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

Teaching

I teach courses on the art and visual culture of the long 19th century. Courses I have developed include: 


Detail from Andreas Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica, 1555, Wellcome Collection Detail from Andreas Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica, 1555, Wellcome Collection

Art and Medicine


How did medical practices like dissection shape artistic education and practice? How and why have physicians visually represented medical research? How have visual representations of the body shifted understandings of race, gender, health, and ability? This course centers intersections of art and medicine from the early modern period to the present to disentangle how medical understandings of the body filter into artistic production and popular thought and vice versa.


Follower of Cornelis de Heem, Still-Life with Crayfish, Oysters, and Fruit, late 17th or early 18th c, Cleveland Museum of Art
Detail from follower of Cornelis de Heem, Still-Life with Crayfish, Oysters, and Fruit, late 17th or early 18th century, Cleveland Museum of Art

Imperial Design


This course asserts that histories of design,

decorative arts, and material culture in the West reveal critical—and even inexorable—histories of imperialism, spotlighting topics such as exchange, violation, migration, appropriation, and indigenous agency.

While objects like porcelain bowls, tea cups, salt cellars, or yards of textile have long been treated as benign indicators of style and status, this course asks students to think through these objects’ roles as agents of empire.



J. G. Keulemans, print from St. George Mivart, Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes London R.H. Porter 1890
J. G. Keulemans, detail of print from St. George Mivart, Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes, London R.H. Porter 1890

Representing Animals


What constitutes the animal, and what role does representation play in shaping responses to this question? How and why have artists across time and place deployed animals as visual signs? How did the collection of animal specimens in the West both depend on and sustain networks of imperialism? And how and why do scientists picture animals? This course poses the above questions, investigating the space between animal studies and art history.