Majors & Minors

Art History

Art History unites visual thinking with verbal thinking, crosses cultural boundaries, and prepares you for a truly international experience. At Southwestern, Art History majors are exposed to many different cultures by our renowned staff, which includes international scholars and experts in their respective fields.


Allison Miller

Allison Miller

Associate Professor of Art History & Chair

Allison Miller

Allison Miller

Associate Professor of Art History & Chair

Art history is a gateway to other cultures and encompasses almost all human activity. The study is highly interdisciplinary, engaging with topics from politics, economics, and social structures to religion, history, and philosophy.

Southwestern University’s Art History Department is defined by four teacher–scholars who are immersed and actively pursuing research in international environments. Collaborating with faculty whose expertise lies in the art, archaeology, and architecture of the classical Mediterranean, East Asia, pre-modern Latin America, and modern Europe and America, you will become adept at synthesizing a wide range of worldviews. You’ll learn how to think visually, exploring how form, shape, and color can influence or even manipulate one’s thoughts and emotions. You’ll also think verbally, developing well-honed arguments about the design and effects of art in various contexts. Because art history requires both visual and verbal thinking, you’ll acquire superior communication skills and the ability to think about familiar things in innovative ways.  

To compete in a 21st-century economy, you must be equipped to make connections within international circles. So SU art history majors are strongly encouraged to learn foreign languages and seek out opportunities to travel abroad. These experiences often contribute directly to giving the research in seniors’ capstone seminars a depth similar to that expected in master’s- and doctoral-level study at a competitive graduate school.

Fulfilling Southwestern’s commitment to promoting lifelong learning while preparing students for the careers of tomorrow, art history teaches you how to think outside the box in a surprising number of professions. Art history’s emphasis on both visual analysis and written communication prepares students to design their own careers as well, from fine-arts consulting and costume design to art therapy and sustainable design.


Featured Alumni Stories

Stopped for a photo on one of the many high passes the trail climbs up.

Life in 491 Miles and 107 Square Feet

Christina Hadly ’13, an art history and business double major, has traded in a conventional corporate career for a life of adventure and independence.

Read Full Story


Art History News

Professor of Art History Thomas Howe

The Professor Chronicles: Thomas Noble Howe

Get to know the professor of art and art history as well as coordinator general of the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Project in Italy.

A socially distanced outdoor theatre performance.

That Fine Arts Finesse

Making art in unprecedented times requires creative adaptation.

Allison Miller

Associate Professor Allison Miller Discusses Theft of Ancient Terracotta Army Statue

Associate Professor of Art History Allison Miller speaks with CGTN America on the theft of part of an ancient terracotta army statue worth millions.



Art History Events

Artist Don Silks, Augustus Kansas

A Newer Crop: Public Art and Petromodernism in the New Deal West

Join us for guest lecturer Michaela Rife. This talk will delve into the ways in which public-facing art and visual culture played a pivotal role in conceptualizing and promoting oil extraction as a symbol of stability and prosperity.