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UCSB HAA Spring 2022 Newsletter

Greetings, Everyone! 

As we close out our 2021-2022 academic year, the HAA newsletter is replete with news of the excellence and achievements of our faculty, students and staff.  While the pandemic is still nipping at our heels, we have returned to campus and in-person interaction, at long last!  With our reopening we have been able to again hold classes in the Center for Object-Based Research and Learning (COBRAL), which has given our students great opportunities to examine objects borrowed from the AD&A Museum. Just one of the things that we couldn't do with remote classes!

We are pleased to announce that our Minor in Games has been approved beginning Fall 2022.  The project was spearheaded by Professor Claudia Moser, our Curriculum Committee chair, and the minor includes the online course “Rome the Game,” which she developed with Christian Thomas (Writing Program).  This minor provides an opportunity for students to study the history of games and participate in digital developments across a consortium of participating departments:  Media Art & Technology, English, History, Communications, and many others, in addition to our own faculty contributions, particularly those of Professors Jeremy White and Mark Meadow.

The Department has seen a number of staff and faculty honors and changes over this academic year. Professor Allison Caplan received two major research grants for 2022-23:  a Dumbarton Oaks residency and an ACLS grant, to be used simultaneously.  Following her year at Dumbarton Oaks, Professor Caplan will be moving on to a new appointment at Yale University’s Art History department.  We are very sad to see her leave, but wish her all the best for what promises to be a very successful and promising career!  Professor Sylvester Ogbechie has received a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2022-23 to complete a book project, but happily he will be returning to HAA after his sabbatical. 

Among other departures, on behalf of the Department I want express my gratitude to our former Arts Administration Support Center (AASC) Director, Juliana Bruno, for her tireless efforts and support.  While it was difficult to see Juliana leave UCSB for new ventures, in June we enthusiastically welcomed our new Director, Suzanne Dougherty, who came to us from the Statistics Department, and is working very effectively with all AASC departments.  Welcome, Suzanne! 

We also welcome our new Academic Personnel and Services Manager, Sandra Caceres, who joined us in February of 2022.  Christian Brown, formerly our HAA Financial Analyst, has been promoted to AASC Finance and Budget Manager. We are happy that he is taking on this new role while remaining in his current office, so we will continue to see him regularly!  Changes are afoot in student advising as well:  Erin Rooney, our department’s Graduate Program Advisor, is leaving for an advising position at UC Santa Cruz. I want to thank Erin for all she has done, and her good will even though less than one week after starting her job at HAA the entire campus was forced to work remotely!  Chanyce Rose, our Undergraduate Program Advisor, will be moving to a full-time position in UCSB Admissions.  We wish them the best of luck and congratulate them on their respective promotions! We will miss the great support they have provided to the Department and our students.

Finally, our Image Resource Center Curator Jackie Spafford is retiring after nearly 24 years.  She has overseen our visual collections with great care, first maintaining and eventually culling our 35mm slide collection, while  facilitating the transition to fully digital image resources. She has creatively expanded the IRC to address the burgeoning changes in digital visual resources but has kept one foot in the analog world - she oversaw the transformation of our slide room into COBRAL and the Digital Image Lab (DIL), developed a lecture and workshop series on Digital Mapping, and received a substantial NEH grant in 2020 in partnership with the Society of Architectural Historians and UC Riverside which funded several graduate fellowships. It is impossible to count the number of times she has come to the aid of faculty and students alike, troubleshooting and resolving technical difficulties in classrooms, and facilitating the technical side of Zoom-based activities. She and Christine Fritsch made herculean efforts to get us all trained, informed and functioning remotely during the campus Covid lockdown and beyond.  She has done all of this and more with good humor and cheer!  She will be sorely missed, but we wish her the very best for her well-deserved next chapter.

Needless to say, I am happy to have had the opportunity to work with these fine scholars and staff, and I am grateful to them for taking time and care to make these transitions successful.  They have contributed in many ways to excellence in our department.

