Alexandra Fraser

Assistant Instructional Professor
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Assistant Instructional Professor, Master of Arts Program in the Humanities, Department of Art History, The College

I received my PhD in Art History from the University of Michigan in 2018. I’m also a graduate of MAPH, which I completed in 2009. My teaching and research focus on topics in nineteenth- and early-twentieth century art and design, mainly questions about intimate, decorative spaces of domestic life and what they can tell us about shifts in private experience and the challenges of its representation under conditions of mass modernity. Before coming to teach in MAPH, I taught experimental courses in Art and Design History at University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and Beloit College. I’ve also worked in contemporary art museums such as MCA—Chicago and The Power Plant Contemporary in Toronto. More recently, I’ve been working on curatorial projects in smaller design collections across the Midwest, in institutions with rich holdings that have been simply and too frequently overlooked.

Currently, my research falls into two areas: nineteenth-century decorative arts in a trans-European context; and mid-twentieth century collecting in the industrial Midwest. These gather around two umbrella projects. The first is a book manuscript emerging from my dissertation, with the working title Wallpaper and Window: The Interior and Social Experience in Fin-de-Siècle Art and Architecture. The second is a nascent “biography” of home art collections as told through the rise and transformation of Detroit, a project that explores the “livability” of European modernism under the social and economic evolution of the industrial Midwest. 

Before moving to Chicago the first time, I lived in Vancouver, BC, and grew up on a farm in central Ontario. I love to talk about really great writing, take extraordinarily long city walks, listen to Canadian talk radio, and tirelessly comb Chicago’s vintage furniture stores.