Samantha Burton ( samantha [dot] burton [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca (email) ) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University, where her research focuses on British and North American visual culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Entitled "Negotiating home and away in the work of Canadian women artists at the turn of the twentieth century," her dissertation examines the experiences of several Canadian women painters who lived and worked as expatriates in Britain. Through an examination of primary sources such as letters, travel diaries, and sketchbooks and a close analysis of visual representations of domestic interiors and literary and historical subjects, the study looks at how artists as diverse as Emily Carr and Elizabeth Forbes were forced to re-define their ideas about home and belonging when faced with an adopted home that simultaneously welcomed them as colonial daughters returning to the nest and scorned them as uncivilized foreigners. More broadly, the project explores the transnational and cross-cultural networks that stretched across the Atlantic and throughout the English-speaking world, situating Canadian art history within the context of what has come to be called the "British World." During her time at McGill, Sam was the recipient of a SSHRC doctoral fellowship, an FQRSC doctoral fellowship, and the Max Stern-McCord Museum of Canadian History fellowship. Her research was also funded by awards from McGill University and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. She is currently an H. Anthony Hampson Fellow at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.
Sam has also designed and taught several courses in diverse areas, including introductory surveys in Modern Art (1750-present) and Early Modern Art (1400-1700). She is currently teaching ARTH 310: Postcolonialism, a methodology class that focuses on Western visual culture spanning the 16th century to the present day.
Research and teaching interests
Visual culture in Britain and North America (1750-1950), art and the British Empire, modernism, postcolonial and feminist art history, travel and tourism, landscape.
Selected conference papers
"Inside out/outside in: looking at Frances Jones Bannerman's In the Conservatory" (Universities Art Association of Canada, University of Guelph, Guelph, forthcoming October 2010)
"This is ours: Elizabeth Armstrong Forbes and the colonial claim to Britishness" ("Medievalizing Britain," 21st DeBartolo Conference on Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, April 2010)
"Canadian women artists and the colonial landscape in the nineteenth century" ("The Green Nineteenth Century," 30th Annual Nineteenth Century Studies Association Conference, Milwaukee, March 2009)
"'Not a London lady': Canadian women artists in London at the turn of the twentieth century" (Universities Art Association of Canada, York University, Toronto, November 2008)
"Sightseeing: landscape and tourism in the work of Helen McNicoll" (Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Inaugural Conference, Concordia University, Montreal, October 2008)
"Re-mapping the 'spaces of femininity': tourism and modernity in the work of Helen McNicoll" ("Gazing, Glancing, Glimpsing: Tourists and Tourism in a Visual World," Sixth International Symposium on Aspects of Tourism, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, UK, June 2007)
"Bridge buildings: the public performance of femininity at the inauguration of the Victoria Bridge" ("Assessing Boundaries: Approaching Art from the Edge", University of Toronto, Toronto, January 2007)