We look forward to the coming academic year and wish you all a wonderful summer!

With all my best,

Laurie Monahan
Professor and Chair

In June we celebrated the accomplishments of our two most recent Ph.D. graduates, 48 undergraduate HAA majors, and 49 minors.

We are delighted that our newly-minted doctoral graduates are moving on to exciting careers, and  wish them the greatest success in these new endeavors! Dr.  Holly Gore has been appointed as the Director of Interpretation and Research at the Wharton Esherick Museum; Dr. Virginia Reynolds Badgett is Assistant Curator at the Boston Athenaeum, and Dr. Yun-chen Lu has accepted a position as Assistant Professor, History of Art and Architecture, at DePaul University.

Read about the undergraduates we celebrate here, and here to see the list of impressive award recipients. Congratulations one and all!

Far left: Dr. Gore, Dr. Badgett (Ph.D. 2021), and Dr. Lu.
Left: Professor Peter Sturman and Dr. Lu.

COBRAL was back in action after eighteen months of pandemic lockdown. The center is part of the re-envisioned Image Resource Center, and is managed by Jackie Spafford and Christine Fritsch in collaboration with Susan Lucke, the AD&A Museum Registrar, and other museum staff.

One of the classes that made use of the facility in 2021-22 was Professor Alicia Boswell's interdisciplinary undergraduate course, Recovering Untold Stories: From the First Millennium to Today, part of UCSB's Mellon Engaging Humanities Initiative. Co-taught with Professor Janet Bourne (Music) the course introduced students to methods of how to reconstruct and write untold stories of individuals and communities left out of traditional narratives. Students examined PreColumbian objects from the AD&A Museum, and with Professor Boswell discussed the information they could learn about societies of the ancient Americas from objects, and what were the limitations. 

At right, the class discusses a quipu from the AD&A Museum collection.

On May 6th, 2022, art historians, artists, and scholars of the humanities and social sciences came together virtually to attend the Art History Graduate Student Association’s (AHGSA) 46th Annual Academic Symposium. Entitled Objects of Affection: Itineraries, Sensations, and “Thingness,” co-organizers Victoria Jennings and Iman Salty invited papers exploring thing theory, object agency, and affect theory, inviting interdisciplinary dialogue on methodologies and approaches to the affective object, the human engagements they inspire, and the ways they accumulate social, cultural, religious, and political value through their circulation and display.

Keynote speaker Dr. Sally M. Promey, Professor of American Studies and Religious Studies at Yale University, expressed the urgent need for a reassessment of art history as a discipline by examining its connections with a racialized, gendered, and elitist art market—one that has marginalized many artists, artistic practices, and art objects. Many of these have been grouped under the rubrics of “outsider art” or “outlier art,” thereby excluding them from traditional art historical scholarship. Ten scholars presented at the symposium, which was organized into three panels: “Objects of Identity,” “Objects of the Spiritual and the Sacred,” and “Objects of the Everyday.” The papers included HAA graduate student Alexander Luckmann's, "'A Big Office Building and a Little Church', 1921-2022: Skyscraper Churches and Material Disestablishment at the Fifth Churches of Christ Scientist in New York and San Francisco,” and invited speakers included Colton Tyler Klein (Columbia University), Katie DiDomenico (Washington University in St. Louis), Philippe Halbert (Yale University), Tara Field (UC Santa Cruz), Talia Abrahams (Williams College), Layla Koch (Yale and University of Heidelberg), Sophia Diodati (Princeton University), Victoria Horrocks (Columbia University), and AP Pierce (UCSB). Three HAA graduate students - Taylor Van Doorne, Sylvia Faichney, and Elizabeth Smith (co-organizer of the 2021 AHGSA symposium Haunting the Canon) - served as moderators for the panel discussions.

