Maura Coughlin’s recent research concerns French Atlantic visual culture, coastal ecologies and the rise of marine sciences in France. Her publications of the last decade have been focused on late nineteenth-century art, visual and material cultures of the Brittany and Normandy coasts. From seaweed, wasteland ecologies, extraction sites, salt harvesting and global fisheries to the Breton culture of death, memory and mourning, the sites and material themes of her work encompass ecologies and communities of the North Atlantic French coast. She co-chairs an interest group devoted to Ecocritical Visual Culture for the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE). She is co-editor with Emily Gephart of Ecocriticism and the Anthropocene in Nineteenth-Century Art and Visual Culture published in 2019 by Routledge.  Coughlin and Gephart are currently at work on two further interdisciplinary projects. She is Teaching Professor in the Department of Art + Design at Northeastern University in Boston.




Ph.D. 2001, History of Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Dissertation: “The Artistic Origins of the French Peasant-Painter. Jean-François Millet: Between Normandy and Barbizon.”  Committee members:  Linda Nochlin (chair), Robert L. Herbert, Robert Rosenblum.

M.A. 1994, History of Art, Tufts University
B.A. 1990, English and History of Art, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Other Publications

“Material Ecologies in the Geniaux Brothers’ Picture Archive of Brittany, c. 1900” in Ubiquity: Photography’s Multitudes. Eds. Kyle Parry, Jacob W. Lewis, Leuven University Press, 2021.

With Emily Gephart, “Confluence: Painting Seawater Across the Nineteenth-century Atlantic.” in  Picture Ecology: Art and Ecocriticism in Planetary Perspective. Ed. Karl Kusserow, Yale University Press, fall 2021. ISBN: 9780300254266

“‘TERRES VAINES ET VAGUES’:  ECOCRITICISM and BRETON WASTELANDS in visual and literary representation,” Nottingham French Studies, Special issue :  ‘New Dialogues: Breton Literature as World Literature,’ July 2021 volume. DOI: 10.3366/nfs.2021.0315

“Silver Salts: Realism and Materiality in a French photograph, c. 1900.”  In Eds. Rasmus R. Simonsen and Geoff Bender, Photography’s Materialities: Transatlantic Photographic Practices over the Long Nineteenth Century. Leuven University Press, 2021.

“Votive Boats, Ex-votos and Maritime Memory in Atlantic France” in Cultures of Memory in the Nineteenth Century: Consuming Commemoration. Edited by Amanda Mushal and Kathy Grenier. Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies, 2020. ISBN 978-3-030-37646-8 (pgs. 97-122).

Ecocriticism and the Anthropocene in Nineteenth-Century Art and Visual Culture. Co-edited with Emily Gephart.  Routledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies Series,  September 2019.

Book review: Coastal Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century. Edited by Matthew Ingleby and Matthew P. M. Kerr. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018. Pp. xii + 276. $110.00.

Contributor to the exhibition catalog, Charles &Paul Géniaux: la Photographie, un Destin. Ed. Laurence Prod’homme, Locus solus and Musée de Bretagne, Rennes, October 18, 2019.  ISBN 2368332669

“Elodie La Villette’s Ecocritical PaintingDix-Neuf 23.4 (December 2019). Spec. Issue: “Ecoregions.” Eds. Daniel Finch-Race and Valentina Gosetti.

“Death at Sea: Symbolism and Charles’s Cottet’s Subjective Realism Decadence, Degeneration and the End: Studies in the European Fin de Siècle” in, ed. Edited by Marja Härmänmaa and Christopher Nissen; Palgrave, December 2014.

“Sites of Absence and Presence: Tourism and the Morbid Material Culture of Death in Brittany.” Death Tourism: Disaster Sites as Recreational Landscape. Ed. Brigitte Sion. London: Seagull Books- Enactments, 2014.

“Place Myths of the Breton Landscape” Essay in exhibition catalogue Impressionist France. Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. Eds. April Watson and Simon Kelly, St. Louis Museum of Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, 2013.

Celtic Cultural Politics: Monuments and Mortality in Nineteenth-century Brittany” Mysticism, Myth and Celtic Identity. Eds. Marion Gibson, Shelley Trower, Garry Tregidga. (London: Routledge, 2012) 130-41.

“Crosses, Cloaks and Globes: Women’s Material Culture of Mourning on the Brittany Coast” in Women and Things: Gendered Material Practices, 1750-1950.  Edited by Maureen Daly Goggin and Beth Fowkes Tobin, Ashgate, 2009.

Roundtable on Teaching “Work” as an Interdisciplinary First-Year College Seminar.  Published by The University of Iowa in Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies Volume 1, Issues 12-13, pages 97-106.

“Barbizon Painters” in John Merriman and Jay Winter, eds., Encyclopedia of Europe: 1789-1914 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons) 2006.

“Millet’s Milkmaids” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, 2/1, Winter 2003.

Blog Posts


    “Reading the Wrack Line: Atlantic Flow on the Brittany Coast.” in Eds. Kathleen Davidson, Molly Duggins, Sea Currents: Art, Science and the Commodification of the Ocean World in the Long Nineteenth Century.  Bloomsbury Academic Press, forthcoming 2023.

    “ ‘When is a Thing?’ Ecomaterialism and a Monstrous Assemblage”” in NOTORIOUS  a forthcoming special issue of Curator: The Museum Journal.


    “Visual Ecocriticism” and “Eco Aesthetics”:  2000-word entries co-authored with Emily Gephart for the    Encyclopedia of Visual Culture – Histories, Theories, and Globalities, Bloomsbury, to be submitted July 2023.  Under contract.


    “Reading the Wrack Line: Atlantic Flow on the Brittany Coast.” in Eds. Kathleen Davidson, Molly Duggins, Sea Currents: Art, Science and the Commodification of the Ocean World in the Long Nineteenth Century. Bloomsbury Academic Press, February 2023.




    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    Co-curator of “A singularly marine & fabulous produce: the Cultures of seaweed”exhibition at New Bedford Whaling Museum, 2023.


    “Why Look at Dead Animals?” in the panel, “Curating Controversy: Interrogating Lion Attacking a Dromedary at Carnegie Museum of Natural History,”   College Art Association,  111th Annual Conference, New York, February, 2023.


    Chair, “Ecocritical Visual Cultures of the Commons”  ASLE Reclaiming the Commons Portland OR, 9-12 July 2023.


    College Art Association (CAA), Nineteenth-Century Studies Association (NCSA), Association for the Study of Literature & the Environment (ASLE) , Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM), Peaked Hills Trust, Cape Museum of the Arts.

    Maura Coughlin

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