• Graduate Program in Art History, Department of Visual Art & Art History

  • Sarah Parsons

  • Associate Professor

  • Chair

Sarah Parsons

E sparsons@yorku.ca

EDUCATION

PhD (UCSB) BAH (Queen's University)

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

History of photography

BIOGRAPHY

Professor Sarah Parsons teaches courses in the history and theory of photography, modern art, Canadian art, and art crime.

As the recipient of a research fellowship in the Prints and Drawings Department at the Art Gallery of Ontario, she researched the provenance of the drawing collection to ensure compliance with the Task Force Report on the Spoliation of Art during the Nazi/WWII era. She later served as a research consultant for the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in their legal proceedings with the Beaverbrook Foundation. This research informed the creation of one of the first university level courses on art crime.

Her current research focuses on the history and theory of photography. Professor Parsons received an SSHRC Insight Grant for her project, “Feeling Exposed: Photography, Privacy, and Visibility in Nineteenth-Century North America,” (2019 – 2024). This project examines how early photography shaped ideas about privacy, from the earliest observations about photography’s surveillance possibilities to its pivotal role in shaping the “right to privacy”. In particular, this project attends to the role of gender, race and class in the history of privacy and photography.

From 2016-2018, Parsons was part of the steering committee of a large-scale collaborative SSHRC-funded research project, The Family Camera Network (familycameranetwork.org). The project explored the relationship of photography to the idea of family, whether of origin or choice, and generated an international conference, two special journal issues, and two collections of photographs and oral histories stored at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archive and the Royal Ontario Museum.

Professor Parsons is also co-authoring a survey of photography in Canada with Professor Sarah Bassnett (Western University). She is a co-editor of the scholarly journal, Photography and Culture (Taylor & Francis) and was the 2015/16 Massey York Fellowship at Massey College. Professor Parsons previously received York’s University–Wide Teaching Award.

Select Publications

2020      “Women in Fur: Empire, Power and Play in a Victorian Photography Album,” British Art Studies, Issue 17 (November), London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Yale Center for British Art.

 

2020      S. Parsons, “Site of Ongoing Struggle: Race and Gender in Studies of Photography,” Gil Pasternak ed. Handbook of Photography Studies, London: Bloomsbury Press: 373 – 391.

2017      S. Parsons ed. Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Photography After Photography: Gender, Genre, and History. Durham: Duke University Press.

2017    S. Parsons and Jennifer Orpana eds. “Special Issue: Seeing Family,” Photography & Culture 10:2 (Summer 2017).

2016      S. Parsons, “William Notman’s Studio as a Space of Performance,” in Hélène Samson and Suzanne Sauvage ed., Notman: Visionary Photographer. Paris: McCord Museum, Montreal and Editions Hazan, 2016: 76 – 83. Distributed by Yale University Press.

2014      S. Parsons. William Notman: Life & Work. Toronto: The Art Canada Institute.

2009      S. Parsons, “Sontag’s Lament: Emotion, Ethics, and Photography,” Photography & Culture 2:3 (Fall 2009): 289 – 302.

2009      S. Parsons, ed. Emergence: Contemporary Canadian Photography. Toronto: Gallery 44 and Ryerson University.

2008     S. Parsons, “Public/Private Tensions in the Photography of Sally Mann,” History of Photography 32:2 (Summer 2008): 123 – 136.

Graduate Program in Art History, Visual Art & Art History

People of AMPD

Dawn Burns

Administrative Staff

Dawn Burns

Shelley Hornstein

Professor Emerita

Shelley Hornstein

Joel Wengle

Technical Staff

Joel Wengle

Joy Raymond

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Joy Raymond

Rose Le Coche

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Rose Le Coche

Robyn Cumming

Assistant Professor

Robyn Cumming

Melesa Beharry

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Melesa Beharry

Patrick Legris

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Patrick Legris

P. Roch Smith

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P. Roch Smith

Lindsay Page

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Lindsay Page

Kotama Bouabane

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Kotama Bouabane

Tammer El-Sheikh

Assistant Professor

Tammer El-Sheikh

Holly Ward

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Holly Ward

Jennifer Fisher

Professor

Jennifer Fisher

Michel Daigneault

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Michel Daigneault

Marc Couroux

Associate Professor

Marc Couroux

Jon Baturin

Professor Emeritus

Jon Baturin

Barbara Balfour

Professor

Barbara Balfour

David Scott Armstrong

Associate Professor

David Scott Armstrong

Dan Adler

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Dan Adler

Nell Tenhaaf

Professor Emeritus

Nell Tenhaaf

Chris Ironside

Contract Faculty

Chris Ironside

Michael Davey

Professor Emeritus

Michael Davey

Joyce Zemans

Professor Emeritus

Joyce Zemans

Tim Whiten

Professor Emeritus

Tim Whiten

Bruce Parsons

Professor Emeritus

Bruce Parsons

Guy P.R. Métraux

Professor Emeritus

Guy P.R. Métraux

Hugh LeRoy

Professor Emeritus

Hugh LeRoy

Barbara Dodge

Professor Emeritus

Barbara Dodge

Ken Carpenter

Professor Emeritus

Ken Carpenter

Shirley Ann Brown

Professor Emeritus

Shirley Ann Brown

Ted Bieler

Professor Emeritus

Ted Bieler

Carol Zemel

Professor Emeritus

Carol Zemel

Kevin Yates

Associate Professor

Kevin Yates

Brandon Vickerd

Professor

Brandon Vickerd

Malcolm Thurlby

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Malcolm Thurlby

Karen Stanworth

Professor Emeritus

Karen Stanworth

Yvonne Singer

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Yvonne Singer

Judith Schwarz

Associate Professor

Judith Schwarz

Nancy Nicol

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Nancy Nicol

Nina Levitt

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Nina Levitt

Yam Lau

Associate Professor

Yam Lau

Leslie Korrick

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Leslie Korrick

Katherine Knight

Professor

Katherine Knight

Hong Kal

Associate Professor

Hong Kal

Janet Jones

Professor

Janet Jones

Anna Hudson

Professor

Anna Hudson

Brian Grosskurth

Associate Professor

Brian Grosskurth

Sarah Parsons

Associate Professor

Sarah Parsons