Welcome back! Each year, as fall approaches and summer begins to wane, I look forward to seeing new and familiar faces on campus and in the hallways. I am especially thrilled to note that in addition to a dynamic incoming cohort of students we are also welcoming three new faculty members this year: Associate Professor Kristin Dowell (PhD, New York University) comes to us from the Department of Anthropology at Florida State University, where she has been conducting research on Indigenous women filmmakers working in Canada. Assistant Professor Tenley Bick (PhD, University of California, Los Angeles), a specialist in postwar Italian painting and contemporary African art and film, is preparing a monograph on the mirror paintings of Michelangelo Pistoletto. Dr. Grant Mandarino (PhD, University of Michigan), the department’s first postdoctoral teaching fellow, joins us on a two-year appointment, during which time he will teach and help remodel the introductory Western surveys. Finally, one of our own, Dr. Preston McLane (PhD/JD, FSU), has been appointed Director of the FSU Museum of Fine Arts; in addition to helping attract support for the museum and expanding its presence, he will continue to teach students in our programs. Joining Preston in leading the museum is Meredith Lynn (MFA, University of Iowa), Director of Galleries, who will also teach our graduate Museum Object course.
Over the summer we added new MA and PhD pages to our department website featuring our dynamic graduate students. Our doctoral students now have individual profile pages on which we showcase their dissertation research, teaching experience, and professional activities. We’ve also created a Vimeo site to share highlight videos about our programs and the accomplishments of our alumni. Please make a point of visiting them to see the remarkable work our faculty and students have been actively pursuing.
Recent events on campus and elsewhere around the country have foregrounded the particularly acute nature of the politics of representation at this moment. Our discipline is no exception, and we fully intend to engage with the challenges of recognizing and integrating identity politics into the classroom. The department will be participating in a collegewide effort to expand the diversity of its faculty, students, and course offerings. This fall we will be hosting an African arts lecture series that will bring to campus three prominent scholars of the art of Africa and the African Diaspora to share their current research with us: Dr. Cécile Fromont of Yale University, Dr. Salah Hassan of Cornell University, and Dr. Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie of the University of California, Santa Barbara. We are eagerly anticipating their arrival (specific dates will be released soon) and we very much hope that you will join us in welcoming them!