History of Art Graduate Department of Art

Michaela Rife

Ecocriticism; 19th and 20th c American art and visual culture

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

Supervisor:  Mark Cheetham

Areas of Academic Interest
  • 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.
  • BA Art History with honors, 2010 University of Oregon
  • MA History of Art with distinction, 2011 Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London
  • MA Critical and Curatorial Studies, 2014 University of British Columbia
Selected Publications
Recent Awards
  • Co-lead, Jackman Humanities Institute-funded working group: “Imagining and Inhabiting Resource Landscapes.”
  • Audain Foundation Graduate Fellow
  • Helen Belkin Memorial Scholarship in Fine Arts
  • 2017-2018 Joe and Wanda Corn Predoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
  • 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

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