Katherine Calvin joined Kenyon’s faculty in 2020. Her research examines art and cross-cultural exchange between Europe, the Middle East and Africa from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century. Feminist and critical race theories are central to her analysis of early modern paintings, prints and illustrated travel literature. Calvin also studies the intersections of archaeology, art collecting and the development of national museums.


Calvin was previously a member of the Spelman College faculty. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the UCLA Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies, the William Andrews Clark Library, and the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University. She is currently preparing her first book about how representations of antiquities and ancient sites informed European and Ottoman ideas about history and nationalism.

Areas of Expertise

Eighteenth-century art, feminist art history, early modern cultural exchange


2020 — Doctor of Philosophy from University of North Carolina a

2015 — Master of Arts from University of North Carolina a

2013 — Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University

Courses Recently Taught

This course surveys Western art and architecture from the Renaissance to the present. Framing the study of art history within a social context, this course will provide students with the tools for understanding style and interpreting meaning in individual works of art. Although this is a lecture format, discussion is encouraged. This counts toward the introductory course and Europe and Americas place requirements for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every semester.

This course explores the diversity of African art created on the continent and throughout the diaspora, from antiquity to the contemporary period. Students will examine artworks from both north and south of the Sahara representing an array of media and techniques, including sculpture, architecture, painting, photography, textiles and performance art. Class sessions will combine lecture and discussion to investigate key topics such as the significance of visual abstraction; art’s role in constructing (and contesting) ideas about the body, gender and sexuality; and the relationship between art and politics in the colonial and postcolonial periods. Ongoing debates about the problematic categories of “tribal” and “tourist” art in Africa, as well as “primitivism” in the West, will be examined in relation to questions of authenticity and appropriation. We will also critically evaluate the political and aesthetic contexts in which African art has been exhibited in museums. Students will be introduced to methods of art historical analysis and writing. This counts toward the introductory course and Africa and Middle East place requirements for the major. No prerequisite.

This course focuses on the art and architecture of the High Renaissance in Italy. The works of artists and architects such as Leonardo da Vinci, Bramante, Titian, Sofonisba Anguissola, Michelangelo and Raphael, among others, will be explored in depth. The canonical High Renaissance will be compared to the growing Mannerist movement in the 16th century. Issues such as patronage, politics, gender and artistic theory will be examined in lectures and class discussions to shed light on the varied artistic production of this period. This counts toward the Europe and Americas place andt he 600-1800 time requirements for the major. Any art history course is recommended.

This course focuses on the art and architecture of the 17th century, starting in Rome and spreading outward to other parts of Europe and the Americas. Lecture and class discussion will focus on artists including Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi, Bernini, Rubens, Rembrandt and Poussin. We will explore the formal characteristics and historical context of Baroque art in relation to the Catholic Reformation and expansion of Protestantism, the global spread of European imperialism, the politics of absolute rule and revolution, and the economics of art markets and cultural exchange. This counts toward the Europe and Americas place and the 600-1800 time requirements for the major. Any art history course is recommended.

This course examines the visual arts of Africa and the African diaspora from the early modern period to the present using historical and theoretical frameworks of mobility, exchange and circulation. During lectures and class discussions, students examine a wide variety of art from this period that was made to be -- or has become -- mobile in a number of ways. We analyze arts meant to be worn on the body such as clothing, textiles, masks and jewelry. The role of photography, film and other new media in circulating information about these wearable arts also is considered. Additional subjects include objects and spaces influenced by or created for international exchange; the art and visual culture of the Black Atlantic; contemporary performance art by artists working on the continent or in the diaspora; the history of collecting and selling African art; and current debates about restitution and repatriation. This counts toward the Africa and the Middle East place requirement for the major. Prerequisite: ARHS 116 or permission of instructor.

This seminar serves as an introduction to the field of museum studies. Consisting primarily of readings, discussions, assigned papers and special projects, the course will historicize the role of the museum, analyze the nature of the museum audience and study the representation and display of different cultures. Prerequisite: ARHS 111 and sophomore standing.

Various topics in the history of early modern art between the late 13th and 18th century are explored in a seminar format. Each seminar provides a forum for the in-depth study of the methods of art historical research. Discussion of weekly readings, classroom presentations and research papers will be required. This counts toward the Europe and the Americas place and the 600-1800 time requirements for the major. This course can be repeated up to two times for credit, so long as they cover different topics. Any art history course is recommended.