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Department of

Art And Visual Culture

Associate Professor

Emily Godbey PhD

Associate Professor, Art and Visual Culture (Contemporary Art History)

Mailing Address

Art and Visual Culture Department
158 College of Design
Ames, IA, 50011

Contact Information

Phone: (515) 294-8422
Office: 388 Design


  • PhD, Art History, University of Chicago
  • MA, Art History, University of Chicago
  • MFA, Photography, Rhode Island School of Design
  • BA, Comparative Literature, Princeton University

Research Interests

The intersection of image-making with modernity which includes research on photography, early film, and American painting.

Office hours: Monday and Tuesday at 10 on Webex

Selected Publications

“Trilby Goes Native: The Westernization of an International Hit,” The Trans-Mississippi Exposition of 1898: Art, Anthropology and Popular Culture, Ed. Wendy Katz, University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

“Speed and Destruction at the Fair,” in Motorsports in American Culture, Mark D. Howell and John D. Miller, eds., New York: Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014:39-52

 “‘Terrible Fascination’: Civil War Stereographs of the Dead,” History of Photography, forthcoming Summer 2012.

“Making Memories: Tragic Tourism’s Visual Traces,” Rhetoric, Remembrance, and Visual Form: Sighting Memory, Rhetoric and Communication Studies Series, Anne Demo and Brad Vivian, Eds., Routledge: 2011: 228-244.

“Speed and Destruction at the Fair,” in American Speed, Mark D. Howell and John D. Miller, eds., Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming.

“City Parks,” in Material Culture in America: Understanding Everyday Life, Helen Sheumaker and Shirley Teresa Wajda, editors (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2007): 97-98.

“Disaster Tourism and the Melodrama of Authenticity: Revisiting the 1889 Johnstown Flood,” Pennsylvania History, Vol. 73, No. 3, Summer 2006: 273-315.

“Nineteenth Century Technology and the Macabre,” in Constructions of Death, Mourning, and Memory, Lilian H. Zirpolo, ed. (Woodcliff Lake, NJ: WAPACC, 2006) 75-77.

“The Cinema of (Un)attractions: The Microscopic On Screen” in Allegories of Communication: Intermedial Concerns from Cinema to the Digital (Stockholm Studies in Cinema)  Jan Olsson and John Fullerton, eds. (Rome: John Libbey & Co., 2004): 277-298.

Recent International Presentations

“’Weird, Ghastly Subjects’: The Commemorative Disaster Book,” American Studies Association Conference, Panel: Mediating Disaster in a Culture of Spectacle:  War, Ruins, and Catastrophe (Miles D. Orvell, Eric J. Sandeen, David Lubin) , San Juan, Puerto Rico, November 15-18, 2012

 “The Postcard Imagetext: Conventions and Codes,” American Imagetext Conference, University of East Anglia, UK, 18 Jun 2011  – 19 Jun 2011

 “Atrocity in 3-D,” Atrocity, Photography, and War Symposium, Monash Prato Centre, Prato, Italy, June 2010

“The Postcard as Photographic Esperanto,” Locating Photography Conference, Durham Centre for Advanced Photography Studies, University of Durham, UK, 20-22 September 2007

“Postcards circa 1900: Traffic in Images,” International Visual Sociology Association Conference, New York University, 10-12 August 2007

Recent National Presentations

Keynote Address, National Tragedies: Perceptions, Receptions, and Expectations, 37th Annual Purdue American Studies Symposium, Purdue University, 19-20 April 2012

“’Terrible Fascination’: Stereographs of the Dead,” The Legacy of the Civil War: An Interdisciplinary Conference, Philadelphia, PA, 10 November-11 November, 2011

“Building Body and Mind,” Organization of American Historians, Washington, DC, 7-10 April 2010.

“The Civil War in Stereo” Panel: “Capturing Conflict: Reconciling the Mimetic and the Aesthetic in Multimedia Representations of the Civil War”, Northeast Modern Languages Association, Boston, 26 February-1 March, 2009

“Craft at the Crossroads,” Material Culture Caucus Sponsored Session, American Studies Association Conference, Albuquerque, NM, 11-14 October 2008

“Tragic Tourism’s Visual Traces,” Visible Memories Conference, Syracuse University, NY, 2-4 October 2008

“Speed and Destruction at the Fair,” Popular Culture Association & American Culture Association Conference, San Francisco, California, 19-22 March 2008

“Picture Frames: Imaging and Imagining America,” American Studies Association Conference, Philadelphia, PA, 11-14 October 2007

“Betting on Destruction: Wrecking Trains, Planes, and Automobiles,” The Society for the History of Technology Annual Conference, Las Vegas, 14 October 2006

Selected Honors & Awards

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Chair
  • Cornell University, Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst Summer Fellowship
  • Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities Grant, Iowa State University
  • Visual Resources Association Writing Award
  • Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation/Franke Institute for the Humanities Doctoral Fellowship
  • Joseph R. Shapiro Fellowship
  • Jacob Javits Fellowship
  • Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) Fellowship

Current Projects

Entertaining Disaster (book)

Current Scholarship

  • Invited lecture, Franklin and Marshall College: Postcards, Esperanto, and the Wish for Universal Language, 04/30/2009
  • The Civil War in Stereo, 02/28/2009
  • "Depictions of Disaster," TV Appearance, 12/08/2008
  • Craft at the Crossroads, 10/12/2008
  • Tragic Tourism’s Visual Traces, 09/03/2008
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Chair, 09/01/2008
  • Cornell University, Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst Summer Fellowship, 06/27/2008
  • Speed and Destruction at the Fair, 03/20/2008
  • “Picture Frames: Imaging and Imagining America” , 11/13/2007
  • The Postcard as Photographic Esperanto, 09/21/2007
  • Postcards circa 1900: Traffic in Images, 01/11/2007
  • The Monstrous and the Uncanny: Macabre Art Reconsidered, 10/26/2006
  • Betting on Destruction: Wrecking Trains, Planes, and Automobiles, 10/14/2006
  • Disaster Tourism and the Melodrama of Authenticity: Revisiting the 1889 Johnstown Flood, 09/01/2006
  • Society for the History of Technology Grant, 08/04/2006
  • 2006 CEAH Fellowship for Scholarship and Creative Activity, 06/03/2006
  • 2006 Faculty Incentive Grant, 06/03/2006
  • The History of City Parks in Encyclopedia of American Material Culture, 01/27/2006
  • Train Accidents on Demand: Thickening Time, 10/13/2005