Fine Arts

About Us



Karen Stanworth

BFA (Concordia), BEd (McGill), MA (York), PhD (Manchester)

Associate Professor, Department of Visual Art & Art History, Full Time

Scholarly Interests
Visual Culture and Identity; Museum History and Pedagogies; Visual Rhetoric and Nationalism, Group Portraiture; Teaching of Visual Arts and Art History in Higher Education; History of Visual Culture in Canada

Professor Stanworth has published on topics related to visual culture and pedagogy; higher education and the arts; feminist cultural theory and production; and narrative and history. Her articles have appeared in Art History (UK), Histoire Sociale/Social HistoryResources in Feminist Research,Symploke Journal of Comparative Literature and Theory and University of Toronto Quarterly.

Her teaching and research address issues of knowledge formation within visual culture, with a particular emphasis on the representation of identities, and the paradox of belonging and difference.

Dr. Stanworth is completing a manuscript on visual culture and identity in 19th century Canada which examines the ways in which visual culture participates in the construction and mediation of social identities, particularly in early museum pedagogies, visual spectacle and the representation of group identities. Current research initiatives include the development of a collaborative network for historical research in visual culture in Canada, and a research project of case studies about bawdy images in 20th century Canada.

Dr. Stanworth is joint appointed to the Faculties of Fine Arts and Education, and is associated with the Graduate Program in Interdiscipinary Studies, Graduate Program in Visual Arts and Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York.

Recent Publications

Ethics of Knowledge: education, tradition and post-modernity”, web exclusive article, Academic Matters, July, 2010; [review essay, Art School (Propositions for the 21st Century), Steven H. Madoff, ed. MIT Press, 2009].

Stanworth, K. (2005). “Interdisciplinarity in the work of Francoise Sullivan”, in Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 387-396.

Stanworth, K. and J. Hladki (2002). “A Critical Introduction to Feminist Cultural Production”,Resources in Feminist Research, 29:3/4, 9-18. Issue editors.

Stanworth, K. (2002). “In Sight of Visual Culture. Pedagogy and the Discipline of Art History”,Symploke Journal of Comparative Literature and Theory, Special Issue: Sites of Pedagogy, 10:1, University of Nebraska

Stanworth, K. (1997). “Storytelling, History, and Identity in William Pars’s Portrait of Three Friends“,University of Toronto Quarterly, 66:2, 431-443.


“The Colonial Museum in the Two Canadas: Narratives, Objects, Subjects”, The Archive and Everyday Life, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, May 2010.

“Staging a Siege: the spectacular representation of citizenship”, Instruction, Amusement and Spectacle: Popular Shows and Exhibitions 1800-1914, University of Exeter, April 2009

“Morality and Modernity: the discursive production of the immoral body in a painting by John Russell”, University Art Association of Canada, Victoria, B.C, 2005

“The Indiscipline of Methodologies in Cultural Studies”, Cultural Studies Association (US), Tuscon, Arizona, 2005

“Visual Rhetoric and Representation in the Portrait of George Washington and Family”, Inventio: ReReading the Rhetorical Tradition, University of Waterloo, 2003

Organized session on “Visual Construction of Social Identity in Canada, 1800-1939″, University Art Association of Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 2000

“Images in Texts; Images in Context – early illustration of school book primers”, Canadian History of Education Society Conference, London, Ontario, 2000.