B.A., Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge); M.A., University of Texas (Austin); Ph.D., University of California (Berkeley)
Associate Professor of Art
Art and architectural historian specializing in the ancient Mediterranean.
My research focuses on the ancient Mediterranean and asks what art and architecture can tell us about international relations and the experience of empire.
My book Destinations in Mind: Portraying Places on the Roman Empire's Souvenirs addresses vessels with labeled depictions of particular places, looks closely at the design of their words and images, and traces their travels around the empire. For the OUP blog, I wrote a post with tips for traveling the Roman empire. I have also launched a companion website with bonus content, links to online resources, and over a thousand photographs from my research and travels.
The book I am working on now is called Memorable Monuments: Designing and Transforming Triumphal Arches. This is a passion project that builds on twenty years of research. Case studies draw new attention to twenty triumphal arches-- ancient and modern and from the Americas to Asia. Together, they establish an updated canon full of innovative designs (think of bubbling fountains and zodiac archways) and unusual settings (think of soaring bridges and traffic circles). Each case study demonstrates how monuments change over their long lives, sometimes recycled for building materials and sometimes rededicated with electronic billboards. Designs and transformations make these monuments memorable. Visitors often reflect on the multi-sensory experiences that they offer, rather than on the monument's original purpose. These are just a few of the ideas that I explore in the study and I am eager to begin writing the book during my sabbatical (2022-2023).
I am also fascinated by the Celts (also known as the Gauls or Galatians), especially the mesmerizing aesthetics of their art, the longevity of the ethnic stereotypes depicting them in Greek and Roman art, and the losses and creative transformations that followed Rome's annexation of Celtic territories. I have published and given talks on these issues and particularly on the statue known as the Dying Gaul.
My courses on the ancient Mediterranean and Mesopotamia address the political and social uses of art and architecture, as well as the modern lives of antiquities. Because seeing art in person is fundamental to understanding it, my classes analyze collections not just on campus, but also in nearby museums. They also explore and critique technologies of replication, from plaster casts to 3D prints.
- "Reckoning with Replication: Architectural Models, Plaster Casts, and Digital Fabrications in Rome's Recent Exhibits," Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, forthcoming 2022.
- "Obelisks and ancient Rome," Smarthistory, April 12, 2022, https://smarthistory.org/
- Destinations in Mind: Portraying Places on the Roman Empire's Souvenirs (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021). The companion website has research photographs, links to online resources, and bonus content.
- "A Roman road trip: tips for travelling the Roman Empire this summer," OUP Blog, 10 July 2021.
- "The Bronze Captive in the Rhône River and Roman Art History," in Roman Sculpture in Context, eds. Anne Hrychuk Kontokosta and Peter De Staebler (Boston: Archeaological Institute of America, December 2020), 55-73
- "The Musée de la Romanité in Nîmes: The Roman Empire, Rhetorical Archaeological Museums, and UNESCOs World Heritage Program," American Journal of Archaeology, 2020
- "Spectacular Translucence: The Games in Glass", Theoretical Roman Archaeology Journal 2018
- "Reception of the Roman Arch Monument", American Journal of Archaeology 2018
- "Tyranny of the Dying Gaul: Confronting an Ethnic Stereotype in Ancient Art," Art Bulletin 2017
- "Coins before Conquest in Celtic France: An Art Lost to Empire" in Beyond Boundaries: Connecting Visual Cultures in the Provinces of Ancient Rome 2016
- "Northern Gaul, German, and Britain," in the Oxford Handbook of Roman Sculpture 2015 (2nd edition 2018)
- "Honoring the Empress Julia Domna on Arch Monuments in Rome and North Africa," in Roman in the Provinces: Art on the Periphery of Empire 2014
Selected Talks and Conference Panels
- "The Captive Gaul in the River Rhône," Grounding Roman Sculpture panel, Archaeological Institute of America conference, 2019
- "Seeing the Supernatural: Art and Religion in Roman Gaul," Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York, 2018
- "From the Phoenicians to the Celts: Towards a Global Art and Architectural History of the Ancient Mediterranean", Association for Art History conference, London, 2018
- "The Tyranny of the Dying Gaul," Unlocking the Provinces symposium, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 2017
- "Palmyra at the Crossroads", Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2016
- "Gifts for the Gods: The Art of Devotion in Roman Gaul" at the Getty Villa, Los Angeles, 2015
- "Gauls Dying and Victorious," Art of War symposium, Joukowsky Institute, Brown University, 2015
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, Pat O'Connell Memorial Fellowship, 2013-2014
- Getty Foundation, Art of Rome's Provinces seminar, 2010-2013
- Social Science Research Council, 2007-2008