Rachel Dressler, new assistant professor of art history in the Department of Art, says she encourages her students to "realize images are central to all of our lives." According to Dressler, "we are being hit with a barrage of images and we must become critical viewers, aware of when we're being manipulated."
Within the field of art history, Dressler specializes in the imagery of the Western Middle Ages. "I've looked at how images and architecture communicate to shape responses and manipulate behavior," she said.
This year Dressler published an article in the journal Medieval Encounters. It addresses the issue of how powerful images can be to those who see them, namely crusader knights in the Middle Ages who were influenced by sculptures on the door of the Chartes Cathedral. Studying these sculptures has been one of Dressler's main focuses.
In the future, Dressler hopes to write a book about and teach seminars on knighthood.
Dressler, whose course offerings this semester include Introductory Survey of Western Art and Survey of Early Christian Art,. taught at Christopher Newport University in Virginia for one year before her arrival at Albany. She has also previously been a member of the faculties at the School of Art Institute in Chicago and Emory University in Atlanta.
Among Dressler's reasons for coming to Albany were the SUNY system's solid reputation undergraduate education and Albany's "diversity of the students. I'm also very fond of my colleagues. I'm looking forward to many years here."
Dressler received her master's degree from Emory and her Ph.D. from Columbia University.
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