College of Letters & Science


An Honor for Ph.D. Candidate Lindsay Wells

Lindsay Wells

Ph.D.candidate Lindsay Wells has received the 2018 Amy P. Goldman Fellowship in Pre-Raphaelite Studies, co-sponsored by the University of Delaware and the Delaware Art Museum. This fellowship will support Lindsay's dissertation research on the botanical imagery of British artist Edward Coley Burne-Jones, which she considers in light of Victorian horticultural practices and contemporary eco-criticism. Lindsay will spend a month in Delaware in Fall 2018 examining Burne-Jones paintings, letters, and archival materials at the Museum, as well as the artist's "Flower Book" (1882-1898), related watercolors, and nineteenth-century gardening treatises in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection at the University of Delaware. This work will result in a chapter of her dissertation, "Plant-Based Art: Indoor Gardening and the British Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900," which, as Lindsay writes, "examines how houseplant horticulture inspired leaders of the Victorian art world to renegotiate the boundaries between human and botanical life." 


Christy Wahl awarded fellowship through the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies

Christy Wahl

Christy Wahl, Ph.D. Candidate, was awarded a doctoral fellowship through the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, a residential program funded and administered by the Freie Universität Berlin, one of the nation’s leading research universities. The Berlin Program is an interdisciplinary program that annually hosts twelve researchers from different North American universities and departments. The selection of fellows is a transatlantic process and since the program’s inception in 1986 has hosted more than 300 scholars. Christy represents one of fourteen UW-Madison students selected for the Berlin Program during its thirty-year tenure, but is the first student from UW-Madison’s Department of Art History to receive this prestigious fellowship. From October 2017 to July 2018, Christy will participate in program colloquia and dissertation research in Berlin, Germany. 


Amy Hughes wins prestigious Dedalus Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

Amy Hughes

Ph.D. candidate Amy Hughes, was awarded the prestigious Dedalus Foundation Dissertation Fellowship for the 2017-2018 academic year. Awarded annually to one graduate student whose dissertation focuses on postwar and late-20th-century art, Amy is the first UW-Madison Ph.D. candidate to be the recipient of this fellowship in the two decades it which it has been awarded.

Animated by the inquiry of what constitutes political art, particularly, the ways in which the decorative and seemingly “empty” spaces of applied arts and design can become sites for conducting critical work, Amy’s dissertation examines the intersection between political dissent and modernist expression in postwar Czechoslovakian glass large-scale sculptures. Building on Central European concepts of dissent both as the effort to open spaces for critical thinking and on theoretical texts examining materiality, affect and loss, she argues these concepts of dissent were manifested in the objects themselves, the often-public process of glassmaking and the affective responses the work generated. Through field work, archival research, oral history interviews and in situ formal analysis, her dissertations critical investigation of postwar Czechoslovakian glass challenges current dissent scholarship by establishing the important role the decorative, transparent and empty played in dissent practices. It also identifies the ways in which formalist language was employed to negotiate politics by appearing to retreat from it.

Amy also completed two chapter publications in edited volumes examining the work of Czech photographer, Josef Sudek (1894-1976). “Capturing the Invisible: The ‘Profane Illuminations’ of Josef Sudek’s Sad Landscapes,” (Photography and Failure: One Medium's Entanglement with Flops, Underdogs and Disappointments, ed. Kris Belden-Adams, London: Bloomsbury Publishing, forthcoming 2017) examines the affective landscapes of Sudek’s late-1950s panoramic series of the environmental destruction from heavy industrialization in northern Bohemia as a political strategy within the totalitarian climate of Communist Czechoslovakia. “The Ambivalent Power of Reproduction: Josef Sudek’s Postcards,” (Instant Presence: Representing Art in Photography, ed. Vojtěch Lahoda, Prague: Czech Academy of Sciences, forthcoming 2017) investigates a late-1930s series of Sudek’s picture postcards of Prague as sites mediating complex and paradoxical discourses on both reproduction’s role in the arts and contested experiences of modernity in the final years of the First Republic.

In addition to conducting her dissertation research while based in Prague as a Fulbright Fellow (2015-2016) and as a UW-Madison Dissertation Fellow and Institute of Art History in Prague Visiting Research Fellow (2016-2017), Amy has been an invited lecturer at the U.S. Embassy in Prague, the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, and the Czech Academy of Sciences. She also was invited to join curatorial and scholarly teams preserving the works of photographer Joself Sudek and glass artist Jiří Harcuba. As a Dedalus Foundation Dissertation Fellow (2017-2018), Amy will remain in Prague to complete the final stages of her dissertation.


Daniel Cochran has been awarded the prestigious Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship

Daniel Cochran, Ph.D. Candidate, in Ravenna (Mausoleum of Galla Placidia)
Daniel Cochran, Ph.D. Candidate, in Ravenna (Mausoleum of Galla Placidia)


Ph.D. candidate Daniel Cochran has been awarded awarded the prestigious Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation for the 2017-2018 academic year. The Newcombe Fellowship, awarded by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, is the nation’s largest and most prestigious award for Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences addressing questions of ethical and religious values. Daniel was one of 21 recipients nationally and the only art historian receiving the award.
Daniel’s doctoral research builds on his interdisciplinary training in the history of religion and the visual arts. His dissertation reconsiders the phenomenon of religious change during the fourth and fifth centuries by focusing on the role of the visual arts in the formation of Christian identities. This project contributes to the recent material turn in the study of early Christianity that emphasizes the centrality of matter and the body in early Christian thought and practice. He investigates how early churches functioned as multisensory environments that altered the way individuals understood themselves in relation to others, that is, to the Christian community, past and present, local and universal. He focuses specifically on early monumental buildings and decorative programs experienced within the liturgical context of communal worship in such important late antique cities as Rome, Ravenna, and Aquileia. Drawing upon material and textual evidence such as sermons, letters, and scriptural commentaries, Daniel explores the creative ways early Christians manipulated architectural space and artistic programs to present a persuasive vision of the church community as a new social reality rooted in the Biblical past, universal in scope, and enduring beyond the grave.