Caroline LaPorte-Burns

Caroline LaPorte-Burns is a doctoral candidate specializing in early modern art history under the supervision of Dr. Angela Vanhaelen. Her dissertation assesses material evidence of the risk that the acquisition, collecting, and setting of pearls and other ocean naturalia posed to Indigenous labourers and the marine environment. She examines objects acquired along a selection of early modern Dutch coastal trading ventures--from merchant expeditions to the Arctic and to Indonesia. Her work examines the burgeoning economic and social relationship between humans and the ocean as evinced in hybrid natural and manmade decorative objects, and contemplates an aesthetics of the sea, where bodies of water are reimagined as social spaces and galleries of both resource accumulation and human loss.

Prior to entering the PhD program in 2020, Caroline received a BA in Art History and German from Barnard College of Columbia University, and an MA in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art, where her research with Dr. Joanna Woodall considered the location of the soul in allegorical images of dead and dying heroic and sacred males produced in Amsterdam and Antwerp between 1600 and 1660.

Her studies at McGill are supported by a Max Stern Museum Fellowship.

caroline.laporte-burns [at]



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