History and mission

The American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies (ASHAHS) was founded in 1974 to promote within the United States research in the history of the arts of Spain and Portugal, fields of study that were underrepresented at many North American universities at that time. By cultivating a supportive and collaborative community, ASHAHS members strove to expand interest in the art of Iberia, increase opportunities for graduate students and young scholars, and promote the interchange of information among members through meetings, publications, and other opportunities.

Early activities of the organization included the establishment in 1974 of a quarterly newsletter and, in 1992, an annual award for an outstanding publication in English in the field of Spanish or Portuguese art history, which was named after the distinguished feminist art historian and professor, Eleanor Tufts (1927–1991). The Society also encouraged collaboration with scholars in related fields, most notably through the sponsorship of interdisciplinary panels at the annual conference of the College Art Association.

In 2021, the Society was reorganized to reflect the global turn in Iberian art historical studies that has defined the field in the past two decades. Members voted to rename the organization the Society for Iberian Global Art (SIGA) and to expand its activities to include the launch of a new annual book prize that recognizes excellence in exhibition catalogues in the field of Iberian studies and the establishment of a triennial conference. Despite these changes, the core mission of the Society endures: to promote research in the arts of the Iberian world; broaden opportunities—professional and intellectual—for its members; and to encourage collaboration with scholars of kindred subjects.