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Cowan, Sarah Louise, PhD



Art and Art History, Peeler Art Center
Greencastle, IN

Art and Art History

Assistant Professor of Art and Art History

Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 2019, History of Art
M.A. University of California, Berkeley, 2015, History of Art
B.A. University of California, Berkeley, 2011, History of Art


American Art; Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art; Global Contemporary Art; Queer and Feminist Art History; Art of the African Diaspora; Latinx and Chicanx Art


ARTH 190A American Art in Transnational Context
ARTH 290A Performance Art of the Americas


Sarah Louise Cowan's research approaches modern and contemporary art of the Americas (since 1945) through critical theories of race and gender. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation, which examines the multifaceted career of artist, activist, curator and writer Howardena Pindell (b. 1943). Her study eluciates the contributions of black feminist thought and handicraft to American abstraction of the 1960s and 1970s. More broadly, it asks how Pindell and other artists confronted expectations in this period that African American artists represent themselves in a literal way. Cowan is also interested in how women of color artists in Latin America and the United States used video art and performance art in the 1980s to investigate the contradictions of multiculturalism.


2018–2019 Mellon-ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship
2017–2018 Smithsonian American Art Museum Predoctoral Fellowship
2017–2018 Getty Library Research Grant


"Texturing Abstraction: Howardena Pindell's Cut and Sewn Paintings," Art Journal, forthcoming

"Clearly Seen: A Chronology," in Howardena Pindell: What Remains to Be Seen, eds. Naomi Beckwith and Valerie Cassel Oliver (Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago), 2018

"Outliers and American Vanguard Art," caa.reviews, 2018

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