Webster’s Dictionary defines “biography” as…just kidding, but I have found writing this bio to be difficult. My name is Lynn Clement and, while I often rely on the succinctness of a Twitter tag to introduce myself (Art Historian, Feminist, Runner, Nerd), I will fight the urge to be laconic and expound because I am honored to be a new member of the Smart Women Write team.
Writing has always served me. In my youth I was very shy and writing was the only way I felt I could express myself fully. I read ravenously and, predictably, created my own stories that freed me from the small-town Midwestern life in which I lived. As a student, writing still provided a creative outlet, but more often, my writing centered on academic endeavors and it was how I found my passion in art history (a field that relies on conveying ideas, thoughts, and theories of the visual through powerful and expressive words). Despite my humble, small town origins, I was undeterred from pursuing the study of art history. However, it did affect how I wanted to impact my field. I entered the job market working in the education department of the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. I was part of a small, but hard working, office that wrote high quality educational materials for DC public schools teachers, to aid them in using art as a part of their daily curriculum.
From there I began teaching at community colleges to continue my efforts to offer quality and passionate arts education to those that might not otherwise receive it. I currently teach at Northern Virginia Community College and the College of Southern Maryland (7 classes, in person and online). It is immensely exhausting and immensely rewarding. My days are now filled with writing lectures, assignments, and comments on homework. Despite the hectic schedule of contingent faculty status, I have carved out time to pursue my own research and writing interests. For example, I have been exploring the field of digital art history. It is my desire to find ways in which new technological advancements in computer programming and artificial intelligence can advance art historical inquiry and the production of new media that could provide greater access to art and art education.
In addition, as an alumna of the Art History Master’s program at American University, where I studied under foremost feminist scholars, my academic research focuses on Modern Art and feminist theory. My primary master’s thesis explored the life of Impressionist artist, Berthe Morisot, and her depictions of modern women while my secondary thesis examined Hans Baldung Grien’s portrayals of witches and their connection to the notion of elderly women as dangerous matriarchs in sixteenth-century Germany.
Currently, my scholarship centers on women, weapons, and war, particularly women’s involvement in revolution. For example, my recent paper entitled “Women of the Paris Commune: La Pétroleuse as Allegory and Politicized Femme Fatale” argues that images of the pétroleuse (women who were accused of setting fire to sections of Paris during the Paris Commune) reflected societal fears surrounding women’s fight for independence and served as symbols of the perceived destruction that comes with female emancipation and political power.
When I’m not teaching and doing research I am usually reading, running, playing board games with family and friends, or telling my daughter about the merits of Galadriel, Hermione, and/or She-Hulk. She and I also write stories together.