Assistant Professor of the History of Art and Visual Studies
Shira Brisman is a historian of early modern art. Her current research investigates the boundaries between privacy and society, patterns and abberations, religious modes of thinking and categories of secularization.
Adam Seybert Professor in Moral and Intellectual Philosophy and Director of Visual Studies
Gary Hatfield (PhD, University of Wisconsin–Madison) taught at Harvard and Johns Hopkins before coming to Penn in 1987. He works in the history of modern philosophy, the philosophy of psychology, theories of vision, and the philosophy of science. He is a member of the MindCore initiative, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Center for Neuroaesthetics. He has long been fascinated by visual perception and the mind–body problem.
Adjunct Professor in Fine Arts
Sharka Hyland teaches courses on typography and visual communication, as well as visual studies. She has received awards from the American Association of Museums, American Federation of Arts, and American Institute of Graphic Arts. Her text-based drawings have been exhibited in solo and group shows, most recently at Gallery Joe in Philadelphia and at Josee Bienvenu Gallery in New York.
Executive Director, Wharton Neuroscience Initiative
Elizabeth (Zab) Johnson is the executive director and senior fellow of the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative. Her research focuses on vision and visual behavior. Her work spans physiological approaches in the retina and early visual cortex to using eye tracking to investigate how human observers look and navigate through the world, how these processes unfold over time and with experience, and the role of social cognition and decision making in these processes. She is an expert on color vision. She received her PhD in Neural Science at New York University.
Assistant Dean for Advising and Lecturer in Visual Studies
Dr. Jung holds a M.A in Art History and Archaeology from the University of Missouri and a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Maryland. Her research interests include the cultural biography of images and she currently teaches courses in the History of Art department and the Visual Studies program.
Professor of the History of Art and Visual Studies
Michael Leja (Ph.D., Harvard) is a Professor in the History of Art and the Visual Studies Program Director. Professor Leja studies the visual arts in various media (painting, sculpture, film, photography, prints, illustrations) in the 19th and 20th centuries, primarily in the United States. His work is interdisciplinary and strives to understand visual artifacts in relation to contemporary cultural, social, political, and intellectual developments. He is especially interested in examining the interactions between works of art and particular audiences...
An artist working at the intersection of photography, science, and history, Vershbow received his MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and taught most recently at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At UW, he participated in research research on color perception and molten salt fission reactors. His work can be found in the collections of the National Academy of Science, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Getty Museum, Harvard University and Smith College.
Visual Studies Associate Director
Ian Verstegen is the Associate Director of Visual Studies. He works on early modern and modern art history, theory and historiography. He has written a series of works on art and psychology, including Arnheim, Gestalt and Art: A Psychological Theory (2005), Cognitive Iconology: When and How Psychology Explains Images (2014), and Arnheim, Gestalt and Media: An Ontological Theory (2019).