react/review is an annual peer-reviewed journal produced by AHGSA, launched in 2021 by graduate students Taylor Van Doorne and Felicity Good. It is dedicated to research by emerging scholars in art and architectural history and related fields, with an editorial team that rotates annually. Each issue takes its theme from the preceding annual symposium organized by AHGSA. Symposium participants who deliver outstanding papers are invited to submit feature articles. In keeping with the discursive spirit promoted by the AHGSA symposium, react/review is a responsive journal in which feature articles are followed by brief critical responses by journal editors. This dynamic format aims to engage our readers and develop conversations that began at the symposium. Volumes 1 and 2 are available, along with the Call for Papers for Volume 3. General inquiries can be sent to

Past Events:

Upcoming Events:

  • Please check our website regularly for updates on our 2022-2023 Lecture Series and other events

Professor Ann Jensen Adams introduced and moderated a session at the Historians of Netherlandish Art conference, in Amsterdam and The Hague, June 2-4, entitled "Belonging in the Republic: Whose Amsterdam?”  The session, comprised of two panels, was co-organized with historian Professor Maarten Prak, and examined the issues raised by, and experiences of, immigrant artists in seventeenth-century Amsterdam in light of Professor Prak's study of citizenship. Among the presenters was recent UCSB Ph.D. Suzanne van de Meerendonk.

Professor Emerita Ann Bermingham wrote an essay for the catalog Excursions of Imagination: 100 British Drawings from The Huntington’s Collection (Huntington Signature, 2022), (excerpt here). She gave a talk, "The Medium is the Message: Drawing in Britain, 1750-1950," on July 13 in conjunction with the exhibition 100 Great British Drawings at the Huntington (see Melinda McCurdy's entry under Alumni).

Professor Alicia Boswell was elected to the Board of Directors of the Institute of Andean Studies in January 2022. She contributed a chapter "Reflexiones personales de una arqueóloga extranjera" to Mujeres del Pasado y del Presente: Una visión desde la arqueología Peruana, edited by Carito Tavera Medina and Lady Santana Quispe, Instituto Peruano de Estudios Arqueológicos (2022). Professor Boswell's Winter 2022 course, "Recovering Untold Stories: From the First Millennium to Today," co-taught with Janet Bourne (Music) as part of the Engaging Humanities program, visited El Presidio to learn about the history of Santa Barbara's Japanese-American community through the archaeological, archival, and oral records, as well as how the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation is preserving and sharing these stories.

Professor Boswell co-edited with Kyle Knabb a volume coming out in September, Life at the Margins of the State: Comparative Landscapes from the Old and New Worlds (University Press of Colorado: Boulder, 2022). She also contributed the Introduction, “Introduction to Life at the Margins” (with Bradley J. Parker and Kyle Knabb), and a chapter, “A Marginal Yet Essential Landscape: Collambay in the Margins of the Chimú Empire.”

Assistant Professor Allison Caplan received the ACLS H. and T. King Fellowship in Ancient American Art and Culture, and a Dumbarton Oaks Fellowship in Pre-Columbian Studies for 2022–2023. Both fellowships will support her work on her first book manuscript, Our Flickering Creations: Art Theory under the Aztec Empire, which uses Nahuatl-language sources to reconstruct major concepts from Indigenous Nahua art theory for works combining precious stones, metals, and feathers.

Professor Swati Chattopadhyay,co-authored the essay "'An Oddly Bookish City': Neighborhood Libraries in Calcutta/Kolkata,"on PLATFORM, which explores the impact of the city's literary culture on its public sphere and public space between the years 1775 and 1945.

Professor Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie has received a Guggenheim Foundation award for a book project titled The Curator as Culture Broker: Representing Africa in Global Contemporary Art. The book uses historiographical, art historical and social network analysis to interrogate how African artists and artworks are represented in the global discourse of contemporary art. The Guggenheim Fellowship award brings attention to Professor Ogbechie's research on Africa's role in the global history of modern and contemporary art.

