We are appalled by and mourn the continued and unpunished murders of Black Americans like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, added to the long list of others like Eric Garner, Tony McDade, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile and so many more. We are enraged by widespread outbreaks of violence against protestors and other civilians, and by how that’s enabled and defended by elected public officials at local, state, and federal levels. Part of responding to this is of course recognizing that issues dominating the recent news cycle, especially racial inequity and its violence, have been acute for years and, as we know as historians, for centuries.
As many have said, those of us with privilege need to recognize it, be aware of how it affects us and those around us, and also leverage it for positive change. First, we commit to making the classroom (remote or otherwise), a place of respect and equity. We also commit to listen compassionately. We commit to reflect on how even off-the-cuff comments and other seemingly inconsequential actions add to the micro-aggressions (and not-so-micro aggressions) experienced by Black students and those in other minority groups, especially the significant trans community at FIT; and, we commit to improving our actions in this area.
Our department offers an increasingly diverse curriculum, more diverse than many other, higher-profile art history departments. Still, more work can be done. We will continue to create curriculum that engages students with all kinds of voices in art and history, particularly ones that have been unheard, underrepresented, or suppressed. We have also taken action to update the objectives and content of existing courses, especially ones like HA112 that engage hundreds of students per semester. All of our courses and especially Western surveys should question, for instance, how images support or resist dominant power structures, including as they relate to race, gender, sexuality, and violence. Our department has always prioritized how visual culture relates to history and its contexts, so we have powerful opportunities in our courses to think about the historical framework behind the racism, discrimination, and violence that deeply pervade society (and not just the current news cycle).
The department fully supports the college’s policy of non-discrimination:
FIT is firmly committed to creating an environment that will attract and retain people of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds. By providing a learning and working environment that encourages, utilizes, respects, and appreciates the full expression of every individual's ability, the FIT community fosters its mission and grows because of its rich, pluralistic experience. FIT is committed to prohibiting discrimination in its employment, programs, and activities, whether based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, religion, ethnic background, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military service status, genetic information, pregnancy, familial status, citizenship status (except as required to comply with law), or any other criterion prohibited by applicable federal, state, or local laws.
To learn more about the department, read the latest issue of our newsletter!
Faculty Updates 2019-2020
Updated July 2020
Samuel D. Albert
Samuel D. Albert was named Leon Levy Senior Fellow for July-December 2020 at the Frick Collection’s Center for the History of Collecting. He also presented at three conferences: In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire: Art and Architecture in Interwar Central Europe in Brno, Czech Republic; Colonial and Post Colonial Landscapes: Architecture, Cities, Infrastructures in Lisbon, Portugal; and Monarchy and Modernity, 1500-1945, in Cambridge, England.
Jennifer Miyuki Babcock
In early 2020, Jennifer Miyuki Babcock gave two invited lectures, at the Northern California Chapter and at the Orange County Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt. In addition to numerous conference presentations, she also served as Abstract Reviewer for the ARCE Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada. She also received faculty development awards from FIT, the Pratt Institute, and the Parsons School of Design.
Anna Blume gave a lecture at a conference honoring the esteemed Art Historian Mary Ellen Miller in Merida, Mexico. She was also invited to talk at three other events in spring 2020, which were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Glamour magazine invited Raissa Bretaña to host its ongoing video series “Would They Wear That?” to fact-check historical costumes in movies and TV shows. She was invited to lecture at the Eustis Estate in Milton, MA, and was a guest on the podcast Art Matters on their May 5th, 2020 episode. In October 2019, she presented at the International Conference of Dress Historians, and was also scheduled to present at the Costume Society of America National Symposium (postponed).
Sooran Choi published an article in the March 2020 issue of Rebus and a chapter in Multiple Modernisms: New Histories of Art in the Global Postwar Era, edited by Kristian Handberg and Flavia Frigeri (Routledge Press, 2020). She presented at the College Art Association Annual Conference in Chicago and at the conference Mass Communication and Transnational Empire in East Bay, CA; she was also scheduled to present at the Cultural Studies Association conference in New Orleans (postponed). She received faculty development grants from FIT as well as from the CUNY Graduate Center. Finally, she was interviewed by WSHU Public Radio in Long Island regarding her manuscript Manifestations of a Zombie Avant-garde, Subterfuge as Radical Agency: South Korean Performance and Conceptual Art, 1961-1993.
