Faculty & Staff

Dyan Couden Couden, Dyan Couden

Dyan Couden
Academic Administrative Assistant
Staff  |  Art History & Visual Culture, Studio Art
Bryant Arts Center

Dyan Couden joined the Art Department staff as an academic administrative assistant in September 2007. She attended Ohio State University as an animal science/pre vet med major and later transferred to CCAD to study illustration.

You can contact Dyan for information regarding faculty availability, course offerings, requirements for achieving a Studio Art major or minor and how to chose a faculty advisor.

Dyan is the host parent to an international student, has served as a DOWS officer and is currently co-advisor of the Denison University Yoga Club. She is an avid CrossFitter in her spare time.

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Joanna Grabski dr. Grabski, Joanna Grabski

Joanna Grabski
John and Christine Warner Professor & Chair (Art History)
Faculty  |  Art History & Visual Culture, International Studies
Bryant Arts Center
B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Indiana University

Visual Life in African Cities (ARTH 334), Arts of Post-Colonial Africa (ARTH 225), African Art and Visual Culture (ARTH 121), Representing Africa on Film (ARTH 222), Arts of Oceania (ARTH 223), Art History Senior Seminar (ARTH 408)

Research Details: 

Research and Teaching

My scholarship and teaching focus on artistic propositions and visual culture in relation to urban life, especially in Senegal and Congo, where I have conducted research on individual artists, art institutions, and expressive production. My methodological orientation combines sustained ethnography, visual/textual analysis, and theorization to engage specificity of place as a modality through which to read the production and interpretation of creative projects. I have contributed to several edited collections and academic journals including African Arts, Art Journal, Fashion Theory, Nka, Présence Francophone, Social Dynamics, andAfrica Today. I was guest editor for a special issue of Africa Today (2007) dedicated to “Visual Experience in Urban Africa” and co-editor for African Art, Interviews, Narratives: Bodies of Knowledge at Work (2013), a volume exploring the productive work of interviews in creating scholarly narratives. My most recent project is Market Imaginary (2012), a feature length documentary film dealing with the concentric embedment of Dakar’s Colobane Market in its neighborhood, in the city, and in the imagination. My current project is a book manuscript about Dakar’s art world city.

My research has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship (2009-2010), the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship (1998-1999), the Doctoral Fellowship from the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution (1999-2000), the GLCA New Directions Initiative Grant made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2011, 2012, 2013), the R. C. Good Faculty Fellowship (2006, 2013), and the Denison University Research Foundation. My article, “Urban Claims and Visual Sources in the Making of Dakar’s Art World City,” Art Journal 68, 1 (Spring 2009) received the Art Journal Award from the College Art Association in 2010.

Current Projects

Market Imaginary (Producer/Director for 53 minute film documenting/theorizing Dakar’s Colobane Market). DVD Available from Indiana University Press.

African Art, Interviews, Narratives: Bodies of Knowledge at Work, edited by Joanna Grabski and Carol Magee (edited volume with twelve contributors) Indiana University Press: 2013.

Art World City: The Creative Economy of Artists and Urban Life in Dakar (book manuscript in progress).


