It’s Time to Share

Eddie Chambers. Photo credit: Alchetron.com.

In this recent essay for Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art, artist, curator, and University of Texas professor of Art History, Eddie Chambers, discusses the presumption that art history faculty of color must teach classes and coursework that is related to their own ethnic and racial identities. Chambers also notes how more often than not, the courses taught by faculty of color are not seen as central and foundational to art historical canon, but merely as simple additions to discussions of modern and contemporary art. Chambers argues: faculty of color need not limit their research and teaching to the confines of their own racial and ethnic background, a privilege that White scholars have always had access to.

“Looking around at the art history departments across the United States with which I had varying degrees of familiarity, I perceived that African American faculty were frequently, somewhat predictably, there to teach African American art. It was similarly apparent that African faculty were there to teach African art; Chinese academics taught Chinese art; and so on. In other words, there existed the appearance of a pronounced and decidedly unsubtle stay in your laneness that was applied to art history faculty of color.” - Eddie Chambers