Following a competitive search, Sarah A. Lichtman has been named chair of the Department of History of Art and Design in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences (SLAS). A design historian and educator, she arrives from Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York City, where she was dean of the School of Art and Design History and Theory. She will assume the chair role on August 14, 2023.
“Professor Lichtman has been recognized for her exceptional teaching and scholarship,” said SLAS Dean Helio Takai. “Her academic interests span a diverse range of topics, including design history, popular culture, youth culture, and Cold War culture.”
As chair, Lichtman will oversee a department of around 45 faculty members. History of Art and Design includes both undergraduate and graduate programs that engage students in a breadth of knowledge grounded in philosophy, literature, and criticism. Along with a History of Art and Design BA, BFA, and MA, the department offers an MA/MS in History of Art and Design/Library and Information Science, an advanced certificate in Design History, and a minor in History of Art. Its students have opportunities to learn from leading artists, designers, historians, and theorists as well as engage with the vast cultural resources of New York City, including its museums, libraries, galleries, private collections, and studios. They are encouraged to reflect on contemporary issues and concerns in their work, such as those related to sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“I’m excited to co-create, with my new Pratt community, humanities-based pathways in which history, theory, and practice come together as a platform for developing innovative and equity-focused opportunities for students, alumni, and fellow faculty, and staff,” said Lichtman. “I look forward to exploring ways in which a shared vision for humanities education can invigorate our department’s commitment to inclusionary practice and elevate our profile as a premier place of learning.”
Before serving as dean of the School of Art and Design History and Theory, Lichtman’s leadership positions at Parsons included director of the MA in History of Design and Curatorial Studies, offered with the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. A recipient of The New School’s Distinguished Teaching Award, she was an associate professor of design history and an affiliate member of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute at The New School. Her teaching ranged from design history to gender studies, and her courses included Gender and Design, Nordic Design, and Cold War Modern, as well as core courses in the School of Art and Design History and Theory. Lichtman supervised humanities courses for all first-year students at Parsons, a role that enabled her to connect critical thinking capacities and studio practice in expansive new ways.
As a scholar, Lichtman’s focus is on design history and material culture. She has authored several books, book chapters, and peer-reviewed articles, with her work appearing in prestigious journals, such as Design and Culture, the Journal of Modern Craft, West 86th, and the Journal of Design History. She is currently the managing editor of the Journal of Design History, and serves as a reviewer for a range of academic publishers and scholarly journals as well as for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Her current research projects explore the material culture of youth in the postwar United States and the visual and material culture of Anne Frank.
Lichtman holds a PhD and MA in History of Design from the Bard Graduate Center. She has received numerous fellowships, grants, honors, and awards from both national and international organizations, including a visiting scholar position from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual and Applied Artists. A lifelong Brooklyn resident, she lives in Carroll Gardens with her wife and two children.