Visual Cultures of the Circumpolar North

Working Group. 2021-2022

Description of Activities

This working group brings together interdisciplinary perspectives on Indigenous, environmental, and settler pasts, presents and futures around the Circumpolar North to examine the complex visual/textual cultures of this region. We will work toward understandings of 'visual culture' as what Agamben calls the "life of images" at the crossroads of multiple discourses. The group encompasses the extensive research interests of our members, notably northern landscapes, borders and environmental history, nineteenth-century settler-colonial expeditionary narratives, contemporary and historic militarization and defense, and Indigenous arts, modernisms, and cultural heritage across Canada and the wider circumpolar North. We will confront north-south dialogues and divides, drawing attention to cultural social and environmental dynamics between Indigenous communities and settler populations across Alaska, Canada, Greenland, the Nordic countries and Russia, offering a collaborative and interdisciplinary forum to consider these historic and contemporary environments and communities.


  • Mark Cheetham, FAS Art History
  • Isabelle Gapp, FAS Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History

Faculty Members at the University of Toronto

  • Matthew Farish, FAS Geography & Planning
  • Melissa Gniadek, UTM English & Drama
  • Alexandra Rahr, FAS Centre for the Study of the United States
  • Alison Smith, FAS History
  • Rebecca Woods, FAS History

Faculty Members outside the University of Toronto

  • Amanda Boetzkes, Art History and Theatre, University of Guelph
  • Gerald McMaster, Indigenous Visual Cuture, OCAD University
  • Allison Morehead, Art History, Queen's University

Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Toronto

  • Jonathan Luedee, FAS History

Postdoctoral Researcher outside the University of Toronto

  • Carmen Victor, Cinema and Media Arts, York University

Graduate Students at the University of Toronto

  • Judith Ellen Brunton, Study of Religion
    Ivana Dizdar, Art History

Graduate Students outside the University of Toronto

  • Margaryta Golovchenko, Art History, University of Oregon

Professional staff, University of Toronto

  • Hana Nikčević, Public Programming and Outreach Assistant, University of Toronto Art Museum