Program Overview

Welcome to the Department of History of Art & Architecture at UC Santa Barbara

The teaching interests of the faculty are closely aligned with their research and form six clusters of expertise:

  • Art and Architecture of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds
  • Art and Architecture of the Early Modern World
  • Modern and Contemporary Art, Architecture, and Visual Culture
  • Architecture and Urbanism
  • Museum and Curatorial Studies
  • Theory and Criticism

Faculty expertise in these six clusters is exceptional for its intellectual diversity and global reach across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. We work across national boundaries as well as media and sites — painting, print, photography, popular art, sculpture, ceramics, architecture, cities, digital media — to define a global interdisciplinary field.

In the undergraduate curriculum, a new emphasis on global perspectives and intercultural exchanges joins the department’s long-established strengths in European and Non-Western traditions. The department also offers two interdisciplinary undergraduate Emphases: in Architecture & Environment, a program that promotes an understanding of architecture within a complex matrix of social, geographical, and political factors, and in Museum Studies, a program designed to engage historical and theoretical questions with professional practice and encourage "hands on" experiences through internships.

The department’s graduate program for the Ph.D. degree balances maximum flexibility with rigorous training in order to foster the creativity that is essential to the development of a vital discipline. Students are encouraged to utilize individual and collective faculty expertise to create specific fields of art historical inquiry. Feminist art history and gender studies, text-image relationships, art theory, technology and art, the epistemology of collecting and displaying objects, the study of urbanism and the cultural landscape are some noteworthy faculty interests. For those interested in museum careers, there are ample opportunities to work through our internship program with area institutions, including the Art, Design & Architecture Museum at UCSB, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Fowler Museum at UCLA and the Huntington Library and Art Collections; the department also enjoys a close working relationship with J. Paul Getty Museum.

Statement on Student Diversity

The Department of History of Art & Architecture recognizes that the richness of our constructed visual world, whether presented through art, architecture, cities, or material culture, is inseparable from the variety and diversity that marks us as humans. As a department, we are committed to understanding and celebrating that diversity, and we strive to have it characterize us in the materials and cultures we study and in our mission to be inclusive. We welcome students from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, including minority and first-generation college students. We are committed to a fully inclusive history of art and architecture that explores ethnic, racial, class, sexual, and religious difference. We are dedicated to encouraging and supporting future art and architectural historians and professionals from underrepresented backgrounds pursuing underrepresented histories.

Affiliated Departments and Programs

American Cultures and Global Contexts Center, Department of English   Feminist Studies
Ancient Mediterranean Studies (AMS)   Film and Media Studies
Department of Art   Germanic & Slavic Studies
Center for Middle East Studies   Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC)
Chican@ Studies   Japanese Arts & Globalizations (JAG)
Classics   Latin American & Iberian Studies
The Digital Cultures Project   Medieval Studies, Department of History
The Early Modern Center, Department of English (EMC)   Religious Studies
East Asia Center (EAC)   Renaissance Studies
East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies (EALCS)   The Subaltern-Popular Workshop