Art History adds Ph.D program, names Tejada as endowed chair

Janis Bergman-Carton

Art History adds Ph.D program, names Tejada as endowed chair

Roberto TejadaFollowing an international search, the Division of Art History in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts has announced the appointment of Roberto Tejada (right) as the new Distinguished Endowed Chair in Art History, effective Aug. 1, 2010.

The new endowed position was made possible by an anonymous gift of $2 million, intended to help launch a new Ph.D. program in art history at SMU in the fall of 2011. It will be the first art history Ph.D. program in North Texas and one of only a few in the state.

“Although our donor wishes to remain anonymous, we express our gratitude for this generous support of a major goal of the Second Century Campaign – strengthening our academic programs and increasing the number of endowed academic positions,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The appointment of Dr. Tejada and this innovative new doctoral program in art history leverage the unique resources of the Meadows Museum and the cultural richness of our region.”

A well-known specialist in modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino/U.S. visual culture, Dr. Tejada is also a highly distinguished teacher, art critic, poet, curator and editor. Ramón A. Gutierrez, Preston & Sterling Morton Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Chicago, said that Tejada is regarded as “one of a very small handful of top Latino art historians/critics and as one of Latin America’s most important thinkers in the field.”

“We are thrilled to have Professor Tejada as our new endowed chair,” said Meadows Dean José Bowen. “He has formidable scholarly, curatorial and editorial credentials that will transform SMU’s already excellent art history program into one of national and international prominence, particularly in the arena of Latin American and Iberian studies. Building on the excellence of our existing faculty’s expertise in Colonial Latin America, Pre-Columbian art, and medieval Spain, and also on the strengths of the Meadows Museum and its renowned collection of Spanish art, Dr. Tejada will be a magnet for Ph.D. students around the world.”

Tejada comes to SMU from the University of Texas-Austin, where he is an associate professor in the art and art history department. Previously he taught at the University of California-San Diego, where he was one of 8 prominent scholars specifically hired by the university to promote interdisciplinary research and create synergies among departments, programs and research centers.

Professor Tejada also has lived in Mexico City, taught at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and curated for the Museo de las Artes in Guadalajara. He spent 7 years as executive editor of Artes de México, one of the continent’s leading arts journals, and was on the editorial team of Vuelta Magazine in Mexico City, published by the late Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz, which focused on the arts, culture and politics of Latin America. He has published books on Mexican photography and on the artist Celia Alvarez Muñoz as well as numerous articles.

An accomplished poet, Tejada founded and is now co-editor of Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas, one of the premiere bilingual journals of poetry, poetics, and visual arts from the Americas. He will continue to publish the journal at SMU.

The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, Tejada earned his Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies (art history, English, comparative literature and media studies) at the State University of New York-Buffalo and his B.A. in comparative literature at New York University.

The international search for the new chair was led by SMU University Distinguished Professor in Art History Greg Warden. The search committee included numerous prominent scholars, among them W.J.T. Mitchell of the University of Chicago and Annabel J. Wharton of Duke University.

The division’s new Ph.D. program will feature a curriculum with two areas of concentration: one geographic, covering Latin America, Iberia and the Americas; and the other media-based, focusing on technologies of visual communication.

The Ph.D. curriculum is called RASC/A (Rhetorics of Art, Space and Culture,) says Janis Bergman-Carton, chair of art history at SMU. “Rooted in the fields of both art history and visual culture studies, RASC/A builds upon the strengths of the present faculty with renewed emphasis on historical and new media, architecture and the city, and performance and ritual,” she adds. “Emphasizing spatial as well as visual culture, RASC/A extends the department’s commitment to the study of visual technologies, while also advancing transnational scholarship in arts of Latin America, Iberia, and the Americas.

“Dr. Tejada’s extensive work on photography and modern Mexican, Chicano, and Contemporary Latino art history makes him the ideal candidate for this exciting initiative.”

> Read more from SMU News

June 29, 2010|News|

New lecture series explores Holocaust’s lingering impact

'Holocaust Legacies' posterSMU’s Human Rights Education Program is cosponsoring a three-month series of lectures, symposiums, film screenings, photography exhibits and musical performances examining how the Holocaust continues to affect the world.

“Holocaust Legacies: Shoah as Turning Point” begins Sept. 9 with a 7 p.m. reception and a 7:30 p.m. introductory panel discussion in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. The program will run through the end of November with events held both on and off the SMU campus, and all events are free and open to the public.

Panel members on Sept. 9 will include Christopher Anderson, associate professor of sacred music in Perkins School of Theology; Janis Bergman-Carton, art history chair in Meadows School of the Arts; Elliott Dlin, executive director of the Dallas Holocaust Museum; Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Human Rights Education Program and Tom Mayo, director of SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

Halperin, who each December escorts educational groups to former Nazi death camp locations in Poland, is committed to raising awareness of what he calls “the crime within the war,” even as the number of people who lived through the war, and the Holocaust, dwindles with each passing year. September marks the 70th anniversary of the Nazi German invasion of Poland and beginning of World War II.

“It’s safe to say most Americans don’t think about World War II any more,” Halperin said. “We fought the war, defeated the Nazis, and came home the good guys. We mushroomed into a world power. Most Americans since then have lived a relatively safe and comfortable life.”

But the legacy of the Holocaust continues at many levels, Halperin said: The Nazis committed the greatest art theft in history, looting the collections of Jewish families whose descendents are still litigating to see their treasures returned. All major war crime tribunals bear the stamp of the post-World War II Nuremburg Trials, and the United States in May deported a nearly 90-year-old man, John Demjanjuk, for Nazi war crimes.

Halperin noted that in Europe, sensitivity to the Shoah’s legacy is reflected even in restrictions to how people talk and write about the Nazi regime. “You can buy a copy of Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf in the SMU Book Store – that’s free speech,” Halperin explained. “You can deny the Holocaust in the U.S., and that’s free speech, too. You can’t do that in Europe.” Halperin said he expects the series to be “a powerful, emotional, somber and sobering series of events.”

Co-sponsors for the 2009 Fall Program Series are SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, SMU Perkins School of Theology, TCU’s Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Department of Social Work and the University of Dallas.

Find a complete schedule at the SMU News site

September 8, 2009|Calendar Highlights, News|

Common Reading committee seeks suggestions

With the fifth anniversary of SMU’s Common Reading Experience approaching in 2008-09, the Common Reading Selection Committee is looking for the book (or play, or monograph) that the class of 2012 will discuss as part of their introduction to college-level reading. The SMU and Dallas communities, including alumni and nonprofit leaders, gathered to discuss the 2007-08 Common Reading, Nick Hornby’s How to Be Good, in the Hughes-Trigg Theater Aug. 30. Read more.

(more…)

October 5, 2007|News|
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