Wayne State University

Art History

Overview of program

The mission of the graduate program in Art History at Wayne State University is to train the next generation of scholars, curators, and arts professionals. We are committed to providing an excellent public education that offers access to leading scholars in the field, small class sizes, rigorous requirements for research and writing, and the cultural resources of world-class arts institutions in Detroit. We uphold longstanding methods of art history, while encouraging students to develop new theoretical approaches based on first-hand examination of objects and informed analysis of critical texts and visual culture. At Wayne State University we believe that art history is most effectively taught in a diverse environment where students are exposed to different ways of seeing, writing, and speaking about art and visual culture.

The Art History graduate program includes courses that address a wide range of topics, from classical to contemporary, in the history and theory of the field and offers opportunities for engagement withworld-class arts institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, the fifth largest art museum in the nation, Cranbrook Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and other institutions that are part of the rich urban fabric of Detroit. Many of the program’s students and alumni hold positions in galleries, museums, and arts organizations, or subsequently enter doctoral programs.

Graduate faculty

  • Dora Apel (Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh) Associate Professor of Art History and W. Hawkins Ferry Endowed Chair in Modern and Contemporary Art History
    Research Interests: Contemporary photography, modern and contemporary art and politics, the traumatic image, issues of gender, class, race and national identity.
  • Margaret Franklin (PhD. University of Cambridge), Renaissance and Baroque, Associate Professor of Art History
    Research Interests: Uomini famosi/donne illustri images; humanism and the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance
  • Brian Madigan(Ph.D. University of Minnesota), Classical Art, Associate Professor of Art History
    Research Interests: Greek sculpture, Classical and Hellenistic; Roman sculpture; the afterlife of Classicism and the history of archaeology.
  • Samantha Noel (Ph.D. Duke University), African Arts and African American Art, Assistant Professor of Art History
    Research Interests: Modern and contemporary art and visual culture of the African Diaspora, black performance in the Americas and the Caribbean, race and gender in visual culture, and on pre-colonial, colonial, and postcolonial African art and visual culture.
  • Jennifer Olmsted (Ph.D. Northwestern University), Nineteenth Century European Art, Assistant Professor of Art History
    Research Interests: Imperialism, masculinity, and modernity in 19th-century French art.

Part-time Faculty

  • Catherine McCurrach (Ph.D. University of Michigan) Medieval Art

Visual Resources

  • Terry Kerby, Visual Resources Librarian (M.A. University of Michigan)
  • Ian Chapp, Systems Integrator (B.F.A. Wayne State University)

Requirements