Vanessa R. Schwartz

Professor of Art History, History, and Critical Studies

University of Southern California

Director, Visual Studies Research Institute

Director, Visual Studies Graduate Certificate

Courtesy Appointment in the Department of French and Italian

Curriculum Vitae – Complete

Curriculum Vitae – Short

Vanessa R. Schwartz is Professor of Art History and History at the University of Southern California, where she directs the Visual Studies Research Institute and its graduate certificate program. A graduate of Princeton University (Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, 1986) she received her PhD in History at the University of California, Berkeley in 1993.

Schwartz specializes in 19th and 20th c. European and American visual culture, especially photography, film and design. Her latest monograph Jet Age Aesthetic: The Glamour of Motion in Motion was published by Yale University Press in 2020 and was supported by a Millard Meiss award from the College Art Association and a Furthermore Foundation grant. Related publications include with Jason Hill, an edited volume,  Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of the News (2015). She is currently co-editing a volume about photobooks; is a co-PI on a Swiss National Research Fund project, directed by Jean-François Staszak about globe-trotters and the “tour du monde” (1869-1914). She is writing a new book about visual history in the age of technological reproducibility.

She served as a co-curator for “Enfin le cinéma!” which opened at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, September 2021, and co-curator of the related show “City of Cinema: Paris 1850-1907” which opened at LACMA in February 2022.

She has written extensively about Paris in the late 19th century and the origins of mass visual culture in her books Spectacular Realities: Early Mass Culture in fin-de-siècle Paris (1998); Cinema and the Invention of Modern Life (1995) and It’s So French! Hollywood, Paris and the Making of Cosmopolitan Film Culture (2007). She is also the author of Modern France: A Very Short Introduction (2011).

She has been awarded many fellowships and grants, notably from the Mellon Foundation, the Getty Research Institute, The Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She has held distinguished professorships at Stanford, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Paris; the University of Geneva, the Sorbonne, McGill and the Hebrew University.

Every PhD student has published their dissertation and all are gainfully employed; many in tenured or tenure-track positions or as curators or writers.