Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

Manhattanville College Professor Named Field Editor for College Art Association’s Online Reviews

Megan Cifarelli Megan Cifarelli,chair of the Department of Art History at Manhattanville College, has been named a field editor for caa.reviews. The College Art Association has appointed Manhattanville College’s Megan Cifarelli field editor of Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern Art for its online journal.

caa.reviews, publishes scholarly reviews of studies and projects in all areas of art history. Cifarelli is in charge of commissioning art historians to write reviews of the latest books that are coming out in her field. 

Cifarelli pointed out that this is an opportunity for her to encourage interest in art of the Ancient Near East. “My field is very small and I would like to promote it on a larger stage. This lets me participate in ensuring that the best scholarly works in my field become better known.”

Her work has been published in numerous journals, including The Art Bulletin and the American Journal of Archaeology. “I have been working in the ancient area since I was a graduate student,” said Cifarelli, chair of the Department of Art History at Manhattanville. “I’m interested in it because there are a lot of unanswered questions. It’s not like the Italian Renaissance or Contemporary Art where people have been thinking, talking, and writing about really important issues for a really long time. It’s a field that has been mostly dominated by archaeologists who don’t ask the same questions that art historians do.”

While archaeologists focus more on anthropology and history, art historians focus more on culture. “Archaeologists tend to ask questions that are largely anthropological and historical in nature - so if they discover an object they want to know when and how it was created,” explained Cifarelli. “Art historians, however, ask how an object participates in the visual culture of the society that produced it - who is the intended audience, what kinds of messages does it communicate, what did it mean to the people who created it, how does the way it look help it to accomplish its purpose, etc. These questions are really interesting in the early cultures that I study because their visual strategies are often experimental and innovative, they have less to inherit than later cultures.”

Cifarelli came to Manhattanville in 2007. In 2008 she developed the Museum Studies program, an interdisciplinary minor that prepares students for a variety for museum-related careers. She is also Chair of the Classical Civilizations program.