Welcome to the Department!
My second year as Acting Chair of the Department has been an exhilarating one, as I have become more closely acquainted with the accomplishments of a very active community of scholars who are pursuing the histories of art of differing cultures, time periods, aesthetic sensibilities, and meanings. Our traditional strengths in European, American, and Asian art have been expanded to include other traditions and global art of the modern and contemporary periods. A quick perusal of the Department’s courses will introduce you to the variety.
Last year at this time I knew that the faculty had reconceived the undergraduate major to be more inclusive and also more comparative, but I had not yet realized the extent to which new questions, new perspectives, and new technologies would be enlivening the intellectual interchanges among the faculty with such different specializations. Just one example: Complementing the long-time requirement, HA100, Theory and Methods of Art History, is a second methodology course, HA 101, Theory and Methods for a Global History of Art that was newly created this past year. Conceived to be team-taught, the inaugural team consisted of Associate Professor Beate Fricke (medieval art and architecture) whose enthusiastic outburst at a faculty meeting about the stimulating experience of teaching it with Assistant Professors Lisa Trever (pre-Columbian and Latin American art) and Sugata Ray (South Asian art) felt like a spontaneous affirmation of the broadened scope of the major that had been conceived primarily for the benefit of the students.
On another note: I want to personally thank all of you who contributed to the department this past year. The homecoming-time event called The Big Give turned out to be intriguing to a number of you from whom we had not heard since your graduation. Welcome back! Please check our website periodically and keep in touch! We realize how affecting the art history major has been and can be when we hear stirring testimony such as that given by graduate alum Rue Mapp at Commencement this year. If you are in the Bay Area, please join us on campus for one of the many events you will see listed at our events page such as the annual Stoddard Lecture. You might also consider auditing a class—if you can find a seat! Your continuing interest in and support of the Department is greatly appreciated.
I wish you well for the coming year.
Bonnie C. Wade (Emerita Professor of Music)