Two Pitzer College Professors Selected as Getty Scholars

Professor Susan Phillips

Claremont, Calif. (May 10, 2016)—Susan Phillips, associate professor of environmental analysis, and Ruti Talmor, assistant professor of media studies, will be among the 40 or more scholars selected from around the world to participate in the 2016-17 Getty Scholars program at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, beginning this fall for three months.

While at the Getty, the scholars—who include academics, artists and other cultural figures—will pursue their own research projects, make use of the collections and participate in the intellectual life of the Getty Center on the theme “Art and Anthropology.”

Phillips plans to complete a book that traces urban development, social context and design history through 100 years of graffiti in the city of Los Angeles. She pays particular attention to graffiti forms that she says are “outsider to an already outsider art,” such as the homoerotic graffiti of gay men in the late 1920s and early ’30s or the written system of hobos from 1914 to 1921. The themes that presently interest her most are what it means to view the city as an archive and how graffiti can be tapped as a cultural heritage resource to write more inclusive histories. “I am also interested in thinking through the tension between permanence and ephemerality and conceptions of the primitive within graffiti and other art worlds,” she says.

Professor Ruti Talmor
Professor Ruti Talmor

Talmor will be conducting research for a forthcoming book, I and I: Transnational Art Practice in Ghana, which traces various art worlds of intercultural encounter in Ghana and the Ghanaian diaspora, spaces where Ghanaian and other West African artists make art that represents Africa for foreign eyes. “In these contact zones, not only art but also new lives, narratives, identities and relations are forged for both Ghanaian artists and their foreign interlocutors—tourists, collectors, curators,” she says.

“It is a great honor to receive this fellowship, which will grant me the opportunity to conduct my research at the Getty Research Institute, with its excellent resources and support, and as part of its carefully selected community of scholars. That this community will include Susan Phillips is an amazing gift,” says Talmor.

More information on the Getty Scholars Program and research projects may be found at

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