It is with great pleasure that the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences announces that Michelle Smiley of the Department of History of Art has successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, "'An American Sun Shines Brighter': Art, Science, and the American Reinvention of Photography." Michelle defended on April 6 via Zoom from Washington, D.C. Her dissertation advisor was Homay King, Chair and Professor of History of Art and the Eugenia Chase Guild Chair in the Humanities.
Michelle's dissertation revises the historical origins of the medium of photography. Whereas traditional histories of photography's origins are situated around the innovations of well-known European inventors such as William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-77) and Louis Daguerre (1787-1851), Michelle's research has demonstrated that the origins of photography's technological processes are intertwined with America's early 19th century scientific community, largely centered in Philadelphia.
The completion of her dissertation comes on the heels of a two-year Andrew Wyeth Fellowship at the Center for Advance Study and Visual Arts (CASVA) in Washington, D.C. Michelle will join Rutgers University-New Brunswick as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Center for Cultural Analysis for the 2020-21 academic year.