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Research at St Andrews

Stephanie O'Rourke

Person

Stephanie O'Rourke
Postal address:
School of Art History
79 North Street
St Andrews
Fife
United Kingdom

Email: so38@st-andrews.ac.uk

Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 462358

Research overview

Stephanie O’Rourke specializes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European visual culture, particularly in relation to scientific knowledge, spectatorship, and media technologies. Her recent publications on this can be found in RepresentationsArt HistoryEighteenth-Century Studies, and elsewhere. 

O’Rourke’s first book project examines the relationship between art and the production of scientific knowledge at the dawn of the nineteenth century. Focusing on the work of Henry Fuseli, Philippe de Loutherbourg, and Anne-Louis Girodet, the book reveals how each artist engaged with the visual, structural, and conceptual features of popular scientific discourses. In doing so, it identifies some of the ways that artworks were critical actors in a larger epistemological transformation taking place at the twilight of European Enlightenment. 

She is also working on a second book project funded by Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust that examines how late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century European artists engaged with changing ideas about the history of the natural world -- and how these ideas shaped, in turn, their understanding of human history. Focusing on a handful of artists from Britain, France, and Germany, it explores how landscape painting was embedded in two, interconnected discourses: scientific debates about Earth's 'deep history', on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the formation of 'history' as a humanistic, academic discipline.

Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the Yale Center for British Art, the Royal Academy, the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, and elsewhere. From 2013-14 she was a Mellon-funded research fellow at The Museum of Modern Art, where she worked primarily on the exhibition 'Degas: A Strange New Beauty' (2016).

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