Justine De Young
Fashion History Timeline editor-in-chief Justine De Young was an invited speaker at the Bard Graduate Center in September 2019, at the Pratt Institute in October 2019, and at several FIT events throughout the academic year. She was also scheduled to deliver other lectures at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, both postponed due to COVID-19. She published an article in the Winter 2020 issue of Art History Pedagogy & Practice as well as a web article and book chapter on James Tissot. Her conference activities included presenting at the Metropolitan Museum, the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, the J. Paul Getty Museum, as well as at Florida State University. She was also scheduled to present at the Costume Society of America Annual Meeting (postponed). Finally, she was awarded a 2019-2020 SUNY Open Education Resources Grant and an FIT Faculty Development Grant for Travel.
David Drogin published “The Body, Space, and Narrative in the Work of Early Fifteenth-Century Tuscan
Sculptors” in The Art of Sculpture in Fifteenth-Century Italy, edited by Amy Bloch and Daniel Zolli (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Additionally,
he chaired two sessions and also presented at the Sixteenth Century Society Conference
in St. Louis, MO. He was scheduled to be a session chair at the Renaissance Society
of America Conference in Philadelphia (postponed).
Lourdes Font served as moderator for the panel “Storytelling and Clothing: French Fashion and the First World War” at The European Fine Art Fair in New York, NY. She was also scheduled to present at the Costume Society of America Annual Symposium, canceled due to COVID-19.
Beth Harris and Steve Zucker
Smarthistory founders Beth Harris and Steve Zucker received grants from the National Endowment of Humanities, the Terra Foundation for
American Art, the Alice L. Walton Foundation, the Macauley Family Foundation, and
the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Notably, the Kress Foundation grant will aid early-career
art historians impacted by COVID-19. They were also the guests of honor and spoke
at Christie’s fall 2019 Modern and Contemporary Sale. On May 3, 2020, the Washington Post published an interview with Harris and Zucker.
Paul D. Melton
Paul D. Melton was scheduled to present “The Computer Eye after the Computational Turn” at the Renaissance Society of America Conference in Philadelphia (postponed).
Katherine Janszky Michaelsen
A 2019-2020 exhibition at the Kolumba in Cologne, Germany, featured recordings of Katherine Janszky Michaelsen interviewing Bauhaus artist Andor Weininger in the mid-1980s. She published an interview with Curt Hoppe in the May 2019 issue of Whitehot Magazine, and also published “A Social Art Compatible with My Thinking: Sol LeWitt in the Changing Landscape of Conceptual Art in the 1970s” in Humanities Commons.
Anne Monahan published the book Horace Pippin, American Modern (Yale University Press, 2020), and a book chapter, “Faith Ringgold” in Among Others: Blackness at MoMA, edited by Darby English (Museum of Modern Art, 2019). She received a faculty development grant and award from FIT. Additionally, she delivered three invited lectures: at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, and at the Shirley Fiterman Art Center of the Borough of Manhattan Community College. She also presented at the Newberry Seminar in American Art and Visual Culture in Chicago.
At FIT, Alex Nagel organized the conference The Most Beautiful Blue: Crafting Lions, Glaze, and Monument in Babylon, Susa, and Beyond. He received a grant from the Getty Foundation to participate in a workshop in Greece, and a grant from UNESCO to discuss “Trafficking Routes and Case Studies in Practice” at a UNESCO Expert Meeting with Yemeni officials and Interpol in Djibouti. Responding to the threats of the U.S. State Department to destroy sites in Iran, he was invited to talk about his work in Iran at the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies in February 2020. He presented on wall paintings from Susa at a colloquium in Naples and Herculaneum in Italy; on “Oil and Antiquities” at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research in San Diego, and on his ongoing research on the collections of ancient Greek art in the Smithsonian Institution at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Washington, D.C. As part of an Award he received with Amy Lemmon (FIT Department of English and Communication), he organized an event with Yannis Hamilakis, Marwa Helal and Steven Molina Contreras in the Katie Murphy Amphitheater in October 2019. He signed the petition “Condemn Trump’s Threat to Iran’s Cultural Heritage,” published in The Guardian on January 7, and served as a Peer Reviewer for the Journal of Social Archaeology and the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies.