Professor Emerita Jeanette Favrot Peterson published a chapter titled “Reading Images,” in Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in the Study of Religion, 2nd ed., eds. Steven Engler & Michael Stausberg (London: Routledge Press, 2022). She also wrote an essay, "Antonio and Manuel Arellano's Virgin of Guadalupe," in Archive of the World: Art and Imagination in Spanish America, 1500–1800; Highlights from LACMA's Collection, Ilona Katzew, ed. (New York: DelMonico Books, 2021) that accompanied the exhibition of the same name. Forthcoming this summer is an article co-authored with Rebecca Dufendach,  “Altered Folios, Alternative Histories in the Florentine Codex,” to be published  in  Estudios de Cultura Nahuatl in 2022.

Life at the Margins of the State: Comparative Landscapes from the Old and New Worlds (University Press of Colorado: Boulder, 2022), Alicia Boswell and Kyle Knabb, eds.

Boswell book cover

Georgia O'Keeffe, Photographer (Yale University Press, 2021), Lisa Volpe (Ph.D. 2013)

Excursions of Imagination: 100 Great British Drawings from the Huntington's Collection (Huntington Sigature, 2022), Introduction by Melinda McCurdy and essay by Ann Bermingham
Ubiquity: Photography's Multitudes (Leuven University Press, 2021), Jacob W. Lewis and Kyle Parry, eds., with chapter by Mohammadreza Mirzaei.
Graduate Student News

Letícia Cobra Lima was selected to participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, “The Making of Modern Brazil,” taking place at San Diego State University in June. In dialogue with renowned Brazilianists, Letícia will be developing a research project on artist Farnese de Andrade (b. Araguari, Brazil; 1926-1996) for her doctoral dissertation, “Assembling the Body: South American Assemblage Art, 1960-1996.” From May to July 2022, Letícia will be conducting archival and object-based research in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia.

Sylvia Faichney was awarded the Graduate Student Internship Fellowship to support her internship at MAK Center of Art and Architecture for the summer of 2022. Sylvia was one of three graduate students selected to join a group of 20 scholars for a workshop in June hosted by the Newberry Library titled "Chicago Designs." Sylvia moderated two panels this past year, for AIIC Symposium and the AHGSA Graduate Symposium, and published a response essay in react/review

Graham Feyl received the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Predoctoral Fellowship for Historians of American Art through the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. He also co-curated an exhibition, Daddy, at the after/time collective in Portland, Oregon that opened at the beginning of May. 

Victoria Jennings has been awarded the Gulamerian Scholarship for her acceptance into the American Academy in Rome’s 2022 Classical Summer School program. This program will help build the foundation of her dissertation research. Victoria wrote the opening statement for the 2022 MFA Thesis Exhibit It Appears to Be a Circle, featuring the work of graduating MFA artists Marisa de la Peña, Tom Dunn, and Chad Ress (May 14-29, AD&A Museum). Victoria moderated a roundtable discussion among the graduating MFAs in May. She was the 2021-2022 Murray Roman Curatorial Fellow and Internship Program Coordinator at the AD&A Museum, for which she organized academic talks for the program interns by museum professionals. These included Corrie Siegel, Executive Director of the Museum of Neon Art; Joe Horse Capture (Aaniiih), Vice President of American Indian Collections and Curator of Native American History & Culture at the Autry Museum, and Davide Gasparotto, Senior Curator of Paintings and Chair of Curatorial Affairs at the J. Paul Getty Museum, as well as educational trips to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and local artist Jane Gottlieb’s home.

Matthew Limb has been awarded a nine-month residential Tyson Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for 2022-23 at Crystal Bridges American Art Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, the first HAA student to recieve this fellowship award

Alexander Luckmann has a non-academic book review out in the Cleveland Review of Books, “Asphalt and Sand: A Material History of Extraction and Consumption”.

Mohammadreza Mirzaei received the Humanities & Social Sciences Research Grant from UCSB's Graduate Division to support archival research for his dissertation project. He published a chapter, "Where Is My Photo?: A Study of the Representation of Tehran in the Work of Contemporary Iranian Photographers," in Ubiquity: Photography's Multitudes, Jacob W. Lewis and Kyle Parry, eds. (Leuven University Press, 2021).

