CAA News Today

Nazar Kozak

posted by CAA — Dec 03, 2021


A key reason I am interested in serving on CAA’s Board of Directors is to support CAA’s efforts to expand its international membership and outreach. This is crucial to further develop art history as a truly global, inclusive, and impactful discipline, one that flourishes worldwide and amplifies diverse voices that have been ignored in the past. As a Ukrainian art historian based in Lviv I have direct knowledge of the external and internal obstacles that stand in the way of scholars from so-called “underrepresented countries” who try to become part of the CAA community across the world’s political and economic divides. My own entry into this community was made possible by the CAA-Getty International Program, which selected me together with fourteen other international scholars to attend CAA’s Annual Conference in 2015. Since then, I haven’t missed a conference, presenting papers or organizing sessions at each one. I have further increased my involvement by serving on CAA’s International Committee (since 2019), where I have worked to build connections between American and international scholars. My aim now is to further advance my support for CAA at the level of our organization’s board by initiating a conversation on how to better serve art historians and artists around the world: how to improve their professional communications and networking; how to implement a more flexible membership structure that would allow individuals with lower income to participate in the organization and its events; and how to find and allocate resources to support equity initiatives.

As a board member, I also would like to address the need for integrative projects that would bring together and mutually enrich scholars working on disconnected geographical areas and divergent chronologies from multiple theoretical perspectives. This commitment originates from the trajectory of my own scholarly interests. Initially, I focused exclusively on Byzantine and post- Byzantine art; yet the 2013-14 pro-democratic Maidan revolution in Kyiv, and Russia’s subsequent invasion of Ukraine, motivated me to reinvent myself as a scholar. I began researching the agency of contemporary art in addressing crises, be they social, political, or ecological in origin. Currently, I work in these two fields–medieval and contemporary–simultaneously, exploring how a dialogue of time periods and methods can be beneficial for discovering new ways of understanding art. Because of this dual specialization, I am eager to expand the role of CAA’s annual conferences and publications as platforms for mixing and connecting art histories across cultures and decades with special attention to the reverberations between art of the past and the present.

Finally, I want to contribute to CAA’s efforts of advocacy for social justice and ecology that resonate with my activist experience in Ukraine and my research. I see this as a crucial element of a more general process that leads art history beyond its past as a “coy science,” to borrow Donald Preziosi’s phrase, and shapes it as a discipline of the future, one that takes responsibility for contributing to global thinking and decisions regarding existential issues. With your support, I am committed to help reinforce the organization’s course towards this fundamental renewal of our discipline.

Read Nazar Kozak’s CV

Filed under: Board of Directors