Lianne McTavish

Professor, History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture (on leave July 1–Dec 31, 2021)

Office: 3-108 Fine Arts Building

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 have recently completed my fourth book, called Voluntary Detours: Small Town and Rural Museums in Alberta, a SSHRC-funded research project on over 300 museums located throughout Alberta. This book analyzes the different experiences of driving to visit museums and the representation of natural resource extraction at key sites, among other issues.


PhD, University of Rochester, 1996

Lianne McTavish is Professor of the History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture. She offers courses in early modern visual culture and critical museum theory. Lianne has received four SSHRC Standard or Insight 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, Medical History, 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, Acadiensis, New Museum Theory and Practice, the Canadian Historical Review, and the Journal of Canadian Studies. Her third 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 writing about portraits of tapeworms during the eighteenth century, as well as exploring ways to disrupt the pioneer narratives at various museums in Alberta. 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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