Megan Sheard has completed her year (2021-22) as a fellow in the Public Humanities Graduate Fellows Program at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC). You can read about Megan’s work here. Megan is also co-managing editor of react/review: a responsive journal for art & architecture with Rachel Winter, which has recently published its second volume.

Alex Schultz presented at the Architecture_Media_Politics_Society (AMPS) conference in December, 2021 on her research on resistance to cholera sanitary procedures, especially invasion of the home, in late nineteenth-century Egypt. The paper was selected for publication in a special issue of Architecture_MPS (UCL Press, UK) on historical perspectives of architecture and disease, to be released January 2023. She will present a paper titled "Water Carriers Waiting in Line at Taps" at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) conference in December 2022. She is currently organizing a works-in-progress series for Center for Middle Eastern Studies grads for summer and fall, and encourage anyone with related topics to apply. 

Rachel Winter was appointed Assistant Curator of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) in January 2022, where she is also core faculty in the Muslim Studies Program. Additionally, she presented her dissertation research in a paper titled “The World of Islam Festival 45 Years Later: Finding the Contemporary” at the Middle East Studies Association Annual Conference. Rachel also presented her new research project titled “Aestheticizing the Ecologies of the Syrian Refugee Crisis” at the 9th Biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art, the foremost symposium for historians of Islamic art. Finally, with co-managing editor Megan Sheard, the two edited and published volume two of react/review: a responsive journal for art & architecture.

Maile Hutterer (BA 2004) was the inaugural Office of the Provost Fellow in Mentorship at the University of Oregon for the 2021-2022 academic year. As Fellow, she worked to define and develop a culture of mentorship across the university, with a particular focus on mentoring that is culturally responsive, network-based, reciprocal, and adaptive.

Heather Marx (BA 1994) was accepted as a member into the Association of Professional Art Advisors, an international non-profit membership organization of the world’s leading art advisors, curators and corporate art curators. She is the Art Advisor and Curator for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in Redwood City, which recently launched a new biannual exhibition series to support local artists and residents of San Mateo County in the CZI's Community Space. 

Melinda McCurdy (Ph.D. 2005), curated the exhibition 100 Great British Drawings, on view at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens through September 5. It includes highlights from the collection of more than 12,000 British works held at the Huntington, the largest collection outside Britain.

John Senseney (Ph.D. 2002), Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Arizona, published an article, "Towards Equitable Histories of Ancient Built Environments", on PLATFORM, May 16, 2022. The article contextualizes and builds upon his recent article in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. He also delivered a paper, "Unlearning Classical Architecture" in the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Sustainability (IDEAS) session entitled "Radical Methods, New Interlocutors: Strategies for Equitable Histories" at the 75th International Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 28, 2022. He's currently writing an article manuscript entitled, "Artisanship and Resistance in Classical Athens."

Monica Blackmun Visonà (Ph.D. 1983), Professor of Art and Visual Studies at the University of Kentucky, contributed to a new survey text, The History of Art: A Global View, published in 2022 by Thames & Hudson and distributed by W.W. Norton.  Her five chapters on art from Africa are interspersed with chronological accounts of the art of other continents, and she wrote additional sections that integrate Africa’s art history into thematic discussions. 

Joy Sperling (Ph.D. 1985) will retire after 32 years of teaching at Denison University. This tribute in The Denisonian highlights her career.

Lisa Volpe’s (Ph.D. 2013) exhibition Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer was listed on several top ten exhibition lists for 2021. It has travelled from Houston to the Addison Gallery, and will continue on to the Denver Art Museum and the Cincinnati Art Museum. The catalog was a finalist for the Prose Award by the American Association of Publishers, and won the Mitchell A. Wilder Design award. Her next publication, Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power, is being published by Steidl in time for the fall 2022 exhibition of the same title.

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