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Dr Mirjam Brusius

Mirjam Brusius joined the GHIL in 2017. Her research interests concern the history of collecting and visual culture across Modern Europe and the Middle East. She holds an MA in Art History, Cultural Studies and Musicology (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 2007) and a doctorate in History and Philosophy of Science (University of Cambridge 2011).

Email: m.brusius(ghi)

Research and Teaching Interests

the origins and usage of photography in relation to the history of science and colonial encounters; the history of museums, collecting, archaeology and other fieldwork practices in imperial contexts; cultural heritage, preservation practices and encounters with material culture beyond museological narratives

Current Research

Objects without Status between Middle Eastern Excavation Sites and Europe’s Museums

The Spaces of Photography

Academic Background
2014–2017 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford
2013–2014 Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University
2012–2013 Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
2012 Postdoctoral Fellow, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
2011 DAAD-Fellow, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
2007–2011 Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge (as part of an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award held in conjunction with the British Library)
2002–2007 M.A. in Art History, Cultural Studies and Musicology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (exchange at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 2004)

Selected Awards

  • Aby Warburg Prize for Early Career Researchers, 2016
  • A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2014
  • Fulbright Foundation, Travel Award, 2013
  • British Academy, Conference grant, 2010; Small research grant, 2012
  • Volkswagen Foundation, Harvard-Fellowship, 2012
  • Yale Center for British Art, Research grant, 2011
  • Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Conference grant, 2010; Research grant, 2011; Publication grant 2014
  • ‘Gerald D. Feldman-Reisebeihilfen’, Max Weber Foundation, 2011
  • British Institute of Persian Studies, Travel grants, 2008 and 2009
  • Gerda Henkel Foundation, Doctoral grant, 2008; Conference grant, 2010; Publication grant, 2014
  • AHRC Doctoral Fees Award, 2007

Visiting Fellowships

  • Berlin School of Muslim Cultures and Societies and TOPOI Berlin, Senior Fellow 2017
  • Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage Berlin, Visiting Fellow 2017
  • Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Visiting Fellow 2017
  • University of Melbourne, Dyason Fellow 2016
  • Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science, Visiting Fellow 2016
  • Columbia University, Visiting Fellow 2014
  • Yale Center for British Art and Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Visiting Fellow 2011
  • Centre Allemand d'Histoire de l'Art de Paris, Gerald D. Feldman Fellow 2011
  • Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Visiting Fellow 2008-2009



  • Fotografie und museales Wissen. William Henry Fox Talbot, das Altertum und die Absenz der Fotografie, Berlin: De Gruyter 2015
  • The Absence of Photography. William Henry Fox Talbot (forthcoming, under contract with The University of Chicago Press)
  • The Canon under Threat. Objects without Status between Middle Eastern Excavation Sites and Europe’s Museums, in preparation (full manuscript requested by Oxford University Press)

Edited books and volumes

  • Brusius, M., Singh, K. (eds), Museum Storage and Meaning: Tales from the Crypt, (London: Routledge, 2017)
  • Brusius, M. (ed.), What is Preservation? Diversifying Engagement with the Middle East’s material Past, Roundtable, Review of Middle East Studies 51 (2), 2017
  • Brusius, M., Dunkelgrün, T. (eds), Photography, Antiquity, Scholarship, Special Issue, History of Photography 40 (3), 2016
  • Brusius, M., Dean, K., Ramalingam, C. (eds), William Henry Fox Talbot: Beyond Photography, New Haven; London: Yale University Press 2013

Selected recent articles

  • ‘Hitting two Birds with one Stone: An Afterword on Archeology and the History of Science’, History of Science 55 (3), 2017.
  • ‘Introduction – What is Preservation?’, Review of Middle East Studies 51 (2) 2017.
  • ‘The Field in the Museum. Puzzling out Babylon in Berlin’, Osiris 32, 2017.
  • ‘Photography’s Fits and Starts: The Search for Antiquity and its Image in Victorian Britain’, History of Photography 40 (3), 2016.
  • ‘Towards a History of Preservation Practices: Archaeology, Heritage and the History of Science’, Roundtable ‘Science Studies’, International Journal of Middle East Studies 47 (3), 2015.

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