Dr Keren Hammerschlag

BArtTH Hons. (UNSW), MA, PhD (Courtauld)
Lecturer, Art History and Curatorship
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research interests

Victorian and Edwardian Art and Visual Culture

Visual Medical Humanities

Gender and the Body

Representations of Race 1850-1914


Keren Hammerschlag's research focuses on nineteenth-century British art and visual culture, and the many intersections and frictions between art and medicine during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. 

In 2010 she received her PhD in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. From 2010-2013 she was a Wellcome Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Humanities and Health at King's College London. From 2013-2018 she taught in Art History and Women's and Gender Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She was one of the founders of Georgetown's first Disability Studies Minor, and served as Assistant Director of the Center for Jewish Civilization from 2016-2018. 

In 2015 she published her first monograph, 'Frederic Leighton: Death, Mortality, Resurrection,' (Ashgate) which offers a macabre counter-biography of the President of the Victorian Royal Academy, Frederic Lord Leighton. She has published journal articles on Victorian neoclassicism, medical portraiture, and medical and artistic looking. Most recently, she published an article on depictions of the so-called Jewish race in Victorian history painting in The Art Bulletin. 

From 2019 - 2021 she was President of the Historians of British Art (CAA affiliated association).

Her current book project, 'The Chosen Race: Whiteness in Victorian Painting,' offers the first account of the representation of racial supremacy, racial difference and racial indeterminacy in paintings produced in England during the reign of Queen Victoria. 

In 2021 Hammerschlag was awarded a four-year ANU Futures Scheme Award to develop the Visual Medical Humanities at the ANU. 

Researcher's projects

The Chosen Race: Whiteness in Victorian Painting (monograph)

Global Bodies: Art, Identities, Encounters, since 1800 (edited collection)

Colonial Cosmetics. A study of skin-lightening and skin-whitening cosmetics and the advertisements used to sell them, from sun-starved Britain to sun-drenched Australia.


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Updated:  27 September 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers