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East Asian Art History Tenure-Track Position

Davidson College invites applications for a tenure-track, open-rank position in East Asian Art. Read the full job description and apply online by November 15. The position will begin July 1, 2018.

Davidson College, located 20 miles north of Charlotte, NC, is strongly committed to achieving excellence and inclusivity. We welcome applications from women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and others who bring additional dimensions to the college's mission.

The Departments

The new position will serve two departments, the Art Department, which offers degrees in Art with an emphasis in studio art or an emphasis in art history, and the Chinese Studies Department, which offers degrees in East Asian Studies and Chinese Language and Literature. The joint appointment will ensure that our new colleague is fully integrated and supported in both the discipline of art history and the field of East Asian Studies.

Davidson's Art Department is a robust and active department housed in a beautiful state-of-the-art facility. Its seven faculty (three art historians and four studio artists) instruct and mentor a large and diverse student population, including art history and studio majors and minors, interdisciplinary students, and students fulfilling the college's requirement in visual and performing arts. Art faculty also contribute to several of the college's interdisciplinary programs: Gender and Sexuality Studies, Digital Studies, and the Humanities Program.

For three decades, Professor Job Thomas offered numerous courses in South Asian and East Asian art, as well as courses in Asian history. He acquired substantial reference material for the college library, leaving our new colleague with a strong foundation to build on. In studio art, Professor Tyler Starr has a Ph.D. in printmaking from the Tokyo University of the Arts and a particular interest in traditional Japanese artistic techniques. This summer, he used college funding to travel to Japan with a colleague from the English Department as part of a Word Art collaboration. They purchased illustrated books, etchings and woodblock prints for the college's permanent collection.

The Chinese Studies Department is the institutional home for four curricular programs: the East Asian Studies major and minor, the Chinese Language and Literature major, and the Chinese Studies minor. In addition to three fulltime positions in Chinese language, the department has affiliated faculty teaching and researching East Asia in the departments of Anthropology, History, Religion, and Political Science. This supportive interdisciplinary teaching community works with students from across the college to awaken and support their interest in East Asia. Chinese Studies faculty and affiliated faculty share responsibility for extracurricular programming, interdisciplinary teaching, program administration, and facilitating student travel and study.

Since Professor Thomas's retirement, Art and Chinese Studies have shared the goal of maintaining strength in this field and inviting new perspectives on Asian art and art history. The advertised position is the realization of that shared vision; its description is the product of extension collaboration and negotiation between two departments determined to offer their new colleague a strong community and support in both the discipline of art history and the field of East Asian Studies.

Our Students

Davidson's art history majors typically fall into one of two categories. Either they have traveled extensively with their families to museums and galleries throughout the world, or they signed up for a survey course because it fit their schedule and were hooked. In either case this very focused group of students are invariably dedicated to their major. They develop into lively interlocutors who enjoy applying their intellectual curiosity to the rigors of visual analysis and to the historical and cultural contextualization of the objects under study. At the moment art history majors are required to take one course on art before 1800, one after 1899 and one in the history of architecture. When our new colleague joins us, we will add a requirement of a course in Asian art or visual culture.

Davidson's East Asian Studies programs developed in response to strong student demand. At every step of the process, we relied on a core of enthusiastic, committed students for encouragement and inspiration. The creation of majors in East Asian Studies and Chinese language was the culmination of years of work by faculty and students, with significant support from donors, including alumni and foundations.

While an increasing number of students come to Davidson already eager to study East Asia, most of our students discover their interest in the region after they arrive. Encouraging and guiding students through this process is deeply satisfying; watching their facility with new languages and cultures blossom is inspiring and thrilling. Our curricular and co-curricular program support their budding interest in many ways. Students can begin their study of Chinese language with us and graduate proficient in the language. A Chinese Language and Literature major in the class of 2017 who entered Davidson with two semesters of Chinese crowned his college career with a 30-page honors thesis written in Chinese analyzing official communications between Beijing and Taipei in 2016. Students who wish to learn other East Asian languages can use a self-instructional curriculum and are encouraged and supported to pursue language study abroad.

Language is at the heart of our program, but our students also learn about East Asian history, cultures, religions, and politics. We offer a range of courses that allow them to develop both breadth and depth within their study of East Asia.

Opportunities for Study and Research Abroad

Davidson supports faculty professional development with internal grants and funding, including providing each faculty member with $2,000 in travel funds each year to attend professional conferences. The college also provides opportunities to apply for research support, particularly for summer research and collaborations between faculty and students, and it encourages faculty to seek outside funding through the Grants and Contracts Office.

