Griselda Pollock


I was born in South Africa, and educated in French and English-speaking Canada and the UK. I studied BA Hons in Moderm History, University of Oxford 1970; MA with Distinction in History of Art , Courtauld Institute, University of London 1972; and PhD Courtauld Institute, University of London 1980.

I taught at Canterbury College of Art, Reading University, University of Manchester. I moved to University of Leeds in 1977. I was Senior Lecturer in 1986 and Personal Chair in Social and Critical Histories of Art in 1990.

I was the Director of the Centre for Cultural Analysis 1989-2000; and have been the Director of AHRC Centre CATH since 2001. In 2014–2015 I was the Advisor to the 14th Istanbul Biennial SALTWATER: A THEORY OF THOUGHT FORMS. Working with two artists, Bracha Ettinger and Christine Taylor Patten selected for the 14th Istanbul Biennial. 2013–2014 with the Leverhulme Visiting Professor Carolyn Christov-Bakagiev.

Research interests

In Brief: Feminist, social, queer and postcolonial interventions in the histories of art, trauma and cultural memory, representation of and after the Holocaust, 19th-c. to contemporary visual arts and film, critical studies in contemporary art and curation (Documenta), Gender, Class and Visual Culture in the 1950s (Marilyn Monroe), Issues of Violence and Non-Violence in art and culture.

The Cultural Memory of Feminism

Concentrationary Memories; The Politics of Representation

Transdisciplinary Encounters in Fine Art, History of Art and Curatorial Studies through a Critical Assessment of the Significance of the Project, Process, Realization and Retrospective Analysis of dOCUMENTA13(2012)

This links to a study of art and contemporary histories since 1989 through the analysis of five DOCUMENTA exhibitions 1992, 1997, 2002, 207, 2012. AHRC 4-year research project Concentrationary Memories: The Politics of Resistance with Max Silverman exploring the totalitarianism, aesthetic opposition and the seepage of the totalitarian into popular culture (cinema, video games, science fiction) Books forthcoming: Concentrationary Cinema: Close Reading Night and Fog edited with Max Silverman; Concentrationary Memories; Concentrationary Art Matrixial Aesthetics and the Post-Catastrophic in visual and other cultural practices

Beyond Words: Representation at the Limits After History: Culture after Auschwitz : Painting/Film and the Shoah. Trauma and Cultural Memory.

Moving between painting and cinema, this work is part of a developing project examining the interface between feminine alterity and Jewish otherness in Heleno-Christian culture - using its catastrophic real ization in the Shoah as the point of radical rupture which projects us into uncharted relations to representation, spatialisation, temporality, trauma, the body and its representations. Major projects in place with several publications on the work of Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger, Vera Frenkel, Judith Tucker, Lily Markiewicz, Alfredo Jaar, Rethinking the Legacy of Aby Warburg in Contemporary Cultural Analysis. Developing an international network to develop a critical dictionary of Warburgian concepts to enhance the teaching and study of Warburgs legacy in art history, postcolonial, visual and cultural studies.

The Innovations of Marilyn Monroe: Iconicity, Agency and The Politics of Sexuality.

This is a research project coming out of my work in American studies of visual cultures in the 1950s. The project involves a close examination of the film texts in which Monroe appeared in order to go beyond their current status as vehicles for a major star. Instead the reading tracks the creation of the iconicity of Monroe and the traces of a white, working class, woman to negotiate the conditions of production and labour in the Hollywood film industry at the level of both institution and representations. The dramatic centre of most of the films in which Monroe appeared is damaged, menaced or wounded American masculinity in whose stories woman functions as a necessary figure and other to be destroyed, desired or won. Reading archaeologically across the films as if without the knowledge of what Monroe would be opens up to a reading of American culture and sexuality. This is followed by a genealogical analysis of the construction of the elements that became the Monroe icon in cinematic imagery set against the creative partnerships Monroe enjoyed with major still photographers. A third section considers the cultural engagements with the life, death and image of Monroe posthumously enquiring into specific texts and images to ascertain the meanings attributed to and projected onto the image-reservoir of both the cinematic performances and the photographic archive, inflected by the manner in which culture uses premature death in relation to femininity. Links with work on American women artists of 1950s, as well as with studies on death, sexual difference and cultural mythologies.

Trauma and Aesthetic Encryption in the Virtual Feminist Museum;

Migratory Aesthetics;

Cultural and Experimental Research into the Representation of Death Psychoanalysis and Aesthetics.

This project originally focussed on the work of Julia Kristeva and the possibility or impossibility for the inscription of the feminine and now concerns a theoretical analysis of the possibility of a post-phalllocentric theory of the feminine via the work or Bracha Ettinger. Both bodies of work articulate the interface between aesthetics, ethics and politics and explore the domain of the semiotic (Kristeva) or the sub-symbolic (Ettinger) modes. Collaboration with MaMSIE, Birkbeck College: M/Other Trouble Conference May 2009. Nineteenth to twenty-first century international visual arts; feminist, queer and postcolonial cultural theory and analysis; cinema and culture; trauma and aesthetics; the Holocaust and cultural memory; femininity, representation and modernity; gender and the museum. Former areas of specialist teaching: From Trauma to Cultural Memory: Representation and the Holocaust Critical Curation: Documenta since 1989 The Complete Marilyn Monroe: Sexuality, Celebrity and American Culture Director of Research, September 2014–2017 Director, CentreCATH (Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History, founded 2001) Head of Programme, Cultural and Media Studies 2013–2015.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD ( Lond)
  • MA History of Art (London)
  • MA (Oxen)
  • BA Modern History (Oxen)

Professional memberships

  • CAA
  • AAH
  • Leeds Library

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>