Karen Redrobe, Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Professor of Cinema and Modern Media and Chair of the Department of the History of Art

Professor Redrobe’s research interests include the evolving role of film theory in the 21st century, animation theory, violence and media,  feminism and terrorism, and the relationship between cinema and contemporary art. Her book Vanishing Women: Magic, Film, and Feminism reveals a pattern of female vanishings in 19th and 20th century visual culture and argues that vanishing women emerge throughout history in response to anxieties about female excess. By tracing the elusive emergence of the vanishing women in stage magic, spiritualist photography, psychoanalysis, and film, Professor Redrobe encourages the reader to think differently about female subjectivity and the media in which the female subject appears.

Selected Books Written and Edited: Vanishing Women: Magic, Film, and Feminism, Crash: Cinema and the Politics of Speed and Stasis, Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography, On Writing With Photography, Animating Film Theory.

Courses being taught in Spring 2018: ARTH 295 – Global Film Theory, ARTH 596 – Art and Resistance

Kaja Silverman, Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Professor of Contemporary Art

Professor Silverman’s writing and teaching are focused primarily on phenomenology, psychoanalysis, photography, time-based visual art and literature, and cinema. Committed to feminist theory, she has written books on male subjectivity and female voice. In Male Subjectivity at the Margins, Professor Silverman provides a feminist and psychoanalytic reading of a variety of masculinities that fall outside the "phallic pale." Since she is most concerned with the forms of male subjectivity that occupy a space, which has been traditionally defined as “feminine,” this book is also an extended investigation of femininity. Her other book, The Acoustic Mirror: The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and Cinema, reflects on sound and voice in cinema and examines the possibilities and impossibilities of current theoretical approaches as they listen, or not, to issues of sexual difference.

Selected Books Written: The Miracle of Analogy, or The History of Photography, Part 1, Flesh of My Flesh, The Threshold of the Visible World, The Subject of Semiotics.

Courses being taught in Spring 2018: ARTH 294 – Art Now, ARTH 794 – Installations, Projections, Divagations

Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Associate Professor of American Art

Professor Shaw is interested in studying issues of race, gender, sexuality, and class in the art of the US and the “New World.”  Her dissertation, Seeing the Unspeakable: The Art of Kara Walker, examines this black artist’s body of works. This includes silhouettes, gouache drawings, and prints. Professor Shaw analyzes the inspiration for and reception of four of Walker’s pieces, provides an overview of her biography, and contextualizes her art within the history of black visual culture. She also discusses Walker in relation to contemporary artists like Faith Ringgold, Carrie Mae Weems, and Michael Ray Charles. She also describes how Walker deliberately challenges viewers’ sensibilities with radically de–sentimentalized images of slavery and racial stereotypes. 

Books Written: Represent: 200 Years of African American Art in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Portraits of a People: Picturing African Americans in the Nineteenth Century, Seeing the Unspeakable: The Art of Kara Walker.

Courses being taught in Spring 2018: ARTH 102 – Introduction to Western Art: 1400 to the Present

Christine Poggi, Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director and Professor of Fine Arts of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; Professor Emerita of Modern and Contemporary Art and Criticism, Penn

Professor Poggi’s research has focused on early 20th century European avant–garde, the invention of collage and constructed sculpture, the rise of abstraction, and the relationship of art to emerging forms of labor and technology. She also works on the art of the 1960s and '70s, as well as contemporary art. Her current research projects examine the intersection between immigration, crossing borders, mapping, and labor in contemporary performance and film, and the restaging of avant–garde works in contemporary art. Her essays have explored a variety of topics, including the Futurist art of noise, Picasso’s first constructed sculpture, the handling of materials in Cubism, and the representation of sexual difference in Picasso’s early nudes.

Books Written and Edited: Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism, Futurism: An Anthology,  In Defiance of Painting: Cubism, Futurism, and the Invention of Collage.


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