Kimia Shahi

Ph.D., 2021


Kimia Shahi is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Southern California. She researches, teaches, and writes about modern and American art and visual culture in relation to transoceanic and multidisciplinary histories of landscape, geography, empire, and environment.

Kimia is currently at work on her first book project, based on her PhD dissertation, which draws together a diverse array of objects, techniques, theories, sites, and makers to examine how coastlines were pictured and mapped in the United States during the latter half of the 19th century. This year, she also begins a new research project about art, environmentalism, and U.S. government policy in the 1970s, as part of a 2021–23 Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Harvard University Center for the Environment.

Kimia has held predoctoral fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library. Her research has also been supported by the High Meadows Environmental Institute at Princeton University, where she was a fellow with the Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars in 2016–18. Before receiving her Ph.D. from Princeton, she received an M.A. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, and an AB from Dartmouth College.

Selected Publications

Review of Shifting Grounds: Landscape in Contemporary Native American Art, by Kate Morris. H-Environment, March 15, 2021.

“William Trost Richards’s ‘Real Drawing’ and the Currency of Watercolor, c. 1875–1885.” American Art 34, no. 2 (Summer 2020): 54–77.

“Place and Painting on Monhegan Island: George Bellows, Robert Henri, Reuben Tam.” In For America: Paintings from the National Academy of Design, edited by Jeremiah McCarthy and Diana Thompson. New York: American Federation of Arts, National Academy of Design and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019.

“Entanglements of Land and Water: Picturing Contingency in Martin Johnson Heade’s Newburyport Marshes: Approaching Storm.” In Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment, edited by Alan Braddock and Karl Kusserow. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Art Museum and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018. Winner: 2019 PROSE Award for Excellence in Humanities, Association of American Publishers.

“The American Garden in Nineteenth-Century Canton.” Art Papers, Special Issue: “Ports of Call,” edited by Carson Chan (Summer 2018).