Dr. Shana Klein Receives New Faculty Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award

Shana Klein, Ph.D., assistant professor of art history in the School of Art has been awarded a 2021 New Faculty Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award (ORSA) from Kent State University. The ORSAs recognize the hard work of junior faculty members who have been with Kent State for less than 10 years. Metin Eren, Ph.D. in the Department of Anthropology was also recognized with an award this year. 

“Klein and Eren represent the breadth of scholarship occurring at Kent State,” Doug Delahanty, Interim Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs, explained. “The fact that their colleagues chose them for these prestigious awards is not surprising given the national and international reputations these junior faculty have developed. We look forward to watching their continued success.” 

SHANA KLEIN

Shana Klein, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Art, has proven herself to be a key asset to the university with her passionate efforts to better understand social injustice through the lens of art history with a plethora of projects and research.

Shana Klein

At one time or another, we have all seen a painting of the common, and ever so popular, bowl of fruit. The mix of colors, textures, and patterns makes for an aesthetically pleasing presentation, but what is known about the corrupt system which produced the romanticized harvest?

In her recent publication, “The Fruits of Empire,” she delves into the politics surrounding food, primarily fruit, that is represented in post-civil war paintings.

“The expansion of the United States was primarily due to the hard work of its laborers who were typically people of color and underrepresented communities,” Klein said. “This art was glorified and struck conversation about who was producing the fruit and who was profiting off of its exploitation.”

The pieces of work Klein has analyzed only perpetuated the systems which depended on racism and inequality. By discussing the whitewashed truths within the art, it dismantles the success that was achieved only through the work of laborers, and provides justice for those who haven’t historically received recognition. 

With all royalties going to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a not for profit organization dedicated to securing better working conditions for people who harvest our food, Klein continuously works to expose social injustice and correct historical mistakes.

“I am not in my industry to maintain the flaws and allowance of white supremacy,” Klein said. “Part of my duty as an art historian is to deconstruct the dark realities that are often glossed over.” 

POSTED: Friday, August 20, 2021 - 1:22pm
UPDATED: Friday, August 20, 2021 - 1:22pm