History of Art Graduate Department of Art

Bear, Jordan MA, PhD

Associate Professor, 19th century Art (UT St. George)

Email: Jordan.Bear@utoronto.ca

Jordan Bear’s scholarship has focused on the historical intersection of visual representation, knowledge and belief. His first book, Disillusioned: Victorian Photography and the Discerning Subject, tells the story of how photographic trickery in the 1850s and 1860s participated in the fashioning of the modern subject. By locating specific mechanisms of photographic deception employed by the leading midcentury photographers within this capacious culture of discernment, Disillusioned integrates some of the most striking—and puzzling—images of the Victorian period into a new and expansive interpretive framework. A second project is underway, with the support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, on the display of history painting and conceptions of visual evidence in London during the first quarter of the Nineteenth Century. More generally, he maintains an ongoing interest in the visual representation of knowledge in the natural and human sciences, as well as in visual communication in the illustrated press.

Graduate Courses:

  • “Photography, Illusion, and Knowledge in 19th-Century Europe.”
  • “Viewing History: The Visual Experience of the Past, 1750-1900.”
  • “Histories and Theories of Photographic Manipulation.”
  •  “Methods of Art History.”

Recent Undergraduate Courses:

  • “Modernism and Anti-Modernism: 1750-1900.”
  • “Nineteenth-Century Landscape Painting.”
  • “Nineteenth-Century Photography.”
  • “Introduction to the History of Photography.”
  • “The Cultures of Exhibition in 19th-Century Europe.”


Areas of Academic Interest
  • 19th-century European art
  • History and theory of photography
  • Ph.D Columbia University, 2009
Selected Publications
  • Disillusioned: Victorian Photography and the Discerning Viewer (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press), 2015.

  • “Adrift: The Time and Space of the News in Géricault’s Le Radeau de La Méduse,” in Vanessa R. Schwartz and Jason E. Hill, eds., Getting the Picture: The History and Visual Culture of the News (London: Bloomsbury), forthcoming.

  • “Self-Reflections: The Experimental Career of Sir Humphry Davy, Proto-Photographer,” in Tanya Sheehan and Andres Zervigon, eds., Photography and its Origins (London: Routledge), forthcoming.

  • “The Experienced Eye of the Antiquary: Hill and Adamson’s Medieval Revivals,”
    Photoresearcher: Journal of the European Society for the History of Photography Vol. 20 (Summer 2013), 46-55.

  • “The Silent Partner: Agency and Absence in Julia Margaret Cameron’s Collaborations,”
    Grey Room 48 (Summer 2012), 78-101.

  • “Index Marks the Spot? The Photo-diagram’s Referential System,” Philosophy of Photography 2:2 (2012), 325-344.

  • “‘Venturing out on a ledge to get a certain picture’: The ‘authentic’ spaces of Alvin Langdon Coburn’s Grand Canyon,” Photographies 5:1 (2012), 51-70.

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