Selected Publications

  • Dakar’s Market Imaginary: Mobility, Visuality, and the Creative Economy of Second Chances, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (CSSAAME Borderlines). March 25, 2014 http://cssaamejournal.org/borderlines/dakars-market-imaginary/
  • La Mobilité, Le Pouvoir de Visualisation, et L’Imaginaire du Marché à Dakar,” in Mamadou Diouf and Rosalind Fredericks, eds. Les Arts de la Citoyenneté au Sénégal: Espaces Contestés et Civilités Urbaines (Éditions Karthala: 2013).
  • Ghostly Stories: Interviews with Artists in Dakar and the Productive Space around Absence,” in Joanna Grabski and Carol Magee, eds. African Art, Interviews, Narratives: Bodies of Knowledge at Work (Indiana University Press: 2013).
  • The Work of Interviews,” co-authored with Carol Magee, in Joanna Grabski and Carol Magee, eds. African Art, Interviews, Narratives: Bodies of Knowledge at Work (Indiana University Press: 2013).
  • Interview with Cheikh Ndiaye,” Pulsations: The Journal of New African Writing 2 (2013): 35-57.
  • The École des Arts and Exhibitionary Platforms in Post Independence Senegal,” in Monica Blackmun Visonà and Gitti Salami, A Companion to Modern African Art (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming 2013).
  • Introductory Essay on Historicity and Urban Memory,” IN/FLUX, volume II, Mediatrips from the African World. Produced by SPARCK and Lowave (Paris), 2012.
  • Market Logics: How Locality and Mobility Make Artistic Livelihoods in Dakar,” Social Dynamics 37, 3 (2011): 321-331. Republished in Rogue Urbanism: Emergent African Cities, edited by E. Pieterse and A. Simone (Jacana Media and African Centre for Cities, 2013).
  • Urban Claims and Visual Sources in the Making of Dakar’s Art World City,” Art Journal 68, 1 (Spring 2009): 6-23. (Art Journal Award, College Art Association, 2010)
  • Pap Ba’s Haute-Couture Fashion Photography,” Critical Interventions 6 (Spring 2010): 77-90.
  • The Visual City: Tailors, Creativity, and Urban Life in Dakar, Senegal,” in Suzanne Gott and Krystine Loughran, eds.  Contemporary African Fashion (Indiana University Press, 2010).
  • Traces and Echoes: Mixed Media Paintings of Kalidou Sy,” NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, number 24 (Spring 2009): 82-91.
  • Making Fashion in the City: A Case Study of Tailors and Designers in Dakar, Senegal,” Fashion Theory: Special Issue on African Fashion, edited by Victoria Rovine,13, 2 (Spring 2009): 215-242.
  • The Dak’Art Biennale: Exhibiting Contemporary Art and Geopolitics in Africa,” NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art/Special Issue on the 21st Century and The Mega Shows, volume 22/23(Spring/Summer 2008): 104-113.
  • Projects of Collecting and Exhibition in Dakar: On Being a Mécéne d’art,” Présence Francophone, Special Issue on Art in Dakar, edited by Helene Tissieres, (Spring 2008): 93-111.
  • Guest Editor and Introduction,” Africa Today: Special Issue on Visual Experience in Urban Africa, 54, 2 (Winter 2007): vi-xii.
  • Painting Fictions/Painting History: Modernist Pioneers at Senegal’s Ecole des Arts,” African Arts: Special Issue on Art Historical Perspectives on African Modernists, edited by Chika Okeke, 39, 1 (2006): 38-49, 93.
  • Visual Experience and Fashion in Dakar: The City as Information Environment and Artistic Resource for Tailors,” in Mode in Afrika (Museum für Völkerkunde, Hamburg, Germany, 2005): 52-60.
  • Dakar’s Urban Landscapes: Locating Modern Art and Artists in the City,” African Arts 36, 4 (2003): 28-39, 93.
  • Pierre Lods and the Poto-Poto School,” in N’Goné Fall and Jean-Loup Pivin, eds. Anthologie de l’art africain du xx siècle.  Paris: Éditions Revue Noire, 2001: 179-181.

Curatorial Projects/Exhibition Essays

Author of Exhibition Essay
Writing, Artistic Traditions and the Economies of Cultural Heritage: Recent Works by Abdoulaye Ndoye

Musée Boribana, Dak’Art Biennale Off 2014 Dakar, Senegal

Author of Exhibition Essay
Les Lettres de Verre de El Hadji Sy in
Exhibition Catalogue, Les Lettres de Verre,
Galerie BooKoo, Dakar, Senegal, June 2013

Exhibition Curator and Author of Exhibition Essay
Guissou Ma La Mbao: An Exhibition of Poesie Graphique by Abdoulaye Ndoye
Musee Boribana, Dak’Art Biennale Off 2010, Dakar, Senegal

Author of Exhibition Essay
Taking Off/L’Envol: A Mixed Media Installation by Ndary Lo
Eiffage, Dak’Art Biennale Off 2010, Dakar, Senegal

Author of Exhibition Essay, “The Harmonies of Becoming an Artist: Remembering the Artistic Practice of Seydou Barry,” in Catalogue of Seydou Barry’s Retrospective Exhibition at Dak’Art Off (Dakar: Impression Midi-Occident, 2008).

Author of Selected Essays, Trajectoires: Art Contemporain du Senegal; Collection Bassam Chaitou, Exposition Musee de l’Ifan de Dakar, (Dakar: Editions Kaani, 2007): 18-24, 74-75, 186-187.

