The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu
Section Menu

Laetitia La Follette

Professor | Ancient Art and Archaeology, Art History and Cybertechnology

Laetitia La Follette

(413) 545-6988

South College W307

Ph.D., Princeton, 1986.

Educated at Harvard-Radcliffe (B.A., Classics) and Princeton University (MA, PhD, Art and Archaeology), Dr. La Follette specializes in the physical culture of the ancient Mediterranean.

Initially drawn to this area of the world by her love of languages (French, German, modern Greek, Italian), she discovered monuments spoke to her more powerfully than texts. Since her arrival at the University in 1987 she has developed two other passions, the teaching and learning of art history and the protection of cultural heritage.  As Director of "A History of Art for the 21st Century ", she produced, edited and contributed as co-author to this collaborative grant-funded e-text involving departmental and Five College colleagues. The multimedia online modules (funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) and the Davis Foundation) help students in introductory surveys of art history master skills and learn basic concepts.

For the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), the world’s largest archaeological organization, she has served as Vice President for Cultural Heritage (2011-2017), helping to  coordinate testimony by archaeologists at the Washington, D.C. hearings of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, U.S. Dept. of State, on new requests for and renewals of Memoranda of Understanding between the U.S. and such countries as Italy, Greece, Peru, Cyprus, Cambodia and China that seek to protect and promote archaeological heritage. In January 2017, Dr. La Follette was elected First Vice President of the AIA (= president-elect). She will step into the Presidency of the Institute in January 2020.  She is currently working on a book under contract with Oxford University Press on the portraits of the Roman noble family, the Licinii Crassi, discovered in Rome in 1884-1885. The sixteen marble portraits were smuggled out of Italy to Paris, and then sold to a Danish collector so they are now in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen.

Research Areas

  • Roman Portraiture 
  • Greek and Roman Art and Architecture
  • Roman Religion
  • Roman Women
  • Computer Applications for Teaching and Learning
  • Cultural Heritage Policy


Edited volumes

 Recent articles and book chapters

  • “The Impact of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on Unprovenanced Etruscan Antiquities in the United States.” Selected Papers in Ancient Art and Architecture 4 (Jan 2018)
  • “Bloom's Taxonomy for Art History. Blending A Skills-Based Approach into The Traditional Introductory Survey.” Art History Pedagogy and Practice 1.2. (July 2017)
  • “Looted Antiquities, Art Museums and Restitution in the United States since 1970.” Journal of Contemporary History 52.3: 669–687. (Published online July 2016 by Sage Journals online at DOI: 10.1177/0022009416641198
  • "The Trial of Marion True and Changing Policies for Classical Antiquities in American Museums," chapter 2 in Negotiating Culture: Heritage, Ownership, and Intellectual Property (2013)
  • “Parsing Piety: The Sacred Still Life in Roman Relief Sculpture," MAAR (=Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome) 56-57 (2011-2012),15-35.
  • “Se parer en Vestale: un travail de funambule?” essay in Parures et Artifices dans Les Mondes Antiques, eds.L. Bodiou, F. Gherchanoc, V. Huet and V. Mehl (Paris: l'Harmattan Collection "Histoire, texte et societe," 2011), 155-171.

Awards and Accolades

  • Innovative Teaching Fellow, Center for Teaching and Office of Faculty Dev., University of Massachusetts Amherst (2014-15)
  • Visiting professor, Univ. de Paris VII (2009)
  • Whiting grant (2009), NEH summer stipends (2007, 1988)
  • College Outstanding Teaching Award (2003)
  • Davis Foundation (2003)
  • FIPSE/U.S. Dept. of Education (1998-2002)
  • Fellow, American Academy in Rome
  • Member, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

Courses Recently Taught

  • ART-HIST 397V/697V: Vexed Objects: Exploring Looted Antiquities in the 21st Century  
  • ART-HIST 701: Roman Portraiture: Reading Ancient Faces  
  • ART-HIST 382/672: Leisure and Luxury in Roman villa culture: the villas at Oplontis near Pompeii 
  • ART-HIST 100/115: Introduction to the History of Art
  • ART-HIST 302: Greek art
  • ART-HIST 303: Roman Art (Team-Based Learning class)
  • ART-HIST 370: Junior Year Writing
  • ART-HIST 391/791: Death and Commemoration in Roman Art