Bard Graduate Center, a member of the Association of Research Institutes in Art History (ARIAH), offers long and short-term fellowships for researchers working on the cultural history of the material world and welcomes scholars working across art history, architecture and design history, economic and cultural history, history of technology, philosophy, anthropology, and archaeology. Below are the fellows who will be in residence during the 2018-19 academic year.

Eduardo A. Escobar

Visiting Fellow, September 2018

Eduardo A. Escobar is a historian and Assyriologist whose research focuses on cuneiform scholarly cultures of the ancient Middle East. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley (2017) in Near Eastern Studies with a designated emphasis in Science and Technology Studies, and holds degrees from Columbia University, and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher and instructor at the newly-founded Institute on the Formation of Knowledge at the University of Chicago. Escobar has written on Assyro-Babylonian technological recipes for making glass and perfume, social networks of astronomers, and mathematics. At the University of Chicago, he teaches courses on the history of science in the premodern world, Babylonian knowledge, and historiography. During his time at Bard Graduate Center, Escobar will be workshopping his working book manuscript, entitled The Scribal Craft: Cuneiform Recipe Knowledge and the Language of Technology. This work details the central role technology played in the construction of scribal knowledge.

Hadley Welch Jensen

Bard Graduate Center / American Museum of Natural History
Postdoctoral Fellow in Museum Anthropology

Hadley Jensen’s research addresses the intersections between art, anthropology, and material culture. She is currently Bard Graduate Center/AMNH Postdoctoral Fellow in Museum Anthropology, a three-year appointment at Bard Graduate Center and in the Anthropology Division at the Richard Gilder Graduate School of the American Museum of Natural History. Her dissertation, Shaped by the Camera: Navajo Weavers and the Photography of Making in the American Southwest, 1880-1945, examines the visual documentation of Navajo weaving through various modes and media of representation. She believes in the close examination of objects as an integral part of learning about their material qualities and methods of production, and she is particularly interested in advancing interdisciplinary methodologies to better understand processes of making. In addition, she has hands-on experience learning indigenous weaving and natural dyeing practices (Navajo and Zapotec), which has strengthened and enlivened her work as an academic researcher, curator, and teacher.

Jensen has developed her interests in museum anthropology, textiles, and ethnographic media in a variety of fellowship positions and research opportunities, including at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives, National Museum of Natural History, de Young Museum, Otsego Institute for Native American Art History, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the Autry Museum of the American West. Her work has also been supported by the Textile Society of America, The Center for Craft, and the Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund for Historical Photographic Research.

Project summary:
Jensen’s postdoctoral project explores the effects of intercultural exchange and colonial encounter on the material worlds of Native North America, as expressed in and through textiles. Her research during the fellowship period (2018–2021) will draw upon the exceptional Southwestern textile collections at AMNH, specifically the historic Navajo blankets donated by Mrs. Russell Sage and J. Pierpont Morgan, as well as the US Hollister Collection. Although Navajo textiles will be the primary focus of the exhibition, these pieces will be contextualized by examples of Hopi, Chimayo, and Saltillo weavings in order to show regional variation in—and transmission of—materials, process, and technique. Building upon theories and methods in the anthropology of making, she is particularly interested in examining how craft processes are documented through museum collections, using the AMNH as a case study.

By exploring the various ways in which indigenous peoples in the American Southwest have contributed to their own histories and narratives regarding textile production, this project will also diverge from previous analytic strategies to focus on the ethnoaesthetics of Navajo textiles. As a result, the forthcoming exhibition will emphasize weaving as a cultural practice, a mode of spiritual engagement, and a system of indigenous knowledge production and transmission, in addition to its significance as an art form with a particular economic and institutional history of non-Native collection, display, and publication. Jensen’s research will culminate in a Focus Project exhibit and symposium in Spring 2021.

