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

  • Sarah Parsons

  • Associate Professor

  • Chair

E sparsons@yorku.ca

EDUCATION

PhD (UCSB)

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.

Selected Publications

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Edited Volumes

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).

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

Articles and Essays

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

2020      “Margaret Watkins: The Kitchen Sink, 1919,” in Uninvited: Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment, McMichael Art Collection, ed. Sarah Milroy, forthcoming.

2016      “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      “William Notman: Life & Work,” The Art Canada Institute, Series editors: Mark Cheetham and Sara Angel. (aci-iac.ca/content/art-books/19/Art-Canada-Institute_William-Notman.pdf)

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

2008      “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

Administrative Staff

Dawn Burns

Professor Emerita

Shelley Hornstein

Technical Staff

Joel Wengle

Administrative Staff

Joy Raymond

Administrative Staff

Rose Le Coche

Assistant Professor

Robyn Cumming

Administrative Staff

Melesa Beharry

Administrative Staff

Patrick Legris

Technical Staff

P. Roch Smith

Technical Staff

Lindsay Page

Technical Staff

Kotama Bouabane

Assistant Professor

Tammer El-Sheikh

Assistant Professor

Holly Ward

Professor

Jennifer Fisher

Professor

Michel Daigneault

Associate Professor

Marc Couroux

Professor Emeritus

Jon Baturin

Professor

Barbara Balfour

Associate Professor

David Scott Armstrong

Associate Professor

Dan Adler

Professor Emeritus

Nell Tenhaaf

Contract Faculty

Chris Ironside

Professor Emeritus

Michael Davey

Professor Emeritus

Joyce Zemans

Professor Emeritus

Tim Whiten

Professor Emeritus

Bruce Parsons

Professor Emeritus

Guy P.R. Métraux

Professor Emeritus

Hugh LeRoy

Professor Emeritus

Barbara Dodge

Professor Emeritus

Ken Carpenter

Professor Emeritus

Shirley Ann Brown

Professor Emeritus

Ted Bieler

Professor Emeritus

Carol Zemel

Associate Professor

Kevin Yates

Professor

Brandon Vickerd

Professor

Malcolm Thurlby

Professor Emeritus

Karen Stanworth

Professor

Yvonne Singer

Associate Professor

Judith Schwarz

Associate Professor

Nancy Nicol

Associate Professor

Nina Levitt

Associate Professor

Yam Lau

Associate Professor

Leslie Korrick

Professor

Katherine Knight

Associate Professor

Hong Kal

Professor

Janet Jones

Professor

Anna Hudson

Associate Professor

Brian Grosskurth

Associate Professor

Sarah Parsons