Sarah Bassnett

Associate Professor, Department of Visual Arts, Western University

Professor Bassnett’s research to date has focused on moments when photography was central to the disruption and contestation that characterized modernity, particularly in relation attempts to reconfigure cities and campaigns to constitute liberal subjects. She is especially interested in issues of power and resistance, social crisis and reform, and movements for social change. She also writes about contemporary art, especially photo-based practices. 


Selected Exhibitions and Publications

Picturing Toronto: Photography and the Making of a Modern City (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016).

“Truth and Fiction,” Of Time and Building. Exhibition catalogue, Susan Dobson and Alison Nordstrom (Guelph, ON: Art Gallery of Guelph, 2015).

Co-edited with Andrea Noble and Thy Phu, “Introduction: Cold War Visual Alliances,” special issue: Cold War Visual Alliances, Visual Studies 30, no. 2 (June 2015).

Curator with Patrick Mahon. Picturing Immigrants in the Ward: How photography shaped ideas about Central and Eastern European immigrants in early 20th-century Toronto. City of Toronto Archives Gallery. June 21, 2012 – May 2013. 

“Arthur S. Goss: Photography and the Modernization of Toronto,” Arthur S. Goss: Works and Days, Blake Fitzpatrick and John Bentley Mays (Toronto: Ryerson Image Centre, 2013): 16-25.

“Consuming Destruction,” Journal of Artists’ Books 31, no. 1 (spring 2012): 43-44.

“Shooting Immigrants: Ethnic Difference in Early Twentieth-Century Press Photography,” The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada, ed. Carol Payne and Andrea Kunard (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2011): 106-119.

Archive and Affect in Contemporary Photography,” Photography and Culture 2, no. 3 (November 2009): 241-251.

“From Public Relations to Art: Exhibiting Frances Benjamin Johnston’s Hampton Institute Photographs,” History of Photography 32, no. 2 (Summer 2008): 152-168.

Picturing the Professionalization of Planning in Canada, 1901-1927,” Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada 33, no. 2 (2008): 21-32.

“British Library” and “Exhibitions of Photography,” Encyclopedia of 19th Century Photography, ed. John Hannavy (London; New York: Routledge, 2007): 215-17 and 508-10.

Visuality and the Emergence of City Planning in Early Twentieth-Century Toronto and Montreal,” Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada 32, no. 1 (2007): 21-38.

“Picturing Filth and Disorder: Photography and Urban Governance in Toronto,” History of Photography 28, no. 2 (summer 2004): 149-164.


Sarah Bassnett
Associate Professor 
Department of Visual Arts
John Labatt Visual Arts Centre

Western University
London, ON N6A 5B7