Yeewan Koon

Fulbright Fellow, January–July 2019

Yeewan Koon is associate professor and head of the Fine Arts Department at the University of Hong Kong. She has published numerous works including A Defiant Brush: Su Renshan and the Politics of Painting in 19th Century Guangdong, which examines how an artist produced iconoclastic works in response to the violence that besieged China in the mid-19th century. She is the recipient of several research awards, including a Fulbright Senior Fellowship to conduct research for her new book project on China trade art and the construction of Canton as a portable place. Koon also works in the contemporary art field as a critic and curator. In 2014, she was guest curator of the exhibition It Begins with Metamorphosis: Xu Bing at the Asia Society, Hong Kong Center, and she is also one of the selected curators for the 12th Gwangju Biennale, 2018.
Liat Naeh

Research Fellow, October–December 2018

Liat Naeh investigates the idiosyncratic features of Levantine artistic practices and ideology in an age of global exchange focusing on the art, archaeology, and religion of the Bronze and Iron Ages Levant and the ancient Mediterranean. She is completing her doctorate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where her dissertation identifies unrecognized Levantine religious perceptions through the study of bone and ivory-inlaid boxes from the Middle Bronze Age. She was previously an associate research fellow at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem and a visiting scholar at Columbia University and at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Naeh has published extensively on newly excavated art and cult objects from southern Levantine sites. In 2017, her article “In Search of Identity: The Contribution of Recent Finds to Our Understanding of Iron Age Ivory Objects in the Material Culture of the Southern Levant,” which revisited the unsolved question of southern Levantine production of ivories during the Iron Age, won the Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize for best student paper in the field of Syro-Palestinian or biblical archaeology. Her MA thesis, which examined the use and manufacture of miniature vessels and seven-cupped bowls in the Middle Bronze Age cult site of Nahariya, Israel, was awarded the Polonsky Prize for Creativity and Originality in the Humanistic Disciplines.

Fostering a keen interest in ancient furniture and its ritualistic use, Naeh is the co-editor of a collection of articles on ancient thrones in the Near East titled “The Throne in Art and Archaeology: From the Dawn of the Ancient Near East until the Late Medieval Period” (with Dana Brostowsky Gilboa, to be published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences). At Bard Graduate Center, she will focus on her new project “The Ivory Throne of the Levantines.” This project will involve interpreting Levantine archaeological finds and studying comparanda at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in order to define and reconstruct a previously unknown class of Canaanite Bronze Age ivory thrones that embodied an amalgamation of local and global concepts of authority.

Sandy Ng

Visiting Fellow, February 2019

Sandy Ng is assistant professor of culture and theory at The School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) specializing in modern Chinese art and culture. Her published works include several articles that examine the notion of hybrid modernism in Lin Fengmian’s figurative paintings (1900–1991). She attends international conferences and publishes journal articles on a range of issues concerning how modernity and cultures shape artistic representation and design. In recent years, the focus of her research has shifted to scrutinizing the concept of gender in design and to looking at new approaches to revitalize traditional customs in order to inspire contemporary design thinking and practices. Two forthcoming publications will examine how artists embrace modernity and fashion the “self” in the twentieth century, and how national and female identities are tied to the design of cheongsam in Hong Kong. At Bard Graduate Center, she will work on a research project that explores the roles of the newly emerging “modern woman” and her impact on the introduction of modern design into advertisements, films, and photographs in the culture of Republican-era China (1912–1949).

Megan E. O’Neil

Research Fellow, March–May 2019

Megan E. O’Neil is assistant professor of art history at Emory University and faculty curator in the Michael C. Carlos Museum. A specialist in ancient Maya and other ancient American cultures, she received her BA in Archaeological Studies from Yale College, an MA in art history from the University of Texas at Austin, and a PhD in history of art from Yale. One aspect of her research focuses on ancient Maya creation and interaction with stone sculptures. In her first book, Engaging Ancient Maya Sculpture at Piedras Negras, Guatemala (University of Oklahoma Press), and in multiple essays, Dr. O’Neil examines how the ancient Maya used sculptures to make contact with the past and how sculptures inspired reception and performance. She also published a revised edition of Maya Art and Architecture (Thames and Hudson), co-authored with Mary Miller. Formerly, she was associate curator in the art of the ancient Americas at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), where she curated the exhibitions Revealing Creation: The Science and Art of Ancient Maya Ceramics and Forces of Nature: Ancient Maya Arts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which is touring in China. She also was the LACMA curator for City and Cosmos: The Arts of Teotihuacan and wrote for LACMA’s Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915-1985. At Bard Graduate Center, Dr. O’Neil will return to her research on Maya monumental stone sculptures, specifically to work on her book manuscript, The Lives of Ancient Maya Sculptures, which explores ancient Maya practices of sculptural creation, resetting, destruction, burning, and burial.

