Art & Design

Lianne McTavish

Professor, History of Art, Design and Visual Culture

Office: 3-108 FAB
Phone: (780) 492-7875 

Areas of Teaching and Research

Teaching: History of early modern visual culture, history of medicine, history of the body, critical museum theory, cultural studies

Research: Early modern French visual culture with a specialization in images of health, healing, childbirth and anatomical dissection; history of museums with a specialization in critical museum theory

I am currently completing my fourth book, called Illness as Opportunity in Early Modern France, and have undertaken a SSHRCC funded research project on the over 170 museums located throughout Alberta, focusing on the economic and social impact of small, rural organizations.


PhD, University of Rochester, 1996

Lianne McTavish is Professor in the History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture, where she offers courses in early modern visual culture and critical museum theory. Lianne has received four SSHRCC Standard Research Grants, as well as grants from the Killam Research Fund, Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine, and Canada Council for the Arts. Her interdisciplinary research—informed by her graduate degrees in Visual and Cultural Studies—has centred on early modern French medical imagery, including articles in Social History of Medicine (2001), Medical History (2006), and a monograph, Childbirth and the Display of Authority in Early Modern France (2005). Her recent work in this area analyzes representations of cure and convalescence in France, 1600–1800. Lianne has also published on the history and theory of museums, including a monograph Defining the Modern Museum (2013), and articles in Cultural Studies (1998), Acadiensis (2003), New Museum Theory and Practice: An Introduction (2005), the Canadian Historical Review(2006), and the Journal of Canadian Studies (2008). Her most recent book, Feminist Figure Girl: Look Hot While You Fight the Patriarchy, Suny Press, 2015, is an autoethnographic analysis of what it felt like to compete in a bodybuilding/figure competition in 2011. She is currently completing her fourth book, “Illness as Opportunity in Early Modern France,” featuring analyses of King Louis XIV’s famous anal surgery of 1687, the embodied experience of tapeworms, and changing nature of fetal imagery during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. An associate curator at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery from 2003–2007, Lianne continues to curate and write catalogues for exhibitions of contemporary art.

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