Exhibition Co-Curator and Author of Exhibition Essay
Traces and Echoes:  Mixed Media Paintings by Kalidou Sy
Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, IN, 2007

Exhibition Curator and Author of Exhibition Essay
La Peinture sans peinture: une selection d’oeuvres recentes de Abdoulaye Ndoye
West African Research Center, Dakar, Senegal, 1999
L’Oeil vif: une exposition individuelle de Cherif Thiam
West African Research Center, Dakar, Senegal, 1999

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Jacqueline Pelasky Pelasky, Jacqueline Pelasky

Jacqueline Pelasky
Visual Resource Curator
Staff  |  Art History & Visual Culture, Studio Art
Bryant Arts Center

Jacqueline Pelasky has degrees in both Art History and Legal Sciences and an extensive photography background. She joined the Art and Art History Department in January 1999.  She is the Department's sole administrator of CONTENTdm (restricted to campus-only access), an always expanding database of nearly 50,000 fully-cataloged images.  She is responsible for the archiving and preservation of the Department's approximately 150,000 35mm slide collection, its collection of magic lantern slides as well as the management of its growing digital assets.  She oversees the Visual Resource Center, is web mistress of the Art History Program site, and is the graphic designer for the Program's event publicity and the Senior Symposium.  Ms. Pelasky has maintained professional memberships in the Visual Resources Association and  also the Art Libraries Society of North America since 1999.

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Karl Sandin dr. Sandin, Karl Sandin

Associate Professor
Faculty  |  Art History & Visual Culture, Environmental Studies
Bryant Arts Center
B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Rutgers University

Karl Sandin is an urbanist and urban/architectural historian teaching in Denison's Art History Program. His courses include surveys of classical, Medieval, and Renaissance/Baroque art, architecture and planning. Recent seminars include 'Cities Ancient and Modern', 'Sustainable Urban Landscape', and First-Year seminars on housing and homelessness. He links courses and research engagement with Denison's Environmental Studies Program and John W. Alford Center for Service-Learning. His research concerns the nature of neighborhoods and public spaces in urban settings, and in particular on issues of landscape, equity and diversity, and 'mat urbanism'.

Most recently he has engaged in community-based design facilitation with the City of Newark, Ohio. Students in several courses have been involved. These efforts include the 2007 Newark Charrette and the current East Main Street redesign project, undertaken with Newark city officials, local designers/planners, and Columbus, Ohio's Neighborhood Design Center, affiliated with the Knowlton School of Architecture and Planning, The Ohio State University. He received his Ph.D from Rutgers¾The State University of New Jersey in Art/Architectural History, and has been at Denison since 1989.

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Joy Sperling dr. Sperling, Joy Sperling

Joy Sperling
Faculty  |  Art History & Visual Culture
Bryant Arts Center
M.A., M.F.A, Edinburgh University; Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

Modern Art and Visual Culture: 1750-1980 (ARTH-111), History of Photography (ARTH-211), America Art and Visual Culture-Colonial to 1939 (ARTH-212), New Art (Late 20th/21st Century) (ARTH-313), Methods of Art History and Visual Culture (ARTH-380), Art History Senior Seminar: Research (ARTH-408).

Research Details: 

Research and Teaching

My research and teaching has pivoted around several interconnected themes: the interplay of dominant visualities and sites of resistance; the ways in which artistic ‘center’ and marginality are conceptualized and transgressed; the transactions between the institutions and systems of production and consumption in the dominant art world and those of popular or visual culture; and the ways in which the mass disseminations of images and ideas in the age of visual culture have enhanced, subverted, or redirected the canon in nineteenth to twenty-first century American and British art. I have explored these themes in two primary ways: one body of research addresses the broader questions posed by the relationship between high and popular art or art history and visual culture, while the other explores these connections with in-depth case studies. The thread that binds my research together is a sustained analysis of the ways in which artists, systems and even some institutions have transgressed, exploded, or reconstituted the artistic canon in the United States and Britain in the last two centuries.

My research has been most recently supported by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant (2004), Office of the State Historian of New Mexico Grant  (2009, 2011), R.C. Good Fellowship (2010/11, 2003/04), Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Publication Grant (1999), Ohio Arts Council Grant (1999), Ohio Humanities Grant (1999), and the Denison University Research Fund.

My teaching has been honored by a Burlington Northern Foundation, Faculty Achievement Award and the Charles A. Brickman Teaching Excellence Award, and my service has been honored by a President’s Award for Service to the PCA/ACA.

Current Projects:

  • The Visual Enchanting of the Land of Enchantment: Art, Tourism, and the Spectacle of the Southwest. Monograph.
  • “Nineteenth Century Women Abroad as Travelers and Tourists: New Visions of Nature in the Old World.” Article.
  • “From the Living Room to the Lecture Hall: Fine Art Reproductions in Nineteenth Century America.” Article.
Grants & Funding: 
  • DURF Grant to support research on women artists in New Mexico (Aug. 2102)
  • Mabel Dodge Luhan House writer’s residency (January 2012)

Selected Recent Publications:

Books and Monographs

  • Art History by Marilyn Stokstad. 4e edition, revision of chapters 29-32/ Book 6: 18th to 21st Century, Upper saddle River NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2010. Fragonard’s Shoe: The Art of Jude Tallichet. New York: Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York, 2010.
  • Special Issue: American Art and Visual Culture. The Journal of American Culture, Blackwell Press. Volume 31, 1 (March, 2008). Co-Editor (with David Sokol).
  • Famous Works of Art in Popular Culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003.
  • Out of Belfast (Three Women Artists from Belfast): Herbert, Kelly, and O’Baoill. Exhibition Catalogue. Columbus Ohio: The Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and Denison University, 1999.