Vera-Simone Schulz

Research Fellow, November 2018–January 2019

Vera-Simone Schulz studied art history, philosophy, and Russian literature in Berlin, Moscow, and Damascus. Since 2011, she has been a research collaborator in the department of Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut. Since 2014, she has coordinated the international research project “Networks: Textile Arts and Textility in a Transcultural Perspective (4th–17th Cent.),” funded by the German Research Foundation, based at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and directed by Gerhard Wolf. Her research focuses on transcultural art history before 1500; image-object interrelations; the mobility, appropriation, transformation, and evocation of artifacts and materials; and Islamic art at the margins of or outside of the Islamic world. Her research articles appeared in Perspective: Actualité en histoire de l’art, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, Konsthistorisk tidskrift, and elsewhere. She is currently completing a book manuscript on Infiltrating Artifacts: Florence and Tuscany in their Mediterranean and Global Entanglements. At Bard Graduate Center, she will focus on Artistic Dynamics in the Global Trecento: Fourteenth-Century Italian Painting, Mobile Goods and the Materiality of Art in a Transcultural Perspective.

Jenny Shaffer

Visiting Fellow, September–October 2018

Jenny Shaffer is adjunct associate professor of art history at New York University School of Professional Studies/Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies. Her research centers on ways in which buildings generate and communicate layered meanings within the complex contexts of their production and reception, with a focus on early medieval architecture, and Charlemagne’s chapel at Aachen in particular. She has explored these issues in publications which include: “Picking Up the Pieces of Charlemagne’s Column Screens: The Church at Ottmarsheim, the Westbau of Essen, and the Discovery of Aachen’s Copies” (Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft, 2015); “Restoring Charlemagne’s chapel: historical consciousness, material culture, and transforming images of Aachen in the 1840s” (Journal of Art Historiography, 2012); and “Letaldus of Micy, Germigny-des-Prés and Aachen: Histories, Contexts, and the Problem of Likeness in Medieval Architecture” (Viator, 2006). Shaffer is currently writing a book of essays that revolves around the long and tangled lives of selected Carolingian buildings. While at Bard Graduate Center, she will be working on a chapter for this project: “The Church of Saint-Riquier: Lost Monument as Work in Progress.”
Daniel Usner

Research Fellow, March–May 2019

Daniel Usner is the Holland N. McTyeire Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy(University of North Carolina Press, 1992), American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley: Social and Economic Histories (University of Nebraska Press, 1998), Indian Work: Language and Livelihood in American Indian History (Harvard University Press, 2009), Weaving Alliances with Other Women: Chitimacha Indian Work in the New South (University of Georgia Press, 2015), and American Indians in Early New Orleans: From Calumet to Raquette (Louisiana State University Press, 2018). Before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 2002, Usner taught for two decades at Cornell University, where he also served as director of its American Indian Program. He was president of the American Society for Ethnohistory in 2010–11. Usner’s current project is “From Bayou Teche to Fifth Avenue: How Chitimacha Basket Diplomacy Saved an Indian Nation.” During his stay at Bard Graduate Center, he will concentrate on the long-term effects that prized river-cane baskets woven by Chitimacha Indian women during the early 20th century had both outside and inside their community. Long after objects highly regarded by anthropologists and collectors left south Louisiana, they carried out important aesthetic and political work—contributing to the Chitimachas’ recovery of federal recognition and the persistence of their identity and culture.