Jennifer Way’s teaching and research explore the meanings and uses people make of art, historically, since 1945.

Way is an art historian specializing in the period from 1945 to the present. Previously, she worked in the curatorial departments of art museums in Philadelphia and Detroit and in not for profit organizations.

Way’s current projects examine how Americans engaged with a foreign art form in projects that intersected international foreign affairs agendas with domestic everyday life, and linked the United States and Vietnam on questions of diplomacy and belonging in the Free World through cross-cultural consumption during the 1950s and early 1960s. Way uses historical texts and contemporary theory to illuminate archival materials, object practices, and discursive meanings that arise at the intersection of politics, economy and art. Supported by a Smithsonian Terra Foundation Senior Fellowship and grants from the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, the Design History Society, and other resources, this work has generated a book manuscript with Bloomsbury Press, two journal guest editorships, numerous refereed journal essays, encyclopedia essays, and conference sessions and presentations, including the 34th International Congress of Art History held in Beijing.

Course topics Way teaches in relation to her research examine craft and decorative art in historiographies of modernism; visual culture, refugees and migrants; art and suffering; objects of diplomacy; heritage and memory; politics of exhibitions; and artists as citizens. During the fall semester, students in her graduate art history seminar, Artists as Citizens, explored changing ideas and practices of citizenship along with artists who work with citizenship issues including citizen of the world, cultural citizenship, the imagined nation, and statelessness.

Additionally, Way has published on the art of British, Irish and American artists active since 1945 and the topic of art and technology with emphasis on gender. Her research has been supported by Trinity College, Dublin (Fulbright); Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College Dublin; National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Institute of International Visual Arts, London; Smithsonian National American Art Museum (Terra Foundation Senior Fellowship); Lemelson Center for Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.; and the Newberry Library, Chicago.


Way has developed collaborative, interdisciplinary academic projects in partnership with members of her college and university, and with the greater DFW community and organizations outside region. Selected examples include the series Conversations: Art, Politics & North Texas; Leadership Perspectives on Technology and Art; the Virtual Senior Center, NYC; and Collections Cultures and Collaborations, a student-research, collections-based project collaborating with local museums and collecting organizations, in its 10th year.

She has supervised over 50 MA art history projects and created and taught over 28 seminar topics and 15 upper-level art history courses. Over 50 scholars and artists have visited with students in her courses since 2004. Way received a university award for mentoring students in research, and a university award for teaching.  She served as PI and Co-PI for numerous external and internal grants and fellowships.

Way serves in university leadership roles promoting diversity and gender equity,  the monitoring of workplace environment, graduate studies, and an innovative 4+1 BA/MA art history program. She oversaw merit, promotion and tenure processes for her college and program and mentored numerous probationary faculty through tenure. Way served as program coordinator for art history multiple times, chaired numerous academic search committees, and supervised college academic, gallery, and ad hoc policy and grievance committees, among others.