Professor Niall Atkinson talks ARTH101 in The Core

Pick up a copy of the Winter 2011 edition of The Core for an article on ARTH 101 featuring our own Professor Niall Atkinson! Niall Atkinson talks ARTH101

Check it out: “From Comics to the Renaissance” in February’s Tableau

Pick up a copy of this month’s Tableau magazine to read up on new faculty in the Humanities Division, including Art History professors Niall Atkinson and Cecile Fromont. Copies can be found in the CWAC Lounge or the Dean of Students Office in Walker, 111.

Or click this link:

An American in Paris

Dear Voice of CWAC,

Today I went to the National Archives. I got a card to get to a room to get a card but before that I had to work an obligatory locker for my affairs whose lock mechanism broke my tiny typists’ hands. A rusty finger trap isn’t going to keep me from the archive, from the 150-year-old baking paper I fetishize! No sir!  So I started up the stairs in the big glass CARAN center (French archives have many acronyms, vaguely illustrative ones, like pharmaceutical names: Wellbutrin! Contentenol! Here, catalogues and collections are all GALLICA and OPALE: deeply associative of both precision and class, machinic serviceability and cultural warmth, a capable she-robot with convincing human breasts.) Suddenly a lady on the ground floor yelled up at me as I was halfway across the magic glass stairway to the 2nd-flor reading room. She said, pointing at me, bodily, “LA HOUSSE.  LA HOUSSE.” I went through my mental dictionary.  False cognates were skimmed and dismissed (THE HUSSY! THE HUSSY!)  La Housse? That means “comforter cover”! She pointed up at me and barked again.  I was wearing a skirt. “MADAME, LA HOUSSE.”  Guards looked up at me from the ground,  teens skulking in a second floor mediatheque glanced down.  I thought I might have my skirt tucked into my tights, like I did from 1983-1987. I smoothed my hands down my backside. “LA HOUUUSSE,” it came again. No tuckage.  I was wearing a kind of dumpy top, was she saying I looked like I was wearing a duvet cover? Was she just RAZZING ME? I have a rant about how Paris, the city of fashion and self-display, has subtly pressured me into wearing tights and dresses and heels on a daily basis, whereas Chicago respected me all the more if I wore men’s Carharts, a college sweatshirt, two flannels and the taped-on beard of a not-young goat. But not here, no, here women are feminine, and you feel either stared at or invisible if you don’t play ball. And now—it’s too much!—the finger of the State is pointing at me, calling me a hussy—no, a sleeping bag—something having to do with the stupid lady-outfit it MADE ME WEAR.  All these Gavarnis, these Verniers I’m skimming over in Le Charivari from the 1850s and 60s: the grisette or the lorette is in her dressing room getting beautiful, the man in the top hat waiting outside, but always her vanity is the center of the joke.  Hundreds of these caricatures and I still didn’t manage to outsmart the mirrored café wall and its call to be a reflection-worthy woman, that’s what I was thinking, standing there in my skirt between two floors of stares, the meat in a gaze panini that I didn’t order.

Housse means computer case. You can’t enter the reading room with your computer in its cover. So you don’t steal Baudelaire’s shopping list.  The dossier I needed was shipped off somewhere, sketchily, to be digitized, and would be gone “for months.”  I left and got a falafel sandwich in the Marais.  Success.

Sometimes I have real successes, too, ones that aren’t in sandwich form. But today is my one-year anniversary in Paris.  I thought it was nice to be reminded that an archive can still spook the confit out of you, even when you think you’re a pro.

And because this blog is supposed to be informative: If you have massive amounts of digital imagery– let’s say, thousands of photos from archives– and it’s too much information to back up on something like DropBox or another online cloud-thing, become a pro member of flickr and batch-upload photos that way.  (This is in addition to your e-drive backup.)  Thanks to Moacir at the Paris Chicago Center for the tip.


Julia Langbein

Of Late

School ended and there’s been lots going on with the upstairs construction, lockers arriving, party having, etc. A photo essay:

Spring came, and we took it in on the mound.

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Q&A: Using Research


As you embark on dissertation research, post-proposal and pre-writing, how do you organize your research so that its easily employable once you begin writing?


