Marlboro College

AcademicsAnne Heath—Art History

Art history is a subject valuable to anyone who wants to engage their world, says Anne Heath. "Our whole society is imbued with the visual; whether through advertising or architecture, it wants you to think a certain way," she says. "Studying art history challenges you to think critically about your environment."

Far from teaching students how to simply appreciate the art they encounter, Anne works to "get students to confront an object and ask questions of it: what response is it trying to elicit from me?" While she wants her students to understand the historical and cultural context in which each piece of art was created, "I don’t want students to be afraid of the object," she says. "Their first response is a valid response, and their most valuable tool is their eyes."

Classes Anne teaches range from period topics such as Medieval Art and the Art and Architecture of Islam (with Religious Studies professor Amer Latif) to cross-cultural and thematic courses such as the Art of Pilgrimage and The History of Display. Anne’s background is in Gothic architecture and its effects on medieval ritual, and her research has brought her to archaeological digs and archives in France and Italy. "That’s the most exciting part of art history – to pull an artifact out of the ground and be the first person to look at it in 500 years, to feel in your hands the smooth pages of a 13th century manuscript."

B.A., University of Maine, 1992; M.A., Florida State University, 1998; Ph.D., Brown University, 2005; Marlboro College, 2005 –

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