Profile page for: Erin Morton | UNB

Erin Morton

Professor, Director of Graduate Studies

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

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. This territory is also where nearly 1200 people of African descent (enslaved and free) and 3500 Black Loyalists migrated to in 1784.

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 as a historian of visual culture 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.

My third book, Unsettling Canadian Art History, will be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in Spring 2022. This edited volume stems from a collaborative 5-year SSHRC Insight Grant, of which I was Principal Investigator, “Unsettling the Settler Artist: Reframing the Canadian Visual Arts” (2016-2021). This larger SSHRC project 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 also produce my next monograph, in progress.

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 am co-editor (with Peter Twohig, Saint Mary’s University) of the Department of History’s in-house journal, Acadiensis: Journal of the History of the Atlantic Region. 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 acadjrnl@unb.ca but you can also contact me directly if you have questions about submission. Please follow us on Twitter @Acadiensis.

Service

I am currently on the Board of Directors of the Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC) where I sit at the Atlantic Canada representative. I also serve on the editorial board of the 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. I regularly sit on SSHRC Adjudication Committees for the Insight program and act as a peer reviewer for the Canada Research Chairs program.

Teaching

I teach courses that seek to create accessible, anti-racist, decolonial, empathic, and feminist 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 3745 Visual Culture & Colonialism
  • HIST 3736 Decolonizing Art History
  • HIST 4705 Art and Critical Theory
  • HIST 5725 Colonialism on Display
  • HIST 5702 Art, Place & Popular Culture
  • HIST 6725 Cultural History
  • HIST 6925 Thinking History
  • HIST 6945 Doing History: Historical Research Methods & Practice

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/Turtle Island 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 M.A. and Ph.D. students in the Department of History and occasionally in UNB’s Interdisciplinary Studies Master’s and PhD program (when projects are based in research creation). I especially enjoy supervising graduate student projects that lend themselves to co-supervisions with colleagues from across UNB and in the region. Currently, I am only accepting a limited number of graduate students. Please email me for further information if you are interested in working with me at UNB.

Current supervisions

  • Ashley Farwell, “Material Culture & 19th-Century American Ironworks,” M.A. candidate. Co-supervised with Dr. Brad Cross (St. Thomas University)
  • Chris Gismondi, “Settler-Slavery in Upper Canada, Simcoe’s 1793 Gradual Abolition, and Enslaved Women’s Resistance,” Ph.D. candidate CGS SSHRC funded. Co-supervised with Dr. Charmaine Nelson (NSCAD University)
  • Mark Landry, “Mapping Indigenous Space: Early Colonial Use/Erasure of Indigenous Cartographic Knowledge,” Ph.D. candidate. Co-supervised with Dr. Robin Vose (St. Thomas University)
  • Leanna Thomas, “Shaping Identities and Redefining Histories of the French Atlantic World: The Historical Influence of 20th-Century Acadian and French Caribbean Authors,” Ph.D. candidate CGS SSHRC funded. Co-supervised with Dr. Chantal Richard (Department of French, UNB)

Current doctoral supervisory committees

  • Courtney Mrazek, “Eugenic Economics, Institutionalization, and Public Health: The Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia, 1900-1960,” Ph.D. candidate. Supervisor: Dr. Sasha Mullally.
  • Susan Parker, “Greening the Grassroots: Maritime Culture Innovation and Economic Revitalization since 1960,” Ph.D. candidate. Supervisor: Dr. Elizabeth Mancke.

Past supervisions

  • 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.