Kristan M. Hanson

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Hanson, PhD
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Art Historian | Digital and Plant Humanities Scholar | Museum Educator

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I am the Andrew W. Mellon Coordinator of Academic Programs at the Spencer Museum of Art and hold a 2020 Alumni Residency at the Oaks Spring Garden Foundation. I received a PhD in Art History from the University of Kansas in 2020. My research focuses on nineteenth-century French paintings of Parisian women, horticulture, and urban sites and analyzes how these representations clarify some of the power structures that shaped female and plant mobility, locally and transregionally.

My dissertation, “In Bloom: Women and Horticulture in French Visual Culture, 1860s–1880s,” weaves together a rich social-historical tapestry in order to explore the significance of female bouquet-sellers, pedestrian-shoppers, prostitutes, domestic gardeners, and Parisiennes in art, society, and plant culture. This examination of paintings portraying women and ornamental plants enriches current thought about gender, movement, urbanism, and commerce by unearthing several fixed sites and liminal zones where laborers and strollers moved fresh flora. Through the use of digital mapping and historical geocoding, I plot the locations portrayed in the pictures, and those of flower markets, florist shops, and green spaces, generating visualizations of Parisian horticultural networks and positing a new, dynamic model for studying gendered spatial practices and their entanglement with plant mobility.

I received competitive, merit-based awards to support my research from the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, and KU’s Hall Center for the Humanities and Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, among others. In 2018, I was invited to present my research as a participant in re:work’s international Summer Academy “Labour and Leisure in Global History,” co-organized by the Humboldt University Berlin and the University of Nairobi, held in Mombasa and Nairobi, Kenya.


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