Ph.D.: Rhetorics of Art, Space and Culture (RASC/a)
RASC/a (derived from the Spanish vernacular for “scratch”) is the name of the art history department’s Ph.D. program. It stands for “Rhetorics of Art, Space, and Culture” and marks a new curricular initiative in graduate studies launched in 2011. The department chose the unusual name to underline the commitment to shaping a small and innovative graduate program with close mentorship, rather than just another art history Ph.D. The program builds upon the strengths of the faculty and area resources, with particular emphasis on historical and new media, visual technologies, architecture and the city, race and gender, and transnational scholarship in the arts of Latin America, Iberia and the Americas. Among the RASC/a laboratories created outside the traditional classroom are “Scratchpad,” an engaging monthly forum where faculty and graduate students share works in progress, and site-seminars, eight- to ten-day trips attached to semester-long art history seminars for on-site work with local curators and scholars, to sites such as Venice and Madrid.
The RASC/a principle of thinking beyond familiar patterns (intellectual “scratching”) extends into the undergraduate curriculum as well, in ways that are tied to art history’s internships, community engagement projects and curriculum. ARHS 1336 Rhetorics of Art, Space and Culture: Ways of Knowing is a new class that exposes students to the interdisciplinary field of art history, analyzing its intersections with anthropology, English, film studies, geography, history and religious studies. It also introduces the major debates within the field and the roles played by curators, archivists and librarians in the production of art knowledge.
M.A. in Art History
The M.A. Program in Art History trains leaders in the field who are capable of thinking critically, viewing objects with fresh perspective and conducting research at the highest level and who are conversant with the discipline's history and invested in shaping its future. Recent graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs, most fully funded, at Harvard, Yale, Northwestern, Brown, Cornell, UCLA, University of Michigan and USC.
The M.A. program requires 36 hours of coursework including the completion of a Master's thesis. Each year, four to six applicants are awarded M.A. stipends (on top of tuition waivers) up to $10,500. Funding for thesis travel and research is available on a competitive basis. Additionally, the Department offers one fully funded site-specific graduate seminar a year; recent seminars have been held in Venice, Madrid and Los Angeles.