Profile page for: Erin Morton | UNB

Erin Morton

Professor

PhD

History

Tilley Hall T117

Fredericton

emorton@unb.ca
1 506 458 7419



Thematic: Art History; Visual Culture; Material Culture; Imperialism and Colonialism; Critical Cultural Theory (Feminist, Marxian, and De-/Anti-/Post-Colonial); Cultural Studies
Temporal: Early Modern, Modern, Contemporary
Geographic: Canada/North America/Turtle Island

Departmental Administration: Director of Graduate Studies (July 1, 2021)

Biography

I am a white settler scholar who lives in Ekwpahak / Fredericton on the unceded and unconquered territory of Wəlastəkokewiyik / Wolastoqiyik, a place of relational responsibility governed by the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1725-1779. I earned my Ph.D. (2009) and M.A. (2005) in Visual and Material Culture Studies at Queen’s University at Kingston, and my B.A. Honours in History at Mount Allison University (2003). I took up my current position here at UNB in 2009 and became Full Professor in the Department of History in 2018.

Research

I published my first two books, For Folk’s Sake: Art and Economy in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia (2016) and Negotiations in a Vacant Lot: Studying the Visual in Canada (co-edited with Lynda Jessup and Kirsty Robertson, 2014), in the McGill-Queen’s/Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation Studies in Art History Series with McGill-Queen’s University Press. These books explore art history in Canada from unlikely categories such as “folk” art, and disrupt the conventional disciplinary and institutional narratives of national-colonialist fields of study such as Canadian art.

I was recently Principal Investigator of a collaborative 5-year SSHRC Insight Grant, “Unsettling the Settler Artist: Reframing the Canadian Visual Arts” (2016-2020), which explores relational and overlapping colonial histories in the white settler state of Canada using visual and material culture and from Indigenous, Black, racialized diasporic, and white settler positionalities. This project will produce my next edited book, forthcoming with McGill-Queen’s University Press, and well as a second monograph.

My most recent work examine histories of whiteness, feminism, kinship, sexuality, and state making under settler colonialism from the early modern period to the present. Two recent articles on this research include “White Settler Death Drives: Settler Statecraft, White Possession, and Multiple Colonialisms under Treaty 6,” Cultural Studies 33, no. 3 (2019): 437-459; and (co-authored with Travis Wysote) “‘The Depth of the Plough’: White Settler Tautologies and Pioneer Lies,” Settler Colonial Studies 9, no. 4 (2019): 479-504. I have also examined these concepts and histories in relation to contemporary popular culture, most recently in “Of Folksongs and Feral Children: Taylor Swift’s White Settler Womanhood,” Heliotrope (October 14, 2020)

Editorial

I will be co-editor of the Department of History’s in-house journal, Acadiensis: Journal of the History of the Atlantic Region beginning in July 2021. Founded in 1971, historians at the University of New Brunswick established Acadiensis to promote the study of the history of Atlantic Canada in ways that challenged central and periphery models of understanding Canadian history. Building on this legacy, today Acadiensis attends to the history of this place (Mi’kma’ki/Mi’gma’gi, Nitassinan, Nunasiavut, Peskotomuhkati, Wəlastəkwihkok) in relation to the Atlantic world and its global legacies of settler colonialism, enslavement, and capitalism. I welcome inquiries about and submissions to the journal via acadnsis@unb.ca.

Service

I am a former Executive Board member of the Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC) and currently serve on the editorial board of UAAC’s Revue d’art canadienne/Canadian Art Review (RACAR). I currently sit on the Awards to Scholarly Publication Program (ASPP) Publishing Committee with the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Teaching

I regularly teach courses that seek to create accessible, decolonial, empathic, feminist, and anti-racist classrooms (online and in-person). While this tactic is imperfect, and while my positionality as an able-bodied white scholar does not allow me to understand lived experiences of racism and ableism, I work towards relational learning strategies in my teaching that disrupt the normative frameworks of colonial education methods (such as speaking over listening, inflexible deadlines over compassionate assignments, and knowledge dissemination over shared praxis). My courses include:

  • HIST 1001 Past Into Present (Modules “Trump’s America” 2017; “Understanding New Brunswick” 2011-2013)
  • HIST 1715 Looking at the Past: Art, Culture & Activism
  • HIST 3735 Modern Art/Art Now
  • HIST 3736 Decolonizing Art History
  • HIST 4705 Art and Critical Theory
  • HIST 5725 Colonial Cultures of Display
  • HIST 5702 Art, Place & Popular Culture
  • HIST 6725 Cultural History
  • HIST 6925 Thinking History

Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Supervisions

I encourage graduate student and postdoctoral supervisions interested in histories of decolonial, anti-racist, and feminist culture and politics, particularly in terms of how these histories play out in art and cultural practice. I am always interested in supervising projects that pertain to North America and its colonial capitalist, imperialist, and nationalist histories from perspectives that combine standard historical methods (such as archival research) with decolonial, feminist, and anti-racist research methods (such as storytelling and creative practice). I supervise graduate students in the Department of History and in UNB’s Interdisciplinary Studies Master’s and PhD program. Graduate and postdoctoral projects that I have supervised in the past include:

  • Sara Spike, “Cultural History of Fog in Atlantic Canada,” SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of History, 2021.
  • John Leroux, “Make Way for Tomorrow: New Brunswick’s Visual and Culture Modernity, 1930-1967,” Ph.D. CGS SSHRC funded, Department of History, 2020 (co-supervised with Donald Wright).
  • Danielle Hogan, “Just Making It: The Stain of Femaffect on Fiber in Art,” Ph.D., Interdisciplinary Studies, 2019 (supervisory committee member).
  • Kelly Flinn, “The Justseeds Artists’ Co-operative: Cultural Labour and Activism Beyond Neoliberal Capitalism,” M.A. thesis CGS SSHRC funded, Department of History, 2013.
  • Céline Bastien, “The Temple of Authenticity: Making the Acadian Public Past at Le Village Historique Acadien,” M.A. thesis, 2012.
  • Gillian Bourke, “Archiving the Folk: An Historiographic Inquiry into Folk Art in England, 1945-2005,” M.A. report, Department of History, 2012.

Social media

I tweet infrequently and unremarkably @ErinDMorton.