A Lady Gaga concert, the halftime show at the Superbowl, ancient Roman sports, and the Occupy movement: what do they all have in common? According to Jason Ciejka, Assistant Professor at Agnes Scott College, these events are all spectacles focusing on bringing the community together in different ways.
Professor Ciejka (pronounced “chica”) approaches the idea of spectacle as Art History in a non-traditional way, as a mélange of culture, science, technology, theater, architecture, and music. This combination of diverse subjects reflects Ciejka’s belief that “Art History is a vibrant and dynamic discipline.”
The intellectual passion Ciejka feels for Art History drives him to research. He takes a scholarly interest in biography, and his doctoral work focuses on the Italian Baroque architect Carlo Rainaldi, for which he received a pre-dissertation grant to study in Italy once more. While researching Renaldi in Italian archives for a year and a half, Ciejka encountered several scholarly surprises. He learned that Rainaldi was a member of Roman nobility, collected intricate musical instruments, and much more. Like many researchers, Ciejka reached the point where it felt as if the people and art he studied became his friends, as if he were living in two worlds at the same time. Ciejka plans to publish his research about Rainaldi, as well as his dissertation, “The Cavaliere Carlo Rainaldi (1611-1691): Architecture and Identity in Seventeenth-Century Rome.”
Everything about Agnes Scott, Jason Ciejka likes. He finds that the students are engaged in their classes, bright, involved in academics and the community, and create a “tremendous sense of belonging.” He also enjoys seeing art through the fresh eyes of his students and teaching those students the independence to look and think for themselves. Overall, Ciejka prefers the American Liberal Arts education, because it encourages dialogue and personal development.
Teaching, researching, and administration: these activities accurately describe what Ciejka sees as his dream academic career. “Teaching,” says Ciejka, “is rewarding over a long period of time, but administration is a day to day challenge and solves problems in a direct way.” The students of Agnes Scott think highly of Professor Ciejka; “he is enthusiastic and focuses on the art and students’ needs,” says Art History major Emma Kearney.
Since the 2010 academic year, Jason Ciejka has taught Art History at Agnes Scott College. Professor Ciejka teaches a range of courses including: Art Survey, Art of the Spectacle in Baroque Rome, and Modern Architecture; this upcoming semester Professor Ciejka will be teaching a course on Baroque and Rococo art. Before coming to Agnes Scott, Professor Ciejka taught Art History at Spelman College. Ciejka received his MA and PHD from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and gradated in 2011.