Most of the historical data collected for this project, the complete history of tenure-stream positions in art history departments, pertains to the 12 PhD-granting departments in Canada. Our original ambition was to include in this group the 4 MA-granting institutions. We were only able to access data on Guelph and Carleton. We also collected historical data for McMaster University as the very first department in the country to hire an art historian with a PhD in the discipline.
Our 21 icons represent a comprehensive spectrum of faculty positions and course offerings in art history at Canadian universities over time. Some designations capture shifts in the designation of positions as art history changed (theory, visual culture, feminism/gender), some chart the interest in a global art history curriculum, some capture regional specialities in Canadian universities (Quebec, patrimony). See further Subjects.
Assigning Specializations to Faculty Data
We asked departments to designate a single specialization for each appointment from an institutional perspective. While every appointment satisfies multiple curricular desiderata, we asked if, for example, you hired a historian of Canadian Photography studied from a feminist perspective, what was the first non-negotiable criterion in that search: photography? Canadian art? Feminism/Gender studies? For each and every faculty member we designated this way (we often ended up making the choice based on the faculty profile) this choice significantly reduces a more varied and nuanced research and teaching profile. When we made the designations ourselves we operated with a few biases: we were looking for positions that prioritized Canadian art, Quebec art, Indigenous art and tended to use these designations over others. We were also looking for departments that hired a global art history faculty and tended to designate by region (i.e we chose African art over modernism for scholars working on global modernity). Inevitably strong theoretical allegiances reflected in our categories were obscured by period or geographic designations. Visual Culture was difficult category to assign as we felt universities probably prioritized geographical diversity or period coverage over the approach. For all of the acknowledged problems with this approach, the reduction to one subfield nonetheless enabled us to get a general overview of the priorities and curricular range of departments while leaving it to the departments to add nuance to this blunt set of categories in their narrative accounts.
Who We Left Out
Although some departments are structurally tied to Film and to Media Studies (like Université de Montreal), or to Studio Art, we have not included faculty positions that were squarely in those areas. We are also aware that there are archaeologists, architectural historians and some art historians working in departments of classics, schools of architecture and other departments, which were outside the scope of the study. Sorry.
Degrees / Training
We gathered information on the countries in which the tenure-stream faculty did their BA, MA, and PhD in order to show the intellectual genealogies and networks of Canadian art historians over time, to show the rapid professionalization of the discipline, and to show how the establishment of Canadian PhD programs (from the late 1960s) has changed the training grounds of our faculty. The most detailed data is to be found in the individual university excel charts. For European-trained art historians, whose degrees are not exactly equivalent to North Americans, we at times assigned degrees to reflect equivalent training at a given phase in their career.
Duration of Appointment
This data was based primarily on calendars/annuaires, and supplemented by information from individual departments. For earlier decades the date faculty left the university or retired was sometimes approximate.
Excel charts in PDF
For more detailed information, including the names of the faculty whose positions are indicated anonymously in the charts, see the excel charts attached to each university page.
The data was gathered from publicly accessible sources, mostly university calendars and websites, supplemented by the memories of collaborators. One of the greatest challenges was discerning tenure-stream positions when the calendars did not make distinctions of rank. Accounts from departments were submitted with knowledge they would be posted on a website. The nature of our data and method of gathering it was discussed and deemed appropriate by a research ethics officer at the University of Toronto. Individual participants have contacted the ethics officers at their university independently.