MA Art History Symposium

The Annual Graduate Symposium in the History of Art is sponsored by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Alabama Joint Program for the MA in Art History. It alternates each year between the UAB and UA campuses. The symposium is an all-day event at which M.A. students give papers, followed by a keynote lecture. Begun in 1995, the symposium offers students the opportunity to present their research in a setting of their peers and distinguished scholars in the field of art history.

The 2018 Graduate Symposium in the History of Art will be held Friday, February 23, 2018. Graduate students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama, along with grad students from neighboring universities, will present papers on a wide range of themes in art history, and undergraduate art history students will present a lunch-time poster sessions.

The Symposium will feature a keynote talk by Dr. Meryl Bailey. Dr. Bailey is Associate Professor of Art History at Mills College, with specialization in late Italian Renaissance art and architecture in Venice. She is also a specialist in criminal justice and visual culture. She received her BA in anthropology at Harvard, her JD at Harvard Law School, and her MA and PhD in art history at UC Berkeley. Dr. Bailey will be speaking about cultural heritage, art, and the law in a lecture titled, “Returning the Past: Cultural Heritage, Ethics, and the American Museum in the Twenty-First Century.”

Check back to this page for more information, follow our social media for announcements, or email Dr. Cathleen Cummings for more information at


Deadline: January 15, 2018

Graduate Paper Proposals:

Paper proposals are invited from MA students in all fields of art history and may include completed research as well as works in progress. Presentations are limited to 20 minutes and will be followed by discussion. Please submit a 250-word abstract and a one-page CV on or before Monday, January 15, 2018, by e-mail to both Dr. Cathleen Cummings ( and Dr. Lucy Curzon ( Notification of acceptance will be made by January 22, 2018. Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Curzon or Dr. Cummings with questions.

Undergraduate Poster Session Proposals:

We invite undergraduate art history majors to submit proposals for presentations of senior-level or thesis work in a poster session, to be held during the day of the MA Symposium. Proposals should consist of a 250-word abstract regarding the project and be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from the student’s advisor or major professor. Please submit abstracts & letters by Monday, January 15, 2018, by e-mail to Dr. Cathleen Cummings ( Notification of acceptance will be made by January 22, 2018.


2016: Susan L. Huntington, The Ohio State University, "The Absence of Evidence is Not Evidence of Absence: Shifting Paradigms and Constructions of Knowledge in Buddhist Art"

2015: Barbara Mooney, University of Iowa, "From Jumping Jack to Jump Jim Crow: The Origins of a Pernicious Southern Stereotype?"

2014: Jeanette Kohl, University of California, Riverside, “Serial Patricians. Authenticity and Duplication in Renaissance Portraiture”

2013: Andrew Hottle, Rowan University, “Why Are You Doing This? …and Other Questions about Rescuing Art from the Dustbin of History”

2012: Sarah Betzer, University of Virginia, “Ingres’s Shadows”

2011: Tim Barringer, Yale University, “The Condition of Music: The Aesthetic Movement and the Sister Arts”

2010: Elizabeth Chew, Curator, Monticello, “Inhabiting the Great Man’s House: Gender and Space at Monticello”

2009: Krista Thompson, Northwestern University, “‘The Sound of Light’: Reflections on Art History in the Visual Culture of Hip Hop”

2008: Michael Yonan, University of Missouri-Columbia, “The Game of Looking: Interpreting Franz Xaver Messerschmidt”

2007: Graham Boettcher, Curator of American Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, “The Wages of War: National Conflict and ‘Domestic Violence’ in Nineteenth-Century American Art”

2006: Andrea Pearson, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, “Gendered Subject, Gendered Spectator: Mary Magdalen in the Gaze of Margaret of York”

2005: Janice Leoshko, University of Texas at Austin, “Enlightenment, Ruins and Devotion”