Amy Woodson-Boulton profile photo

Amy Woodson-Boulton

Professor of History

Los Angeles, CA, UNITED STATES

Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts

Media

Publications

Image for publication on Transformative Beauty: Art Museums in Industrial BritainImage for publication on Visions of the Industrial Age

Documents

Photos

Audio/Podcasts

Video

Biography

Amy Woodson-Boulton is professor of British and Irish history and past chair of the Department of History at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. She holds a B.A. from UC Berkeley and an M.A. and Ph.D from UCLA. Her work concentrates on cultural reactions to industrialization in Britain, particularly the history of museums, the social role of art, and the changing status and meaning of art and nature in modern society. Published work includes articles and book chapters as well as her monograph Transformative Beauty: Art Museums in Industrial Britain (Stanford, 2012) and a volume that she coedited with Minsoo Kang, Visions of the Industrial Age, 1830–1914: Modernity and the Anxiety of Representation (Routledge, 2008). She is currently working on a book-length study of ideas about “primitive art” in anthropology and art criticism, tentatively titled Explaining Art: Nature, Authentic Culture, and the Search for Origins in the Age of Empire. She teaches courses on British, Irish, modern European, imperial, and global history, with a focus on museum studies and cultural, public, and environmental history. She has presented to numerous scholarly and community groups, including work on the history of art and anthropology museums, the legacy of John Ruskin, and the environmental crises of plastics and climate change.

Education

University of California at Los Angeles

Ph.D., History

2003

University of California at Los Angeles

M.A., History

1999

University of California at Berkeley

B.A, History

1994

Social

Areas of Expertise

Environmental HistoryBritish HistoryAnthropologyImperialismMuseum StudiesArt HistoryEuropean HistoryHistory

Accomplishments

Elected Companion of the Guild of St. George | professional

Driven by his deep faith in social justice, John Ruskin established the Guild of St George in the 1870s to right some of the social wrongs of the day and make England a happier and more beautiful place in which to live and work. More active than ever before, we continue to promote the value of art, craftsmanship and a sustainable rural economy, putting Ruskin's ideas into practice in the 21st century. http://www.guildofstgeorge.org.uk/

2016-04-08

Affiliations

  • North American Victorian Studies Association
  • Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies
  • North American Conference on British Studies
  • Advisory Board, Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western United States

Sample Talks

Ruskin and the Plastic Crisis, Or “Modern Manufacture and Design,” 2022

Plastic is now evidence in the rock strata for the Anthropocene as a geological epoch and embodies multiple aspects of our current crises: our disposable economy, reliance on fossil fuels, rapidly changing climate, and the unevenly distributed toxic effects at all stages of plastic’s production, use, and disposal. Now that microplastics are everywhere from the air to the ocean to human blood, Ruskin’s sense of both “modern manufacture” and the “storm-cloud” of uncontrolled production and pollution has taken on new meaning. Thinking about Ruskin and plastic together can give us ideas and materials for thinking through the intertwined problems of systemic racism, mass production, hidden costs, art and design, and extractive economies. https://youtu.be/hLsx9H6GqZ4

Courses

Art and Power

First Year Seminar

Modern Global Environmental History

This lower-division history course covers modern global history, c. 1500 to the present, with a particular focus on environmental history, exploring how humans, animals, natural forces, and science and technology have shaped the environment; the ways in which historical developments such as migration, empire, trade, industrialization, and urbanization have affected humans’ relationships with nature; and how the environment has affected historical developments. Students will consider a wide variety of economic, political, and cultural conceptions of – and relationships with – environments, animals, and “nature.”

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Power and Privilege in Modern European History

Lower-division history survey

History and Historians/What is History?

Historiography and historical methodology.

Utopia, Or a History of the Future, 1500 to the Present

Honors Core: Historical Analysis and Perspectives

Modern Ireland, 1800 to the Present

Upper-division lecture course

Crime Stories: Morality, Deviance, and Popular Culture in Modern Britain

Upper-division interdisciplinary course.

