Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award
The Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award, established in 1977, is presented to an individual who has been actively engaged in teaching art history for most of his or her career. Among the range of criteria that may be applied in evaluating candidates are: inspiration to a broad range of students in the pursuit of humanistic studies; rigorous intellectual standards and outstanding success in both scholarly and class presentation; contribution to the advancement of knowledge and methodology in the discipline, including integration of art-historical knowledge with other disciplines; and aid to students in the development of their careers.
Patricia Berger, Professor of Chinese Art History at the University of California, Berkeley, has an extraordinary record as mentor and teacher. Letters endorsing her nomination for this award testify to the profound impact of her teaching, of the programs she has established, the exhibitions she has curated, and the publications that disseminate her research globally. Above all, they make clear that her students are inspired by her infectious enthusiasm, impressed with her broad knowledge, and touched by her approachability and wisdom. “She has a remarkable presence,” reports one, “open, kind, calm, and unpretentious, she brings to academia a humanity… [that] allows her to create the ideal teaching atmosphere… Pat combines her equanimity with a fierce rigor and an awesome intellect.” They speak of her personal generosity, her intellectual adventurousness, and her “joyfulness.”
One veteran of her oversubscribed undergraduate courses reports, “Pat would dazzle us with exquisitely crafted lectures that invited us to puzzle over particular objects along with theoretical questions such as the relationships between art and text, . . .or the workings of history and memory. Her dexterity in facilitating discussion. . .ensured that we learned from each other as well as from her vast expertise.” Another student praises the way in which she can make temporally and geographically remote, mute objects speak, come alive, and disclose unforeseen worlds. Another described her “passion for the artists, patrons, technologies, and monuments that she brought together in spellbinding accounts of court politics, religious art projects, and competing worldviews.”
Her graduate students praise Berger’s “ability to foster an academic family that includes students from East Asian Studies, Buddhist Studies [two programs she was instrumental in establishing], and History,” as well as Art History, cobbling a wide diversity of students into a community. In describing her they use words like “brilliant,” “inspirational,” “generous,” “incisive,” and “bodhisattva.”
Jury: Margaretta Lovell, University of California, Berkeley, chair; Petra Chu, Seton Hall University; and June Hargrove, University of Maryland.
In the past, the Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award has gone to well-respected teachers and scholars such as Jules Prown (1996), Anne Coffin Hanson (1990), Meyer Shapiro (1981), and Phoebe B. Stanton (1980). Recent recipients include Wu Hung (2008), Richard Shiff (2010), and Patricia Hills (2011). Exemplifying the important connection between scholarship and teaching, Robert Herbert, Oleg Grabar, and James Cahill have received both the teaching award and the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art.
Read a list of all winners of the Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award from 1977 to the present.
CAA has begun accepting nominations for the 2017 awards. Please review the guidelines to familiarize yourself with the nomination process and to download, complete, and submit the requested materials. Deadline: July 31, 2016, for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Awards, and the Frank Jewett Mather Award; August 31, 2016, for all others.