Dr Stephanie O'Rourke

Dr Stephanie O'Rourke

Senior Lecturer

Researcher profile

+44 (0)1334 46 2358



BA Harvard University (2008), PhD Columbia University (2016)

Research areas

Stephanie O’Rourke specializes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European visual culture, particularly in relation to scientific knowledge, spectatorship, and media technologies. Her publications on this can be found in RepresentationsArt HistoryEighteenth-Century Studies, Journal18 and elsewhere. 

Her first book (Art, Science and the Body in Early Romanticism, Cambridge University Press) examines the relationship between art and the production of scientific knowledge at the dawn of the nineteenth century. It reveals some of the ways that artworks were critical actors in a larger epistemological transformation taking place at the twilight of European Enlightenment. A forthcoming article, "Art after Self Evidence," reflects specifically on the status of race and gender in this shift.

Her second book, funded by a Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust and a Saltire Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 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.

She is currently a Saltire Fellow at the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2022) and previously held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2020). 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).

PhD supervision

  • Sofya Dmitrieva
  • Lauren Robbins

Selected publications

  • Art, science, and the body in early Romanticism

    O'Rourke, S., 4 Nov 2021, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Cambridge studies in Romanticism)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  • The sediments of history in Napoleonic France

    O'Rourke, S., 25 May 2021, In: Word & Image. 37, 1, p. 6-20

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Open access

    Histories of the self: Anne-Louis Girodet and the Trioson portrait series

    O'Rourke, S., 2019, In: Eighteenth-Century Studies. 52, 2, p. 201-223

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Open access

    Staring into the abyss of time

    O'Rourke, S., 12 Nov 2019, In: Representations. 148, 1, p. 30-56 27 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • 1879

    O'Rourke, S., 2018, The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018. Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther contribution

  • Open access

    Girodet's galvanized bodies

    O'Rourke, S., Nov 2018, In: Art History. 41, 5, p. 868-893

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Patchwork classicism

    O'Rourke, S., 1 Dec 2017, In: Oxford Art Journal . 40, 3, p. 501-505

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

  • Beholder, beheaded: theatrics of the guillotine and the spectacle of rupture

    O'Rourke, S., 2016, Visual Culture and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Padiyar, S., Shaw, P. & Simpson, P. (eds.). London: Routledge, p. 25-39 15 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

  • The Singular Multiple

    O'Rourke, S., 2016, Degas: A Strange New Beauty. Hauptman, J. (ed.). New York: The Museum of Modern Art

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Invisibilities: Mesmer in the Archive

    O'Rourke, S., 2015, Imponderable: The Archive of Tony Oursler. Zürich: LUMA Foundation

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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