The Department of Art & Archaeology fosters the exploration of diverse forms of art, architecture, and visual and material culture from all regions of the world, encompassing a wide range of media, and spanning thousands of years. The department’s faculty, researchers, and students study, for instance, the architecture of the Islamic world, the art of the Black diaspora, the archaeology of ancient Greece, modern and contemporary art in Africa, the Latin American avant-garde, Renaissance architectural drawing, art and power in China, Baroque sculpture in Rome, printmaking in Japan, art and sociability in nineteenth-century France, the sonic and haptic registers of Black visual culture, ritual time in medieval manuscript illumination, color in architectural representation, and the relationship between art and other socio-historical formations, including religion, politics, urbanism, and economics. A&A offers courses on a range of subjects, such as the art of the ancient Americas, architecture and war in the early modern period, the history of the modern museum, radical collaboration in contemporary art, decolonizing art history, modernism and gender politics, mimesis and performance in Byzantine art, the visual and material culture of scientific inquiry, the Roman villa, Black vernacular photography, art and engineering, world art history, art history and psychoanalysis, battlefield archaeology, and art and criticism in times of political crisis.
As Chair, I want the capaciousness of the field of art history in the twenty-first century to be a model for the Department of Art & Archaeology. I am deeply committed to advancing equity, access, diversity, and inclusion in the department and to creating a community in which everyone feels a sense of belonging. An open, welcoming, and inclusive environment directly supports the pursuit of excellence in research, teaching, learning, and service for students, faculty, staff, and visitors in A&A. This commitment echoes that of Princeton University as a whole. In 2020, the department formed a Climate & Inclusion Committee, responsible for advising the department and its leadership. Both the committee and the Chair work in collaboration with the A&A community and Princeton’s Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. The committee serves as one among many initiatives through which the department seeks to advance equity, access, diversity, and inclusion.
Art history and art making are tools for thinking critically and imaginatively about the world. Throughout history, the visual arts have encoded and displayed the ever-transforming values and convictions of diverse cultures and the zones of contact between them. Learning how to analyze and contextualize the visual arts, which arise from and materialize myriad forces, histories, and voices, offers a distinctive form of entry into understanding humanity and human behavior. A work of art is by nature interdisciplinary, and the study of art is thus all-encompassing, befitting a liberal arts institution like Princeton devoted to the generation of knowledge and insight in the service of humanity.
—Rachael Z. DeLue, Chair
Christopher Binyon Sarofim ’86 Professor in American Art / Effron Center for the Study of America