Austen Leigh (PhD Candidate) received a BA from Rutgers University in Art History & English Literature with a minor in Classical Humanities and an MA from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU in Art History & Archaeology. She has participated in excavations in Selinunte, Sicily and Aphrodisias, Turkey and is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She taught Art History at Middlesex County College from 2012-2016 and has been enrolled in Art History PhD program with a CHAPS concentration at Rutgers since 2015. Her research explores the complex relationships between creation & destruction, in particular how material culture functions in the context of armed conflict.
Austen is currently a Ph.D. candidate in both the Art History and CHAPS programs. Her research primarily uses material culture from the Ancient Mediterranean to examine how artifacts and images function in the creation of cultural identities and historical narrative. Her dissertation, “Arches & Memory: Destruction as Creation in Roman Material Culture” will explore the palimpsestic nature of monuments and their diachronic function in heritage discourse. Other avenues of her research include the role of material culture in conflict and post-conflict social contexts. Austen received an M.A. in Art History and Archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts and a BA in Art History, English Literature, and Classical Studies from Rutgers University.
Alexa Zbieranowski (email@example.com) is a first-year master’s student who received her B.A. in Art History and French (summa cum laude) from Drew University in 2017. She recently completed an undergraduate thesis which explores the pictorial constructions of female identity through the self-portraiture of sixteenth-century Italian women artists. In her graduate studies, she would like to follow this direction of research as her interests include issues of gender representation, the historiography of women artists, and early modern self-portraiture.