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The Department of History of Art and Architecture treats critically the major fields in world art, from the ancient period through today, and serves to connect the arts to the other humanities. Interdisciplinary by definition, the department encourages students to develop both visual and cultural literacy by extensive study of works of art and the historical contexts in which they were created.   The ability to see, interpret, and evaluate visual images of all types is an increasingly important skill set in our ever more visual world. From cave painting to computer-generated virtual realities, we engage the visual and material legacies of the past to prepare our students to play critical and informed roles in interpreting and shaping the physical world around them. We offer a major and a minor in the discipline, as well as a minor in the history of architecture; and encourage students to take courses in such cognate disciplines as studio art, classics, history, psychology, English, and foreign language literatures. Our courses are offered at all levels and in most major subfields of the discipline.


Alumni Spotlight

During my time in the History of Art department, I had the opportunity to write a seminar paper on the political implications of Marquette’s basketball jerseys and an Honor’s Thesis on the architecture of baseball parks. These allowed me to explore the intersection of art and sports, which I covered closely at Vanderbilt as the Sports Editor of the Hustler.

Upon graduating in 2015, I attended the University of San Francisco’s Sport Management program, where I continued my thesis research on the urban redevelopment impact of contextualized ballparks for my Master’s Project. I worked in the public relations departments of the Pac-12 Networks and Golden State Warriors, where I was fortunate enough to earn two championship rings. My greatest passion has always been baseball, so I was thrilled to also work for both sides of the Bay Bridge Series rivalry, the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics. My duties mostly consisted of creating statistical game notes for the writers and broadcasters to use to embellish their stories.

In 2019, I transitioned to a career in luxury hospitality. For the past four and a half years, I have worked in a member success role for Inspirato, a travel club. While working in the travel industry during a pandemic has had its challenges, it has also given me an opportunity to connect with people and explore more places. Not able to stay away from baseball, I just completed my first season as a part-time Social and Editorial Producer for the MLB, covering top prospects and the Minor Leagues.

I graduated from Vanderbilt’s History of Art department in 2016, after four years of stimulating and enjoyable coursework with wonderful teachers such as Elizabeth Moodey, Kevin Murphy, Tracy Miller, and the late, great, and beloved Christopher Johns. These professors not only opened tantalizing art historical doors from Todai-ji to the Palais Garnier, but also inspired a general historical and humanistic awareness in a previously uninspiring student. The academic highlight of my time at Vanderbilt, a thesis supervised by Johns on Caspar David Friedrich and accompanying department-funded travel to Hamburg, Berlin, and Dresden (my first time out of the U.S.), was born entirely of the brilliance and encouragement of the department’s outstanding faculty.

Nearly a decade later, and the discipline has become a rather resilient fixture in my life–I am working on a PhD in Art History at the University of Pennsylvania after a Master’s from Williams College. The nineteenth century is still on my mind, as my dissertation focuses on the radical aesthetic practices of shoemakers, building-painters, and artificial florists during the time of the Paris Commune. My research for the project has taken me from France to Australia to New Caledonia, but Cohen Hall will always hold a special and foundational place in my trajectory within art history.