student docent leads a group of people our tour of gallery in art museum.
A student docent leads a tour in the Allen Memorial Art Museum as part of the art history program. Photo credit: Scott Shaw
Program Overview

Art History

Program Type: Major, Minor
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Department: Art

Art history at Oberlin examines the arts of Africa and the Black Atlantic, East Asia, Islamic cultures, and the West. Students analyze visual and written material, which opens onto understandings of broader social, political, and historical structures of race, class, sexuality, and gender. Art history refines skills in analysis, critical thinking, logic, writing, and other forms of communication. Majors are well placed to pursue any career in which strong communication and analytical skills are necessary.

Why Study Art History at Oberlin?

illustration of a blue book that is open.
Variety of Courses
 illustration of a blue library book
Special Collections
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Study Away Programs

Curating Art History

Erik Inglis ’89, professor of medieval art history, describes some of the art in the campus-based Allen Memorial Art Museum. The Allen and its diverse collection of original works serve as a teaching resource for faculty. Inglis describes how students are involved in expanding and enhancing the museum’s collection.

woman in black suit sitting in office in front of large bookcases
Associate Professor Christina Neilson in her office in the Clarence Ward Art Building. Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

Exploring Art History

Associate Professor Christina Neilson discusses the range of curricular and extracurricular opportunities that await students who decide to study art history at Oberlin. Neilson, chair of art history, specializes in the art history of early modern Europe and Latin America, and teaches such courses as Gender and the Visual Arts in Europe 1450-1700 and the Arts of Conquest and Resistance in Seventeenth-Century Europe and Latin America.

About art history with Professor Christina Neilson

Professor Matt Rarey discusses his course, Vodou and Santería


Sample Courses

  • ARTH 150 - Approaches to Western Art 4 credits
  • ARTH 299 - Methods of Art History 4 credits
  • ARTH 310 - Word and Image in Medieval Art 4 credits
  • ARTH 327 - Image/Object: Material and Mediation in Chinese Art 4 credits

Art History Faculty

Art history faculty members are both scholars and teachers whose focus is on undergraduate education. Their specialties include Africa and the Black Atlantic, East Asia, Islamic culture, medieval art and history, and contemporary art history.

Explore Faculty within Art History

Art History News

People wearing mouth and nose masks walk through an art gallery.

The Allen Memorial Art Museum Reopens

September 1, 2020
Late last month, a small group of new Oberlin faculty members stood in a large circle, six feet apart, in the King Sculpture Court of the Allen Memorial Art Museum. The invited group were among the first visitors inside the space since it closed in late March. This month the museum reopens with regular hours to members of the college community.