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UCSB HAA Winter 2014 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

This last Memorial Day weekend, we remembered, among others, the six UCSB students we lost to senseless violence on May 23, 2014: Katie Cooper, Veronika Weiss, George Chen, James Hong, Chris Martinez, and David Wang.  Several events on campus and Isla Vista marked the anniversary of the tragedy and the spirit of hope and healing that brought the campus and Isla Vista communities together.

With two weeks remaining to the conclusion of the academic year, the transition to 2015-16 has been on my mind.  Two valuable colleagues, Professor Ulrich Keller and Professor Jeanette Favrot Peterson, announced their retirement this year. As we wish them the very best in the next chapter of their lives we recognize that it will be difficult to fill their shoes. 

I am at the same time delighted to welcome new additions to the department. Two new colleagues, Professor Claudia Moser and Professor Heather Badamo will be joining the department this Fall. We also have two new faces among the staff. Barbara Burkhart joined the department last Fall in the capacity of Undergraduate Program Manager, and Christine Bolli joined us last quarter as Graduate Program Manager replacing Lesley Fredrickson who retired in January of this year. Both Barbara and Christine received their degrees from our department: so welcome back!  And finally, I will be completing my four-year term as Department Chair this June.  I am pleased that Prof. Mark Meadow will step in as Department Chair.  

I wish to take this opportunity to thank all those - staff, faculty, and students, as well as Executive Vice Chancellor and former Dean David Marshall and Interim Dean John Majewski - for their support during my chairship. We are now settled in our refurbished Arts Building, a new digitally equipped Learning Lab to facilitate project-based learning will be ready in 2015-16, we have successfully launched a Museum Studies Undergraduate Emphasis this year, and with a growing base of alumni and friends we look forward to an exciting future for the department.

I hope to see you at the department’s Annual Awards Ceremony and Graduation Reception on Fri June 12 (for details see under Events).

With best wishes,

Swati Chattopadhyay
Professor and Chair

The department is pleased to welcome two new faculty, Dr. Claudia Moser and Dr. Heather Badamo in July 2015. Dr. Moser (PhD. Brown University) fills the position in the Architecture, Urbanism and Visual Culture of the Ancient World, and Dr. Badamo (PhD. University of Michigan) joins us as an expert in the Art and Architecture of the Medieval World.

Heather Badamo

Heather Badamo specializes in the arts of Byzantium and the East Christian world.  Her research focuses on the intersection of Christian and Islamic visual culture, in particular the circulation of objects across the frontier zones of the eastern Mediterranean, with the related dissemination and transformation of artistic forms, ideas, and beliefs.  Primary academic interests include theories of cultural exchange, philosophies of religious violence, art in war, and visual strategies for communal self-fashioning.  Other interests are medieval image theory and the urban development of Cairo.  She conducts research in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Georgia, and Turkey.

Her book project, entitled At the Frontiers of Faith: Images of Warrior Saints and Christian-Muslim Encounter in the Medieval Eastern Mediterranean, focuses on the cult of the warrior saints as seen through the lens of its icons – images of aggressive saints believed to perform miracles of salvation and conversion – which provide insights into issues of interfaith relations between Christians and Muslims during the era of the Crusades.  It questions perceptions of the medieval frontier as a site of conflict, arguing for the interface as a space of productive encounter and exchange.  Her research has received support from the Fulbright Foundation, the American Research Center in Egypt, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, DC, and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.  She received her PhD in Art History from the University of Michigan in 2011 and has been a Harper-Schmidt Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago since 2011.

Claudia Moser’s research focuses on the material culture and archaeological record of Roman religion, principally the ritual of sacrifice and the altars at which these practices took place. Her work touches on and attempts to reorient the differing approaches to the study of the materiality of religion of such scholarly disciplines as art history, classics, anthropology, religious studies, economics, and cognitive science. Fieldwork is an essential aspect of her studies of ancient religion, and she has participated in excavations in Rome, Latium, Greece, and Petra.

