B.A., Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge); M.A., University of Texas (Austin); Ph.D., University of California (Berkeley)
Assistant Professor of Art
Art historian focusing on cross-cultural connections in the ancient Mediterranean
One misconception about conducting research around the Mediterranean is that the weather will always be nice. In fact, snow does fall in Morocco, and, on deceptively beautiful springtime days in Provence, the fierce Mistral wind can freeze your fingers numb. Visiting these regions is, nonetheless, the best way to study the ancient Roman world. Rome itself constituted only a small part of an empire stretching from Britain to Tunisia and from Morocco to Iraq. Traditionally, however, this one city has dominated Roman Studies. In my research and teaching, I aim to bring provincial communities into sharper focus and to re-envision the empire from their perspective.
Many of my research ideas come from the classroom, and I take pleasure in introducing students to a broad range of ancient cultures. My lecture courses on Roman, Greek, Celtic, Etruscan, and Near Eastern art and architecture emphasize cross-cultural exchange. My advanced seminars often cut across regional boundaries. Ancient Palaces and Villas (Arth 302), for example, develops a comparative analysis of Persian, Mesopotamian, Greek, and Roman royal art and architecture. Antiquities Today (Arth 373), constructs an historical frame around current repatriation, conservation, and acquisition debates. For all of these courses, I plan field trips to local museums and rare book collections, including Wellesley’s Davis Museum and Clapp Library Special Collections, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
I enjoy engaging with audiences beyond the classroom. In the Spring of 2013, I joined my colleagues Bryan Burns and Lisa Fischman in curating Festina Lente: Conserving Antiquity. This exhibit brought nearly 200 Greek and Roman artworks out of storage in order to inaugurate a new era of research and conservation of the Davis Museum’s antiquities collection. In addition, the Getty’s three-year “Arts of Rome’s Provinces” seminar allowed me to travel with a group of international scholars to Britain (2011), Greece (2012), and the Getty Villa (2013), and will result in a volume of essays proposing new approaches to the study of provincial art. Building on the research I conducted with the seminar, I spent my sabbatical year (2013-2014) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where I wrote on the entanglement of Celtic, Greek, and Roman artistic traditions. In the coming year, I am looking forward to taking students and colleagues to see Roman in the Provinces: Art on the Periphery of Empire, on display at the Yale University Art Gallery (Fall 2014) and the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College (Spring 2015). Included in the exhibit are a number of artworks featuring Julia Domna, my favorite Roman empress, on whom I wrote an essay for the catalogue. I am also looking forward to giving a talk entitled "Gifts for the Gods: The Art of Devotion in Roman Gaul" at the Getty Villa on May 30, 2015.