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Erin Hyde Nolan received her PhD from Boston University and holds a BA in Art History and English from Tufts University. As an art historian, Dr. Nolan examines photographic history and visual culture from the Islamic world across Europe, the Mediterranean and Central Asia. At the intersection of these fields, she investigates the cross-cultural circulation of images, objects, and ideas, considering how modes of artistic exchange open alternate frameworks of meaning and reception for modern technologies of vision. Working within a networked history of photography—one that recognizes geographic boundaries and the borders of empire and nation as porous—her approach emphasizes photography’s itinerant nature, and explores the spaces where images connect continents, countries, and cultures.

Dr. Nolan has published on a number of subjects including the circulation of photographic albums, Ottoman portrait photographs, photographic costume albums, colonial photographic archives, and landscape photographs in the Global South. An exhibition and book project she co-edited and co-organized, Todd Webb in Africa: Outside the Frame, traveled from the Minneapolis Art Institute, to the National Museum and House of Culture in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and the Portland Museum of Art. Her co-edited volume, Survey Practices and Landscape Photography, will be published by Routledge in 2022. Dr. Nolan’s research on visual culture from the Islamic world has been published in academic journals such as Ars Orientalis, the Trans Asia Photography Review, and Fotogeschichte, and most recently on the digital Transatlantic Cultures Platform. Her current book project, Portrait Atlas: The Circulation of Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Portrait Photographs, brings together a discussion of photographic portraiture, imperial power structures, and racial vernaculars in an international image economy. It complicates contemporary readings of Ottoman portraits by putting them into dialogue with other global photographic practices of the period. She is also completing a co-authored monograph with Dr. Emily Voelker, Reading Native American Photographs in Ottoman, which studies on-going album exchanges between Ottoman and American powers to reveal the many ways in which shared survey practices were legible across the Mediterranean and Atlantic worlds.

Dr. Nolan has presented her research internationally. Most recently, she spoke at the Expanding Islamic Art History Conference at the University of Vienna (2021) and Silver Atlantic Conference in Paris (2021), Annual College Art Association Conference (2021), the European Conference of Iranian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany (2019), Association for Art History, Annual Conference in Brighton, England (2019), the Ernst Herzfeld Society Thirteenth Colloquium at the University of Vienna, Austria (2017) and The Photographic History Research Centre at De Montfort University, Leicester, England (2017).

Her scholarship has been supported by the Kunsthistorisches Institut-Florenz, Max-Planck Society, Joan and Stanford Alexander Award, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Historians of Islamic Art, and Getty Research Institute, among others. Before attending graduate school, Dr. Nolan worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Harvard Art Museums, the Morgan Library & Museum, and Todd Webb Archive.

At Tufts, Dr. Nolan’s classes center around questions of vision: who is seeing and who is being seen? Working across diverse lens-based media in the modern period, her teaching emphasizes the cultural contingency of visual representation, and the mutable meaning of material objects within changing political contexts. By examining the transnational circulation of image technologies, her courses work to decenter dominant narratives and artistic origin stories from Europe and the United States. Instead, they constellate histories of photography that are international, inclusive, and collaborative. 

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