Upcoming Event – Museum Careers: Pathways to Success with an M.A. Degree

On Friday, November 6 from 6:00 – 8:00PM, the AU Art History Program will be hosting a panel discussion with four Art History alumni/ae. Our guest alumni/ae will discuss how they found and gained their positions, how they built their skills and moved up from entry level jobs, and what they like best and found most challenging in the process.

Speakers will include:

Susan Breitkopf, Director of Corporate, Foundation, and Association Relations, National Building Museum (1998)

Paul Ruther, Director of Docent Education, Sackler-Freer Gallery (1998)

Olivia Kohler-Maga, Assistant Director, Luther W. Brady Gallery, GWU (2006)

Elizabeth Willson Christopher, Rights and Reproductions Coordinator, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution (2012)

The panel discussion will be followed by a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception that will give AU Art History alums and current M.A. students the chance to connect and network. Please R.S. V. P. to Professor Helen Langa at hlanga@american.edu

Mid-Atlantic Followup

Joshua Kamins in front of the National Gallery Entrance

Joshua Kamins in front of the National Gallery Entrance

Second-year masters student Joshua Kamins was one of eight graduate students who presented papers at the Forty-Fifth Annual Middle Atlantic Symposium in Art History earlier this month. Joshua’s paper, Among the Prophets: Michelangelo’s David is drawn from his current thesis research, and examines the David’s intended location at the Florence Cathedral in relation to Biblical and Renaissance sources. Josh was the sole masters student in a panel comprised of Ph.D candidates from the University of Virginia, Bryn Mawr College, and University of Maryland.

national gallery

Joshua and his fellow AU students at the conference

College of Arts and Sciences: 25th Annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference


The annual American University College of Arts and Sciences student research conference will take place next Saturday, March 28, at the Katzen Arts Center. Among the students presenting original scholarship are several Art History graduate and undergraduate students.


SESSION 1: Informing the Future

(9:00- 11:30 AM)

Sarah de Blasio, Senior, History and Art History: “Curating America’s Cultural Foreign Policy in WWII”

SESSION 2: A Body of Work

(10:45 AM-12:15 PM)

Anne Schroeder, Senior Art History: “An Analysis of the Figura Serpentinata Pose in the Works of Michelangelo Buonarroti”

Genevieve Stegner-Freitag, Senior Art History: “Nobody’s Perfect: A Macrobian Analysis of Titian’s The Bacchanal of the Andrains

Jennifer Wu, MA Candidate, Art History: “Sex and Spirituality in Lucas Cranach’s Nymph of the Spring

Elizabeth Mullen, MA Candidate, Art History: “Titian and Saint Sebastian’s Resurrected Body”

Session 3: Curling Up with a Good Book

(1:45-3:15 PM)

Catherine Vassaux, MA Candidate, Art History: “Powerful Flesh: Lucretius and the Body of Venus in Bronzino’s An Allegory of Venus and Cupid

Session 3: Docent

(1:45-3:15 PM)

Erica Bogese, MA Candidate, Art History: “Jacques-LouisDavid’s Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and His Wife: Self-Definition at the Dawn of the French Revolution”

Rebecca Blader, MA Candidate, Art History: “László Moholy-Nagy’s Photograms: Rejecting Tradition for Scientific Creativity”

The full 2015 conference program can be found here. 

AU Student to Present at the 45th Annual Mid-Atlantic Symposium


This weekend, the 45th annual Middle Atlantic Symposium in the History of Art will take place at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the National Gallery of Art. This year, American University is sending second year masters student Joshua Kamins, who will present Among the Prophets: Michelangelo’s David, a paper drawn from his ongoing thesis project that discusses the original intended location of the Michelangelo’s infamous David. His presentation will take place at the National Gallery of Art West Building Lecture Hall on Saturday, March 7 from 2:00 to 4:00pm.

Call for Papers

Announcing the Fifth Annual


at American University in Washington, DC

Friday–Sunday, October 31–November 2, 2014


This annual conference builds on the legacy of feminist art-historical scholarship and pedagogy initiated by Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard at American University. To further the inclusive spirit of their groundbreaking anthologies, we invite papers on subjects spanning the chronological spectrum, from the ancient world through the present, to foster a broad dialogue on feminist art-historical practice. Papers may address such topics as: artists, movements, and works of art and architecture; cultural institutions and critical discourses; practices of collecting, patronage, and display; the gendering of objects, spaces, and media; the reception of images; and issues of power, agency, gender,and sexuality within visual cultures. Submissions on under-represented art-historical fields, geographic areas, national traditions, and issues of race and ethnicity are encouraged.


The keynote speaker for the 2013 FAHC, Dr Patricia Simons, giving her talk “Devotion and Desire: Women Viewers and the
Case of the ‘Lesbian Nun’ in Early Seventeenth-Century Italy.”

To be considered for participation, please provide a single document in Microsoft Word. It should consist of a one-page, single-spaced proposal of unpublished work up to 500 words for a 20-minute presentation, followed by a curriculum vitae of no more than two pages.

Please name the document “[last name]-proposal” and submit with the subject line “[last name]-proposal” to fahc5papers@gmail.com.

Submission Deadline: May 15, 2014

Invitations to participate will be sent by July 1.

Keynote speaker: Professor Lisa Gail Collins, Vassar College

Sessions and keynote address will be held on the campus of American University

Sponsored by the Art History Program and the Department of Art, College of Arts and Sciences, American University

Organizing committee: Kathe Albrecht, Juliet Bellow, Norma Broude, Kim Butler Wingfield, Mary D. Garrard, Helen Langa, Andrea Pearson, and Ying-chen Peng


AU Master’s students during the 2013 keynote speech

New Faculty Announcement!

Last week American University Art History Program director Helen Langa announced the selection of a new Assistant Professor. After an extensive national search, Ms. Ying-chen Peng has accepted the position of Assistant Professor in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art History and will begin teaching in the fall of 2014.

Ms. Peng is an ABD candidate at UCLA. She will complete her dissertation this spring. Her study is titled “Staging Agency: Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) and the Late Qing Court Art Production.” This work examines the ways that the Empress Dowager Cixi constructed her public and private identities through the patronage of different art mediums, using social history, visual culture, and discourses of literature and theatrics.

Ms. Peng has published several articles in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals on Asian Art, and is currently a fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In the past she has served as Adjunct Lecturer at the Department of Art History, UCLA, and Curator Assistant at the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. She studied at UCLA and Taiwan University.

Next fall (2014) she will teach two courses: Arts and Material Culture of China and Women in East Asian Visual Culture. In spring 2015 she will teach Buddhist Arts of Asia and Modern and Contemporary Asian Art and Architecture

We look forward to welcoming Prof. Ying-chen Peng to AU and the Art History Program next fall!