doctoral student awarded funding in this round; she will use the $7,500 grant for dissertation research on her project on festival culture, contemporary Arab art, and historic uses of craft. Rachel also attended the fifth annual Mathaf Curatorial Forum at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha (via Zoom), which brought together a select group of curators from around the world to discuss this year’s theme, “Curating through Catastrophe."

Aleesa Alexander (Ph.D. 2018), Assistant Curator of American Art at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, has launched (as founding co-director) the Asian American Art Initiative.

Maggie Bell (Ph.D. 2019), the Assistant Curator at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, has published the essay “On Display: Poverty as infirmity and its visual representation at the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala” in the volume Representing Infirmity: Diseased Bodies in Renaissance Italy, edited by John Henderson, Jonathan K. Nelson and Fredrika Jacobs. Her exhibition The Expressive Body: Memory, Devotion, Desire (1400-1750) is scheduled to open at the Norton Simon in April 2021.

Lauren Weiss Bricker (Ph.D. 1992) is Interim Dean of the College of Environmental Design and Professor of Architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she co-coordinates the historic preservation program, and is director of the ENV Archives-Special Collections. She was the Clarkson Chair in Planning 2019, University at Buffalo where she spoke on "Conserving the Vitality of our Historic Places." She writes on American architecture and historic preservation; most recently she contributed to Surveys and Inventories for Urban Heritage Management: Lessons from Los Angeles and Beyond (Getty, forthcoming) and World Histories of Architecture: The Emergence of a New Genre in the Nineteenth Century (MIT Press, forthcoming). She is completing the book Designing the Modern American House.

Amy Buono (Ph.D. 2007) published the commentary “Museums as Realms of (dis)Enchantment,” in Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture (April 2020); the book chapters, “Historicidade, acronia e materialidade nas culturas no Brasil colonial,” in Arte não Europeia: conexões historiográficas a partir do Brasil(Editora Estação Liberdade e Vasto, 2020); “Representando o Tupinambá e o comércio pau-brasil no Rouen do século XVI,” in França Antártica: Ensaios Interdisciplinares(Editora da Unicamp, 2020). She was also appointed to the advisory board of 21: Inquiries into Art, History, and the Visual/ Beiträge zur Kunstgeschichte und visuellen Kultur, University of Bern, Switzerland (Open Access eJournal).

Cynthia Canejo (Ph.D. 2005) published a new article, "The Significance of Allusion in the Works of the Brazilian Artist Antonio Manuel," Delaware Review of Latin American Studies,18.2 (2020): 1-28.  

Jane Dini (Ph.D. 1998) joined the Brooklyn Museum, New York as the Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator in American Art.

George Flaherty (Ph.D. 2011) co-edited a dossier of essays with Andrea Giunta (Universidad de Buenos Aires) titled "Latin American Networks: Synchronicities, Contacts, and Divergences" for the open-access journal  Artelogie (May 2020). This is the second of three publications sponsored by their “Connecting Art Histories” grant from the Getty Foundation.  He is currently in the early research phase on his next book project, which examines artistic and cultural exchange between Mexico City and Harlem in the 1920s and 30s. 

Lynne Horiuchi (Ph.D. 2005) has been named as a 2021 Society of Architectural Historians Fellow. Additionally, she will serve as Secretary on the incoming 2021 SAH Board. She will also be a member of the new SAH Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accountability, and Sustainability (IDEAS) Committee which is charged with developing and guiding a diversity, equity and inclusion policy.

Maile Hutterer (BA 2004) was promoted to Associate Professor with indefinite tenure at the University of Oregon in spring 2020. Her book, Framing the Church: The Social, and Artistic Power of French Gothic Buttresses was published by Penn State University Press, 2020.

Heather Marx (BA 1994) became a member of the Association of Professional Art Advisors (APAA), the only accrediting body for the industry in the United States. Working with an APAA art advisor ensures that while you are exploring the vast and complex world of fine art, you will be given advice from an impartial, experienced professional who, as your advocate, works only on your behalf.

Suzanne van de Meerendonk (Ph.D. 2018) was appointed Bader Curator of European Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and began in the position in November. The Bader collection, donated to the museum by Dr. Alfred Bader (1924-2018), is comprised of over 500 paintings, sculptures and works on paper that span the 14th through the mid-19th centuries, with a particular strength in Dutch and Flemish artworks from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell (Ph.D. 2006) has been named Interim Co-Director of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, and will serve until a new director has been identified. For the past ten years, Mitchell has been the Burton and Deedee McMurtry Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, and more recently she became the museum's Director of the Curatorial Fellowship Foundation. Currently, Mitchell is completing an essay for the publication to accompany "Dare to Know: Prints and Drawings in the Age of Enlightenment," an exhibition originating at the Harvard Art Museums and scheduled to open in 2022.

Daniel Novak (B.A. 2006), Assistant Professor of Clinical Medical Education in the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, was accepted into the American Medical Association's Healthy Systems Science Scholars Program for 2020-2021. His project will focus on developing team-based learning experiences that integrate issues of health justice into the medical curriculum.

Staci Scheiwiller (Ph.D. 2009) wrote the catalogue essay "Quoting Silences: Depicting Female Desires in the Paintings of Abelina Galustian" that accompanied the exhibition Womansword and Beyond, held (virtually) at the University Art Gallery, California State University, Stanislaus, in fall.

Amara Solari (Ph.D. 2007) published a book, The Maya in Oxford University Press’s "Very Short Introduction Series," co-authored with historian Matthew Restall. She spent the Spring term at Tulane University as a visiting researcher at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. She was promoted to Full Professor at Penn State University in May, and has taken over as Director of Graduate Studies in the Art History Department. She is also the Project Director of an NEH grant-funded project: Maya Christian Murals of Yucatán: Indigenous Catholicism in Early Modern New Spain.

Noa Turel (Ph.D. 2012) published the book Living Pictures: Jan van Eyck and Painting’s First Century (Yale University Press, 2020). It reinterprets early Renaissance pictorial realism and reclaims the agency of Early Netherlandish painting in begetting the visual culture that facilitated the Scientific Revolution.

Erin Travers (Ph.D. 2018) is a Lecturer in the Department of Art at Chapman University and a Program Assistant with the Getty Foundation. In this role, she is working on grant initiatives such as Pacific Standard Time: Art x Science x LA (2024), The Paper Project, and Connecting Art Histories.

Holly Unruh (Ph.D. 2003) recently joined the Arts Division at UC Santa Cruz as the Executive Director of the Arts Research Institute (ARI).  Prior to joining UC Santa Cruz, Dr. Unruh served as the Associate Director of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC) at CSU Monterey Bay, where she managed a multi-million dollar interdisciplinary grant portfolio, and served as Faculty Fellow for Undergraduate Research, Student Engagement and Academic Initiatives through the CSU Office of the Chancellor. Her second book, Designing and Implementing a Successful Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Program, is under contract with Routledge.

Dear Alumni: please send your news of appointments, awards and other achievements to spafford at