School of Art + Art History

Art History

Current Graduate Students

Faith Barringer

Faith Barringer is a doctoral student studying under Dr. Melissa Hyde. Her primary field of study is eighteenth-century French art. She received her BA in Studio Art and Art History (2018) and MA in Art History both from the University of Alabama. Her Master’s Thesis, entitled, “Creating a Female History Painter: Vigée-Lebrun, Labille-Guiard, Mongez, and the French Academy,” explored how these three artists represented and elevated themselves as history painters throughout their careers.

Helena Chen-Abair

Helena Chen-Abair is a doctoral candidate in art history specializing in Chinese antiquarianism. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “From Paper to Bronze and Back Again: The Forging of Ancient Chinese Bronzes, 1840s-1940s,” explores the interdependent relationship between bronze forgery and the scholarship of Chinese antiquarianism. This project has been supported by the Mellon, the Esherick-Ye, the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), the Association for Art History (AAH), among others. Her research interests also include the production and reception of printed catalogues of antiquities and ink rubbings, the history and culture of art collecting, and technical art history. Helena earned her BA in history at the Soochow University, Taiwan, and her MA in art history at the University of Florida. She is a Smithsonian Predoctoral Fellow at the National Museum of Asian Art (2024-25) and a Junior Fellow of the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography.

Laura R. Colkitt

Laura R. Colkitt is a doctoral candidate studying modern and contemporary art. Laura received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with an MA in art history from University of South Florida. She is the recipient of several fellowships and academic awards including the Rothman Doctoral Fellowship, Grinter Fellowship, and Jerry Cutler Graduate Student Travel Award. In her research, she explores hybridity of cultures in the global age with a specific focus on the transatlantic connection between Europe, North America, and South America. Her MA culminated with an examination of discrete globalization in “From Local to Global: Kama Wangdi Paints Bhutan's Changing Geopolitics” (2015). Her forthcoming dissertation, “In Between Relations: Liliana Porter’s Art,” aims to track a constellation of concerns that inform the contemporary art practice of Liliana Porter. She presented the second chapter, “Dissections of Decorated Depictions," at the 2020 College Art Association (CAA) conference. Recent publications include a book chapter titled “Randomness, Order, and Being” in Sandra Cinto: Acaso e Necessidade (2017) and numerous contributions to exhibition catalogues for the USF Contemporary Art Museum. Before coming to University of Florida, Laura helped curate private art collections. Her advisor is Dr. Kaira M. Cabañas.

Anna E. Dobbins

Anna E. Dobbins is a doctoral student studying modern and contemporary art with Dr. Rachel Silveri. Her research examines constructions of gender, sexuality, and race in late nineteenth and early twentieth century French art. She is also interested in the cultural exchange between France and the Caribbean. Anna is a recipient of the Grinter Fellowship. She received her BA in French and Art History from Auburn University and her MA in Art History from Georgia State University where her research culminated in her thesis “The Elles Series: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Unusual Approach to Prostitution.” Anna has presented her research at SECAC (2017) and the GSU Art History Graduate Forum Symposium (2018). For the past four years Anna has taught Art History and Art Appreciation at numerous universities in north Alabama.

Macarena Deij Prado

Macarena Deij Prado is a PhD candidate working with Dr. Maya Stanfield-Mazzi. She specializes in the Arts of the Americas. She received her MA in Art History from the University of Florida (2016) and her BA in the same discipline from the University of Chile (2013). She has taught art history courses at the Instituto para el Arte y la Restauración Botticelli in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. For her dissertation project, she examines art through the lens of religious processions between 1570 and 1630 in Spanish America. Her curatorial practice has focused on contemporary Latin American Art. One of her most recent projects is Plural Domains: Selected Works from the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation Collection (2021-2022), for which she served as assistant curator. The exhibition was presented at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida and then traveled to the Museo de Arte de Zapopan (MAZ), in Mexico.

Jenifer Hernandez

Jenifer Hernandez is a Ph.D. student studying under Dr. Stanfield-Mazzi. Her current research interest is focused on the hybridity of religious images created by native artists during the colonial period in the Andean region. In doing so, she can combine her interest in ancient art as she will be exploring religious images and rituals of pre-Hispanic cultures with the production of religious art during the colonial era. Jenifer received her BA and MA in Art History from the University of Florida on Classical Roman Art. During her master's degree, her research focused on the agency of patrons in the selection of the iconography and designs of mosaic pavements in domestic architecture during the Roman Empire.

