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Emily Voelker

  • Assistant Professor of Art History

Emily Voelker is a historian of nineteenth-century art and the history of photography, whose work centers on transatlantic exhibition culture, Indigenous representation, and changing meanings and uses of the archive over time.

She holds a PhD from Boston University (2017), an MA from Tufts University (2008), and a BA from Emory University (2006). She has taught at Boston University and Vassar College and is the former Estrellita & Yousuf Karsh Assistant Curator of Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Her current book project, “Plains Indian Portraiture in Paris,” examines photographs of Northern Plains sitters either sent to, or made at, Parisian exhibitions in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. Focusing on the Lakota (Oglala) and Omaha, the manuscript contextualizes this exchange in the long preexisting entanglements between these Native nations and the French and traces the re-appropriated meaning of these pictures in their communities today. Her articles appear in the Benezit Dictionary of Artists Online, Opening the Album of the World–Photographs 1842–1896, Transatlantica, and Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art.

Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and the Peter Palmquist Memorial Fund, among others.