  • “Reframing the Study of American Visual Culture: From National Studies to Transnational Digital Networks.” The Journal of American Culture. Vol. 34, 1, March 2011.
  • scampa wulla wussa olobo’: Clumpism and the Crying Moon.” In Clumpism: Paul Rhoads and Matt Freedman, Long Island University Gallery, 2009.
  • From Magic Lantern Slide to Digital Image: Visual Communities and American Culture.” In “Special Issue: American Art and Visual Culture.” The Journal of American Culture. Vol. 31, 1, 1-5, March 2008.
  • Art Cheap and Good:“ The Art Union and the Middling classes in England and the United States, 1840-1860.” Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide. 1:1 (February 2002).
  • Imagined and Aesthetic Communities: The Art Union of London and the American Art Union.” In Coleccion y Circulacion de las Artes, Memorias del xxe Coloquio Internacional de Historia del Arte, Patricio (ed. Gustavo Curiel), Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico (1997), pp. 409-438.

Book chapters

  • “Wot is to Be?” The Visual Construction of Empire at the Crystal palace Exhibition, London”. In Fear and Loathing in Victorian England, edited by  Marlene Tromp, Marcia Bachman, and Heidi Kaufman. Columbus Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 2011.
  • Sorry to leave so many weeds”: Jane Gilmor’ in I’ll be back for the cat: The Art of Jane Gilmor. New York, 2011. 
  • Prints and Photographs in Nineteenth Century England: Visual Communities, Cultures and Class.” In A History of Visual Culture:Western Civilization from the 18th to the 21st Century. Jane Kromm and Susan Bakewell (eds). London: Berg Publishing, 2010.  296-308. 
  • Artists Taking the High Road and the Low Road.” In Popular Culture Values and the Arts: Essays on Elitism versus Democratization. Ray Browne (ed) North Carolina and London: McFarland Press, 2009. 109-124
  • Popular Art in North America.” In The Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Popular Culture: North America. Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 2007. Gary Hoppenstand (general editor), Michael Schoenecke (volume editor) 19-46.
  • Popular Art in Europe.” In The Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Popular Culture: Europe, Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 2007. Gary Hoppenstand (general editor), Gerd Bayer (volume editor) 27-57.

Selected Publications on Pedagogy

  • Function and Meaning in Georges Seurat’s La Grande Jatte.” In Methodologies of Art History. Pamela Trimpe and Jacob Molyneux (eds). Princeton NJ: The College Board, 2005, 1-6.
  • From the Trenches’, article and sample syllabus for undergraduate Art History Survey Course, in The AP Art History Handbook for Teachers. Cheryl Hughes (ed), Princeton, NJ: The College Board, 2003. 123-130.

Selected Recent Curatorial Projects/Exhibitions:

  • The Tourist View: From Grand Tours to Tramps Abroad. Denison University Museum, 2006.  Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Denison University Internship Program, and The Denison University Provost’s Office. September 10-December 10, 2006.
  • Out of Belfast (Three Women Artists from Belfast): Herbert, Kelly, O’Baoill. Denison University Art Gallery. Funded by the Ohio Humanities Council, NEH, and the Ohio Arts Council, the Firestone Foundation, and The  Aer Lingus Artists’ Program. September 1999-November 1999.
Professional Memberships: 

Recent Professional Positions:

  • President, Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA). 2011-2013.
  • President Elect, PCA/ACA. 2010-2011.
  • Vice-President of Area Chairs PCA/ACA. 2008-2010.
  • Co-President, PCA/ACA, 2007-2008.   
  • Vice-President/President Elect, American Culture Association (ACA). 2005-2008.
  • Chief Reader, AP Art History, College Board, Princeton, NJ. 2004-2007.
  • Chief Reader Designate, AP Art History, College Board, Princeton, NJ. 2003-2004.
  • Test Development Committee, AP Art History, ETS/College Board, Princeton, 2004-2007.

Denison University

  • Posse Mentor Boston Posse 2012
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Catherine Stuer Stuer, Catherine Stuer

Catherine Stuer
Assistant Professor
Faculty  |  Art History & Visual Culture, Environmental Studies
Bryant Arts Center
B.A., Catholic University of Leuven; M.A., National Taiwan University; Ph.D., University of Chicago
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