Cat Dawson


Undergraduate Discipline

Art History

BA, Smith College. MBA, IE Business School, Madrid, Spain. PhD, University of Buffalo. Dawson works at the intersection of an art historian and a scholar of gender and sexuality studies and explores the relationships of culture, technology, and subjectivity. They are currently working on their second book, Trans Form, which articulates a trans method for art history. Their first book, Monumental: Race, Representation, Redress, will be published by MIT Press in 2024. SLC, 2023–

Undergraduate Courses 2023-2024

Art History

Histories of Queer and Trans Art

Open, Lecture—Fall

Art and culture have long offered ways for people minoritized on the basis of gender and/or sexuality to both represent and come to understand who they are. But as representations of LGBTQ+ lives have coalesced around particular terms and, more recently, have left the largely coded language of the closet, they have come to embrace increasingly complex and intersectional forms of representation that often exceed—even as they rely on—our extant visions of queer and trans cultures, communities, and subjects. Beginning in the late 19th century—when the categories as we know them today began to coalesce—and focusing on, but not limited to, Western art, this course explores a set of histories both within and beyond the art historical canon.


Monuments and Memory

Open, Lecture—Spring

This course looks at the shifting role of monuments in Western culture, from a public representation of the values of dominant culture to one that challenges what Kara Walker calls the “monumental misrememberings” attendant to most historical monuments. We will investigate the role that monuments play in forming—and disrupting—the stories that we tell ourselves about history. Attending to narratives of both domination and minoritization and foregrounding work by Black, Indigenous, and queer artists, this course reaches across continents and back centuries and will involve a field trip to experience monumental forms in and around the City of New York.