Department of the History of Art and Architecture Research

The Americas | East Asia | The Mediterranean World | Architecture and Urbanism | Museum, Curatorial, and Exhibition Studies | Modern and Contemporary

The Department of the History of Art and Architecture (HA&A) is home to a rich variety of faculty research interests in the history, theory and criticism of visual and material culture from antiquity to the present day. HA&A is especially well-known for its focus on the art and architecture of the Pacific Rim, the Americas and East Asia in particular, as well as the Mediterranean world. In addition to these regional foci, the department currently has faculty research clusters in urbanism and architecture; museum, curatorial, and exhibition studies; and modern and contemporary art.

We welcome graduate students in all areas of art and architectural history.

Ortelius World Map, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The Americas

The University of Oregon is an excellent place to study the history of art and architecture of the Americas, including the US and Latin America. Our department offers students the opportunity to consider the connections across the hemisphere from the Pre-Columbian period to the present.

Keith Eggener’s research focuses on modern architecture and urbanism in the US and Mexico. He has published widely on Mexican and US art, architecture, landscape, urban design, and material culture.

Ocean Howell’s research focuses on urbanism and the American City, with interest in urban planning and the role of ethnicity in West Coast cities.

Faculty working in contemporary art and visual culture, including Kate Mondloch and Christoph Lindner, also have research and teaching expertise in aspects of North American art and urbanism.

Derek Burdette researches colonial Latin American art, with particular focus on the connection between art and politics and the history of art in Mexico both before and after the conquest.

Cheryl Hartup, the Associate Curator of Academic Programs and Latin American Art at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA), specializes in the art of Latin America and the Caribbean. She works to build engagement among Latino constituents on and off campus and develop collections and special exhibitions focusing on Latin American art.

This course of study is supported by the JSMA, which boasts a strong collection of art from the Americas, as well as the Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Support may also be found through collaboration with faculty in other departments and programs, including Latin American Studies, the Department of Romance Languages, the Department of History, and the Department of English. Additionally, students can take advantage of the many resources provided by the Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies, which includes numerous student-focused events, symposia and programing related to Latin America.

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East Asia

Research and teaching interests of the East Asian art and architecture faculty range from ancient to contemporary, with a particular emphasis on the arts of Japan and China.

Akiko Walley specializes in East Asian Buddhist art, with a particular interest in the role of objects in the initial establishment of the religion in Japan in the seventh to eighth centuries. Walley has additional research and teaching interests in literati painting, East Asian calligraphy, and Japanese works in printed medium from early modern to contemporary periods (including manga).

Jenny Lin conducts interdisciplinary and transnational research, with an emphasis on the relations between twentieth and twenty-first century art and design praxes and broader social phenomena, such as colonialism, urbanization, and globalization. Lin offers courses in twentieth and twenty-first century art history and visual studies, especially within Asian cultural contexts and in contemporary art criticism and theory.

Charles Lachman researches and teaches the history of Chinese landscape painting, Chinese art theory, and Buddhist art (especially Chan/Zen painting).

Jerome Silbergeld (Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and participating faculty in the UO’s History of Art and Architecture department) publications have dealt with such topics as art in times of political upheaval and conditions of intense censorship, the aesthetics of old age, perceptions and misperceptions of historical change, “bad” art and the articulation of the negative, the relationship between architecture and paintings of architecture, regional diversity in Chinese gardens, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic iconographies, and cinema’s relationship to the premodern arts of China.

Our East Asian curriculum is characterized by its emphasis on first-hand experience with works of art. In close collaboration with the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Knight Library Special Collections, Portland art and cultural institutions, local and international galleries and private collectors, we regularly offer courses involving special viewings and exhibition planning. Several of these courses have culminated in art exhibitions and catalogue publications, offering students a wonderful opportunity to augment their research skills with museum curatorial experience.

The University of Oregon is exceptionally strong in East Asian studies. Our students can acquire a holistic understanding of East Asian art, architecture, and visual culture through relevant courses in several departments and programs, including:

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The Mediterranean World

Our curriculum covers all periods of Mediterranean art and architecture, from antiquity (Jeffrey Hurwit, Kristen Seaman), through the Middle Ages (Maile Hutterer), to the Early Modern period and beyond (Derek Burdette, James Harper).

In addition to focusing on specific historical moments and locations, we examine the place of Mediterranean visual and material culture within the broader world. Our global research, teaching, and curatorial activities confront transcultural and transnational aspects of Mediterranean art and architecture, including their interactions with the Americas, Northern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa.

Our students also benefit from the other robust Mediterranean resources in the College of Design and the broader University. They take related courses in archaeology, culture, history, and language, offered in programs such as African StudiesArabic Studies, Anthropology, Cinema Studies, Classics, History, Judaic Studies, Medieval Studies, Religious Studies, Romance Languages, and the Yamada Language Center. Moreover, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art has collections and exhibitions of Mediterranean art, and the Eugene Society of the Archaeological Institute of America sponsors lectures about Mediterranean art, architecture, and archaeology.

Our students and faculty frequently work in museums, at sites, and on excavations throughout the Mediterranean, and they have been scholars in residence at such research centers as the American Academy in Rome, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and the Villa I Tatti (The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies). The department has longstanding institutional connections with the Mediterranean as well. Most notably, together with the Department of Architecture, we offer a study abroad program in Rome. We also are a Cooperating Institution of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, which oversees study abroad programs, excavations, and activities that relate to Greek culture from antiquity to the present day.

