We in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture state unequivocally that Black Lives Matter. We continue to work with our faculty, students, and staff to confront anti-Black racism in our field and in our communities. We know there is much work to be done and we acknowledge and believe that freedom—and justice—are an urgent and constant struggle. We believe that the fundamental responsibility of art and architectural historians is to reckon with the power of images and the structures of their circulation. How do we interpret the visual world and the built environment and ask how images, public art, and urban spaces are used to activate, amplify, and advance social change, but also to oppose or prevent it?
How do we change the way we talk about art and architectural history?
Like other fields, the history of art and architecture has undertaken a global turn; more than ever before, it examines cultural practices in Africa, understudied places and peoples in parts of Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East, and studies connections among places, rather than focusing upon qualities that essentialize nations and cultures in isolation.
Our department has not only reflected these disciplinary changes, but has also been innovative in inspiring change—in what we teach, the research focus of those we hire, how we frame and evaluate research, and how we interact with other departments, institutions, and bodies of knowledge.
Our commitment to diversity reflects the changes in our field and extends to the composition of our intellectual community and the content of our scholarship and teaching. Specifically, we endeavor to integrate new and different voices and perspectives from across the globe into our research and curricula. In so doing, we seek to provide our students with knowledge of the canonical traditions of global practices in art and architecture, while simultaneously enabling them to assess these traditions from multiple epistemological perspectives. In highlighting other perspectives, we reveal the ways in which canonical traditions of art and architecture were constituted in dialogue with diverse traditions around the world.
Our Diversity and Inclusion plan examines our past practices and advances a set of initiatives that allow us to take the lead in developing a talented pool of young scholars from diverse backgrounds, as well as in practicing inclusive pedagogy and research and teaching tools. These support art historical scholarship that expands our understandings of issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.