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Faculty Profile

Elizabeth Lee

Associate Professor of Art History (2006)

Contact Information

Weiss Center for the Arts Room 225


Professor Lee teaches courses in modern, contemporary and American art as well as art theory, art historical methods, gender and sexuality in art and the visual culture of medicine. Her research has been published in Smithsonian American Art, The Journal of American Culture, Nineteenth Century and Hektoen International: A Journal of Medical Humanities. Her current research examines the links between late nineteenth-century American art and the history of the body, medicine and health. She has received funding for this project from the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the Huntington Library, the Wolfsonian Institute and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.


  • B.A., Wake Forest University, 1990
  • M.A., University of Minnesota, 1993
  • Ph.D., Indiana University, 2002

2019-2020 Academic Year

Fall 2019

WGSS 201 Gender & Sexuality/Mod Am Art
Cross-listed with ARTH 219-01. Gender roles and sexual identity are central to the transformations that define what it means to be “modern” in America between the late nineteenth- and mid-twentieth centuries. Artists across a range of media, including painting, sculpture, photography and printmaking, have engaged the ever-changing boundaries of male and female, straight and gay. They have taken up these boundaries in profound and ordinary ways, both in conscious and unintentional ways. Drawing upon recent scholarship in American art, this course analyzes the shifts in the work of artists from the lesser-known nineteenth-century gender-bending printmaker Ellen Day Hale to the visual culture surrounding the notorious Oscar Wilde and, in the twentieth century, the sexual politics of such famous artist couples as Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

ARTH 219 Gender & Sexuality/Mod Am Art
Cross-listed WGSS 201-01.

ARTH 313 Modern Art
This course surveys key artistic movements and styles in a period of roughly one hundred years, beginning with Realism in the 1840s France and ending with Abstract Express-ionism in 1950s America. Much of the course focuses on painting, though discussions of architecture, design, sculpture and photography also play an important role. We begin with the question of what modernism is: When did it begin? What makes a work of art "modern"? How is modernism different from what preceded it? Students learn to recognize, understand and discuss the defining features of modernism in its major manifestations, while also developing an understanding of themes such as the role of African art in modernism, the changing dynamics between the fine arts and popular culture, the role of technology as an influence on art, and the place of particular critics, galleries, and museums in shaping the discourses of modernism. Individual research projects give students the chance to explore a specific artist, style or theme in depth, while a field trip to National Gallery of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. provide an opportunity to see significant works of modern art firsthand. Assigned reading incorporate both secondary sources as well as artist's manifestos and aesthetic philosophies as primary source text. Prerequisite: 101 and 102 or permission of the instructor.