Erin H. Nolan

Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Visual Culture


Art and Visual Culture

Olin Arts Center, Room 313


I study photographic history and visual culture from the Islamic world across Europe, the Mediterranean and Central Asia. At the intersection of these fields, I investigate 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—both my research and teaching emphasize photography’s itinerant nature, and explores the spaces where images connect continents, countries, and cultures.

At Bates, my classes center around questions of vision: who is seeing and who is being seen? Working across diverse lens-based media in the modern period, my 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, my 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.



AVC 223 – Outside the Frame: A Global History of Photography

AVC 371 – Landscape and Power

AVC 233 – Decolonizing the Museum

AVC 228 – Image Cultures: Islam & Europe



2017 Ph.D. Boston University, History of Art and Architecture

2012 M.A. Boston University, History of Art and Architecture

2004 B.A. Tufts University, History of Art and Architecture and English



Survey Practice and Landscape Photography Across the Globe co-edited by Sophie Junge (London: Routledge, November 2022).

“Transatlantic Collaborations in the Colonial Archive: Todd Webb’s 1958 UN Commission,” co-authored with Aimée Bessire and Halfan Hashim Magani in Fotogeschichte, special issue on “Photography and Colonialism,” edited by Sophie Junge, January 2022.

Outside of the Frame: Todd Webb’s 1958 Photographs of Africa for the United Nations co-edited with Aimée Bessire (London: Thames & Hudson, 2021).

“Reading Native American Portraits in Ottoman: A Networked Analysis of Photographs in the Abdülhamid II Collection” co-authored with Emily Voelker on Transatlantic Cultures Digital Platform, (2021)