Difference Over Distance: Visualizing Contact between Europe and Oceania


Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Art


History of Art and Visual Culture


This book project examines the graphic and printed works created in relation to so-called “Voyages of Discovery” conducted by Britain, France, and Russia in Aotearoa-New Zealand, Australia, and Hawai'i in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This period in Europe gave rise to the expansion of aesthetics as a branch of philosophy, to several theories of what would come to be called race, and launched no fewer than fifteen expeditions to the Pacific Ocean. Difference Over Distance traces how these pictures were marshaled in arguments about the origins of human difference and how they manifest encounters among multiple visual practices and ways of knowing in Europe and Oceania. Ultimately, it argues that the voyage illustrations and prints made thereafter do not merely replicate European racialist theories, but also reveal uncertainties and shifts in the visual epistemologies of race.