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Dr Suzannah Biernoff

Reader in Visual Culture

BA (University of Sydney), PhD (University of Technology, Sydney)


I joined the History of Art Department at Birkbeck in 2007, having previously taught on the Visual Culture programme at Middlesex University and at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Since completing my PhD in Sydney, Australia, my publications have spanned medieval and modern periods with a focus on sensory experience and the history of the body. My first monograph, Sight and Embodiment in the Middle Ages, was published in Palgrave’s New Middle Ages series in 2002. More recent publications, supported by a Wellcome Trust Research Leave Award from 2007-10, pursue the themes of embodiment and visual anxiety through the modern period. Portraits of Violence: War and the Aesthetics of Disfigurement was published in 2017 by The University of Michigan Press in their series Corporealities: Discourses of Disability. This project is distinctive in its attention to the face – which has tended to be overlooked in histories of the body – and in its use of visual sources as historical documents, from clinical photographs and life drawings to portrait masks and photo albums; sources that complicate and at times contradict the written record of war injury and repair.

Contact details


Mailing address

Department of History of Art
School of Arts
Birkbeck, University of London
43 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PD

About Dr Suzannah Biernoff