Dr. Sara Nair James

Welcome to My Web Page!

IMG_2145How to Find Me:

Department:   Art and Art History

E-mail:  sjames@mbc.edu (the best way to reach me)

Mailing address: Deming Fine Arts Building, Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA 24401 USA

Office Location:  Chris House 102, 233 Sycamore Street.   (2 doors toward Coalter from MBC Campus Security Office)

Office Phone: (540) 887.7195     Deming Fine Arts Fax: (540) 887-7139

Office Hours:  Deming 202:  TTh: 10:45-11:15 and 2:40-3:30                                        Chris House 102:  MW 2:30-3:30  and by appointment

Ape Reading in the Library of Antonio Alberi at OrvietoClassroom: Art History classes are normally taught in Deming Fine Arts Building, Room 105, but sometimes my classes are in the Academic Building (such as INT213), so check your class on the college course offerings schedule, MyMbc, or Blackboard.

Who I am:  I am Professor of Art History at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia,  located in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley.  I am also an active scholar in Italian Renaissance art history. My book, Signorelli and Fra Angelico at Orvieto: Liturgy Poetry and a Vision of the Endtime (Aldershot,UK/Burlington,VT, Ashgate Publishing, 2003) is available on the publisher’s website and from Amazon.  I’ve also published chapters, articles, and book reviews, and presented papers  at scholarly conferences on Luca Signorelli, Giorgio Vasari, Cardinal Wolsey, various narrative painting cycles in Orvieto, Italian Renaissance Art, and Medieval-Renaissance English Art.

What I teach:

Art history is a fundamentally object-based cultural and artistic history, which is fundamentally interdisciplinary.  The discipline rests on the principle that objects of art and craft exemplify and mirror the ideals and beliefs of the people who designed, fabricated, commissioned, and used them. Unlike  historical disciplines that are text-based, the history of art documents and interprets changes in human society by examining works of art, artifacts, and other objects of material culture as its primary sources. The history of art further requires the critical analysis and interpretation of written texts to help document and illuminate the contexts—social, economic, political, religious—in which artifacts are produced and used.Studies in art history equip students with the fundamental skills and perspectives of the liberal arts: to think clearly and critically, to write well, and to find, analyze, evaluate, and present facts and ideas.

The beauties of teaching in a small liberal arts college are many. I am able to get to know my students and be their advocate for jobs or graduate school when they need it.  I am able to teach broadly: Ancient Greece and Rome, Medieval European art, Italian Renaissance Art, Northern Renaissance painting,  Baroque Art and Architecture (Seventeenth Century in Europe). I also teach more focused colloquia on various periods (Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance) as well as on Michelangelo and the Cities of Florence and Rome.

559162_692105294136362_2012639869_nWhy Study Art History and the Liberal Arts? The Liberal Arts, regardless of your field of study, prepare you for life, improve the quality of your life, broaden your horizons, and open doors for you. They teach you to read, write, and think, to form your own informed opinions. A liberal education is the heart of a democratic republic: you must have an educated populus for democracy to work.

rom.08.054Plan Ahead!!  May Term in Italy 2017:

I offer an exciting Studies Abroad Course in our May Term, which runs from  late April through mid-May. The course is ARTH 343: Renaissance Studies in Italy. Students apply through the Spencer Center.  You need to have a strong background in art history so you can appreciate what we see.  Prerequisite Courses are available, especially in the spring semester preceding the trip.  Follow the link to my web page on May Term for more information. This course will not be available in May Term 2016.

I’ve maintained a  website since 2000.  I use this web page for information, announcements, resources, and other communications.  I also use Blackboard for detailed  information on my courses, including posted readings, assignments, and syllabi.