Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Art

The Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Art support an academic year of research and/or writing by early career scholars for a project that will make a substantial and original contribution to the understanding of art and its history.

This program is made possible by a generous grant from the Getty Foundation.

Read more about this fellowship program.

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Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

Nicola J. Barham
Nicola J. Barham  |  Abstract
“Syrian Diasporas in the Ancient Roman World” studies visual, epigraphic, and literary evidence to reconstruct the Syrian diaspora of the Roman Empire. There are over a thousand funerary monuments dedicated to Syrian people that survive from Britain to Arabia, with concentrations around the city of Rome, in Romania, and along the Mediterranean coast. This project explores the visual and epigraphic choices for self-representation in these monuments and contrasts them with those favored in Syrian cities such as Palmyra. By further considering the literary evidence for the stereotypes Romano-Syrian people often faced, and combated, the project accesses a forgotten narrative of Syrian migrant experience, promoting a fuller understanding of the history of Syrian peoples and their contributions across the ancient Roman world.

Assistant Professor, History of Art, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Syrian Diasporas in the Ancient Roman World: Soldiers, Wives, and Economic Migrants

Holly Shaffer
Holly Shaffer  |  Abstract
In the eighteenth century, Maratha military rulers and British East India Company officials used the arts to engage in diplomacy, wage war, compete for prestige, and generate devotion as they allied with, or fought against, each other to control western India. But rather than promoting a recognizable style of art, as other regions did, they mixed sources and traditions to speak to diverse audiences. This project conceptualizes these combinations through “graft”—a term that acknowledges the violent and creative processes of suturing arts, and losing and gaining goods, as well as the shifting dynamics among agents who assembled such materials. By tracing grafted arts from multiple vantage points—Maratha and British, artist and patron, soldier and collector—this book charts the methods of empire-building that transformed artistic production and collection in western India and from there across India and in Britain.

Assistant Professor, History of Art and Architecture, Brown University  -  Grafted Arts: The Marathas and the British in Western India, 1760-1820

Christina Elizabeth Crawford
Christina Elizabeth Crawford  |  Abstract
Atlanta was the site of both the first New Deal neighborhood clearance project in the United States in 1934, and of America's first completed—though segregated—federally-funded public housing: Techwood Homes (for white families) and University Homes (for black families). These projects became models for American public housing in the years following ratification of the National Housing Acts of 1934 and 1937. This research seeks to expand the interwar architectural map through a detailed investigation of Techwood and University, to establish Atlanta’s role as a clearinghouse for European social housing ideas, and to investigate how architectural ideas and forms travel and transform—in this case, across the Atlantic, across Atlanta, and across the United States. The research, writing, 3-D modeling, and cartography that emerge from this project will result in a monograph and allied digital public history project that tests the capacities of new hybrid publishing formats.

Assistant Professor, Art History, Emory University  -  Atlanta Housing Interplay: Expanding the Interwar Housing Map

Agnieszka Szymanska
Agnieszka Szymanska  |  Abstract
“Sacred Spectating” traces the history of an ascetic practice that fostered visionary experiences of the supernatural, and uncovers ties to the longstanding tradition of pilgrimage in the Mediterranean region. This project situates sacred spectating in architectural environments of late antiquity, from the third to the ninth centuries CE, designed to cultivate it. The focal point is the Red Monastery, the best-preserved late antique painted church sanctuary in the Mediterranean region, located in Egypt. The project asserts the artistic and cultural vitality of late antique Egypt, and shows that the ancient network of pilgrimage roads linking Africa and the Mediterranean invigorated the early generations of Christian monks who lived on the edge of the Nile River Valley. The project engages broad conversations about the agency of sacred spaces and provides a new foundation for cross-cultural analyses of visual experiences of the divine.

Assistant Professor, Art and Art History, University of Richmond  -  Sacred Spectating: Monastic Architecture and Spirituality in Late Antique Egypt

Giulia Paoletti
Giulia Paoletti  |  Abstract
This book reframes narratives of photography’s origin and originality by focusing on the medium’s histories in Senegal. Strategically located on the Atlantic coast, Senegal was one of the countries where this technology first arrived before circulating inland, becoming one of the epicenters of Africa’s modernity and modernism. Based on 10 years of research, this project is the first to focus on Senegal and consider the relation between photographic practices and local visualities—or forms of seeing—that predated and overlapped with the camera. By zooming into four moments between the 1840s—when the daguerreotype arrived—and the 1960s—when the medium became a “social imperative”—the book considers a variety of authors, genres, and objects, including glass paintings and albums. Rather than searching for a “Senegalese” visual language, this project traces the multiple, sometimes contradictory, subjectivities and ways of seeing that were crafted before, during, and despite colonialism.

