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Susan Cahill


Annual Fellow 2018-19


Susan Cahill is an assistant professor of Art History in the Department of Art. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Visual and Material Culture Studies at Queen's University, Kingston.

Dr. Cahill's research broadly explores how exhibitions and art objects function to shape and reshape the category of "Canada" in the modern and contemporary periods. Focusing on a variety of visual and material cultural objects, her research projects within the field of Canadian Art History contribute to ongoing dialogues that question art through the lens of gender, settler-Indigenous relations, governance, and security, and that destabilize the concept of "Canada" in its relation to the writing and practices of Art History.

Research Activities: 

States of Observance: The Art of Surveillance in Canada after 2001
How is surveillance depicted, visualized, and imagined by creative practitioners within the Canadian context? How can art provoke new ways of seeing surveillance systems in Canada post-9/11, a period marked by elevating concerns about security and intensifying surveillance tactics? Creative practices offer a singular viewpoint into discussions on the topic, because they surveil the agents and systems of surveillance, and present them to audiences in ways that can reveal the often invisible and unquestioned logic that governs them. This research program brings together creative practices as critical contributions to debates on Canadian surveillance systems. It uses the revisualization of surveillance structures offered by artworks to re-imagine and de-stabilize the processes, technologies, and agents that have contributed to normalizing surveillance and surveillant viewing in the present historical moment.

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