T’ai Smith

PhD, MA (Rochester)
BA (Barnard)

T’ai Smith received her MA and PhD from the Program in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester and her BA in Visual Arts/Art History from Barnard College, Columbia University. In addition to her teaching and advising role in the department, she is a core member of the Group for Media Research in the Faculty of Arts at UBC.

The recipient of several awards and grants, including a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant (2016) and the American Craft Council Emerging Scholar Award (2015), she has been a Wall Scholar in residence at the Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies at UBC (2014–15) and a Senior Fellow at IKKM (Internationales Kolleg für Kulturktechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie) in Weimar, Germany (Summer 2014).

Concerned with the politics of mediation, gender, labor, and economy, Smith’s research, teaching, and advising focus on the areas of modern and contemporary European and American art and design, visual studies, critical theory, media theory and cultural techniques.

Author of Bauhaus Weaving Theory: From Feminine Craft to Mode of Design (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), Smith’s articles have appeared in Art Journal, Art Practical, Grey Room, Journal of Modern Craft, Texte zur Kunst, and Zeitschrift für Medien – und Kulturforschung. She has written essay chapters for several scholarly volumes and also for catalogues published by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Generali Foundation in Vienna, The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Pace London, and Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst und Medien in Graz, Austria. She regularly gives lectures and talks throughout Europe and North America.

At UBC, Smith has offered seminars on “Methods and Approaches in Art History,” “Medium Specificity,” “Visual and Digital Media Theory,” and “Textile Media and Philosophy.” Before coming to UBC she had given seminars on “Authorship, Anonymity, Collectivity,” “The Bauhaus,” and “Design Theory.” In the fall of 2016 she will offer a graduate seminar on “Cultural Techniques and Political Economies: From Dressing to Branding.

For her current SSHRC-funded project, Smith is drafting a second book manuscript, Fashion After Capital: Frock Coats and Philosophy from Marx to Duchamp. She has also developed, in collaboration with graduate students, a public Facebook group concerning fashion and modes in modern and contemporary art, media, economy, and culture.

Selected publications can be found at: https://ubc.academia.edu/TaiSmith



Winter 2021

ARTH341 20th Century Art and Culture: The Postmodern Sections

A critical examination of international visual art and culture from the 1950s to the present; the role of art in consumerist society and the emergence of postmodernism.

Winter 2021

ARTH480 Visual and Digital Media Theory Sections

A thematic examination of key arguments in visual and digital media theory, focusing on developments in lens-based and digital media in relationship to twentieth-century and contemporary artistic practice.

Winter 2021

CCST500 Seminar in Interdisciplinary Frameworks in Museum and Curatorial Studies Sections

Theoretical and historical foundations of visual representations and expressive culture. It explores the history of museums and galleries, and changes in the meaning of art and material culture as debates about cultural property intensify.