Laura Hodges

Laura Hodges is a first-year MA student studying with Dr. Melissa Hyde and Dr. Rachel Silveri. Her research interests focus on the intersections of feminist and postcolonial theories in nineteenth and early twentieth-century French art. Before coming to the University of Florida, Laura graduated with her MA in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California (2020). Her thesis, "The Otherness of Nudity," considered the relationship between French colonial practices in Africa and the limited appearance of the male nude in French Impressionism. For the past two years, Laura has taught college courses in Art History and Art Appreciation in western North Carolina. Before returning to school to pursue Art History, Laura was a professional dancer and choreographer. She owned a nationally acclaimed dance studio for seven years and was the Artistic Director of The High Country Youth Ballet in North Carolina. 

Laura’s current research considers the Venus Noire in nineteenth-century literature and art, looking specifically at Clare de Duras’ Ourika

Brittany Hughes

Brittany Hughes is a PhD student studying eighteenth-century France under Dr. Melissa Hyde. She is interested in French Orientalist fantasy and the role of dress and textiles in the construction of identity throughout the century. This work is an expansion of her master’s thesis “Fashioning the Other: Sartorial Turquerie in Ancien Régime France.” Brittany holds a BA in Art History and a BS in Apparel Design and Production, both from Colorado State University (2014), and a MA in Art History from the University of Colorado Boulder (2020). Outside of scholarly work, Brittany is a trained seamstress and worked in the Denver bridal industry before relocating to Florida for her doctoral studies.

Vivian Lantow

Vivian Lantow is a PhD student studying pre-Columbian art under the guidance of Dr. Maya Stanfield-Mazzi. Her topics of interest include Andean archaeology, commodity exchanges, ritual offerings found with capac hucha burials, falsifications of Pre‐Columbian artifacts, and depictions of race and social stratification by both Spanish and Indigenous artists in early colonial Peru. Vivian received her MA and BA in art history at the University of Florida. Her MA research culminated with her thesis title “Mitigating Museum Mistakes: A Case Study of a Gold Vessel from the Chimú.” In this thesis, Vivian used an unprovenienced gold cup as a case study to explore widespread issues related to the exhibition of pre-Columbian gold in museums. Before coming to the University of Florida, Vivian completed her associate of science degree in Zoo Animal Technology at Santa Fe College. She later returned to school to earn her associate of arts in Fine Arts at Santa Fe College, with a focus on drawing. While at Santa Fe Vivian worked as a gallery assistant and was an assistant curator for the Santa Fe Celebrates Collectors exhibition at the Santa Fe Gallery. 

Ryan MacLennan

Ryan MacLennan is a PhD student studying under Dr. Elizabeth Ross. He received his BA in both English: Writing and Philosophy from Mount Union College (University of Mount Union) in 2010. He earned his MA in History from New Mexico State University in 2015. Before attending NMSU, Ryan spent time as a music critic. Ryan’s primary research focuses on print culture in the Northern Renaissance and the consumption of food and alcohol. He is also interested in Minimalism and site-specific art of the 1960s and 1970s.

Jennifer McAninch

Jennifer McAninch received her BA in Art History from Arizona State University and her MA in Art Education from University of Florida, graduating both programs Summa Cum Laude. While studying abroad in Italy, she completed a museum internship at the Basilica of Santa Croce. She also participated in a study of Florentine architecture extending over a period from the Late Medieval through the Baroque. The following year, Jennifer was a member of the archeological crew for the excavation at Piazza Garibaldi in Fiesole, Italy. She is currently in her second year, pursuing a PhD in Art History with a focus on residential art and architecture from the intermediate years of the Roman Empire. Her current research project involves analyzing the design program of a second century maritime villa on the Gulf of Baratti in Populonia, Italy. Jennifer was recently admitted to the Kunsthistorisches Institute in Florence as a visiting scholar and presenter for the upcoming program "The City as Archive." She also served as a 2018 delegate to the national convention of the Archaeological Institute of America. Some of her peripheral areas of interest are Gender Studies in Art, Late Italian Renaissance, Ancient Mesoamerica, as well as Mid Century Modern Art and Architecture.

