Whenever I can, I try to find ways to get closer to the subjects I teach; for example, during a recent sabbatical, my husband and I participated in a study tour that retraced the path of the Lewis and Clark expedition. We prepared for this experience by re-reading Ambrose's Undaunted Courage and gamely tackling the diaries of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. (We were even inspired to keep a diary of our own!) As an historian of American Art (my primary field) I felt that the impact of this experience was immense. After the trip had ended it still provided a stimulus to continue reading about the era, including two biographies (by Ellis and Brodie) of Thomas Jefferson, and also Wilentz's sweeping history of the first half of the nineteenth century, The Rise of American Democracy.
For me, art truly comes alive when placed in context. That's why field trips are a staple of many of my courses. It's also why "outreach" activities have been a part of my professional and personal life, whether it is my work on the City of Ithaca's Landmarks Preservation Commission or my tenure as president (and tour organizer) of the McKee Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.
Current and recent courses
- Elements of Architecture
- American Visual Culture
- Preserving America
- Introduction to Japanese Culture
- Form, Function, and Fantasy: Architecture since 1945
- Architecture in the United States
- Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Architecture
- Seminar: Art and Life in America: 1945-65