My research focuses on the intersection of gender, representation, and power in early modern France. I have published on the representation of Anne of Austria (1601-1666), Marie Leszczinska (1703-1768), and Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764), and I am working on a manuscript on the representation of queenship in eighteenth-century France. I am also interested in Salon criticism, fashion, and portraiture in addition to the work of women art laborers – women not traditionally considered ‘artists’ – in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century France and England, including art restorers, wax sculptors, and studio assistants.
My courses take a visual culture approach to images and representations from both the past and the present. In Introduction to Visual Culture, we examine visual expression to understand and engage the culture in which these representations are produced and encountered. Students in the course develop critical thinking, writing, and viewing skills while discussing and examining images -- everything from fine art to advertising to television, film, and new media. Imaging Authority examines the way that rulers and political leaders are portrayed in light of concepts of gender, power, and authority. We begin with the Tudors (including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I), who ruled England in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, then look at the imagery of the Bourbon monarchs in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France. The course concludes with contemporary political representation in the United States with particular emphasis on the presidency. Gender and Visual Culture looks at a wide variety of representations in relation to the issues of gender, race, class, and sexuality. In this course, we will contextualize images within particular historical and cultural formations in order to analyze the beliefs, assumptions, and attitudes held by the creators and shared or resisted by those who view them. I also lead a seminar on material culture called Things, Stuff, and Objects. In this course, we study material objects – including furniture, digital technologies, porcelain, and sugar – often at the center of lived experience, but on the periphery of academic study. This course will consider the function and setting of these objects, but also their circulation and meaning in a global context.
In May-June 2010, Professor Lauren O'Connell and I offered a 10-day study abroad opportunity called Art and Politics in Paris: Reading Power in Space and Image. The course examined questions of political power in relationship to buildings, public spaces, and visual representations located in and around Paris, France. Professors Germann and O'Connell are working with Professor John Barr (Computer Science) on a dedicated iPad app for future offerings of this short-term study abroad course.
ARTH 111: Episodes in Western Art
ARTH 135: Introduction to Visual Culture
ARTH 235: The Invention of Art, 1500-1800
ARTH 243: Gender and Visual Culture
ARTH 245: Imaging Authority
ARTH 275: Art and Politics in Paris: Reading Power in Space and Image (team taught in Paris, France with Lauren O’Connell)
ARTH 350: Portraiture
ARTH 490: Seminar: Things, Stuff, and Objects: Material Culture and Art History
ARTH 492: Tutorial: Monsters