Faculty and Staff

Deborah Caplow


B.A. Art History, Barnard College
M.L.S. University of California, Berkeley
M.A. Art History, University of Washington
Ph.D. Art History, University of Washington

Office: UW1-143
Phone: 425-352-3461
Room: UW1-143
Email: dcaplow@uw.edu
Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246


I teach a number of courses at UW Bothell that incorporate art, history, politics, literature and film. My background is in art history, by its nature an interdisciplinary and multi-cultural study that includes such fields as cultural history, politics, philosophy, criticism, ethnography and museum studies.  I am fascinated by the way the past informs the present and how world-views are shaped by cultural, social and political contexts. For me one of the most important aspects of teaching is to facilitate an understanding of the past so that we can take action in the contemporary world. In my teaching I emphasize the relevance of cultural change. I especially appreciate the joy of mutual discovery while working with students, and those moments of understanding when we apply what we have been studying to interpretations of new material. I think it is important balance my own continuing studies with the collaborative teaching approach supported by the IAS program.

I have a strong background in the art and culture of Mexico, and also focus on art and politics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in general. I am especially interested in printmaking and photography, and in the early twentieth-century avant-gardes such as German Expressionism, Dadaism and Surrealism. In my courses I focus on politically motivated art practices, social change as manifested in art, and issues of gender, race and ethnicity. I take a socio-political approach that often challenges generally held stereotypes. In this process I encourage students to do close readings of images and to learn about art first-hand through visits to museums and galleries; in my classes students sometimes make art that responds to the subject of the course. I emphasize scholarly research and writing; I like the process of teaching writing by working with students on an individual basis. I use MDID, the UW's online image database, in the classroom, and I draw on my training and experience as a librarian to teach students to use library databases and other resources in their research.

In addition to working at UW, Bothell, I teach in the Division of Art History at UW, Seattle on a regular basis. I am also an avid photographer and ceramic artist and have worked in a variety of media, including printmaking and collage.

Recent Courses Taught

BIS 209 Engaging Visual Arts: Visual Arts & the Modern Era
BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry
BIS 351 Topics in American Culture: Mexican Art and Culture
BIS 383 American Art and Architecture
BIS 470 Art, Politics and Social Change
BIS 476 Issues in Art History: Impressionism and Post-Impressionism
BIS 490 Senior Seminar: Art and Society in the Twentieth Century
BIS 493 Special Topics: History of Photography
BIS 493 Special Topics: Modern Art from Impressionism to Surrealism
BIS 493 Special Topics: Women Artists from the Renaissance to the Present


My research interests center on twentieth-century Mexican painting, printmaking and photography and painting, sculpture and architecture of the immediate post-Conquest period in sixteenth-century Mexico. My book on the Mexican political printmaker Leopoldo Méndez puts the artist's life and work into a broad cultural and political context.

Selected Publications

"A Brief and Partial History of Political Printmaking," Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today, PM Press, November 2009.

Leopoldo Méndez, Revolutionary Art and the Mexican Print, University of Texas Press, 2007.

Exhibition: Mariana Yampolsky, Imagenes de México, Jacob Lawrence Gallery, School of Art, University of Washington, Seattle, 2006.

"A Brief History of Political Printmaking," Paper Politics, Seattle Print Arts, 2005.

The St. James Guide to Hispanic Artists, "Lola Alvarez Bravo," "Graciela Iturbide," "German Cueto," "Julio Ruelas," "Leopoldo Méndez," "Francisco Goitia," "Pablo O'Higgins," "Jose Chavez Morado," "Fermin Revueltas," 2004.

A Partisan Press with Revolutionary Intent: The Work and Legacy of the Taller de Grafica Popular, "Anti-Fascist Prints of the Taller de Grafica Popular." University of New Mexico, forthcoming.