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Programs » Annual Conference

Distinguished Scholar Session

About the Session

Zhang Yu

Wen Fong (center) and guests at the 2013 Distinguished Scholar Session (photograph by Bradley Marks)

Established in 2001, the Distinguished Scholar Session illuminates and celebrates the contributions of senior art historians. Not intended as a static honor, the event brings the honoree together with his or her colleagues, oftentimes the scholar’s former students. In this way, the session can therefore be viewed as the equivalent of a living Festschrift: an occasion for applauding, examining, and extending a distinguished career in art history and an opportunity for encouraging dialogue between and among several generations of scholars.

CAA is accepting nominations for future Distinguished Scholars here on a rolling basis.

The Annual Conference Committee identifies the distinguished scholar each year and gives the session a popular timeslot in the conference program: Thursday afternoon. Each session typically brings together the distinguished scholar, a session chair, and a group of panelists. The scholar’s remarks usually follow the presentations. The honoree’s involvement is fundamental to the series as a way of demonstrating a living tradition that gives voice to the continuities and ruptures that have shaped art-historical scholarship from the twentieth century into the new millennium.

A generous grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation funded the first five Distinguished Scholar Sessions. The Terra Foundation for American Art sponsored the 2006, 2010, and 2014 events, and the Feminist Art Project and the Rutgers Institute on Women and the Arts supported the 2007 session.

CAA Distinguished Scholars

Steven Nelson, Krista Thompson, Kellie Jones, and Courtney Martin at the 108th CAA Annual Conference in Chicago. Photo: Stacey Rupolo.

2024 S. Hollis Clayson, Professor Emerita of Art History and Bergen Evans Professor Emerita in the Humanities at Northwestern University.

2023 Edward J. Sullivan, Helen Gould Shepard Professor in the History of Art at New York University (Institute of Fine Arts and the Department of Art History).

2022 Kirsten Pai Buick, Professor and Director of Africana Studies at The University of New Mexico.

2021 Dr. Salah M. Hassan, Goldwin Smith Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture in the Department of Africana Studies and Research Center, as well as in the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, and Director of the Institute for Comparative Modernities, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA.

2020 Kellie Jones, Professor in Art History and Archaeology and the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University.

2019 Elizabeth Hill Boone, Professor of History of Art and Martha and Donald Robertson Chair in Latin American Art at Tulane University.

2018 Wu Hung, Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Art History and the College.

2017 Kaja Silverman, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History, Duke University.

2016 Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History, Duke University.

2015 Robert Farris Thompson, Colonel John Trumbull Professor of the History of Art, Yale University.

2014 Wanda Corn, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor Emerita in Art History, Stanford University.

2013 Wen C. Fong, professor emeritus, Princeton University.

2012 Rosalind E. Krauss, University Professor, Columbia University.

2011 Jonathan Brown, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

2010 Jules Prown, Paul Mellon Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, Department of the History of Art, Yale University.

2009 Svetlana Alpers, professor emerita, History of Art Department, University of California, Berkeley.

2008 Robert L. Herbert, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities Emeritus, Mount Holyoke College.

2007 Linda Nochlin, Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Modern Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

2006 John Szarkowski, director emeritus, Department of Photography, Museum of Modern Art.

2005 Richard Brilliant, Anna S. Garbedian Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University.

2004 James Cahill, professor emeritus, History of Art Department, University of California, Berkeley.

2003 Phyllis Pray Bober, Leslie Clark Professor Emerita in the Humanities, Bryn Mawr College.

2002 Leo Steinberg, Benjamin Franklin Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, Department of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania.

2001 James S. Ackerman, Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Fine Arts Emeritus, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University.