MCPH Co-directors

Dr. Aaron Ansell (, Associate Professor of Religion & Culture

AARON ANSELLAaron Ansell (Ph.D. in Anthropology from The University of Chicago, 2007) is a cultural anthropologist with topical interests that include democracy, capitalism, patronage, social policy, poverty, kinship, ritual and social theory. His research focuses on rural communities in Northeast Brazil, and explores the way people use talk and other signs to navigate and transform the material features of their lives.

Ansell’s current interests pertain to democracy’s culturally specific manifestations in small-scale societies that have not internalized the ideals of liberal individualism. His recent scholarship explores how people living in Northeast Brazil (and elsewhere) modify received notions of democracy, interpreting representative institutions through alternative ideas about justice and power. He examines the way this marginal rural populations assimilates liberal democracy’s transcendent ideals (e.g. human rights, individual freedom, rational deliberation) into local kinship hierarchies, factional feuding, patron-client exchange, religious affiliation, and occult spirituality.

Dr. Michelle Moseley-Christian (, Associate Professor of Art History

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Michelle Moseley-Christian received her Ph.D. with honors from the University of Kansas in 2007 in seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish painting. Other areas of degree study include the Italian Renaissance and early modern Northern Europe.

Recent publications investigate issues of class, gender and economy in informal baroque and Renaissance portraiture, as well as the overlooked role of early modern women in collecting luxury objects. Others include Rembrandt’s etchings and early modern prints as a mechanism for the distribution of new pictorial genres in Europe.

Current research projects focus on a study of the monstrous “wild woman” in prints and book illustration, with related issues in early modern constructions of natural history and scientific knowledge in prints and printed books.

Regularly taught courses include Baroque Art, Renaissance Art, Medieval Art, Arts of China & Japan, Islamic Art, Art Criticism and Research Methods, and the Art History Survey I & II. Advanced topics courses have been Rembrandt & Rubens, The Power of Prints, Museum Ethics, Japanese Prints, and Japan and the West.

MCPH Steering Committee (alphabetical

Dr. Kate Skelly (, Armory Gallery Director/Assistant Professor of Practice

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Kate Skelly holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Art History from Kenyon College. Before joining Virginia Tech, Kate served as Executive Director of the Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation. She has also served as Director of the University Art Galleries at the University of South Dakota where she managed two contemporary art galleries, the Oscar Howe Gallery, and the NPIAR Artist-in-Residence Program. Kate worked for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 8 years where she held positions in both the Curatorial and Advancement Departments. Her experience also includes working for the Western Museums Association and the contemporary art magazine, ArtSlant. Kate’s research at Virginia Tech is centered on the curatorial process and design of exhibitions.

Dr. Lauren DiSalvo ( Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Art History Program

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Lauren DiSalvo received her PhD in Art History and Archaeology from the University of Missouri in 2017. Her background is in classical art and archaeology and the history of art during the long eighteenth century. Her research lies at the intersection of those two fields in classical reception. Her most recent projects include work on Grand Tour souvenirs, portraits of female connoisseurs of classical antiquity, and portraits of women who adopt the postures of ancient wall paintings in eighteenth-century portraiture. Her interests in classical reception initially began with publications on late nineteenth and early twentieth-century classical plaster collections housed in Midwestern universities and also at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian.

Dr. Jessica Taylor (, Assistant Professor of History

Jessica TaylorJessica Taylor is an assistant professor in public and oral history and studies understandings of changing rural landscapes in Virginia and across the South. She served as a graduate coordinator at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, where she worked with community groups and narrators to document a variety of movements, including historic preservation on Nantucket, civil rights work in Mississippi, and climate change in coastal Virginia. Her manuscript is about seventeenth-century Algonquian Indians, indentured servants, and their movements across the colonial-era Chesapeake Bay.

Dr. LaDale Winling (, Associate Professor of History


LaDale Winling is a U.S. urban historian, digital historian, and public historian.  His work explores the politics, finance and segregation in U.S. cities.  His book on university growth and urban politics, Building the Ivory Tower, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.  His collaborative digital project, Mapping Inequality, is part of the American Panorama digital atlas.

MCPH Participating Departments 

Religion & Culture

Art History


Architecture + Design