Collegiate Affiliation

Office Hours - Fall 2022
Mondays, 3:30-5:00 pm or by appointment

Dr. Jane Blocker is the Melvin and Gertrude Waldfogel Scholar of the College and a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.  She is a specialist in contemporary art and critical theory offering historical survey courses such as "Art Since 1945" and "Contemporary Art," thematic courses such as "Art on Trial" and "Art and the Environment," as well as advanced courses and seminars on gender and sexuality in art and 20th century theory and criticism.

Broadly speaking, her research seeks to understand the nature of history, particularly as it is practiced relative to the contemporary. Her work has examined performance art as a curious object of art historical study, one that troubles traditional understandings of memory, the archive, witnessing, and the body. Using feminist, queer theory, and critical race approaches, it also takes up questions of history's biases and exclusions, its assumptions and blind spots, as well as the ethics of historiographic practice and the historian or witness as a privileged subject position. Her most recent work examines the problem of the contemporary for history.

Dr. Blocker is accepting PhD students for Fall 2023. As a mentor to graduate students, she emphasizes helping students develop writing skills, creative thinking, and theoretical sophistication as well as pedagogical training and professionalization. She is the 2020 recipient of the Graduate and Professional Education Teaching Award. Previous advisees under Dr. Blocker have received grants from the ACLS/Luce Foundation Fellowship in American Art, the American Association of University Women Fellowship, the SSRC International Research Fellowship, the Getty Research Institute Dissertation Workshop, the National Gallery of Art Curatorial Internship, the Lisa and Jerry O'Brien Curatorial Fellowship, the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship, the Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship, and the Harold Leonard Memorial Fellowship in Film Study. Her advisees have been placed in Tenure Track Professorships (e.g., University of Washington, Seattle; Earlham College; Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Lawrence University), Museum Positions (e.g., Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art ), and Arts & Cultural Positions (e.g., independent filmmaking, Alexander McQueen Fashion House). Prospective graduate students may email Dr. Blocker directly to schedule a phone call or Zoom interview.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Art History, University of North Carolina, 1994 -


  • contemporary art
  • critical theory
  • performance art
  • the body in art
  • 20th century theory and criticism
  • transgenic art
  • theories of representation
  • theories of witness
  • historiography
  • feminism
  • alternative media