For more than a century, art historians at the University of Chicago have made transformative interventions in the discipline. While the Department of Art History at UChicago was a pioneer in the development of important theoretical methods in the 1990s, early art historical scholarship here flourished in tandem with the Oriental Institute’s foundational work in archaeology and the Midway Studios’ leadership in arts education.
Today, the department proudly looks back on this history as it distinguishes itself with a combination of global scope, object-driven research, and committed interdisciplinarity. Faculty and students pursue research spanning five continents, as historical strengths in Asian, European, and North American art have expanded to include Latin American, African, and Islamic art, as well as the relations between these and other geographical areas traditionally treated in isolation. That work is supported by the University's internationally recognized departments and centers in area studies with robust language offerings.
Original works of art, buildings, and sites weave through the department’s scholarly and curricular fabric in the form of object-, material-, and site-based research that is often large-scale and collaborative, object-driven training in the Chicago Objects Study Initiative and Rhoades Program, and annual traveling seminars and conservation classes.
Interdisciplinary commitments—a hallmark of the University of Chicago—are manifest in faculty’s co-teaching, cross-appointments, and involvements in other departments, centers, and initiatives across campus, in the multiple workshops faculty and students in art history sponsor and participate in, and in the coursework students are encouraged to pursue beyond art history.