Joe Thomas came to KSU as Professor of Art History and Chair of the Department of Visual Arts in 2008. During his five years as chair, the department became the School of Art and Design, began two new degree programs, and saw significant improvement in facilities and enrollment management. He was an exhibiting studio artist (primarily in ceramics and weaving) as an undergraduate student before starting graduate school in art history.
Professor Thomas has previously taught at the University of Houston, Whitman College, and Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where he served six years as department chair. His research has covered a broad array of subjects, from Italian Mannerist painting, to the camp sensibility, to contemporary art, but primarily has focused on aspects of sexuality and representation. He has published in journals such as the Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte and The Journal of Sex Research, and in the anthology Sex for Sale (ed. Ronald Weitzer). He also has extensive curatorial experience, both at Clarion University (where he served a term as Director of the University Galleries) and at KSU.
In addition to his teaching duties, Professor Thomas is an affiliated faculty member with American Studies in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department (where he spent a semester as interim assistant chair). He is also an adjunct curator at the Zuckerman Museum of Art, where he helps develop exhibitions and offers other assistance as needed.