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 2020-2021
Updated May 2021
Samuel D. Albert
At the Frick Collection’s Center for the History of Collection, Samuel Albert was a Leon Levy Senior Fellow from September 2020–May 2021. He received a Botstiber Foundation Travel Grant for Summer 2021 and served as Assistant Editor for the Society of Architectural Historians book series Buildings of the United States.
Jennifer Miyuki Babcock
Jennifer Miyuki Babcock won a Faculty Research Award from the Pratt Institute in March 2021. She presented at the virtual conference Gods and Humans in Ancient Egypt: Current Research and Multidisciplinary Approach, hosted by the Hyperion University of Bucharest, Romania, and published an article based on her presentation. She gave two virtual talks for the American Research Center in Egypt and also organized several related events together with Alexander Nagel. Finally, her forthcoming book, Tree Climbing Hippos and Ennobled Mice: Animal Fables in Ancient Egypt, is currently in press.
Eveline Baseggio was an organizer and speaker at an international conference held at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice as well as at the Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America. She also gave two webinars over the past year in partnership with the Hermitage Museum Foundation, Friends of FAI, and the National Arts Club. Additionally, she was invited to speak at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.
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.
Celia J. Bergoffen
Celia J. Bergoffen wrote two chapters in The Preliminary Report on Excavations at Tel Kabri, Vol. II, as well as an article for All Things Cypriot: Studies on Ancient Environment, Technology, and Society in Honor of Stuart Swiny. At the American Schools of Oriental Research Annual Conference, she delivered two conference papers. She also gave the talk “Excavating Schnaderbeck’s Lager Cellar” for the Archaeological Institute of America.
Anna Blume was invited to write a catalog essay for an exhibition on Native North American Art at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was granted an FIT Academic Affairs Release Time for Research Grant for her continued work on the study of bannerstones and was also invited to write on the topic for Smarthistory.
Justine De Young
Department Chair Justine De Young was awarded a Faculty Development Grant for Travel in February 2021. She was an invited speaker for the Community College Professors of Art and Art History panel at the College Art Association Annual Conference in February 2021 as well as for the FIT Office of Online Learning in April 2021. She had two other scheduled speaking engagements in June 2020, one at the Costume Society of America Annual Meeting and the other at the Art Institute of Chicago, both canceled due to COVID-19. Her publications include essays in The Age of Empire, 1800-1920 as well as in Inside Out: the Prints of Mary Cassatt. She also continued her role as Editor-in-chief for the Fashion History Timeline.
David Drogin gave the talk “Medieval and Renaissance Bolognese Professors’ Tombs: Images of Authority” for the Medici Archive Project in April 2021 and will present “The Mirror and the Illicit Image: A 16th-Century Exemplar” at the forthcoming conference, The Mirror in Theory and Practice: New Perspectives on Old Questions.
Lourdes Font was a podcast guest on An Archivist’s Tale with Karen Trivette, Director of FIT’s Special Collections and College Archives (SPARC). Additionally, she contributed to the article “Max Meyer: A Hidden History” in the Spring 2021 issue of HUE magazine.
Beth Harris and Steve Zucker
Smarthistory founders Beth Harris and Steven Zucker received grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Alice L. Walton Foundation. Their talk “COVID-19, Responding to Social Isolation Through Education and the Arts” was the keynote address at the Aspen Institute Tech Policy Hub in September, and they also presented at The Association for Art History’s Ways of Seeing conference. At the College Art Association Annual Conference in February 2021, Harris and Zucker organized the session “Public Art History and Expertise in the Age of COVID-19.” In response to the pandemic, they created an emergency fund to support more than seventy early career art historians who were impacted by the pandemic and provided opportunities to HBCU students who lost museum internships. Smarthistory grew in many ways, including a new Smarthistory Commons webinar series; 378 new videos and essays in partnership with dozens of scholars and museums; as well as a collection of open-access, high resolution images. Smarthistory’s audience grew to 57 million pageviews in 2020.
Brontë Hebdon reviewed The Age of Undress: Art, Fashion, and the Classical Ideal by Amelia Rauser for The Journal of Dress History volume 5, issue 1.
Ace Lehner wrote peer-reviewed articles and served as book editor for Self-Representation in an Expanded Field: From Self-Portraiture to Selfie, Contemporary Art in the Social Media Age (forthcoming). Additionally, they wrote a peer-reviewed article, “Performing Utopia in Barbershop: The Art of Queer Failure,” for FERAL FABRIC issue 2. Over the past academic year, they also gave four invited talks at various events across the country and served as Artist-in-Vacancy in Newburgh, NY.
Katherine Jánszky Michaelsen
Katherine Jánszky Michaelsen donated a collection of photographs, 60 hours of audio recordings, and interview transcripts with Bauhaus artist Andor Weininger (1899-1968) to the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung in Berlin. She conducted the interviews with Weininger from 1982–1984.
