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Cowan, Sarah Louise, Ph.D. - Faculty Bio

Cowan, Sarah Louise, Ph.D.



Peeler Art Center, Room 212
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


Modern and Contemporary Art of the Americas; African-American Art and Art of the African Diaspora; U.S. American Art; Queer and Feminist Art History; Latinx and Chicanx Art; Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art; Global Contemporary Art


ARTH 136A Histories of American Art (Power, Privilege and Diversity course)

ARTH 281A Histories of Performance Art (Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies)

ARTH 282A Art + Liberation: The United States Since 1960 (Africana Studies; Power, Privilege, and Diversity course)

ARTH 290 Music Video and American Visual Art (Film Studies; Power, Privilege, and Diversity course)

ARTH 390 Histories of Photography (Film Studies; Power, Privilege, and Diversity course)


Sarah Louise Cowan's research focuses on modern and contemporary art of the Americas with a particular focus on Black feminist modernisms. Her book, Howardena Pindell: Reclaiming Abstraction (Yale University Press, Nov. 2022) is the first book-length scholarly publication about any aspects of the multifaceted career of artist, activist, curator and writer Howardena Pindell (b. 1943). The book interrogates the history and reception of abstraction in the U.S., particularly how Black artists since 1960 have reclaimed abstract art by rerouting its dominant associations with Euro-American modernisms. The book received a 2021 Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant. Cowan's other research interests include artistic notions of labor and laziness, landscape interventions, and memorialization. She is launching a second book project, which will explore the intersection of contemporary art and grief.


2022–2023 Tyson Scholar of American Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

2021 Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant, College Art Association

2020 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend
2018–2019 Mellon-ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship
2017–2018 Smithsonian American Art Museum Predoctoral Fellowship
2017–2018 Getty Library Research Grant




Howardena Pindell: Reclaiming Abstraction (Yale University Press, 2022)

Reviews: Blake Oetting, caa.reviews

Peer-reviewed Journals:

"Texturing Abstraction: Howardena Pindell's Cut and Sewn Paintings," Art Journal 79, no. 4 (Winter 2020): 26-43.

Exhibition Texts:

"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


"Review of Feminist Subjectivies in Fiber Art and Craft: Shadows and Affect by John Corso-Esquivel," Journal of Modern Craft 14, no. 2 (July 2021): 199-201.

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

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