Ph.D., Univ. of Texas, Austin (1995)
M.A., Stanford Univ. (1980)
B.A., Bryn Mawr College (1976)
Mary McCombie analyzes visual culture from perspectives ranging from anthropology to sociology. In McCombie's view, the visual world, from the quotidian (supermarkets and advertising) to the most elite (art museums) is worthy of careful analysis. It is her hope that students develop a heightened sensitivity to and critical mind toward visual culture.
As co-director of the American Studies Graduate Program (with Professor Scott Gac), she hopes to help students succeed in graduate studies as they find their voices as scholars.
McCombie was selected as a Fulbright Scholar at the American University in Cairo in American Studies for the 2011-12 academic year. She was the first such scholar in this position with a background is visual culture and art history. In addition to teaching four undergraduate courses there, she researched advertising for multi-national beauty products in Egypt and the U.S., which developed into an examination of "shadism."
McCombie is trained as an art historian and is the only member of The College Art Association who is also a professional scuba diver. She also writes frequently for Undercurrent, a monthly scuba newsletter, on topics from dive travel to underwater photography and dive medicine.