Her publications include two co-edited volumes, Locating the Sacred: Theoretical Approaches to the Emplacement of Religion (Oxbow Books, 2014) and Ritual Matters: Material Residues of Ancient Religions (currently in preparation for the Memoirs of the American Academy Supplement Series with The University of Michigan Press). Claudia is the recipient of a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome (2013-2014), a Memoria Romana Dissertation Fellowship (2012-2013), and a postdoctoral fellowship in archaeology at the University of Puget Sound (2014-2015). She received her PhD from the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University in 2014. Her current work includes the preparation a book length study, Material Witnesses: The Altars of Republican Rome and Latium and the Memory of Sacrifice, an investigation of the sacrificial practices and sanctuary architecture in pre-Roman and Roman Gaul, as well as a new project on the phallus as an apotropaic symbol in Roman North Africa, Britain, and Italy.

Claudia Moser

Professor Swati Chattopadhyay has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2015-16 from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for her research project: "Nature's Infrastructure: British Empire and the Making of the Gangetic Plains, 1760-1880."

Image Resources Curator Jackie Spafford has served as the Co-Editor of SAHARA (the Society of Architectural Historians Architecture Resources Archive) since 2012, and this Spring helped launch the new and improved SAHARA. The new system uses Artstor’s Shared Shelf platform, which gives users more flexibility with image contribution and documentation, and enables wider sharing of digital content. Read the full press release, and visit the SAHARA page to learn more.

Prof. Jeanette Peterson Retires from Active Duty: The department held a celebration of Prof. Jeanette Peterson’s 22 year career at UCSB.  Her family, her current and former students (some from as far as Brazil) joined her colleagues, Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall, Chancellor Henry Yang and Dilling Yang to wish her farewell.

Pictured at right: Jeanette with her graduate advisor, UCLA Prof. Emerita Cecilia Klein.

Pictured below, left to right: Jeanette with Prof. Emeritus Herbert Cole; Jeanette with current and former graduate students Elizabeth Aguilera, Deborah Spivak, Amy Buono (PhD, 2007), George Flaherty (PhD, 2011) and Emily Engel (PhD, 2009); Jeanette gamely attacking a piñata.

Jeanette Peterson and Cecilia Klein
Herbert Cole and Jeanette Peterson
Jeanette Peterson with graduate students
Jeanette and pinata

The Awards Ceremony and Graduation Reception, honoring the Class of 2015 and graduate student achievements, will take place on Fri June 12, 2015, 2-4pm in the Arts Building Courtyard next to Rm 1234 (link to map)

Please RSVP by June 5 to Barbara Burkhart at  

Awards Ceremony announcement

This year was the 40th Anniversary of the Graduate Symposium that is organized annually by the department’s Art History Graduate Student Association. Graduate students Erin Travers and Diva Zumaya co-chaired this year’s symposium on “Truth Claims,” held on April 24, which packed UCen’s Santa Barbara Harbor Room.  Professor Peter Galison who holds a joint appointment in Harvard University’s departments of the History of Science and of Physics, gave a wide-ranging keynote lecture on “Objectivity vs. Truth.”  UCSB graduate students Suzanne Decemvirale, Alexandra Schultz, and Holly Gore each gave professional and polished papers on their current research, as did graduate students from six other universities: University of Pittsburgh, University of Utah, UCLA, UC Riverside, California State University Long Beach and the California College of the Arts.  Graduate students Tom DePasquale, Mallorie Chase, and John Vincent Decemvirale did a commendable job of providing stimulating responses to the papers.

Prof. Swati Chattopadhyay was invited to present a talk, “Civility, Civic Space and Empire,” at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala, Sweden in April at an event that marked the 30th anniversary of the Collegium. Her essay, “Seize the Definition,” appears in the forthcoming issue of Grey Room.

Prof. Sylvester Ogbechie was an invited speaker at the Santa Barbara City College and at the UCSC Visual and Media Cultures Colloquium in April.

