Caroline M. Riley

GRS PhD, 2016

1) What have you been doing since you graduated from BU? Details about your current and past employment? Accomplishments you’re proud of? Challenges you’ve encountered?
Since graduating in 2016, I have served in multiple academic departments and enjoy my time researching and writing on the history of American art, museum studies, and photo syndication. In addition to my role as a Research Associate in the Art History Department at the University of California, Davis, I am fortunate to have received three fellowships to support my research: the Terra Postdoctoral Fellowship in American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2019-20); the Judith B. and Burton P. Resnick Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (2020-21) and the Kluge Center Fellowship at the Library of Congress (2021-22). I have taught contemporary art, modern architecture, decorative arts, the cultural history of museums, and design history at San Jose State University and UC Davis. I serve as Co-Chair of the Photography Network and on the Association of Historians of American Art Board, the CAA’s Services to Historians of Visual Arts Committee, and as a Board Member for the journal Panorama.

Excitingly, my BU dissertation led to my first book, MoMA Goes to Paris in 1938: Building and Politicizing American Art (University of California Press, forthcoming Fall 2022). It examines the powerful role that museums can play in constructing national art historical narratives by concentrating on MoMA’s “Three Centuries of American Art” exhibition displayed in Paris. My next book, Thérèse Bonney’s Photography: The Intermedial Syndication of Art, the Body, and War from 1920 to 1970, explores how Americans, and the broader global public, learned through syndication about international conflicts.
2) How your time in the department shaped your professional and personal lives?

I attended BU as an undergraduate with a dual major in art history and US history. The rigorous education I received permitted me to attend the University of Delaware/ Winterthur Program for my MA and I loved my experience at BU so much that I chose to return for my Ph.D. The department has an exceptional faculty who produce excellent research and care deeply about students.

3) Any advice that you would’ve given to your younger self?

Enjoy the process of learning as a full-time pursuit and give yourself space to evolve your interests as you study.

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