Aaron Hyman Acknowledgments aesthetics Alan Tansman Aleksandr Rossman Alexandra Courtois American art Ancient art Andrew Griebeler Andrew Sears Andrew Stewart Anne Wagner Anneka Lenssen anthropology archaeology archives art criticism Art Practice Asian art astrolabes Atreyee Gupta Australian Academy of the Humanities award awards BAMPFA Bancroft Library Beate Fricke Berkeley Art Museum Bonnie Wade British art bronze statuary Byzantium Caravaggio CASVA Catherine Telfair Cecilia Vicuña Chair Charles O'Donnell chartalism Chinese art Chinese art history Chinese painting Chris Hallett Christopher Bollas College Art Association Commencement conference Contemporary Art courses Courtauld Institute curatorial preparedness Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby De Young Museum Delphine Sims digital humanities Diliana Angelova DIstinguished Teacher of Art History Distinguished Teaching Award Dutch art Dutch Studies early globalism Early Modern Ecohistory ecological history economics Elaine Yau Elizabeth McFadden Ellen Feiss Emma Silverman Endowed Chair faculty faculty recruitment fellowships Finbarr Barry Flood Florence folklore Fray Frederick Douglass Freie Universität Fulbright Gabriella Wellons George Lurcy Fellowship Gerhard Wolf Glenn Adamson global art global modern art Grace Harpster graduate graduate student instructor awards Graduate Student Instructors graduate student support graduate students Graduation Greek art Hearst Museum Hellenistic art history of science honors Imogen Hart India Indian Art Islamic art Ittleson Fellowship James Cahill Jason Hosford Jennifer Stager Jessica (Jez) Flores García Jessica Flores Jessy Bell Jordan Rose Jordan Ross Julia Bryan-Wilson Justin Underhill Kailani Polzak Kappy Mintie Katherine Mintie Kathryn Wayne King's College London Kunsthistorisches Institut L. S. Lowry Latin American art history Laure Marest-Caffey Lauren Kroiz Lesdi Goussen Robleto librarians Lisa Trever Louvre major Manet Margaretta Lovell material culture Matilde Andrews Medieval Art Mellon Fellowship Mellon Foundation Methods Micki McCoy Miriam Said modern art money Monuments Men museum New York Nike of Samothrace object-based learning object-oriented histories Oxford University Panorama Patricia Berger Peru Peter Selz photography Post-Culturalist Pre-Columbian psychoanalysis publications Ramon de Santiago Reading and Composition Rebecca Levitan Renaissance Robert Motherwell Book Prize Rosaline Kyo Rumble Lecture Ryan Serpa San Francisco Sarah Cowan Sarah Louise Cowan sculpture Shivani Sud slavery Smithsonian Sojourner Truth South Asia staff Stephanie Pearson Stoddard Lecture Sugata Ray summer sessions Susan Eberhard T.J. Clark Tate Britain teaching team-teaching Thadeus Dowad Theory Tobias Rosen Todd Olson Townsend Center undergraduate undergraduates Verenice Ramirez Visual Resources Center VRA VRC Wenner Gren Foundation Whitney Davis Will Coleman William Ma Wyeth Foundation Yanis Varoufakis Yessica Porras
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About Us


  • Lisa Trever Wins Engaged Anthropology Grant

    Lisa Trever has received an Engaged Anthropology Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation to return to Peru and organize a series of scholarly events and community-focused projects tied to her dissertation fieldwork. She writes about the experience here.

  • Department Faculty and Students to Speak at CAA

    Five members of the Department will present papers at the College Art Association's annual meetings in New York, February 11-14, 2015.  Please see the list of titles and abstracts here.

  • New Book by Andrew Stewart

    The Department is pleased to announce the publication of a new book by Andrew Stewart, Art in the Hellenistic World.

    From the Cambridge University Press announcement:

    "What was Hellenistic art, and what were its contexts, aims, achievements, and impact? This textbook introduces students to these questions and offers a series of answers to them. Its twelve chapters and two “focus” sections examine Hellenistic sculpture, painting, luxury arts, and architecture. Thematically organized, spanning the three centuries from Alexander to Augustus, and ranging geographically from Italy to India and the Black Sea to Nubia, the book examines key monuments of Hellenistic art in relation to the great political, social, cultural, and intellectual issues of the time. It is illustrated with 170 photographs (mostly in color, and many never before published) and contextualized through excerpts from Hellenistic literature and inscriptions. Helpful ancillary features include maps, appendices with background on Hellenistic artists and translations of key documents, a full glossary, a timeline, brief biographies of key figures, suggestions for further reading, and bibliographical references."