Nearly all art history majors spend either a semester or a year abroad. Davidson encourages both faculty and students in the East Asian Studies program to spend time in Asia, and the college provides significant resources to facilitate their travel. On the whole, about two-thirds of Davidson student travel abroad for academic purposes, but the percentage of East Asian Studies students who go abroad is much higher. Our Chinese Language and Literature requires two semesters abroad, and all of our degree programs require some abroad experience.

We have a biannual program at Fudan University in Shanghai, which is directed by Professor of Anthropology Fuji Lozada. The on-site directorship rotates among interested faculty; our new colleague will be welcome to lead the program and to contribute to its planning and development. We also send students on study abroad programs sponsored by other institutions, and we have a very robust summer grant program that allows students to study, do research, complete internships, or undertake personal projects regardless of their financial resources. In the summer of 2017, 17 Davidson students spent significant time in East Asia with financial support from the college or a college-sponsored outside grant. Thirteen students spent a semester in East Asia last year; nine will be there this fall. Meeting with these students after they return is one of the signal pleasures of our work.

The Hirose Scholarship and Fujita Arts Scholarship

The signature opportunities for students of East Asian Art are the Hirose Scholarship and the Fujita Arts Scholarship. Both of these awards were endowed by an alumnus with the goal of enabling Davidson students to travel abroad and explore their interests in depth, taking intellectual risks and pushing beyond boundaries. The Hirose Scholarship for East Asian Studies allows students to conduct independent research on any topic in East Asia. The Fujita Arts Scholarship family enables a Davidson artist, broadly defined, to pursue a high quality, independent arts project outside the U.S., including in East Asia.

Other scholarships exist to support students' work abroad; a complete list is available from our Dean Rusk International Studies Program.

Mentoring students toward these scholarships is a deeply gratifying experience for faculty; knowing that these sources of financial support exist allows us to encourage every student to strive fully, regardless of the student's own financial resources. Davidson students, including international students, are permitted to use their college financial aid awards to study abroad.


Organized around a central, light-filled atrium, the 43,000 square-foot Katherine and Tom Belk Visual Arts Center offers abundant teaching, studio, office, meeting, work, storage, and gallery space. This magnificent facility was designed by the architectural firm of Graham Gund and Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and opened in fall 1993. The VAC, as it is known, has a lecture hall and seminar room for art history classes, as well as a newly opened digital art lab. Each room has state-of-the-art projection. Under the auspices of our curator of visual resources, the college belongs to ArtStor.


Alumni are an important part of our success. They maintain strong links to the college and the department, and have been exceptionally helpful as cheerleaders, donors, sources of professional advice and connections for current students, and warm hosts to students (and faculty) traveling abroad.

Teaching Load & Sabbaticals

The normal teaching load is five courses per year; faculty hired as assistant professors teach a four-course load in their first year. Pre-tenure faculty members may request a sabbatical in their fifth year. Full-time, tenured faculty members normally earn a sabbatical leave every seventh year (one semester at full pay or two semesters at half pay). Davidson faculty members have a variety of opportunities to earn reduced teaching loads to support externally funded research projects, to advance curricular innovations, and/or as acknowledgements of administrative service.

The successful candidate for our East Asian Art position will teach a range of courses, including a survey of East Asian Art, intermediate-level courses in the arts and visual cultures of East Asia, and seminars in areas of particular interest to the candidate. Davidson faculty routinely teach in interdisciplinary programs, and we are eager to hear from candidates with an interest in teaching in our programs in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Environmental Studies, Digital Studies, and Global Humanities.

Professional Development

Davidson College faculty are active in scholarship and creative work. The college provides faculty members with professional development opportunities through a mentoring program, a Center for Teaching and Learning, a pre-tenure faculty group (JFN), a faculty of color group, a LGBTQA caucus, and grants for teaching innovations. It also sponsors workshops on teaching and participates in local, regional, and national organizations dedicated to outstanding undergraduate education.

Commitments to Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity

Davidson shares aspirations to reimagine the liberal arts, a singular commitment to educational excellence and access, and educating students for disproportionate impact. Successful candidates for positions at Davidson demonstrate a commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity and have experience interacting with students of diverse backgrounds. Tenure track searches include faculty equity advisors throughout the process; during campus interviews candidates meet with representatives from Davidson's Student Initiative for Academic Diversity (SIAD) to discuss diversity and inclusivity.

Davidson participates in QuestBridge, Posse, and other initiatives including The Davidson Trust, a no-loan financial aid program for all students. Davidson has a non-discrimination policy and strong, ongoing commitments to social justice, quality, and access, including a Justice, Equality, and Community course requirement for all students. Moreover, in the wake of North Carolina's controversial HB2 "bathroom bill" Davidson released a statement in support of LGBTQA community members. On September 5 of this year, President Quillen released a statement affirming the value of students participating in the DACA program to the College and the nation. She concluded, "Davidson College stands with DREAMers and with all who seek a more just and humane world."