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Core Chair and College Alumnus Named Great Teacher Awardee

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Noam Elcott CC’00 has been selected as the 2021 Columbia College recipient of the Great Teacher Award by the Society of Columbia Graduates.

Noam Elcott CC’00, the Jonathan Sobel & Marcia Dunn Program Chair for Art Humanities


Awardees, who are considered inspiring, relatable professors, are selected by the Society’s Board of Directors.

Elcott, an associate professor of modern and contemporary art and media, and the Sobel-Dunn Chair for Art Humanities, is a College alumnus who proudly describes himself as a student of the Core Curriculum.

His experience as a student in Art Humanities led to his love of art history, and now in his role as a faculty member and Chair of Art Humanities, he has revolutionized the experience of Art Humanities for undergraduates. Elcott is also the co-Director of the Columbia Center for Comparative Media and co-Director of the MoMa/Columbia August Sander Project.

An internationally leading historian of modern art and media, Elcott teaches, writes and advises students in the history of modern art and media in Europe and North America, with an emphasis on early 20th century art, photography and film. His research and teaching combine close visual analysis with media archaeology and critical theory.

He is the author of Artificial Darkness: An Obscure History of Modern Art and Media (University of Chicago Press), winner of the 2017 Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award. Encompassing diverse figures such as Étienne-Jules Marey and Richard Wagner, Georges Méliès and Oskar Schlemmer, Elcott's book is the first to conceive, historicize, and theorize artificial darkness and the art and media that gave it form. Elcott is currently at work on a two book projects: Art in the First Screen Age: László Moholy-Nagy and the Cinefication of the Arts (University of Chicago Press), which traverses interwar painting, architecture, photography, film, theater, and exhibition design in the age of cinema.

Elcott is also an editor of the journal Grey Room which brings together scholarly and theoretical articles from the fields of architecture, art, media, and politics. He has lectured widely in North America, Europe, and also in South America.

Elcott received his BA in art history from Columbia College, and his MA and PhD in art history from Princeton.

About the Great Teacher Awards

Since 1949, the Great Teacher Awards have been given annually to one or more members of the faculties of the College and Columbia Engineering, based on their abilities to stimulate, challenge and inspire undergraduate students; demonstrated interest in students; ability to relate positively to students outside the classroom; and for their recognized standing in their respective academic disciplines.

Awardees are recognized during Reunion Week, which will be taking place virtually this year.

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