I am about to embark on a career-changing trajectory. In January, I begin a two year position as a curator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., for a new initiative entitled HomeSpun. It is dedicated to the physical representation of the Asian Indian American experience.
I am an associate professor of sociology and wed to the disciplinary perspectives of the social sciences. I am now able to reinvent myself within the art world, and the New Directions Initiative fits perfectly with this transition. My goal with this exploratory grant is to begin learning how to think visually and to become familiar with the conceptual approaches and assumptions of artists and art and museum officials. I then can develop ideas for future research projects and teaching that blend social science and arts perspectives, for which I plan to apply for a full New Directions Initiative grant.
This position will allow me to broaden my intellectual perspectives in entirely new ways. I hope to return to Oberlin College with a new set of skills that will inform my teaching and scholarship. I am deeply invested in the liberal arts philosophy. This opportunity will move me closer to the interdisciplinary goals of such an education.
In particular, I propose to attend the annual conference of the College Art Association, in February 2011 in New York City. I also will take part in three web seminars sponsored by the American Museum Association.