Graduate Student Spotlight

This is a series of articles designed to highlight the work of Rice graduate students, who perform a remarkable breadth of research on campus. To nominate yourself or a friend to be spotlighted, fill out this form.

Current Spotlight

Name: Olivia Wolf
Department: Art History
Advisors: Shirine Hamadeh and Fabiola Lopez-Duran
Hometown: South Bend, Indiana

All time favorite GSA event: The Crawfish Boil– it’s a great opportunity for grad students to get together, share a delicious meal, and celebrate the new semester!

When she’s not researching, Olivia can be found visiting museums or exploring local architecture. On extra special occasions, you may find her dancing a tango at a milonga.

Favorite Houston restaurants: Hickory Hollow

Childhood aspirations: Artist, like her mother

Dream all-expense-paid travel destination: Through Rice’s Wagoner and Brown Foundation, Olivia has gotten to make her travelling dreams a reality. Through the program, Olivia has travelled to conduct research in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as well as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and Santiago, Chile.

Olivia’s research: My dissertation focuses on the art & architecture of the Arab-speaking diaspora in Latin America’s southern cone. By conducting case studies of key monuments sponsored by this immigrant community, I illustrate how public sculpture and architecture served as a tool that enabled this diverse diaspora to reshape its shifting political identities. I also examine modern and contemporary Arab-Argentine artists, highlighting multicultural influences within a national context. My research aims to contribute to a greater understanding of diverse intercultural dialogues in Latin America, and the vital role of minority communities in the crafting of modernity.

Recent accomplishments: I presented a portion of my dissertation at the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) congress in Argentina. In parallel research, my peer-reviewed article, “Marking Time, Marking Movement: Mexico City’s Ottoman Clock Tower as a Transnational Expression of Immigrant Identity,” is featured in Hemisphere: Visual Cultures of the Americas. My interest in the intersections of immigration and the arts has led me to publish recent reviews of  exhibits at Argentina’s Immigration Museum. I have also had the opportunity to serve as the Camfield Fellow in the Latin American department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Most fun part of Olivia’s research: Meeting colleagues from around the world, and having the opportunity to learn about their work. I’ve also enjoyed presenting my work in both English and Spanish at conferences in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.

Most challenging part of Olivia’s research: Learning to navigate diverse archives in different countries in their respective languages, as each repository or library abides by their own regulations and procedures. Some institutions are extremely open while others are quite rigid.

Olivia explains the support that has enabled her international research: I am extremely grateful for the many opportunities and support provided to me by Rice University and the Department of Art History, which have allowed me to contribute to local arts institutions and conduct such in-depth research abroad. During some of the most intense moments of writing, research, and student teaching, Rice HART faculty, colleagues and the GSA helped provide critical moments of networking, support and camaraderie.

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