Art department chair publishes co-edited book
After years in the making, chair of Miami University’s art department, Amanda Alexander, co-edited and published her first book.
Titled “The Routledge Companion to Decolonizing Art, Craft, and Visual Culture Education,” Alexander worked with colleague Manisha Sharma from the University of North Texas to publish with Routledge media company out of New York City. The book spans close to 40 chapters with essays from authors all over the world on how art can activate social justice in the form of decolonization.
The book explores four themes: histories, space and land, mind and body, and the digital using discursive questions, reader resources, and hybrid formats called creative shorts, enacted encounters and ruminative research. The companion presents essays representing a cross-section of what might be considered as being “arts education”—it holistically includes approaches to teaching art and craft production (studio practice), art history knowledge production, teaching of how arts inform culture and vice versa, and the formation of the identity of artist educators and teaching artists.
Starting in 2013, Sharma and Alexander expanded on their experiences in international research by discussing the lack of literature about decolonization theory in their field. They soon wrote an article together and eventually proposed their longer book in 2019.
Throughout the pandemic, with many ups and downs, the two encouraged authors to persevere on the project after many delays due to the pandemic. “This book was a true labor of love,” Alexander said. “I am proud of this work.”
The book targets scholars and practitioners of art education, studio artists, art historians, K-12 art teachers, and teaching artists in museums and communities. The book is available online.