Natalie Nudell published an article, “The Ruth Finley Collection,” in the January 2020 issue of Ephemera Journal. She was a workshop participant at the Canadian Fashion Scholars Sixth Annual Symposium in Toronto, CA, for which she received a CET Development Grant from FIT. She was also scheduled to be a roundtable moderator and panelist at the Costume Society of America Annual National Conference (postponed.) She served as moderator for a talk at ZAZ10TS Gallery and in a virtual Q&A session hosted by the Fashion Studies Alliance. Additionally, she was interviewed by a number of publications and media outlets, including CNBC, InStyle Magazine Online, and Women’s Wear Daily.
Kyunghee Pyun received the following awards from SUNY: Online Teaching Ambassador; Online Teaching Fellow “Exemplar Coach and Mentor”; and a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. She was also named 2019-2022 Fellow at the Columbia University Faculty Seminar on Korean Studies. Her forthcoming book, Interpreting Modernism in Korean Art: Fluidity and Fragmentation (Routledge, 2021), co-edited with Jung-Ah Woo, won a publishing support grant from Korea Arts Management Service in May 2019. She also published two articles: “Minhwa in the Context of Contemporary Art: Depicting Desire for a Better Life” for an exhibition held at the Horim Museum in Seoul, South Korea; and “Debbie Han’s Graces: Hybridity and Universality” for the Journal of the Korea Association for the History of Modern Art. She delivered a keynote speech at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei, Taiwan, and was scheduled to lecture at the Poster House in Manhattan for the exhibition The Sleeping Giants: Posters & Chinese Economy. Her conference presentations include the College Art Association Annual Conference in Chicago; the Design History Society at the University of Northumbria, UK; a roundtable and poster at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in New York City; and a roundtable session at the annual conference of European Business History Association at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands. She curated Vanishing Cultures, Vanishing Communities: The Nomads and Weavers of Taurus Mountains, Turkey, held at the Gladys Marcus Libraryand additionally at the Museo de la Ciudad de Cuernavaca, Cuernavaca, Mexico. Finally, she served as editorial advisor for the Journal for the Association of Western Art History, peer reviewer for Acta Koreana, and also as peer reviewer for Routledge Research Books.
Sandra Skurvida published the book chapter “Exhibition as Composition: Repetition and Difference” in Jasper Johns (Whitney Museum of American Art, 2020). She also published two articles: "On Barbad Golshiri's Cura," in Shabakê-Âftâb Monthly, no. 46; and “Diaspora Days,” in Dailė, Winter 2020. With a faculty development grant from FIT, she presented at the conference “Transcultural Interplay Through Art and Social Life: Iranian Diaspora in Europe and Beyond,” in Paderborn, Germany.
Richard Turnbull published two unique artists’ books with Furious Day Press (2019). His invited talks of the past year include multiple events at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Met Breuer, as well as lecture series aboard the Oceania Nautica and the Crystal Symphony. He curated the exhibition The Silkscreen Experience at Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence, MA, and had his work in four other exhibitions in New York and Massachusetts. He also served as a board member for the Manhattan Graphics Center.
Andrew Weinstein wrote the chapter “Baneful Medicine and a Radical Bioethics in Contemporary Art” in the forthcoming book Recognizing the Past in the Present: New Studies on Medicine Before, During and After the Holocaust (Berghahn Books, December 2020), as well as a review for the March/April 2020 issue of American Book Review. He was also scheduled to present at the 14th World Conference on Bioethics, Medical Ethics, and Health Law in Porto, Portugal, and at the Third International Scholars Workshop in Berlin, Germany (both postponed or canceled.)
Following the publication of her book Lust on Trial, Amy Werbel received the 2019 Peter C. Rollins Book Prize. She was also Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom at the University of York, and won a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. While in the UK, she gave invited lectures at the Institute of Art and Law in York, at the University of York, and at the Benjamin Franklin House in London. She also presented at the Fulbright US-UK Commission mid-year meeting in Cardiff, Wales. She published “Reaching Broader Audiences Through Book Projects” in Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art (Fall 2019) and served as the journal’s book review editor. She also served as a board member for the e-journal 19th Century Art Worldwide.