Mary Thomas

Mary Thomas

Ph.D. Student
Visual Culture in Southern California
Research Interests: 

My dissertation examines artist responses to the
configuration of urban space in Los Angeles by civic authorities and corporate
ownership. These responses coalesce around sites that are linked by the city's
dominant condition of automobility: communities impacted by freeway
construction, billboards, and city buses. Within each of these locations,
artists have inserted artworks that attempt to disrupt inherited ways of moving
through and viewing the city. I argue that these sites constitute key locations
of ongoing struggles to reimagine urban space as an egalitarian public sphere.

Porter 212
Selected Publications: 

“Cultural Production and Urban Latinidad: Retelling Urban History and Reconfiguring the Future
of Cities.” (Book Review). American Quarterly Vol. 61 No.1: March 2015. Forthcoming. 

Selected Presentations: 

“Public Uses: Reconfiguring Race, Space, and Visuality in
Los Angeles.” No Cruising:  Mobile Identities in Los Angeles, Urban Humanities Research Studio, University
of California, Berkeley, April 2014.

“Hiking in the City: Examining Disruptive Performances of
Tourist Identities in Sites of Distracted Consumption in Los Angeles.” 
Touring Consumption International Conference, Karlshochschule International University, Karlsruhe, Germany, October 2013. 

 “Extending the Embodied City: Finding East L.A. in Asco’s Asshole
.”  Art Historians of  Southern California Annual Symposium, Orange, CA, October 2012. 

Panelist, “Performance Photographs from State of Mind: New
California Art Circa 1970.”Sesnon Gallery, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA,
April 2012.

Honors and Awards: 

Wallis-Annenberg Research Grant, University of Southern
California, 2014.

Predoctoral Fellowship for Historians of American Art to
Study Abroad, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, 2014.

Summer Dissertation Fellowship, University
of California, Santa Cruz, 2014. 

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows Travel and Research
Grant, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, April 2014.

Dean’s Excellence Award,
University of California, Santa Cruz, 2013

Karlshochschule Mobilities
Grant, Karlshochschule International University, 2013

Graduate Studies Enhancement Grant, Mellon
Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, 2012, 2013, 2014. 

Arts Dean Graduate Student Travel Award,
University of California, Santa Cruz, 2012, 2013, 2014. 

Regents' Fellowship, University of
California, Santa Cruz, 2011-12

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, Cornell University,

Education and Training: 
B.A. Cornell University, History of Art, summa cum laude