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 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.

Dr. Burns has presented her research at numerous national and international conferences. Her recent and forthcoming publications, listed below, 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.

She is currently developing a book manuscript that considers the visual cultures of the American West in the French imagination between the Exposition Universelle of 1867 and the start of World War I. This book, titled, Transnational Frontiers: the Visual Culture of the American West in the French Imagination, 1867-1914, analyzes the intertwined relationships between art and popular culture, addressing questions of transnational exchange, native agency, and cultural nationalism.

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, 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.

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.

Last Updated: October 17, 2016