Claude Mohr

Claude (they/he) is a second-year M.A. student studying gender and sexuality in modern and contemporary art under Dr. Rachel Silveri. Currently, they are researching the relationship between transgender studies and the uncanny object in surrealist visual production as part of their M.A. thesis. Previously, Claude received their B.A. in Philosophy from Grinnell College in Iowa in 2019, where they undertook a Mentored Advanced Project on the relationship between sexuality and space in the films of David Cronenberg. In addition to their curatorial and archival work at the Lesbian Herstory Archives and the Harn Museum of Art, they have also presented their academic research at the 12th Annual Deleuze and Guattari Studies Conference (2019), the 28th Annual History in the Making Conference (2023), and Surrealisms 2023: Houston.

Valerie C. Palazzolo

Valerie C. Palazzolo is a doctoral student studying the gendering of space in the later Middle Ages and Northern Renaissance with Dr. Elizabeth Ross. Her secondary interest focuses on the arts of Africa and the African Diaspora. She received her MA in Art History from the University of South Florida (2011) where her research focused on Andreas Vesalius’ animated skeletons as sites for self-knowledge and self-fashioning. This research has been presented at graduate and professional symposia and conferences including: The Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (2015), Indiana University, Bloomington (2011), Nicolaus Copernicus University in Turuñ, Poland (2010), and the University of Texas at Austin (2008). She has held the position of Assistant Professor of Art History and Humanities at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida - where she lives full time – since 2014 (tenured 2019). This position has allowed her to expand into art historical pedagogy and she has presented on diversity and global perspectives in the Western canon at both the annual meeting of the College Art Association (2017) and the Community College Humanities Association Southern Division Conference (2014). She has additionally taught for USF’s Study Abroad program in Paris, France and currently serves on the Program Committee of the Italian Art Society. 

Danielle Sensabaugh

Danielle Sensabaugh is a doctoral candidate under Dr. Melissa Hyde. Her dissertation explores the intersecting themes of girlhood and feminine virtue, with an emphasis on women-authored works, within the visual and literary culture of Enlightenment France. Prior to starting her PhD, Danielle received a BA in Art History with a minor in French from West Virginia University (2013) and an MA in Art History from American University (2015) which culminated in her thesis “Between Painting and Poster: Artistic and Cultural Hybridity in Henri de Toulouse Lautrec's Panels for ‘La Goulue’” (2015). She has worked as a secondary educator teaching social studies and AP Art History, and as curatorial intern for the Phillips Collection.

Allison Westerfield

Allison Westerfield is a doctoral student studying modern and contemporary art under the advice of Dr. Rachel Silveri. She received her BA in Arts Administration from the University of West Florida. She then attended Savannah College of Art and Design earning her MA in Art History. Her current research focuses on the intersection of tarot and occultism in the work of women surrealist artists, such as Leonora Carrington, Leonor Fini, and Remedios Varo. Outside of academia, she works as an independent curator. Recent exhibitions include mini golf of sensual sports photographs by McKinna Anderson at Florida Mining Gallery, Waiting Room at Laundromat Art Space in Miami and Ctrl [Alt] Self at Westobou Gallery in Augusta, GA.

Savannah Tew

Savannah Tew is a first-year M. A. student studying Art History with Dr. Silveri at the University of Florida. She received her B. A. in Art History and Arts Management from the College of Charleston in 2023. Her research concerns American art of the twentieth century with a focus on women and other under-represented artists. She is also interested in the development of visual culture throughout the twentieth century more broadly, and how access to new mediums and techniques allowed for alternative gazes and wider audiences as images became more available to the public. Currently, she is working with Dr. Silveri’s modernist cohort on the upcoming exhibition Surrealism at the Harn: A Centennial Celebration, at the Harn Museum of Art. For her thesis, she hopes to explore the topic of queer art in the American south. 

Vanessa Gillette Wyland

Vanessa Gillette Wyland is a doctoral student studying the arts of colonial New Spain under the advice of Dr. Derek Burdette. Vanessa earned her MA in Art History (2022) and her BA in English - Writing Studies (2020) from the University of South Florida, graduating Summa Cum Laude. With a background in global early modern studies, she is drawn to cross-cultural translations of material culture and to the tensions, contacts, and identities born from colonialism. In her specialty area, Vanessa is looking at the material culture of the New Spanish convent and visual articulations of Creole identity. Vanessa has presented her research at the University of Virginia’s Art History Symposium (2021), Cornell University’s Medieval Studies Student Colloquium (2022), and the University of Florida’s Art History Symposium (2021, 2022). Her essay, “The Limits of Consumption: Sawasa Ware In and Out of the Dutch East Indies,” is forthcoming publication in the Rutgers Art Review.

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