Monica Westin

  • California College of the Arts
  • Graduate Program in Fine Arts
  • Adjunct Professor

I am a PhD candidate and University Fellow at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a recent visiting researcher at Berkeley’s Department of Rhetoric. My research in the history of rhetoric explores the intersections between rhetorical theory and aesthetics in the Hellenistic rhetorical tradition, focusing on the rhetorical force of visual and imaginary images in theory and practice from Aristotle through the Second Sophistic. I am particularly interested in the role that the expanded practice of ekphrasis– one of the original rhetorical progymnasmata– played in the development of the ancient Greek novel. I have published articles and book reviews on classical and late antique models of phantasia, Aristotelian energeia, and rhetoric under the Roman Empire. I also have a growing interest in plants and vegetal life as a challenge to models of rhetoric and philosophy.

My interest in the rhetorical force of art, ekphrasis, and arts writing expands beyond academic research. I write regularly about contemporary art for a variety of publications; my criticism and essays have recently appeared in Artforum, frieze, and The Brooklyn Rail, among other places. I am an adjunct professor in the Graduate Program in Fine Arts at California College of the Arts, where I lead the MFA written thesis seminar. I received my MA from the University of Chicago and BA from Amherst College.