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Celebrity Activism & Its Aesthetics

Winter 2021 Online Course AHST 105 Instructor: Alisa V. Prince

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Art and Identity: 1970 to Today

Winter 2021 Online Course AHST 115-1J Instructor: Peter Murphy

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InVisible Culture

InVisible Culture is a student-run electronic journal of visual culture dedicated to exploring the material and political dimensions of visual and cultural practices.


Graduate Conference

This interdisciplinary conference convenes graduate students from a variety of fields, such as film studies, museum studies, art history, and cultural anthropology.


On Film

Our students run a film-screening project featuring independent and avant-garde films in their original formats. On Film is now in its fifth year.


VCS News

VCS Statement on Admissions and Support 2021-22

The Steering Committee of the Graduate Program in Visual & Cultural Studies has decided to suspend admissions this year. After careful deliberation, we determined that providing enhanced support to our students was the best course of action considering the global health crisis and the increased precarity it has introduced into an already uncertain academic fellowship and job market. Enhanced support will be equally distributed amongst all students in the 2021-22 academic year. We will refund application fees to those who applied for possible 2021-22 matriculation to VCS.

While current circumstances occasioned the decision to provide enhanced support to students, other factors also played a role. The pause in admissions allows us to examine how to strengthen the teaching and training we do in VCS in a manner responsive to the changed nature of academic labor and the expansion of non-academic careers for people with PhDs. We aim to better understand this transformed situation, even if we cannot easily solve the problems it presents. In so doing, we also aim to continue promoting the ongoing success of VCS students, staff, and faculty alike.

Dr. Janet Berlo

Faculty News

Dr. Janet Berlo retires after 23 years teaching in Visual and Cultural Studies, Art and Art History, and the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

For 23 glorious years, Janet Berlo has been at the heart of Visual and Cultural Studies (VCS). She first joined the University of Rochester as the Susan B. Anthony Professor of Gender Studies and Professor of Art History in 1997, having received her PhD from Yale in 1980. While teaching, advising, and informally mentoring generations of VCS students, she has written, co-authored, and co-edited a dozen books, including four textbooks and a brilliant memoir, Quilting Lessons. Her forthcoming book on misrepresentations and falsifications in the world of Native American art will participate in some of the liveliest discussions being had in our field writ large. To honor Janet’s contributions to VCS over the years, we have asked two of her former advisees and alumni of the program, Jessica Horton (University of Delaware) and Norman Vorano (Queen’s University), to pay tribute to her here.

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