Faculty & Staff

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James Smalls
Professor
Art History and Museum Studies
Afilliate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies
Affiliate Professor of Africana Studies

410-455-1397 room FA325
smalls@umbc.edu

Dr. James Smalls is an art historian, with a focus on the intersections of race, gender, and queer sexuality in the art and visual culture of the nineteenth century, as well as the art and visual culture of the black diaspora. He is the author of Homosexuality in Art (Parkstone Press, 2003) and The Homoerotic Photography of Carl Van Vechten: Public Face, Private Thoughts (2006). He has published essays in a number of book anthologies and prominent journals, including American Art, French Historical Studies, Third Text, Art Journal, and Art Criticism. His book chapters and articles include: Menace at the Portal: Masculine Desire and the Homoerotics of Orientalism (2016), The Soft Glow of Brutality (2015), A Teacher Uses Star Trek for Difficult Conversations on Race and Gender (2015), Racial Antics in Late Nineteenth-Century French Art and Popular Culture (2014), Sculpting Black Queer Bodies and Desires: The Case of Richmond Barthé (2013), and Exquisite Empty Shells: Sculpted Slave Portraits and the French Ethnographic Turn (2013). Smalls is currently completing a book entitled Féral Benga: African Muse of Modernism.

In 2006, Smalls curated a two-part exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art on the art, career, and international influence of the African American artist, Henry Ossawa Tanner. In 2009-2010, he served as the Consulting Editor for the five-volume set of The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art. In 2015 he was appointed to the Advisory Board for The Archives of American Art Journal.

Dr. Smalls holds degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in Ethnic Arts (B. A.), and Art History (M. A., and Ph.D.). He has taught at Rutgers University, Columbia University, and at the University of Paris.

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