Kathleen Pierce, PhD
Art History | Visual Culture | Medical/Health Humanities | 19th/20th-Century French Empire


I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at Smith College. I received my Ph.D. in Art History from Rutgers University in May 2019. My research explores intersections of art and medicine in the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French empire, attending closely to intersections of gender, race, health, and power. From 2018-2019, I held an Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship. I was previously a Graduate Fellow at the Center for Cultural Analysis, an interdisciplinary research center at Rutgers University, under the annual theme of the Medical Humanities. I have also held a short-term fellowship at the Osler Library of the History of Medicine at McGill University. My writing has appeared in venues such as Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, Medical History, and Nursing Clio. I also currently serve as the co-chair of the Servics to Historians of Visual Arts Committee within the College Art Association. At Smith College, I teach courses on the art and visual culture of the long 19th century. 
Photographic image of Kathleen Pierce, showing her face and shoulders from a frontal perspective.

Topics have included the intersection of art and medicine, race and gender in the history of photography, and the intersection of histories of imperialism and design in the West. My pedagogy emphasizes how objects and images construct 19th-century understandings of race, gender, health, and power, and I encourage students to recognize how this thinking continues to permeate contemporary culture.

During my time at Rutgers, I also gained significant editorial experience through contributions to the Rutgers Art Review, a graduate journal of art history, as an editor, manager of digital publishing, and layout manager. This included rebuilding the journal’s website and transforming its digital publishing platform in 2017. I am passionate about open-access publishing and grateful to have had the opportunity to publish the work of graduate students in art history over the six years I worked with the journal.

Prior to my graduate work, I earned my BA in Art History and French and Francophone studies with a minor in English at Villanova University. I have  previously taught English in Briançon, Hautes Alpes, France, through the TAPIF program.