Associate Professor Emerita of American Art, I taught in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland from September 2000 to my retirement in July 2017. I hold a B.A. in art history from Oberlin College (1987); a M.A. in art history from the University of Maryland (1993); and Ph.D. in art history from the University of Maryland (2000). My research and writing have largely focused on the intersection of race, monument building, and national identity.
Currently I am a Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, working on my digital project: Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past: Race, Memorialization, Public Space, and Civic Engagement. Using the open source web publishing platforms Omeka and Scalar as well as other digital tools, I investigate how we visualize, interpret, and engage the slave past through contemporary monuments created for public spaces. Through an examination of twenty-five monuments in the South, Midwest, and Northeast, I tell a diverse story about our engagement with the slave past. Arranged thematically, I consider six digital case studies that include monuments to the Transatlantic slave trade and the Middle Passage, slavery and the university, resistance to enslavement, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, black soldiers and the Civil War, and emancipation and freedom. My research is predicated on the idea that the memorialization of slavery is plural and multi-vocal, and is rooted in the interwoven nature of the social, the historical, and the spatial.
Funding for Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past is provided by:
National Endowment for the Humanities (2018);
The Getty Research Institute (2018); and
Smithsonian Office of Fellowships & Internships (2019).