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Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion, and Positive Change

The Kress Foundation Department of Art History is committed to creating and sustaining a diverse, equitable, accessible and inclusive community of students, teachers, and scholars. Through courses and research exploring cultural traditions from across the globe and spanning history, we aim to illuminate the rich diversity of human expression and experience and to foster appreciation for our common humanity. As we strive to move beyond a past built on racism, prejudice and systemic oppression, we pledge to do more to understand the historical forces that have created and perpetuate inequality, to advance anti-racism in our classrooms and within our community, and to build a truly inclusive art history. To that end, we will work to further diversify our courses and our curriculum; ensure that all students feel welcome in our classes regardless of their background, experiences, abilities and identities; and increase the diversity of our faculty and graduate student body.

Follow on Instagram: @kuarthistorydeai

The KU art history department condemns anti-Asian violence and supports our Asian and Asian American students. Faculty and staff whole-heartedly support the statement authored by our department's Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Committee:

The KU Art History student body stands in solidarity with our AAPI siblings. We condemn bigotry and hatred in all of its forms, and we commit our support to AAPI communities at KU and beyond. We promise to use the platform we have built to facilitate dialogue about the anti-Asian hatred that has plagued the United States for centuries and surged over the last year and a half. We will uplift and engage in research that addresses cross-cultural exchange in visual culture. As a student body, we will hold regular dialogue that fosters an anti-racist classroom and a space of inclusivity and belonging. We pledge to build acknowledgment, awareness, and appreciation of diverse voices both within our department and the larger KU community as well as to cultivate an environment where all individuals feel safe and heard.

We have compiled a list of charities, advocacy groups, educational resources, and events in support of these aims, accessible here: https://arthistory.ku.edu/aapi-communities-support


Murphy Lecture Series:

Intersections of Identity: Expression, Exchange, and Hybridity

This series began in the 2020-21 academic year with the intention of demonstrating how art history's critical investigation of the past - and contemporary artists' grappling with challenges of the present - can help us to recognize, analyze, and combat racism and inequality, affirming our discipline's value in the ongoing struggle to create a more just and equitable society.

What constitutes identity, and how do people navigate, form, and reform their sense of self? And how can the study of art and its history help us to consider the diverse identities expressed by visual culture and its creators? This series seeks to amplify the voices of scholars and artists whose work explores individual and collective identities as those intersect with notions of the body, dis/ability, gender, heritage, and race.

The series is sponsored by the Franklin Murphy Lecture Fund of the Kress Foundation Department of Art History. It is presented in partnership with the Spencer Museum of Art, KU Department of Visual Art, Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence Public Library, Raven Bookstore, BLACK Lawrence, and other community partners.

2020-21 Speakers:

Norman Akers, Associate Professor of Visual Art, University of Kansas
"Okesa / Halfway There"
Thursday, September 24 on YouTube:
KU Art History Channel

M. Carmen Lane, Cleveland-based artist, writer, and director of the ATNSC: Center for Healing & Creative Leadership
"Unfinished (We Are What's Left Undone): Identity, Performative Racial Scripts & the Necessity of the Anti-Colonial Iconoclast"
Thursday, October 29 on YouTube:
KU Art History Channel

Dipti Khera, Associate Professor of Art History, NYU
"Archive/Agency/Argument: Mobilizing the Knowledge of Colonial India's 'Native' Artists in 'Global' Art Histories"
Friday, February 26, 2021 on YouTube:
KU Art History Channel

Kimberly M. Jenkins, Assistant Professor of Fashion Studies, Ryerson University, Toronto
"The Fashion and Race Database: Providing a Pedagogical Platform Amidst Fashion’s Racial Reckoning"
Thursday, March 18, 2021 on YouTube:
KU Art History Channel

Keri Watson, Associate Professor of Art History, University of Central Florida, and Director of the Florida Prison Education Project
"Dalí's Dream of Venus: Sex, Surrealism, and Eugenics at the 1939 New York World's Fair"
Tuesday, April 27, 2021 on YouTube:
KU Art History Channel


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