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


Kathleen Pierce is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at Smith College. She received her Ph.D. in Art History from Rutgers University in May 2019. Her research explores intersections of art and medicine in the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French empire. From 2018-2019, Kathleen held an Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship. She 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. She has also held a short-term fellowship at the Osler Library of the History of Medicine at McGill University. Her writing has appeared in venues such as Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, Medical History, and Nursing Clio

At Smith College, Kathleen teaches courses on the art and visual culture of the long 19th century. 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. Her pedagogy emphasizes how objects and images construct 19th-century understandings of race, gender, health, and power, and she encourages students to recognize how this thinking continues to permeate contemporary culture.

During her time at Rutgers, Kathleen also gained significant editorial experience through her 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. She is 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 she worked with the journal.

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