DALLAS (SMU) – SMU art history graduate Erin Piñon has accepted a Fulbright research grant to study in Armenia for the 2016-2017 academic year. She plans to study 16th and 17th century illustrated manuscripts as well as books printed with metal type before the year 1500, all of which were penned, painted, printed and bound in the region of Van (historic Armenia, present-day Turkey).
Piñon earned the Master's of art history from SMU in 2015. For the past year she has served as the Graduate McDermott Curatorial Intern at the Dallas Museum of Art.
"My study of these medieval and early modern manuscripts will illuminate understudied aspects of Armenian identity, self-representation, movement and visual culture at a critical moment in the Armenian literary experience," Piñon says. "Due to Armenia's location – at the crux of east and west – objects can be read as rich, multi-faceted deposits of culture, through many lenses and in relation to neighboring cultures and historical phenomena."
She first became interested in Armenian art history as an undergraduate at Tufts University, which offers one of the few programs worldwide specializing in Armenian art. While in Armenia, she will serve as a lecturer in art history at the American University of Armenia, where she will help develop the university's art history major.
As a graduate student at SMU, Piñon served as president of the Meadows Graduate Student Council. In addition, she is a member of the International Association of Medieval Art, the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus, the Armenian Students Association, the National Association of Armenian Studies and Research and the International Association of Genocide Scholars, among others.
When she completes her research grant, she will begin Ph.D studies in art history at Princeton University.
"I was generously supported by SMU's Art History Department," Piñon says. "I particularly appreciate the help of former chair Pamela Patton, and associate professor Lisa Pon."