Jeanette Kohl receives year-long fellowship at the Hamburg Institute for Advanced Study

Jeanette Kohl has been awarded a year-long fellowship at the Hamburg Institute for Advanced Study (HIAS) for the 2022-2023 academic year.  The fellowship has been awarded to advance Dr. Kohl’s book project ‘Sculpture. A History in Sources and Commentaries’. The project continues and expands her scholarship on portrait sculpture and will result in a sourcebook on the discourses around the medium of sculpture in European art histories.

Dr. Jeanette Kohl- HIAS





Jeanette Kohl appointed to the Scientific Advisory Board of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz


Portrait of Associate Professor Jeanette Kohl, History of Art, who is also co-director of the Center for Ideas and Society. (UCR/Stan Lim)The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz is a research institute of the Max Planck Society dedicated to the history of art and architecture. Its main areas of focus are the art and visual culture of Italy, Europe and the Mediterranean sphere in the global context. The scientific advisory board is composed of internationally respected academics from Germany and abroad. Its task is to evaluate the Institute’s academic activities on a regular basis.





Congratulations to Jason Weems on the publication of his newly co-edited volume


Humans are organisms, but “the human being” is a term referring to a complicated, self-contradictory, and historically evolving set of concepts and practices. Humans explores competing versions, constructs, and ideas of the human being that have figured prominently in the arts of the United States. These essays consider a range of artworks from the colonial period to the present, examining how they have reflected, shaped, and modeled ideas of the human in American culture and politics. The book addresses to what extent artworks have conferred more humanity on some human beings than others, how art has shaped ideas about the relationships between humans and other beings and things, and in what ways different artistic constructions of the human being evolved, clashed, and intermingled over the course of American history. Humans both tells the history of a concept foundational to US civilization and proposes new means for its urgently needed rethinking.


Retired CHASS History of Art Professor Funds New Student Research Travel Grant

The Françoise Forster-Hahn Graduate Travel Award will help students with art research in other countries
By Mina Shiratsuchi, Student Writer/CHASS Marketing and Communications | 

Studio and archive of Paul Bruscky, Brazil

Studio and archive of Paul Bruscky, Brazil

UCR’s Department of the History of Art has created a new student research travel grant. Started in 2021, the Françoise Forster-Hahn Graduate Travel Award will allow students to extend their research experience outside of campus and fund their trips to research to any country.

The grant is sponsored by a former UCR History of Art professor, Françoise Forster-Hahn, who retired after 35 years of instruction and research. Forster-Hahn taught 19th and 20th century European art history and helped establish the UCR/California Museum of Photography in Riverside. In the past, Forster-Hahn also made contributions to the Richard G. Carrott Travel Award, which supports one History of Art graduate or undergraduate student to travel.

Françoise Forster-Hahn

Françoise Forster-Hahn

“I always felt that it was essential if you do study the visual arts, that you go and actually look at what you study,” Forster-Hahn said. “I encourage students to study culture in general and become knowledgeable about other countries, cultures, and languages.

The $1800 Françoise Forster-Hahn Graduate Travel Award will be presented each spring quarter used to fund independent research traveling during the summer. Although it is primarily for graduate students, undergraduate students who demonstrate an interest in historical art and commitment to research through an honors thesis or research project are also encouraged to apply.

The inaugural award has been awarded to Homer Charles Arnold, a History of Art Ph.D. student researching new media, and emergent globalism of the 1960s and 1970s. Arnold is planning on using the research funds for archival research at the Smithsonian.

UCR students can be awarded one of three travel awards in the History of Art department. Award recipients are able to use the funds to go to any country and connect with established professions from the region.




(Art)iculations of Proximity and Mobility
10Th Annual UCR History of Art Graduate Student Conference

Held virtually via Zoom
May 14 and 15, 2021

Register at:

Utagawa Yoshitora, Vehicles on the Streets of Tokyo, 1870. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Utagawa Yoshitora, Vehicles on the Streets of Tokyo, 1870. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has separated and grounded people across the globe to varying degrees over time. It has introduced new notions like the “essential worker”—defined by their closeness to the crisis—and “6 feet” as a safe amount of nearness. It has illuminated mobility and immobility as both privilege and inequality—when some, for example, have the means to flee high-risk environments, while others don’t, and some have the option to stay home, while others must continue to move and engage person-to-person for their livelihood. 

The significance of proximity–understood as nearness in space, time, or relation–and mobility–the ability to move or be moved freely and easily–as both conditions and concepts is perhaps more apparent than before. In fact, art history as a discipline is impacted by certain ideas of proximity and mobility: from early historians’ belief in “distanced” or “objective” narratives; to the methodology of “close-looking”; to the “aura” of the site-specific object; to the importance placed on travel in research. This conference asks: how have “the arts”—defined broadly and including visual and material culture—been shaped by proximity or mobility, and how have they articulated their own vision of closeness and movement as conditions or concepts? What can they tell us about how proximity and mobility have been valued, ignored, related, defined, interrogated, or challenged across time, places, and peoples? Why do these (art)iculations matter? This conference seeks papers that speak to these and related questions, and encourages submissions from across the disciplines and with an expansive notion of the arts.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Cheryl Finley, Associate Professor, Department of the History of Art, Cornell University

Visit the AHGSA conference website for more information:

Jason Weems Wins the John E. Miller Prize for Best Article with Holding the Soil: A Note on the Conservation of Midwesternness.


Middle West Review Cover ArtWith great pleasure, the John E. Miller Prize Committee announces the winner of the 2020 prize for best article or essay to appear in the journal Middle West Review during the 2020 calendar year. Narrowing down the field of contenders to one top choice was daunting, given the high quality of scholarship and intriguing arguments present in all the articles under consideration. Jason Weems’ contribution, “Holding the Soil: A Note on the Conservation of Midwesternness,” went beyond those parameters, however. Weems, an art historian, employs innovative sources to arrive at a nuanced analysis about the widespread notion of midwestern identity as being rooted in the soil. Weems employs the most common depictions of midwestern landscapes in the 19th century, plat books, to identify midwestern identity of the time as resting on widespread availability of land rather than on the soil itself. Weems posits this as an economic relationship in which short-term exploitation of the soil was a far more typical experience of Midwesterners than long-term attachment. This “frontier mentality,” as Weems describes it, lasted only as long as the frontier itself. Subsequent generations of Midwesterners looked upon the landscape with different eyes. Weems argues that “it is probably no coincidence that Midwesterners became aware of the eroding status of their landscape in the same moment that they also saw the need to reorient regional identity.” (p. 132) The signature Midwestern trait of rootedness to the soil, Weems explains, came from second-generation residents who abandoned their frontier mentality – a horizontal orientation – for a deeper, vertical rootedness in place. Weems contrasts the horizontal plat book images, which appeal to the eye but also to the economic value of the land, with vertical photographs of the soil taken in the 1930s, showing soil depth and health, agricultural potential, but also fragility.  The John E. Miller Prize Committee deemed Weems’ analysis a substantial contribution to the historical understanding of midwestern identity formation and proudly bestows the 2020 Prize on Jason Weems’ Fall 2020 article, “Holding the Soil.” 


The Miller prize is named for the long-time South Dakota State University history professor John E. Miller, who died unexpectedly in May 2020. Miller was always a strong supporter of Middle West Review and the Midwestern History Association. Miller, a Midwesterner with roots in Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas, and Missouri, Miller was the author of several books and many articles on Midwestern history.


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