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Cowan, Sarah Louise, PhD - Faculty Bio

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


ARTH 136A Histories of American Art (Power, Privilege and Diversity course)
ARTH 281A Performance Art of the Americas
ARTH 282A Art + Liberation: The United States Since 1960 (Power, Privilege, and Diversity course)


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 elucidates 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 launching a second book project, in which she examines 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.


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



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

"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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