  • New Semester, New Courses

    The 2014-15 academic year is off to a strong start with the offering of many new courses.  Among them is Professor Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby and Professor Lisa Trever's joint seminar in The Bancroft Library: Photography, Archaeology, and Maya Ruins: The Frenchman Desiré Charnay in Mexico. Here, Grigsby and students examine and describe Charnay's 1859 double plate photograph from the site of Mitla (Oaxaca). Photograph by Lisa Trever. 

  • Department Welcomes New Faculty, Staff and Students

    The Department is pleased to welcome two new graduate students, a new member of the department's Visual Resources Center staff, and an Assistant Professor of global modern art.  We are looking forward to a great year! 

  • Art History Major Honored by the University

    The Berkeley Wall of Fame now includes an art historian! Rue Mapp (HA ’09) joins Joan Didion, Gregory Peck, Steve Wozniak, Alice Waters, and Jay DeFeo among those singled out by the University for exceptional achievement.  Inspired by Professors Lovell and McBride’s “The American Forest, Its Ecology, History, and Representation," a course about the power of images to change behavior and affect public policy, Rue -- scarcely out of college -- founded Outdoor Afro. This organization is dedicated to creating “interest communities, events, and partnerships that support diverse participation in the Great Outdoors,” reconnecting “African-Americans with natural spaces and one another through recreational activities such as camping, hiking, biking, birding, fishing, gardening, [and] skiing.” Twice invited to the White House for discussions ranging from land use policy to childhood obesity, Rue now is “exploring the possible intersections between the Wilderness Act and the Civil Rights Act. What did it mean fifty years ago when they were each signed, and why should it matter today -- or in the future?”

  • Spaces of Water: New Paradigms in Ecocritical Enquiry

    An international conference on global water systems and cultures of spatiality in India.

    Organizers: Sugata Ray, History of Art Department, University of California, Berkeley (in association with the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi and Venugopal Maddipati, School of Design, Ambedkar University, Delhi)
    Dates: July 24-25, 2014
    Venue: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti Bhawan, New Delhi, India 110011 (Details here)

    Concept note: The reciprocal relationship between global water systems and cultures of spatiality in constituting historical events across time and space has received little attention in ecohistories of India. Spaces of Water: New Paradigms in Ecocritical Enquiry is an attempt to address this opacity in environmental studies by bringing together leading scholars, artists, architects, and activists from India, Europe, and the United States to articulate new forms of ecocritical thinking that reads the cultural as both determining and being determined by the environmental. How does the environment shape, and is shaped by, the ontological domain of affective spatialities? Over two days, speakers will rethink the intersections between water systems and the phenomenology of spatial cultures in early modern, colonial, and contemporary India to explore the topographies of the concept-term waterscape in the wake of environmental histories and ecocriticism more broadly.

  • The Departments of History of Art and Italian Studies Announce a Joint Search

    Assistant Professor of Renaissance/Early Modern Visual Culture in the Mediterranean world (tenure-track). Appointment effective July 1, 2015; candidates must have Ph.D. dissertation or equivalent underway at time of application. The Departments seek a specialist within the period (approx. 1300-1600) with strong interdisciplinary and/or comparative interests extending geographically beyond the boundaries of the Italian peninsula and the ability to contribute to the curricula and research profiles of both History of Art and Italian Studies. Areas of interest might include the relations between visual, verbal and material culture; travel studies; architectural history; cultural exchange between Europe and the East and/or Africa, or the New World. Teaching at both undergraduate and graduate levels is expected, including the ability to teach in the Italian language where relevant.  Full text of ad and instructions on how to apply can be found here.

  • Undergraduate Major Redesigned

    The Department is pleased to announce the redesign of the Undergraduate Major in History of Art.

    As History of Art's Chair, Professor Christopher Hallett, notes, the new major reflects the full range of the Department’s internationally recognized teaching and research, offers students more opportunities to engage with non-western artistic traditions, and seeks to enhance student preparation for careers in arts-related areas.

    Students will be able to sign up for the new major from the beginning of Fall Semester 2014. Those who declared the major in Spring 2014 may speak with an Undergraduate Advisor about switching to the new major.

