Erika Naginski is a historian of European art of the late seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. Her research interests include early modern and modern sculptural practices, Enlightenment aesthetic philosophy, the history of art history, and theories of the public sphere. She is assistant professor of the history of art in the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and holds the Alfred Henry and Jen Morrison Hayes Career Development Chair.
During her residency at the Radcliffe Institute, Naginski will complete her book “Sculpture and Enlightenment.” This book is concerned with the connection between Enlightenment aesthetic philosophy and the transformation of sculptural aesthetics in an age of secular rationalism. Naginski will explore the historical factors and polemical debates surrounding dechristianization in prerevolutionary France; how these might have prompted new conceptions of posterity; and how, in turn, the philosophes construed the impact of the visual sign in public space.
Before joining the MIT faculty, Naginski taught both French literature and art history at the University of Michigan and was a junior fellow at the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. She earned her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and has been the recipient of fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Commission, and the Regents of the University of California. She serves on the editorial board of Res. Anthropology and Aesthetics. Her essays have appeared in edited volumes, exhibition catalogs, and journals such as Yale French Studies, Art Bulletin, Res. Anthropology and Aesthetics, and Representations.