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Architecture and Urbanism

Research and teaching interests of the Architecture and Urbanism faculty range from Ancient to Contemporary, with concentrations in Europe, North America, and East Asia. Thematic and comparative specializations cut across traditional geographical and chronological frameworks.

Core faculty include:

Keith Eggener: modern architecture, urbanism, material culture, and cultural landscapes in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. Eggener is also editor-in-chief of the
 Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Maile Hutterer: medieval architecture and urban development

Christoph Lindner: urban and cultural theory, visual culture, and globalization

Jenny Lin: contemporary Chinese architecture, design, and urban culture

Ocean Howell: modern and North American urban and planning history, West Coast urbanism, race and ethnicity

Other members of the Department and the College of Design whose work contributes to the history and theory of architecture and urbanism include:

Kris Seaman: ancient Greek architecture, gender

Jamie Harper: 15th–17th century Italian architecture

Jeff Hurwit: ancient Greek architecture

Jerome Silbergeld: traditional Chinese architecture

James Buckley: historic preservation, North American vernacular and cultural landscapes

Judith Sheine: modern architecture

Mark Eischeid: modern landscape architecture

Mark Gillem: history of sustainable architecture

Akiko Walley: Japanese religious architecture

Research is supported by the Design Library (with 86,000 bound volumes, 2,700 periodical titles, a substantial rare books collection supported by the Marion Dean Ross Endowment, artists’ books, architectural drawings, photos, and electronic resources), the Knight Library (with 22,000 titles in art and architecture), the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, and the UO’s John Yeon Center for Architecture and Landscape in Portland. The rich collections and architectural resources of Portland—including the UO’s White Stag Block—are two hours from Eugene by car or train.

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Museum, Curatorial, and Exhibition Studies

Students interested in museum and curatorial careers will find exceptional faculty mentorship and opportunities for professionalization in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture. Many of our faculty members maintain active curatorial practices as part of their research agendas, spearheading and contributing to projects within Oregon and beyond. Seminars are often offered in conjunction with faculty exhibition initiatives that are mounted locally, which introduce students to the fundamentals of curatorial practice and exhibition design.

Faculty whose research and teaching interests involve curatorial and museological projects include:

Nina Amstutz: 18th- and 19th-century art

Keith Eggener: art and architecture of the Americas

James Harper: Renaissance and Baroque

Charles Lachman: Chinese art

Jenny Lin: contemporary Asian art

Akiko Walley: Japanese art

Other faculty, including Maile Hutterer (Medieval art and architecture) and Kristen Seaman (Ancient Mediterranean art and architecture), have worked to secure exhibitions and object loans for student research at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) on the UO campus. Kate Mondloch (Contemporary art and theory) focuses on contemporary art exhibitions and display practices as an object of inquiry in her teaching and research.

Our students have the opportunity to curate exhibitions at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) in collaboration with curatorial staff as well as other museum professionals as part of the JSMA internship program. Students specializing in contemporary art may apply to work with MFA students in the Department of Art throughout the year and write the annual MFA thesis exhibition catalogue. The Portland Art Museum, the UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History, the Marion Dean Ross Collection of rare books in architectural history at the Design Library in Lawrence Hall, and the rare books collection at Knight Library offer additional research and curatorial opportunities in visual and material cultures of interest to our students. Lastly, History of Art and Architecture is home to the graduate certificate in Museum Studies, which combines rigorous research skills with hands-on training to prepare students for the job market in a wide range of museum careers.

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Modern and Contemporary

The study of modern and contemporary art at the UO covers global art and visual and material culture from the nineteenth century to the present. Faculty members in this area specialize in diverse geographical regions, including western Europe, the Americas, and Asia. They have a diverse yet complementary range of research interests, including critical theory, media technologies, urban design, and curatorial practices.

Nina Amstutz researches and teaches courses in the visual arts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is a specialist of European romanticism and the intersections between art and science.

Joyce S. Cheng teaches modern art from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and writes predominantly on avant-garde movements of the interwar period such as Dada and surrealism.

Keith Eggener specializes in the art, architecture, landscape, urban design, and material culture of the Americas.

Ocean Howell
 is interested in twentieth century U.S. urban planning, design, and architecture, and his writing and classes explore the history of race, youth culture, and neighborhood gentrification.

Jenny Lin researches and teaches contemporary art and design, with a focus on Asian art, and investigates the cultural impacts of urbanization and globalization.

Christoph Lindner, who is also the dean of the College of Design, works on issues related to cities, globalization, political ecology, sustainability, and creative practice.

Kate Mondloch, who is also the department head, offers courses on art and media of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and researches the intersection of art and new media technologies with a particular focus on theories of spectatorship and subjectivity. Mondloch is the founding director of the UO’s transdisciplinary graduate certificate in New Media and Culture.

The Department is ideally situated for studies in modern and contemporary art due to its hybrid position within the College of Design, which allows our students to collaborate directly with active art and design practitioners, as well as to enjoy the resources and intellectual community of the broader research university. To best supervise the rich interdisciplinary work of our students, faculty members specializing in modern and contemporary art and visual culture often collaborate with specialists in other departments, including Comparative Literature, Cinema Studies, Philosophy, Latin American Studies, East Asian Languages and Literatures, Environmental Studies and beyond. Additional campus resources of interest to our faculty and students include the Center for the Study of Women in Society, the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, the Oregon Humanities Center, and the Center for Art Research.

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