Vanessa Meikle Schulman

Vanessa Meikle Schulman

Vanessa Meikle Schulman

Director of Undergraduate Art History Programs

Associate Professor

Art History: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century visual culture of the United States; periodical studies; history of technology

Vanessa Meikle Schulman is a specialist in the art and visual culture of the United States. She received her PhD in Visual Studies from the University of California, Irvine, in 2010, and has published her research in the academic journals American ArtInvisible Culture, American Periodicals, and Early Popular Visual Culture. Her book, Work Sights: The Visual Culture of Industry in Nineteenth-Century America, was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2015. Her second book project, Art During Wartime: Painting Everyday Life in the Civil War North, is under advance contract and is tentatively scheduled to be published in summer/fall 2024.

Dr. Schulman joined the GMU faculty in 2017 after prior teaching appointments at Elon University and Illinois State University. She offers classes on history of photography; the art and architecture of the United States from the colonial era through the twentieth century; and other thematic art history courses.

Dr. Schulman is the Internship Director for art history. Please contact her with questions about receiving credit for internships toward your art history major. If you would like to explore internship options, download the Internship Interest Form on our internships page, fill it out, and send it to

In spring 2023, Dr. Schulman is in Oxford, UK, as the Academic Director of the George Mason Oxford Semester Experience study abroad program.

Selected Publications


Art During Wartime: Painting Everyday Life in the Civil War North (under advance contract with University of Massachusetts Press; expected summer/fall 2024).

Work Sights: The Visual Culture of Industry in Nineteenth-Century America (University of Massachusetts Press, 2015).


Selected Articles

“‘The Universal Notion of Being Photographed’: Memory and Medium in Harold Frederic’s Civil War Novella Marsena,” Nineteenth Century Studies 34 (2022): 61-76.

"Visuality in Literary Magazines," in The Routledge Companion to the British and North American Literary Magazine, ed. Tim Lanzendörfer (London: Routledge, 2022), 59-70.

"The Pleasure of the Parlor: Mocking the Home Guard in Civil War Visual Culture," Studies in American Humor 7, no. 1 (Spring 2021): 105-127.

"Visualizing Race at the Polling Place: Thomas Waterman Wood's American Citizens," American Art 33, no. 3 (Spring 2019): 24-51.

“‘The Books We All Read’: The Golden Age of Children’s Book Illustration and American Soldiers in the Great War,” The Lion and the Unicorn 41 (2017): 204-230.

“Alph-Art, B Movies, Cast Corpses: Death by Sculpture and Hergé’s Middle Ground,” in The Comics of Hergé: When the Lines Are not so Clear, ed. Joe Sutliffe Sanders (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2016), 62-76.

“Managing Subjects, Manufacturing Citizens: Picturing Sites of Social Control in Nineteenth-Century America.” Early Popular Visual Culture 12.2 (May 2014): 104-126.

“Definite Indeterminacy: Blindness in the Civil War Imagery of Ambrose Bierce and Winslow Homer,” Invisible Culture 19 (Fall 2013):

“Making the Magazine: Visuality, Managerial Capitalism, and the Mass Production of Periodicals, 1865-1890,” American Periodicals 22.1 (Spring 2012): 1-28.


2021 Fellow (fall semester), GMU Center for Humanities Research

2018 Spurgeon H. Neel writing award from the Army Medical Foundation, for the essay "J.J. Woodward, the Philadelphia Centennial, and Medical Imaging in Nineteenth Century America"

2016 International Committee for the History of Technology book prize for junior scholars (ICOHTEC Turriano Prize), for Work Sights

2016 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, for Work Sights

Courses Taught

ARTH 101: Introduction to Visual Arts

ARTH 350: History of Photography

ARTH 370: Arts of the United States

ARTH 371: American Architecture and Material Culture

ARTH 372/HIST 389: The Civil War and Visual Culture

ARTH 375: Indigenous Arts of the US and Canada

ARTH 394/594: The Museum

ARTH 471/599: Visualizing Science in the Modern World

ARTH 471/599: Art and Culture of the U.S. Gilded Age

ARTH 471/599: The Interwar United States

ARTH 499/599: Photography, Race, and Empire

ARTH 601: Colloquium in Art History

Academic Director, Oxford Semester Experience Program (UK), spring 2023


Ph.D. 2010, Visual Studies, University of California, Irvine

M.A. 2007, Visual Studies, University of California, Irvine

A.B. 2003, History of Art and Architecture and American Civilization, Brown University