Erin Morton

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I earned my Ph.D. and M.A. in Visual and Material Culture Studies at Queen’s University at Kingston.

My work has explored the history of visual and material cultural production in the North American nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and now the twenty-first. In examining the intersections between objects of art and culture and the reproduction of socio-economic hierarchies, my research is concerned with issues of gender, sexuality, Indigeneity, racialization, and locality. I am interested in how art affects our perceptions of social belonging and the ways in which it helps to contest and articulate such oppositional understandings of culture as purposeful practice and unthoughtful habit.

I teach courses that use art and cultural practice as a launching pad to think about history as both an intellectual practice and a lived experience. These include: (undergraduate) HIST 1715 Looking at the Past; HIST 3736 Art for a Nation? Visual and Material Culture in Canada; HIST 4705 Art, Tourism, and Moderity; HIST 5702 Folk-Mass-Popular: Locating Culture in the Shadow of Capital; HIST 5725 The Art of Public History; (graduate) HIST 6725 Canada and the Making of Culture; and HIST 6925 The Philosophy and Writing of History.

I supervise graduate students working in the fields of twentieth- and twenty-first century cultural history and visual and material culture studies in North America.

For more about my work, you can access my full CV.

Selected Publications


For Folk's Sake For Folk's Sake: Art and Economy in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016.
Negotiations in a Vacant Lot Negotiations in a Vacant Lot: Studying the Visual in Canada. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014. Co-edited with Lynda Jessup and Kirsty Robertson.

Refereed Journal Articles

“'Not a Vacation, But a Hardening Process': The Self-Empowerment Work of Therapeutic Craft in Nova Scotia,” Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research 6, no. 42 (2014): 773-789..

“Commemorative Expectations: The Mixed-Economy Model of the Maud Lewis Painted House Preservation, 1970-1998,” Acadiensis: Journal of the History of the Atlantic Region 43, no. 1 (2014): 3-34.

“Ordinary Affects: Maud Lewis and the Social Aesthetics of the Everyday,” Journal of Canadian Art History 34, no. 2 (Spring 2014): 80-107.

“Bordering the Vernacular: J. Russell Harper and the Pursuit of a ‘People’s Art,’” Journal of Canadian Art History 34, no. 1 (Fall 2013): 86-125.

“The Object of Therapy: Mary E. Black and the Progressive Possibilities of Weaving,” Utopian Studies 22, no. 2 (2011): 321-340.

 “Structuring Knowledges: Caching Inuit Architecture through Igloolik Isuma Productions,” Post Script: Essays in Film and the Humanities 29, no. 1 (2010): 58-69. Co-authored with Taryn Sirove.

Refereed Book Chapters

“Romancing the Land: The Journals of Knud Rasmussen and the Circumvention of Colonial Landscapes,” in First Takes, Fourth World: Global Indigenous Films, eds. Ernie Blackmore, Kerstin Knopf, and Wendy Pearson, forthcoming. Co-authored with Taryn Sirove.

“Rural,” in Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment, eds. Imre Szeman, Jennifer Wenzel, and Patricia Yaeger. New York: Fordham University Press, forthcoming.

“On Collectivity: Caching Igloolik Video in the South,” in Reverse Shots: Indigenous Film and Media in an International Context, eds. Susan Knabe and Wendy Pearson. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2014. 199-217. Co-authored with Taryn Sirove.

“Precarious Life: On Dwelling, Mobility, and Artistic Intervention,” in Habitus of the Hood, eds. Hans Skott-Myhre and Chris Richardson. Chicago and Bristol, UK: University of Chicago Press and Intellect Ltd., 2012. 67-94. Co-authored with Sarah E.K. Smith.

“‘Eight Days Before the Election’: Politicians, Culture Industries, and Folk Art in Nova Scotia,” in The Sixties in Canada: A Turbulent and Creative Decade, ed. M. Athena Palaeologu New York and Montreal: Black Rose Books, 2010. 340-362.

“cache: Provisions and Productions in Contemporary Igloolik Video,” in Global Indigenous Media: Cultures, Practices and Politics, eds. Pamela Wilson and Michelle Stewart. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008. 74-88. Co-authored with the Cache Collective (Taryn Sirove, Lindsay Leitch, Emily Rothwell, Andrea Terry, and Michelle Veitch).


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Contact Information:

Erin Morton

Office: Tilley 108
Phone: (506) 458-7419