Eowyn Mays earned a B.A. in art history from Tulane University, and a M.A. in art history from the University of Maryland. From 2001-2005, she worked in the external affairs and development departments at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. She studies under Professor Renée Ater at the University of Maryland and is pursuing a Ph.D in American art history with a minor in contemporary art. William H. Johnson’s paintings, prints, and drawings of jitterbug dancers from the 1930s and '40s were the focus of her master’s thesis. Eowyn’s current interests include images of Asians and Asian Americans in the popular media at the turn of the twentieth century, specifically, as these images relate to America’s immigration policies at home and its imperialistic designs abroad. She will defend her dissertation proposal, titled “Naughty Children, Dirty Savages, and Reluctant Pupils: Tracing the Imperial Imaginary and the Philippine-American War in American Visual Culture, 1896-1906,” in November of 2012. In her dissertation, she will analyze images related to U.S.-Philippine relations at the turn of the century in several different contexts: popular prints (created by both American and Filipino artists), international expositions (with a focus on the 1901 Buffalo and 1904 St. Louis World's Fairs), and early American film. She is interested in addressing how images of racial difference propped up American rationalizations of empire building in the Pacific and were in turn inflected by U.S. neo-colonial policies in the Philippines.
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