History of Art and Architecture

Dissertation Defense: Paula Kupfer

Tuesday, April 23, 2024 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

This dissertation examines photographs made in late nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro by Marc Ferrez (1843–1923), a Brazilian photographer of French descent. The project concentrates on pictures of three types of environments fundamental to organizing the idea of “nature” in imperial Brazil: the tropical forest, the botanical garden, and the plantation. Through research in physical and digital photographic archives and the application of methods of social art history and ecocriticism, the project demonstrates how the construction of a photographic visual culture of Brazil's tropical nature was intrinsically connected to histories of slavery and labor.  The committee consists of: Jennifer Josten (chair), Joshua Ellenbogen, Barbara McCloskey and Keila Grinberg.