Art History

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Graduate Studies

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Chair: Dr. Adam Herring,

Director of Graduate Studies: Dr. Amy Freund,

For information about applications for graduate studies in art history, contact:

Joe Hoselton
Director of Graduate Admissions & Institutional Research

MA and Ph.D.: Rhetorics of Art, Space and Culture (RASC/a)

RASC/a (derived from the Spanish vernacular for “scratch”) 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 dynamic graduate program that emphasizes close mentorship, innovative methodologies, and scholarship that challenges traditional disciplinary boundaries. 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. 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.

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Ph.D. in Art History

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.

Recent News

Innovative Team-Taught RASC/a Double Grad Seminar

This inaugural “RASC/a Double” graduate seminar brings together faculty and graduate students from SMU’s Department of Art History--and beyond--to explore in innovative ways issues raised by the curricular initiative, Rhetorics of Art, Space, and Culture. RASC/a challenges us to consider how visual images, material objects, and the spaces around them can be studied from new perspectives within and beyond categories often first defined by geography and chronology.

In Spring 2016, the seminar is taught by Associate Professor of Art History Lisa Pon and Assistant Professor Beatriz Balanta to draw on their overlapping research strengths. It considers early modern and modern print technologies in relationship to personal and communal identities, mobilized mass images, and communications and surveillance. Using transhistorical and interdisciplinary approaches, this course has as its main objective an understanding of some past, present, and emerging communications technologies (including but not limited to print, photographic, and digital platforms) and the publics they can reach, form, and inform. Assignments range from individual object entries that may be published in the catalogue for an upcoming exhibition at the St. Louis Art Museum, to collaborative, iterative, ongoing projects involving prints and photographs--but other media as well-- from SMU and local collections on a hybrid publication platform being developed and customized for this class.

Areas of Study



Art History

Undergraduate Studies

Graduate Studies



M.A. in Art History

RASC/a: Ph.D. Program in Art History

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