History of Art Graduate Department of Art

Michaela Rife


Email: michaela.rife@mail.utoronto.ca | Website: https://utoronto.academia.edu/MichaelaRife

Supervisor:  Mark Cheetham

Areas of Academic Interest
  • Ecocriticism
  • 19th- and 20th-century American art and visual culture
  • Art and political ecology
  • Environmental histories of the American West and Midwest
  • Energy and environmental humanities
  • American art and visual culture
  • Land and environmental art
Current Research
  • My dissertation investigates the ways that land use in the American West is made sense of with and through visual culture. I am particularly invested in tracing the historical roots of contemporary art’s interest in resource extraction, so my case studies range from nineteenth-century mining photography to New Deal-era murals that celebrate land uses like irrigation and oil drilling in the same space.
  • MA Critical and Curatorial Studies, University of British Columbia, 2014
  • MA History of Art with Distinction, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 2011
  • BA Art History with Honors, University of Oregon, 2010
Selected Publications
Recent Awards
  • 2017–18 Joe and Wanda Corn Predoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
  • 2017 American Historical Print Collectors Society Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts
  • 2017 Summer Research Travel Award, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Provo, Utah
  • Co-lead, Jackman Humanities Institute-funded working group: “Imagining and Inhabiting Resource Landscapes”
  • Helen Belkin Memorial Scholarship in Fine Arts
  • Audain Foundation Graduate Fellow

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