Areas of interest

  • 19th-century European art
  • History and theory of photography


Main Bio

Jordan Bear’s scholarship has focused on the historical intersection of visual representation, knowledge and belief. His first book, Disillusioned: Victorian Photography and the Discerning Subject (Penn State University Press, 2016), tells the story of how photographic trickery in the 1850s and 1860s participated in the fashioning of the modern subject.

A second area of research has been the visual representation of the past and its relationship to historiography, which culminated in a co-edited volume, with Mark Salber Phillips, entitled What Was History Painting and What is it Now? (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019).

More generally, he maintains a research focus on the visual representation of knowledge in the natural and human sciences, as well as on visual communication in the illustrated press.  He is currently engaged in an extended study of the concept of trust in nineteenth-century visual media.