Assistant Professor, Art, University of Virginia  -  Unbound: Photography and Visuality in Senegal

Richard H. Teverson
Richard H. Teverson  |  Abstract
“The Art of Future Romans” is the first book to explore how Roman art represented the future. It applies this new approach to a set of periods in which the future was most fraught: the decades surrounding the assimilation of allied kingdoms into the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire in the first century BCE relied on client kingdoms in the Alps, the Balkans, North Africa, and the Middle East. Before they were annexed into the Empire, these kingdoms produced some of the most innovative art to survive from the period. The visual representation of time, and the role artworks played in imperial systems, are two of the foundational questions of art history. By showing how they connect in artworks from Roman frontier kingdoms, “The Art of Future Romans” provides a new perspective on the history of communities facing Roman conquest and generates insights applicable to the study of other empires.

Assistant Professor, Art History and Music, Fordham University  -  The Art of Future Romans: Visions of the Future from the Last Decades of Kingdoms Allied to the Roman Empire

Agata Justyna Pietrasik
Agata Justyna Pietrasik  |  Abstract
Between 1940 and 1949, exhibitions became a significant medium for depicting the events of the Second World War and the Holocaust in Europe, as well as for informing societies about the crimes committed by the Nazis. These exhibitions drew enormous audiences and were a transnational phenomenon that spread across both eastern and western Europe. Through archival research, the project identifies and maps relevant exhibitions and reconstructs their design and reception. By reflecting upon how these exhibitions mediated historical events, the research reveals the ways in which avant-garde aesthetics of collage and photomontage migrated into mainstream exhibition design, and even influenced its contemporary technological development under priorities of didactic interactivity. Ultimately, the project critically evaluates the way art institutions became singularly crucial agents in rebuilding a postwar world order and questions the status of artworks as documents and as means of disseminating eyewitness testimony.

Independent Scholar  -  How Exhibitions Rebuilt Europe: Exhibiting War Crimes in the 1940s

Luis Vargas-Santiago
Luis Vargas-Santiago  |  Abstract
The book-length study examines how the image of Mexican Revolution agrarian leader Emiliano Zapata was gradually transformed into one of the most paradigmatic icons of the Americas. In theorizing “the afterlives” of Zapata in Warburgian terms, the project explores key stances of the representations of this hero in Mexico and the United States from 1910 to the present. The investigation focuses on select images that show the diverse mutations of Zapata’s icon, and its ability to embody varying social, political, artistic, racial, ethnic, and gender agendas across time. Looking at the intertwining of image-making and religious structures related to the invention and reinvention of narratives of modern Mexico, the study considers Zapata as part of an incessant visual diaspora between Latin America and the United States. Furthermore, it engages in a larger conversation around global art histories through the lenses of immigration and the cultural dispersion of images beyond nationalist constituencies.

Researcher, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México  -  The Afterlives of Zapata: A Revolutionary Icon in Mexico and the United States

Caroline Lillian Schopp
Caroline Lillian Schopp  |  Abstract
“In-Action” tells a new story about Viennese performance art and intervenes in the historiography of performance art writ large. While histories of postwar Austrian art typically focus on the graphic displays of violence associated with Viennese Actionism, this book attends to a broader field of practices, from the little-known performances of the poets of the Vienna Group to the tapestry collaborations of Ingrid Wiener. This optic brings out a curiously unacknowledged aspect of the work: Viennese performance art explores conditions of withdrawal, impotence, and dependence in gestures of in-action. By attending to the Austrian example, this book offers a model for thinking about forms of artistic and political engagement that resist the prevalent paradigm of performance as emancipatory action. For in-action is not the opposite of action: rather, it refuses the normative distinction between action and passivity to account for our linguistic and corporeal entanglements.

University Assistant, Art History, Universität Wien, Austria  -  In-Action: The Vienna Group, Viennese Actionism, and the Passivities of Performance Art

Yang Wang
Yang Wang  |  Abstract
This book establishes Chinese art in the expanded terrain of postwar modernism through an examination of the Maoist-era ink painting collective known as the Chang’an School. Noted for transforming ink painting from a studio-based practice to a hybrid genre that combined the Chinese medium with Western realism, the school cultivated the historical allure of northwestern China to promote a new form of nationalism that bypassed the country’s late imperial period to evoke the glory of China’s ancient past. This book argues that in a contested geopolitical space, the reorientation of Chinese art helped the Chinese Communist Party advance its profile as a leader of the emergent Third World by defining modernity and nationhood in visual terms. In doing so, this project considers neglected dimensions of global postwar art—realism, indigeneity, and neo-traditionalism—that have been excluded in the narrow discourse of Euro-American modernism.

Assistant Professor, Visual Arts, University of Colorado Denver  -  Yellow Earth: Regional Chinese Ink Painting in the Age of Postwar Modernism