Experiencing the Otherworldly: Magazine Reading and Illustrations of Orientalist Domestic Space in the United States, 1880-1920


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art History


This dissertation addresses the ways in which American women interacted with visual representations of the domestic environment, especially magazine illustrations, through embodied practices of seeing. Through imagined, multisensorial vision, these illustrated interiors, found in middle-class interior decorating and women’s periodicals, became three-dimensional spaces into which the reader projected herself. This project focuses specifically on illustrations of exotic interiors—categorized as “Oriental,” “Moorish,” “Turkish,” and “Persian”—in order to explore women’s engagement with imperialism. Drawing upon art and architectural history and material culture studies, and using theories of identity politics, everyday life studies, phenomenology, and Orientalism, it explores the heterotopic nature of late nineteenth-century American domesticity.