Research

My research interests revolve around feminist and queer interventions in aesthetics, visual culture, art history and historiography. My work looks at modern body cultures and difference, and I am particularly interested in the history of art history and its institutions.

My current project 'Connoisseurial Intimacies' is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and exmines the import of physiological aesthetics in the experimental practice of connoisseurship (1870-1930). This work looks at the body cultures of modernity in order to explore how connoisseurs used physical objects, and not abstract ideas, to produce identifications with the past, to give shape to their desires but also deal with cultural anxieties about sexuality, race and ethnicity. This research will contribute to a monograph in which I consider the writings of such diverse figures as Walter Benjamin, Bernard and Mary Berenson, Roger Fry, Vernon Lee, Giovanni Morelli, Ottoline Morrell, Karl Groos, Théodule Ribot, Erwin Panofsky and Aby Warburg.

A second aim of this research is to reassess the role of women in the formation of disciplinary art history at the turn of the twentieth century. I have conducted extensive archival research on Mary Berenson, Maud Cruttwell and Constance Jocelyn Ffoulkes and I have co-organised with Meaghan Clarke the research Forum 'Women and the Culture of Connoisseurship' (2015). 

Another strand of my research deals with art and feminism in the 1970s. I am co-editing a volume with Giovanna Zapperi titled Art and Feminism in Post-War Italy: The Legacy of Carla Lonzi (IB Tauris). I am also looking at the Italian-American artist and founder of the Cooperativa Beato Angelico Suzanne Santoro, and how her work and writings can be used to explore feminist iconologies and queer temporalities.

I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations dealing with the artist book, feminism and visual culture, medical displays and homosexual pornography in the late 19th century. 

I am interested in supervising doctoral projects dealing with feminist, queer and postcolonial interventions in art historiography and visual culture, feminism and art history in post-war Europe (especially Italy and the Mediterranean), the afterlives of classicism and the renaissance in 20th century art and culture. I am especially keen on projects exploring intersections between collections and archives, creative and life writing.