Department of Art & Art History

Emily Burns

Emily Burns


108 Biggin Hall
(334) 844-4318


  • PhD, Art History and Archaeology, Washington University–St. Louis

Office Hours

    By appointment

About Emily Burns
Assistant Professor

In her research, Dr. Burns considers Franco-American artistic and cultural exchange in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her book, Transnational Frontiers: the American West in the French Imagination is forthcoming from University of Oklahoma Press (expected 2018) and is supported by a 2017 Terra Foundation for American Art International Publication Grant through the College Art Association. Charting the visual cultures of the American West in France between the Exposition Universelle of 1867 and the start of World War I, the book analyzes the intertwined relationships between art and popular culture and interprets the central role of visual representation in performed identity politics and cultural nationalisms in a tripartite relationship between France, the United States, and American Indian communities.

Dr. Burns has presented her research at numerous national and international conferences. Her recent and forthcoming publications address the relationship between national identity and visual culture by exploring images of mothers and children by American artists studying in Paris, representations of Americans undertaking the transatlantic passage, the role of American artists' clubs in Paris, and metaphors of American culture, such as Puritanism and the American West, in the French imagination. Her dissertation, "Innocence Abroad: The Construction and Marketing of an American Artistic Identity in Paris, 1880-1910," explores the ways in which American artists performed ideas of cultural belatedness in response to French expectations about American culture. She is currently editing a special issue for the French American studies journal Transatlantica on images of the American West in France.

Her research has been supported by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Baird Library Society of Fellows, the Walter Read Hovey Memorial Foundation, the University of Nottingham, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the New England Regional Library Consortium, and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, WY.

Classes Taught

Emily Burns offers courses on nineteenth-century European and U.S. art, constructions of race in visual culture, the history of the arts of Asia, and the surveys of art history. She is also developing courses on eighteenth-century European art and Native American art.

Representative Publications

  • “Of a Kind Hitherto Unknown’: The American Art Association of Paris in 1908.” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 14, no. 1 (Spring 2015).
  • “Wandering Pictures: Locating Cosmopolitanism in Frederick A. Bridgman’s The Funeral of a Mummy on the Nile.” In Locating American Art: Finding Art’s Meaning in Museums, Colonial Period to the Present, edited by Cynthia Fowler. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2016, 109-124. ISBN: 978-1-4724-6799-7.
  • “The Itinerant John Mix Stanley and the Circulating Spectacle of the West in Mid-Century America.” In Painted Journeys: The Art of John Mix Stanley. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015, 1-31. ISBN: 978-0-8061-4829-8.
  • “Revising Bohemia: The American Artist Colony in Paris, 1890-1914.” Foreign Artists and Communities in Modern Paris, 1870-1914, edited by Susan Waller and Karen L. Carter. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015, 186-209. ISBN: 978-1-4724-4354-0.
  • “Puritan Parisians: American Art Students in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris.” In A Seamless Web: Transatlantic Art in the Nineteenth Century, edited by Cheryll May and Marian Wardle. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Press Scholars, 2014, 123-146. ISBN: 978-1-4438-5034-6.
  • “The Old World Anew: The Atlantic as the Liminal Site of Expectations.” For Framing the Ocean, 1700 to the Present: Envisaging the Sea as Social Space, edited by Tricia Cusack. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014, 37-54. ISBN: 978-1-4094-6568-3.
  • “Wildlife and the Sporting Man.” In Go West! Art of the American Frontier from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, exhibition catalogue, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, distributed by Yale University Press, 2013, 109-110. ISBN: 978-0-30019-738-9.
  • "Nationality, Modern Art, and the Child in Late Nineteenth-Century Painting." In Children and Childhood: Practices and Perspectives, edited by Chandni Basu and Vicky Anderson-Patton, Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2013, 45-59. ISBN: 978-1-84888-179-2.

Forthcoming Publications

  • “Imperialist Nostalgia or Political Contestation? Cyrus Dallin’s American Indian Equestrian Monuments.” Archives of American Art Journal, 57, no.1 (Spring 2018).
  • “Art, Ethnography and Politics: the Transnational Context of Bierstadt’s The Last of the Buffalo in Paris.” In Peter Hassrick, Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West, Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 2018.
  • “National or Cosmopolitan? American Artists’ Clubs in Paris, 1890-1910.” In Disrupting Schools: Transnational Art Education in the 19th Century, edited by Bénédicte Savoy, France Nerlich, and Eleonora Vratskidou. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers. Expected Fall 2017.
  • “Taming a ‘Savage’ Paris: The Visual Culture of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and France as a new American Frontier.” For Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and the Frontiers of Transnational Mass Culture, edited by Frank Christianson. Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press. Expected Fall 2017.
  • “Emptying Paris: Edward Hopper and the Modern Urban Landscape.” For Empty Spaces: Confronting Emptiness in National, Cultural and Urban History, edited by Courtney J. Campbell et al, Institute of Historical Research, University of London. Expected Fall 2017.
  • “Perturber les stereotypes: les amérindiens en France, à la fin du XIXsiècle et au début du XXe siècle,” and “Les artistes français et les amérindiens à la fin du XIXsiècle.” For Le Scalp et le Calumet, edited by Annick Notter. La Rochelle: Musée du Nouveau Monde. Expected June 2017.

Last Updated: October 11, 2017