Ingrid Furniss, professor of art history and interim dean of faculty
Research area: Furniss is a specialist in East Asian art and archaeology (Ph.D., Princeton), and her research focus is Chinese music archaeology. Her first book, Music in Ancient China: An Archaeological and Art Historical Study of Strings, Winds, and Drums during the Eastern Zhou and Han Periods (770 BCE to 220 CE), was awarded the 2010 Nicholas Bessaraboff Prize by the American Musical Instrument Society. In 2013, she was awarded the Edward T. Cone Membership in Music Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where she conducted research on her second manuscript, Lutes and Marginality in Pre-Modern China. In addition to publishing many articles on the subject of music archaeology, she has curated five exhibitions on Asian art since she arrived at Lafayette. She has studied music formally since she was 9 (perhaps earlier if you count piano-dabbling lessons), first as a violin player and then as a violist.
Her Lafayette journey: Prof. Furniss joined the Lafayette faculty in 2009 as assistant professor of art history. Since then, she has taught courses in Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and “world” art and architecture, as well as a First-Year Seminar called “Silk Roads and Sea Routes: East-West Trade and Intercultural Exchange in Pre-Modern Times.” She also has led three interim study abroad trips, two to China and one to Egypt. She is the recipient of the Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award and the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Lecture Award. She loves working with Lafayette’s diverse student population. Her classes draw students from many different fields, including engineering, social sciences, natural sciences, and the humanities and arts. She enjoys how students draw on their own rich experiences and knowledge, making for engaging interdisciplinary discussions in her classes. Collaborating with students, whether they are EXCEL scholars, research assistants, honors or independent studies students, is very rewarding to her. She enjoys seeing the spark of interest in a subject that expands into a flame of excitement. Former honors student and EXCEL Scholar Jared Katz ’12 was so inspired by his research with her that he chose a similar career path as a music archaeologist focusing in the Maya world. Having earned his Ph.D. in Maya archaeology, he is now the associate curator of the Americas and Africa at the Snite Art Museum at Notre Dame. Prof. Furniss loves to hear about and support the career paths that her students ultimately take.
What she’ll be teaching in the fall: Prof. Furniss is working full time as interim dean of faculty and will assume the full-time role of dean of arts and humanities in 2023-2024. She will miss teaching but looks forward to serving the students and faculty at Lafayette in other ways.