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Art & Art History
University of Mississippi

Art Historian Awarded Chair of Excellence

Professor widens circle of research and teaching with coming year at University of Memphis

Kris Belden-Adams

Kris Belden-Adams


Kris Belden-Adams, associate professor of art history at the University of Mississippi, will spend the next academic year teaching and advancing her research into the history and theory of photography as the Dorothy Kayser Hohenberg Chair of Excellence in Art History at the University of Memphis.

“I am honored and excited to engage with a new campus and community, and to expand my professional circle to include new colleagues and collaborations,” she said. “I greatly appreciate the University of Mississippi’s support as I assume this new temporary role.”

The Hohenberg Chair seeks visiting scholars whose research expertise builds off the disciplines of the faculty in the art department. Past Hohenberg Chairs have come from the British Museum, Bruges Museum, University of Canterbury, Oxford University and University of Naples, among others.

“My research on the history of photography is rigorously object-based and exemplifies broader trends such as photography’s use as a medium for expressing the unique anxieties of living in the age of technological modernity,” she said. “I relentlessly seek to examine how photography helped shape our habits of vision in the 19th century and today, and why it continues to be a vital part of our lives.

“I hope that some of my passion for the medium and its many unanswerable questions – about truth, about the nature of the documentary, about time, about its importance in our lives – might be infectious.”

Belden-Adams is the author of two books and has had scholarly articles on art history, photography and visual culture published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism, and the International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, among others.

Last winter, she teamed up with Yixin Chen, UM chair and professor of computer and information science, to develop computing tools to gather and analyze photographic data from social media. Their goal is to explore how digital media is shaping our culture, including how we preserve our memories and present ourselves to one another.

Before joining the UM faculty in 2013, she earned her doctorate in art history from the City University of New York, her master’s degree in art history, theory and criticism from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.

“Dr. Belden-Adams is a leader in the field of the history of photography, and her work, which is focused on both the impact of the medium upon the development of society as well as the ways in which it can serve as an important tool in expressing a diversity of voices, represents vital scholarship that is well-deserving of this recognition,” said Michael Barnett, interim chair of the Department of Art and Art History.

The 2021 and 2022 Fulbright Scholar Award finalist plans to return to UM in August 2024.