Last week’s guest poster, Julia, suggested using Excel to organize dissertation research. How do you organize? Let us know in the comments.

Guest Post: Research Abroad

Today, we have another thoughtful guest blogger writing about the post-coursework experience. Julia, a 4th year student on a Fulbright in Paris this year, shares her tips for keeping dissertation research marching steadily along.

I haven’t always dreamed of living in France.  I don’t throw throat into my “r”s when I’m pronouncing French words in English.  “BaudelAIRR” is all in the lips for me. Which is to say a year in Paris doing research was exactly that to me: research.  Not romantic beret time.

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Mellon Curatorial Internship Opportunity at the Smart

This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in curatorial research. No prior museum experience is expected, but an interest in the history/histories of ‘objects’ and good research skills are.

Mark Dion Round Up: An Entomological Endeavor for the Smart Museum of Art, 2000 Colored pencil and collage on paper, 7 x 12 in. 2000.65


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Curatorial Internship

Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago

The Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago is pleased to offer the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Curatorial Internship for 2010–11.  Applications are due June 1, 2010.


  • To provide a museum opportunity involving object-based curatorial research for advanced graduate students in art history and related disciplines;
  • To advance substantive research on objects in the collection of the Smart Museum, which will be incorporated into the Smart’s permanent research files and online collection database;
  • To assist curatorial staff in further integrating the collections of the Smart Museum into the academic and intellectual life of the University of Chicago.


The successful candidate will work 19.5 hours per week on a 10-month appointment at the Smart Museum of Art (September through June).  The Mellon Program Coordinator will supervise this position and determine exact areas of permanent collection research, taking account of curatorial needs as well as the internship recipient’s own areas of expertise.


The successful candidate will receive $14,000 for a 10-month, 19.5 hrs/wk appointment.


Candidates must be advanced graduate students at the University of Chicago in good standing in their department, ideally in the late stages of the dissertation.  Students in other circumstances will be considered, but must at a minimum have finished their coursework and passed their preliminary examinations.

The successful candidate will focus on one of the following three areas of the Smart Museum collection, based on his or her areas of expertise:

Asian (all periods)

Old Master European (Renaissance – 1900)

Modern American and European (1850 – 1960)

Candidates who apply to work on Asian Art must be proficient in Japanese, Korean or Chinese. They do not have to be art historians. However, candidates who apply to work on Old Master or Modern Art must have a strong knowledge of art history, including research sources and methods. Previous museum experience is not required, but students with previous museum experience are also encouraged to apply.

Excellent research and writing skills are required.  Excellent oral communication needed and ability to work collaboratively as well as to work independently on research.  Strong computer skills needed.

Q&A: Teaching Philosophy

Today a student stopped by with a question that I’ll pose to you below about teaching philosophies. These statements are increasingly important for students going on the job market, and even for students seeking certain kinds of graduate student teaching positions within the University.


Does the department keep a file of sample statements of teaching philosophy?


Not yet. This is something we should talk about at the Town Hall. Perhaps the construction of a teaching philosophy can be incorporated into our syllabus workshop. You can also check with the Center for Teaching and Learning and CAPS.

Also, please consider this a call for examples! Feel free to write in the comments about strategies you’ve employed when crafting your teaching philosophy or send a copy of your actual statement to Tara to keep on file.

Lounge Flowers

This flower (called a “testament to hope” by one student) is actually blooming in the lounge right now. For two years, this otherwise slimy, limp, and lifeless plant was kept alive by Tara Morin. And today, it blooms!

It may have been a hard winter, but now it really is spring.

Dissertation Haikus

You think an abstract is tough? Try 17 syllables. This delightful site can show you how to condense like you’ve never condensed before. (Thanks, Maggie!)

Saint Riquier church
Built, rebuilt, rebuilt, rebuilt
Always something new.

Rebecca Price

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Dissertation title: “The late Gothic abbey church of Saint-Riquier : an investigation of historical consciousness”
The dissertation (1997) was looking at the role of historical consciousness in the high and late gothic reconstructions and building campaigns at the abbey church of Saint Riquier in France.
Now I’m a librarian.