Prof. Jenni Sorkin published an invited commentary in Frieze magazine's April issue re-visiting the groundbreaking feminist publication, The Dialectic of Sex (1970), newly re-printed in the UK. She also published catalog essays for the retrospective, Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty, which opened at the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, and which will travel to four more venues, including the Brooklyn Museum and the Orange Country Museum of Art. She also published an essay in the recent retrospective of the conceptual photographer, Barbara Kasten: Stages, held at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.

In April, Prof. Richard Wittman gave an invited lecture in Leiden, as part of a NWO-VIDI conference "Origins and the legitimacy of architecture in Europe, 1750-1850." His state-of-the-field essay, "Print culture, book history, and French architecture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: a survey of recent scholarship," in the on-line journal Perspective, published by the French Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art (INHA) is forthcoming in June. 

Professor Emeritus Fikret Yegul published the article "A Victor's Message: The Talking Column of the Temple of Artemis at Sardis." JSAH 73.2 (2014), 204-22. He gave two talks this past year: "A Victor's Message: The Talking Column of the Temple of Artemis at Sardis." The Annual Loeb Lecture, Harvard University, April 28, 2014; and "Change You Can Believe In: Religious Architecture and Unorthodox Classicism in Asia Minor." International Conference, 'Contacts, Migrations and Climate Change,' Prague, CZ, May 21, 2015.

Graduate Student News

Jessica Archer delivered a paper entitled "Sociocultural Modernity amid Electrification in Savannah, Georgia," at the Society of Architectural Historians conference in Chicago, April 17, 2015.

Sarah Bane has received the Grunwald Center Internship for the summer.

Maggie Bell's article,"Image as Relic: Bodily Vision and the Reconstitution of Viewer/Image Relationships at the Sacro Monte di Varallo," is in the forthcoming California Italian Studies Journal, Vol. 5.1, 2014.

Brianna Bricker received the Graduate Division Dissertation Fellowship for Winter 2016.

Laura Dizerega presented a talk titled, "Schinkel in the Provinces: Karl Friedrich Schinkel and the Adminstration of Ecclesiastical Architecture in the Rheinland, 1815-1841" at the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain Graduate Research Forum in Edinburgh, Scotland, April 11, 2015.

Anna Myjak-Pycia received the 2015 Cornell University Dean's Fellowship in the History of Home Economics to work on her dissertation, and the Graduate Opportunity Fellowship from UCSB for 2015-16.

Sophia Quach McCabe was awarded the Fulbright Research Grant to Germany for 2015-2016 for her dissertation project, "Hans Rottenhammer in Venice: Networking in Style between Italy and Germany." In June, Sophia will present her work on Matthijs Bril the Younger and his monumental fresco landscapes housed in the Vatican's Torre dei Venti at the Renaissance Conference of Southern California 2015 Annual Meeting.

Alexandra Schultz received the CLS (Critical Language Scholarship) to study Arabic in Meknes, Morocco, through the Department of State.

Erin Travers received the Humanities and Social Sciences Grant from UCSB.

Wencheng Yan participated in the UCSB Grad Slam in April, making it to the final round with her presentation “Writing Modernity: Constructing a History of Chinese Architecture, 1920-1949.” Read more about the event and topics here.

Diva Zumaya received the Robert R. Wark Fellowship from the Huntington.

Alumni News

An edited volume by Austen Barron Bailly (PhD, 2009), AMERICAN EPICS: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood (Peabody Essex Museum/Delmonico Books/Prestel, 2015), has been reviewed in the New York Times (May 29, 2015).

George Flaherty (PhD, 2011) received the Founder's Award from the Society of Architectural Historians for his article “Responsive Eyes: Urban Logistics and Kinetic Environments for the 1968 Mexico City Olympics,” Journal of Architectural Historians 73, no. 3 (September 2014): 372–397.

Sarah Thompson (PhD, 2009) was promoted to Associate Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Mira Rai Waits (PhD, 2014) has received a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University, beginning Fall 2015. She will be working on her book project, "Producing the Prison: Space, Labor, and Violence in Colonial India."

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