Jennifer Way is an art historian who specializes in the 20th and 21st centuries, emphasizing the period from 1945 to the present.
Her work dialogues contemporary theory with primary sources, archival materials and object features and practices, to reconstitute discursive meanings at the intersections of politics, economy and art.
Way’s current research expands what we know about American art in its international contexts. It explores how Americans engaged with a foreign art form in projects that intersected diplomatic agendas with domestic everyday life and linked the United States and Vietnam on questions of affiliation and belonging in the Free World during the 1950s. This academic year, she presented material from the project at the 34th International Congress of Art History, Beijing, and at the Association for American Studies, Denver. She published on related topics as Guest Editor for two special journal issues: “Contemporary Asian Craft Worlds,” Journal of Modern Craft, with Rebecca M. Brown, and “Collections and Questions of Belonging,” Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals, with Elizabeth Weinfield.
Courses that Way has taught in relation to her research examine craft and decorative arts in historiographies of modernisms; visual culture of refugees and migrants; art and suffering; objects of diplomacy; heritage and memory; and the politics of exhibitions.
During spring semester 2017, graduate students in Way’s Questions of Race and American Art since 1945 seminar are teaching online for the Virtual Senior Center based in New York.
From her student-research oriented art history methods program called Collections Cultures and Collaborations, now in its 9th year, selected students presented their work at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas.
Her scholarly and community-based series, Conversations: Art, Politics and North Texas, features five local artists/scholars discussing nearby and distant intersections of art and politics.
Way is part of the faculty academic writing group funded by a UNT mentor grant, and the Postwar Studies group, which is also funded by a UNT mentor grant.