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Home » News » Recap: 38th Annual Art History Graduate Student Symposium

Recap: 38th Annual Art History Graduate Student Symposium

Published April 19, 2022


…to all who participated in the 38th Annual Art History Graduate Student Symposium, which was hosted online on Friday and Saturday, April 8–9, 2022. This year for the second time, the Symposium was entirely planned, organized, and executed by a committee of students. Despite the challenges of the remote environment, the committee continued our long tradition of accessibility, hospitality, and scholarship.

Our keynote speaker this year was Roland Betancourt, Professor of Art History and Chancellor’s Fellow, University of California, Irvine. Dr. Betancourt presented “The Case of Manuel I Komnenos: Gender, Sexuality, and Racialization in Byzantium.”

The Graduate Student Symposium is hosted annually by the FSU Art History graduate students and faculty and organized throughout the year by the Graduate Symposium Committee, an elected group of Art History MA and PhD students. Paper sessions take place on Friday afternoon and Saturday, with each paper followed by critical discussion. Papers are then considered for inclusion in Athanor, our internationally distributed journal. In this years’s conference, 11 graduate student scholars presented from around the country, and in some cases, the world, on topics ranging from Asian art and identity to urban space and infrastructure.

Each year one student paper is selected by the faculty on the basis of originality and presentation for the Günther Stamm Prize, in memory of a founding professor of the Department of Art History. This year the Stamm Prize was awarded to Jennifer Wendler of American University for her paper “Ideals of Femininity in the Dutch Baroque: Analyzing Systems of Power, Class and Gender in Caspar Netscher’s The Lacemaker (1662).”

View the complete Symposium Program

This year’s Symposium Committee also continued the new tradition of hosting a roundtable session featuring the important role of the Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies program within the field of art history. The session featured FSU alumni working in museum and institutional professions: Mary Margaret Fernandez, Director of Special Events, Special Projects & Volunteers at Historic Oakland Foundation; Anissa Ford, Assistant Director for Experiential Learning and Career Liaison at the Florida State University Career Center; and John Turner, who works in Historic Collections for the Florida Park Service.

History and Mission

Inaugurated in 1981, the FSU Art History Graduate Symposium participates in a long tradition of student conferences in our discipline. This open forum brings together students, professors, and members of the community to share ideas and expertise. We call it a symposium, with all the classical associations of that word, to suggest that it is not just a series of lectures, but a conversation.

Our purpose is to provide the opportunity for students to present the results of their scholarly efforts in twenty-minute talks, and to profit from the audience’s response. At the end of each paper, the speaker engages directly with the audience, both students and faculty, so that the ideas they present become the basis for further exploration. Each year we invite a distinguished scholar to deliver the keynote address and participate in these discussions, as part of the Vincent and Agatha Thursby Visiting Scholars Lecture Series. Recent keynote scholars have included Barbara E. Mundy, Claire Farago, Felipe Pereda, Maria Gough, John T. Paoletti, Richard Schiff, and Charlene Villaseñor Black.

Sharing research, meeting others in our field, creating long-lasting friendships and professional associations – these vital interchanges are at the core of the FSU Symposium experience. We seek to broaden the professional, personal, and academic horizons of every participant: the visiting young scholar, the returning alumnus, the local undergraduate considering graduate work — and of course the professors, who also learn a great deal in the process.

The Graduate Student Symposium has been hosted annually since 1981 by Florida State University Art History graduate students and faculty. Our 37th Symposium in March 2021 marked the first time the event was hosted entirely online, and also the first time it was entirely planned and directed an elected group of Art History MA and PhD students, the inaugural Graduate Symposium Committee.


Our symposium is distinguished from similar gatherings because it was conceived from the start to result in a publication. Student speakers are able to submit their papers to our journal Athanor, published here since 1981 in the College of Fine Arts by the FSU Museum of Fine Arts Press. The manuscript goes through several stages of editing before coming to fruition in the final article, which have been published and shared with more than 300 libraries and institutions across America and Europe. In the interest of conservation and innovation, in 2019 we transformed Athanor to an online publication, now edited by a graduate student editor on the Symposium Committee and published by FSU Libraries: Athanor.