Photo of Justina Spencer

Justina Spencer

Adjunct Professor, Postdoctoral Fellow
Office:476 SP

I am a Fonds de recherche sur la société et la culture Québec (FRQSC) Postdoctoral Fellow in the Art History Department at Carleton University and a specialist in art and visual culture of the early modern period. I earned my PhD from Oxford University’s History of Art Department where I was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellow. My primary research interest concerns how artists conceptualized and translated three-dimensional space onto the canvas or page, whether by means of linear perspective, optical instrumentation, or cartography. My post-doctoral project, supervised by Stéphane Roy, probes the cross-cultural impact of European and Islamic art on the development of cartography and costume illustration from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. Through close study of French and Italian travel accounts, Ottoman costume albums, and regional maps, my study examines the dual-beneficiary network of exchange that existed between Eastern and Western imperial powers.

While at Carleton, I am also finalizing a monograph based on my doctoral dissertation entitled Peeping In, Peering Out: Monocularity and Early Modern Vision, which explores the role of monocular vision in the development of linear perspective and anamorphosis from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. I make the case that monocular artforms, such as Dutch perspective boxes, were not only prized and collected for their outstanding illusionistic effects, but reified the fact that perspective’s tenets do not account for “regular” binocular vision. My research has been supported by, among others, the Renaissance Society of America, the Huntington Library, the Getty Research Institute, and the Dutch Institute for Art History in Florence. Research and teaching interests include: art and science in the early modern period, illusionism and perspectival geometry, the practice of collecting, cartography, costume illustration, and transcultural exchange between the Ottoman Empire and pre-modern Europe.