    For Professor Hallett's message and the requirements of the new major, please visit the Undergraduate Program page.

  • CALL FOR PAPERS -- Modern Money: Aesthetics After the Gold Standard


    Modern Money: Aesthetics after the Gold Standard
    Department of History of Art
    University of California, Berkeley
    October 23, 2014

    “Money is the root form of representation in bourgeois society.” So T. J. Clark put it in 1999. Almost aphoristic in its phrasing, the sentence turns on the set of questions it raises – about markets and money flows, about value and abstraction, about whom money belongs to, about the “social reality of the Sign” and the effect money has on artmaking. Money becomes a central form – maybe the central form – of life, inescapable and intractable. The conditions that shape our present and the failure of the Left to devise a practicable response have only intensified the urgency of the proposition and the questions that ground its pivot. Our proposition – the proposition of “Modern Money” – is this: that an obscure genealogy of economic thinking known as Chartalism (the coinage, of 1905, belongs to Georg Friedrich Knapp) alters the constitution of that terrain, obliging us in turn to pose Clark’s questions anew, against the orthodoxies (Left and Right) that have crystallized around them, after as it were the gold standard.

    Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), Chartalism’s present-day incarnation (some call it Neochartalism), offers one of the few compelling responses to commodity theories of money, which bind money and its value to the vagaries of a zero-sum market. The history of commodity-money is the history of our subordination to a medium of exchange that has come unmoored from its making. “Always already,” one all too easily says. Chartalism, meanwhile, argues that money is a creature of law; in so doing, it initiates money’s expropriation.

    For the critical Chartalist, commodity theories of money, even at their most radical and trenchant, inevitably revert to the same logic – the same mysticism, the same devious metaphysics – they hope to dispel. Money is short, these theories presume, the public is broke, and the lion’s share goes to private financiers. Gold remains the standard; “metallism” remains the conceptual framework. Perhaps, for our times, it might best be put this way: the ideological sense of scarcity, of a finitude as natural as it is necessary, that underpins the metallist view of money, one which the Left and Right share, has lost none of its orienting power. Yet money is not finite (who today would dispute this, or could in good faith?); the public cannot be broke; money is not a zero-sum game. MMT, by showing us how the administration and regulation of money is the prerogative of the State, keeps the technics of money’s producibility and plasticity in focus. Money, MMT maintains, is a matter of (public) accounting. It is political.

    This is not to say that MMT (or Chartalism) has all the right answers. Rationalist and progressivist, MMT sees money as an instrument wielded by the State for good or bad. “Functional Finance” is another name Chartalism has gone by. What matters for its adherents is the end to which money is put. MMT’s language, then, has its limitations; its purview is narrowly economic. Above all, it struggles in addressing the point where money and cultural production – monetary value and signification – meet. Or to put it another way, it struggles in addressing money as a form. The virtue of MMT, all the same, is its present-centeredness, even its moderacy. MMT insists – at least this is how we understand it – that economic theory bear the burden of the here and now, of its own situatedness and the infrastructures that (albeit barely, albeit terribly) determine it. Its direct object is present, irrational suffering.

    “Modern Money,” as may be clear, will not be a conference in the usual sense. It will have, or so we hope, something of a seminar about it, something of a conversation whose point of departure is the effect Chartalism has on our dealings with art and aesthetics. Our aim, then, is twofold: on the one hand, to construct a language that puts MMT’s politicized vision of money in contact with the contradictions of modernity and modern image-making and, on the other, to transfigure art and aesthetics in light of chartal money’s historical power. With this in mind, we ask for proposals that take Chartalism’s propositions seriously (the conference webpage, http://modernmoneyform.wordpress.com, provides an introductory list of references), which does not mean, of course, that we are looking for some kind of consensus. Quite the contrary. Proposals that challenge Chartalism and its assumptions are very much welcome, very much desired. Nor can “Modern Money” be discipline specific. Proposals from across the Humanities and Social Sciences, and from all time periods, will be considered. While we encourage proposals that reflect, conceptually, on the problem of (chartal) money and aesthetics, we are especially interested in object-based interrogations.

    The deadline for proposals is August 1, 2014. Please send abstracts (max. 500 words) and short CVs to sferguson@usf.edu and jordanrose@berkeley.edu. Final papers should be approximately 25-30 minutes long. “Finished” drafts will be due by October 9.