Assistant Chairperson and coordinator of the Art History and Museum Professions major Alexander Nagel co-edited the book Cave and Worship in Ancient Greece: New Approaches to Landscape and Ritual, for which he also wrote two chapters. Additionally, he wrote three other articles in various publications. He won an award from the German Archaeological Institute for a project on mapping illicitly traded antiquities from Yemen. He delivered eleven conference presentations over the past year, in virtual events hosted by the American Research Center (ARCE) in Egypt, the International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, the International Conference of Mesopotamian Archaeology, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Oxford University’s Research Centre in the Humanities, the Chicago Fashion Lyceum, the University of Balochistan-Sistan in Iran, and more. In addition, he was an invited guest speaker at six other virtual events, from the Digital Classicist Seminar at the Akademie of Science and FU Berlin, Columbia University’s Ancient Near East Seminar, the Archaeological Institute of America’s Public Webinar Series Panel, etc. At FIT, he organized the event series Globally Connected @ FIT as well as the virtual discussion Repositioning Egyptologies in collaboration with Jennifer Babcock and the ARCE.
Calendar Girl, a new documentary film written and produced by Natalie Nudell, screened at film festivals in New York City, Miami, Salem, and Boston, and she participated in several panels about the film. Her related project, The Ruth Finley Collection: Digitizing 70 Years of the Fashion Calendar, was awarded significant funding by the Council of Library and Information Resources’ Digitizing Hidden Collection Project; she also received a Faculty Development Grant from FIT in February. Additionally, Nudell was a panelist in FIT’s online symposium Art/Works, part of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant-funded project, Teaching Business and Labor History to Art and Design Students. She was also a panelist and gave the presentation “Strictly Visual: Fashion and Textile History Devoid of Materiality Via Remote Learning” at the CAA annual conference. Finally, she served as a Founding Board Member of the Fashion Studies Alliance and as Associate Editor of the Fashion Studies Journal.
Kyunghee Pyun published six peer-reviewed book chapters and two peer-reviewed journal articles in the past academic year, in addition to four encyclopedia entries written for the Berg Fashion Library. She continued work in three ongoing digital humanities projects: Bamboo Canvas: Diverse Techniques in Asian Arts and Crafts; Business/Labor: Teaching Business and Labor History to Art and Design Students; and Primary Sources in Costume / Textile History and Design. She chaired or organized four virtual sessions, including the annual conferences of the Labor and Working-Class History Association, the College Art Association, the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Costume Society of America, as well as the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education. Additionally, she gave many public lectures and presented papers at other virtual events, hosted by institutions including the University of British Columbia, the University of Southern Florida, Poster House, the Bard Graduate Center, and the Free University of Berlin. Together with a team of colleagues, she received a $150,000 NEH grant for the project Shop Girls to Show Girls: Teaching Resources on New York’s Working Class for Community College Students. She also was awarded a publication grant from the Academy of Korean Studies for the project Korean Dress History: Critical Perspectives on Primary Sources.
Sandra Skurvida published “Forces in Formation: Text Works” in the exhibition catalogue Shaping the Future: Environments by Aleksandra Kasuba, about the Lituanian-American artist Alexsandra Kasuba (1923-2019).
Irina Tarsis wrote the articles “Moral Rights of the Artist: a US Perspective” in Art Law Review as well as “Helping Artists to Navigate Legal Waters” in Secrets of Art. She also gave several lectures for the Center for Art Law’s Lunch Talk series and a webinar for the Responsible Art Market Initiative.
Richard Turnbull was scheduled to deliver two lecture series, one on art and culture of the South Pacific, the other on Mediterranean art and archaeology, for the Crystal cruise line and Seabourn cruise line, respectively; they were canceled due to COVID-19. He participated in exhibitions at the A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, MA; the Augusta Savage Gallery at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA; and at the Manhattan Graphics Center in New York. He also published two artists’ books, Our Very Educational Adventure and Vertical Systems with Furious Day Press.
Andrew Weinstein published the peer-reviewed book chapter “Baneful Medicine and a Radical Bioethics in Contemporary Art” in Recognizing the Past in the Present: New Studies on Medicine Before, During and After the Holocaust. He also gave the conference presentation “Staging Operation Barbarossa with Toy Soldiers: David Levinthal’s Hitler Moves East” at Western Galilee College.
Amy Werbel wrote two peer-reviewed essays: “The Influence of Art Censorship on New York Collectors in the Gilded Age” for the Journal of the History of Collections and “John Haberle’s A Bachelor’s Drawer: Censorship, Geologic Time, and Truth” for the Metropolitan Museum Journal. Additionally, she wrote the blog post “Is Art Censorship on Social Media Leading Us to Tyranny?” for the Institute of Art and Law and the article “How the Postal Service helped stamp identity on America” for Theconversation.com. She delivered several lectures and panel talks throughout the past year, including “The Confederate Flag in the Capitol and the Future of American Expression,” an Art at Noon talk at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her professional service included serving as peer reviewer for multiple organizations, jury member for the CAA Wyeth Publication Grant, and Book Review Editor for Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art.