Art history is an ever-expanding field that values experimentation and creativity. It allows me to incorporate issues that stem from philosophy, sociology, religion, science and more.

Roger Rothman

Back in his undergraduate days, Roger Rothman planned to major in mathematics or physics. Then he took his first art history course, and his life has never been the same.

"Art history is an ever-expanding field that values experimentation and creativity," says Rothman, now an associate professor of art. "It allows me to incorporate issues that stem from philosophy, sociology, religion, science and more."

Rothman, who joined Bucknell's faculty in 2003, teaches courses in modern and contemporary art with emphasis on French Impressionism and Post-impressionism, Cubism, Dada, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism and Postmodernism. He is finishing a book on Salvador Dalí, and continuing his research on contemporary art and theory.

He was drawn to Bucknell by Lewisburg's proximity to New York City, a hub of the contemporary art scene, and opportunities to work with "a brilliant faculty ... and bright students."

He expects a lot from the bright students that fill his classes at Bucknell. Together, they explore the meaning of art and its importance in contemporary society. "Modern art forces you to rethink your values and beliefs," he says. "It challenges your view of how things ought to be and why things ought to matter."

Rothman believes that students across the liberal arts - majors and non-majors alike - gain lifelong benefits from learning about art. "We live in a world that is more and more mediated by technology, in a world that is visually driven," says Rothman. "Understanding how the visual world works is an ability that I think all individuals of the 21st century need."

Rothman embraces the collaborative approach of the liberal arts university. "I look forward to teaching an 'Integrated Perspectives' course with a mathematician or physicist," he says, "so I can return in some way to my earlier passions."

Posted Sept. 9, 2009

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