York visual art and education Professor, Karen Stanworth writes that visual representations in Canada were the era’s primary mode of communicating identity in her new book, Visibly Canadian: Imaging Collective Identities in the Canadas, 1820-1910.
Stanworth’s book was honored with the Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant. She was the only Canadian to receive the award, which supports the publication of scholarly books in art history and visual studies.
In Visibly Canadian, Stanworth investigates how a broad range of cultural phenomena, from fine arts to institutional histories to public spectacles, were used to order, resist, and articulate identities within specific social and economic contexts. Of interest to the reader is the scale of 19th-century public spectacles, with re enactments of Victorian scenes of war often attracting crowds of over 10,000 people.
Illustrated with more than 50 images, many unseen for over a century, Visibly Canadian establishes the extraordinary significance of artwork and public spectacles; cutting across language, religion, and class to tell stories of nationhood, belonging, and difference.
Stanworth has also published on topics related to visual culture and pedagogy; higher education and the arts; along with feminist cultural theory and production. Her articles have appeared in Art History (UK), Histoire Sociale/Social History, Resources in Feminist Research, Symploke Journal of Comparative Literature and Theory and the University of Toronto Quarterly.
By Shanice Grocia, communications assistant