Museums and Society in European History

Upper-division interdisciplinary course. In Spring 2021, students created an online exhibition from the Loyola Marymount postcard collection, including the Werner von Boltenstern Collection, now containing over 1 million postcards covering nearly all of postcards’ 150-year history — one of the largest publicly-accessible collections in the United States.

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Topics in Public History: Britain, Ireland, and the Empire

Upper-division public history course. What debates over commemoration, visibility, and invisibility or erasure have become important for people in Britain, Ireland, and their former colonies? Students identified and researched a specific topic related to Britain, Ireland, and the world, and collaborated to translate their research into this website.

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Topics in Public History: Exhibiting Sainthood

Using stunning original books and manuscripts from Loyola Marymount University's William H. Hannon Library, this exhibition marks 400 years since the canonization of Jesuit founders St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier and explores the complex legacies of the order’s global mission. This website remains a permanent record of the exhibition held in the William H. Hannon Library Gallery at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 14-May 6, 2022.

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Upper-division seminar: The Artist and the Machine

In Spring 2016, student created the online exhibition "Thomas Horsfall in Context" in collaboration with the Horsfall Project and Manchester Art Gallery, UK.

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Articles

“Teaching Modern World History, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Urgency of Climate Change”

World History Connected

Elizabeth Drummond and Amy Woodson-Boulton

2021-06-01

https://worldhistoryconnected.press.uillinois.edu/18.2/pdfs/04_WHC_18_2_Drummond.pdf

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“Totems, Cannibals, and Other Blood Relations: Animals and the Rise of Social Evolutionary Theory”

Victorian Review

2020-10-01

“Totems, Cannibals, and Other Blood Relations: Animals and the Rise of Social Evolutionary Theory,” Victorian Review 46/2 (Fall 2020): 211-234

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"‘The natives have a decided feeling for form’: Oceania, ‘Primitive Art,’ and the Illusion of Simplicity"

South Seas Encounters: Nineteenth-Century Oceania, Britain and America

ed. Richard Fulton, Peter Hoffenberg, Stephen Hancock, and Allison Paynter (New York: Routledge, 2018), 15-36

2018-08-01

Part of The Nineteenth Century Series

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"You Are What You Reform? Class, Consumption, and Identity in Victorian Britain"

Kinship, Community, and Self: Essays in Honor of David Warren Sabean

“You Are What You Reform? Class, Consumption, and Identity in Victorian Britain,” in Kinship, Community, and Self: Essays in Honor of David Warren Sabean, ed. Jason Coy, Benjamin Marschke, Jared Poley, and Claudia Verhoeven (Berghahn Books, 2014), 230-244

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"John Ruskin and the Art Museum Movement"

BRANCH (Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History)

“John Ruskin and the Art Museum Movement,” BRANCH (Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History), www.branchcollective.org (Fall 2012)

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“A Window onto Nature: Visual Language, Aesthetic Ideology, and the Art of Social Transformation”

Visions of the Industrial Age, 1830-1914: Modernity and the Anxiety of Representation, eds. Minsoo Kang and Amy Woodson-Boulton

2008-08-01

Co-editor with Minsoo Kang, Visions of the Industrial Age, 1830-1914: Modernity and the Anxiety of Representation in European Culture (Routledge, 2008), including Preface (with Minsoo Kang), xvii-xxv, and Chapter 7, “A Window onto Nature: Visual Language, Aesthetic Ideology, and the Art of Social Transformation,” 139-161

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"Victorian Museums and Victorian Society"

History Compass

2008-01-01

“Victorian Museums and Victorian Society,” History Compass 6/1 (January 2008): 109–146

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"‘Industry without Art Is Brutality’: Aesthetic Ideology and Social Practice in Victorian Art Museums"

Journal of British Studies

2012-12-21

“‘Industry without Art Is Brutality’: Aesthetic Ideology and Social Practice in Victorian Art Museums,” Journal of British Studies 46/1 (January 2007): 47-71
Winner, Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies Biannual Article Prize

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"The Art of Compromise: The National Gallery of British Art, 1890-1892"

museum & society

2003-11-01

“The Art of Compromise: The National Gallery of British Art, 1890-1892,” museum & society 1/3 (November 2003): 147-169

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