The art history program emphasizes the study of visual art as a means of understanding the intellectual and cultural history of humanity. The program provides a firm grounding in both western and non-western art history within the context of a liberal arts education. Undergraduate work covers the broad range of art history while graduate work leading to both the M.A. and the Ph.D. degrees is organized into two major fields of specialization: Arts of the Americas and Art of the Modern Age. The curriculum in each area of concentration is nationally and internationally recognized.
Arts of the Americas brings together the arts of pre- and post-contact cultures of North, Central, and South America. Integral fields of specialization include Mesoamerican and South American art and architecture, ancient and modern Native American arts, Spanish Colonial art and architecture, and nineteenth and twentieth century Latin American arts. Along with the study of acknowledged discontinuities in form and series brought about with European invasion, this concentration also promotes the study of continuity in the history of American art and architecture. These combined viewpoints promote a clearer understanding of art within American art traditions.
Art of the Modern Age encompasses the history of painting, sculpture, architecture, decorative art, drawing, graphic art, photography and film in Europe and the Americas from 1750 to the present. It explores the democratization and consequent growth of intellectual and stylistic pluralism during a time of rapid technological, social, political, and aesthetic changes. Such contextual studies and wide-ranging theoretical frameworks together with more traditional studies of style, iconography, and medium illuminate modern art.