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Merrill Schleier

Visual Arts Faculty Merrill SchleierTeaching Philosophy

I draw upon the interdisciplinary character of Art History in my courses. In addition to discussing painting, sculpture and architecture, I consider all forms of visual culture, including film, advertising, fashion, and popular prints.

I am particularly concerned with the manner in which gender and race are encoded in representation. I focus on training students how to sharpen their critical thinking skills both verbally and in written form.

My upper division courses teach students how to conduct research in Art History and Visual Culture, skills which the student may apply to any field of study or profession the student may wish to pursue.


I was born in New York City, which availed me of the opportunity to absorb all the culture and art it has to offer. I moved to Berkeley to attend the University of California, where I earned a Ph.D. in Art History, with a secondary specialization in Architectural History and Visual Culture. I have travelled all over the world from Europe to Asia to North Africa to view the world's art.

I have expanded my expertise to include both Film Studies and Gender Studies. I have published two full-length books and many book chapters and articles. My most recent book is Skyscraper Cinema: Architecture Gender in American Film (University of Minnesota Press, 2009). In 2014 and 2015, I have three major projects which will be published. They include a book chapter on post World War II production design in film, with a case study on the film Giant (1956), a chapter on Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House in film, and an article on the Lincoln Memorial in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). All of these projects reflect with my interdisciplinary interest in the relationship between architecture and cinema. I am also on the editorial board of the journal Architecture and Culture.

Publications and Research

Book cover Skyscraper Cinema The Skyscraper in American Art by Merrill Schleier

Skyscraper Cinema
Architecture and Gender
in American Film
University of Minnesota Press

The Skyscraper in American Art

Da Capo Press

Eberhardt Fellowship, "The Washington Monument in Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," Wesleyan University and Washington, D.C., February 2011

"Fatal Attractions: Gender, 'Place and the Korean War in Niagara" Cinema Journal, (August 2012)

Faculty publication by Merrill Schleier
"The Griffith Observatory in Rebel Without a Cause: Mystical Temple and Spatiotemporal Structuring Device" The Journal of Architecture, (June 2011)

"The Empire State Building, Working-Class Masculinity and King Kong" Mosaics 41 (June 2008): 29-54

Courses Taught
ARTH 009, Survey of World Art After 1400
ARTH 112, 19th Century European Art
ARTH 114, 20th Century Art and Film
ARTH 116, Contemporary World Art 1945 to Present
ARTH 118, Art in the United States: 1865-1945
ARTH 124, Sex, Gender and the Arts
ARTH 124H, Sex, Gender and the Arts Honors
ARTS 181, Studio Art Seminar I

Acrobat PDF Curriculum Vitae

Merrill Schleier
Department of Visual Arts
Email Link for Professor Schleier Email