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40th Annual Graduate Student Symposium

Published February 1, 2024

The Florida State University Art History faculty and graduate students will host the 40th Annual Art History Graduate Student Symposium on March 1–2, 2024, on our main campus in Tallahassee, FL.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Richard J. Powell

John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History
Duke University

“Blackbeats: Cubism Reimagined”

Friday, March 1 at 5:00 pm

WJB 2005

Dr. Richard J. Powell is a leading scholar in the field of African American art and culture. He teaches courses in American art, the arts of the African Diaspora, and contemporary visual studies; he has written extensively on topics ranging from primitivism to postmodernism, including Homecoming: The Art and Life of William H. Johnson (1991), Black Art: A Cultural History (1997, 2002 & 2021), Cutting a Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture (2008), and Going There: Black Visual Satire (2020).

Symposium Program

This annual conference features graduate students’ original research from all areas of study within art and architectural history, and visual and material culture. Paper sessions will take place Friday and Saturday with critical discussion following each speaker. Papers presented will be considered for inclusion in Athanor, our internationally distributed, peer-reviewed journal.

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The Graduate Student Symposium has been hosted annually by the FSU Art History graduate students and faculty since 1981. Since 2020, the event has been organized by the Graduate Student Symposium Committee, a rotating elected group of Art History MA and PhD students, three of whom serve as session chairs.

RECAP & Photo Gallery: 39th Annual Graduate Symposium, March 3–4, 2023

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.


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.