Assistant Professor of Art History
309 Ball Hall
PhD, Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, 2019
MPhil, Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, 2013
MA, Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, 2012
MA, Classical Archaeology, Tufts University, 2010
MTS, Religions of the World, Harvard University, 2008
BA, Philosophy and Sociology, The Colorado College, 2006
Dr. Michael Anthony Fowler is Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Art and Design; he also serves as affiliate faculty in the Classical and Medieval Studies, Religious Studies, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies programs.
An art historian and classical archaeologist, Dr. Fowler specializes in the art and material culture of ancient Greece and the Near East. His dissertation, “Human Sacrifice in Greek Antiquity: Between Myth, Image, and Reality” (2019), offers an archaeologically and art historically grounded inquiry into the historicity, forms, and meanings of human sacrifice. The project combined several of Dr. Fowler’s research interests, particularly the iconography and archaeology of ritual, gender, and violence in the artistic imagination.
Dr. Fowler previously served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History (2018-2019) at ETSU. Before moving to Johnson City, he also taught as Visiting Lecturer at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen’s Institute for Classical Archaeology (2014) and as Art Humanities Instructor at Columbia (2013-2014; 2016-2017), where he earned the Preceptor Award for Excellence in Teaching for the Core Curriculum in 2014.
In his teaching, which ranges widely across the history of art, Dr. Fowler is interested in introducing students to the diversity of visual cultures around the globe and to the critical role that the arts continue to play in expressing, shaping, and responding to peoples’ ideals and realities. He enjoys working with art historians and artists alike and is always looking for innovative ways to transform coursework into important opportunities for practical training and professional growth. For example, in September 2021 he mounted an exhibition of students' artwork at the William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, Virginia. These works, which represented a diversity of responses to challenging question "What Is Appalachia?", were produced in the context of Dr. Fowler's spring 2021 course Art and Appalachia. In summer 2022, he co-designed and co-taught a study abroad course in Greece with Prof. Kelly Porter (Graphic Design). The course – Designing Cultural Heritage – placed students at the dynamic disciplinary intersection of art history, design, cultural heritage management, and tourism. Working in interdisciplinary teams, students developed art historically informed solutions to real-world design problems, viewing them through the lenses of storytelling, wayfinding, accessibility, technology, and gamifying.
Since 2015, he has been an active member of the team excavating the sanctuary of Poseidon at Onchestos (Boeotia, Greece), and currently serves on the excavation’s senior staff as Supervisor of Site B (the administrative center). In summer 2018 he joined the excavation and scientific team working at the sanctuary of Apollo on the Cycladic islet of Despotiko.
For over a decade, Dr. Fowler has also served as co-author of the "Chronique Archéologique de la Religion Grecque" (Kernos), on which he is responsible for Central Greece. In addition to developing his dissertation into a book, Dr. Fowler is currently co-editing two international volumes (archaeology of ritual in the ancient Mediterranean; and the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem) and preparing studies on man-eating myth in Greek art, the aesthetics of apotropaic images, and roadside shrines in Central Greece. Beyond these projects, Dr. Fowler is an active contributor to Smarthistory, which is working to democratize access to high-quality, expert-written art history learning resources.
As a commissioned member and chair of Johnson City's Public Art Committee (JCPA), Dr. Fowler enjoys assisting with various projects aimed at integrating art into the everyday lives of people in this region, beautifying the city we collectively call home, and building community through collaboration.
In recognition of “superior all-around performance” in teaching, research, and service over his first four years at ETSU, in 2023 Dr. Fowler was named the recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Distinguished New Faculty Award.
Art History Survey I (ARTH 2010)
Medieval Art (ARTH 4027)
Art History Seminar: Monsters (ARTH 4907/5907)
Art History Capstone (ARTH 4710)
Art History Survey II (ARTH 2020)
Women and Queers in the Arts (ARTH 4117/5117)
Art and the Sacred (ARTH 4137/5137)
Art History Capstone (ARTH 4710)
Art Study Tour: Designing Cultural Heritage [abroad in Greece] (ARTH/ARTA 4107/5107)
For a list of Dr. Fowler's publications and works in progress, please consult his CV.
Full-text access to his scholarship is provided on his Academia page.