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Staff Profile

Professor Janet Stewart, MA, PhD (Glasgow)

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43426
Room number: A37, Elvet Riverside I
Member of Steering Group in the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture

Contact Professor Janet Stewart (email at

I was appointed Professor of Visual Culture in January 2014, where I have taken on the role of Director of the Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures.

Previously, I was Senior Lecturer in German and Film & Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen, where I founded and directed a Masters programme in Visual Culture, was instrumental in the development of a new undergraduate comparative literature programme, Literature in a World Context, and was Lead Supervisor on a College-funded research project on ‘Translating Cultures’. 

I received my PhD in German and Sociology from the University of Glasgow in 1998. In 1995, I was a Junior Fellow at the International Research Centre for Cultural Sciences in Vienna and in 1997-1998, I held a Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Studentship at the Karl-Eberhardts-Universität Tübingen.

My research profile is characterised by a commitment to interdisciplinary work grounded in disciplinary knowledge. My main research interests lie in visual culture: I have published widely on Austrian and German literature and visual culture, cultural sociology and urban history, producing two monographs, Fashioning Vienna: Adolf Loos’s Cultural Criticism(2000) and Public Speaking in the City (2009).

My current research project develops my interests in modernity and visual culture in a new context, connecting them to the emerging field of the energy humanities, with a specific focus on theoretical and cultural approaches to oil. I am working on a research monograph, ‘Curating Europe’s Oil’, which explores the role that oil plays in twenty-first century cultural memory. This involves constructing an adequate theoretical framework for the project that acknowledges and builds upon critical approaches drawn from a variety of interrelated fields, including critical theory, energetics, sociology, film studies, visual culture studies and museum studies, and drawing together case study materials from these fields, with a focus on works deriving from Europe.

I have already published a number of articles relating to this project and write a related blog on Energy and Culture. In 2012, I curated an international exhibition on ‘OilScapes’ at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen, on whose curatorial board I served from 2006-2012. I also serve on the Advisory Board of ‘Capturing the Energy’, a multi-partner initiative to document Scotland’s energy history, and am an associate member of the ‘Petrocultures’ Research Group at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. In May 2013, I was part of a team organizing a two-day conference on the ‘Politics of Oil’ at the University of Aberdeen, that brought academics together with politicians (including Charles Hendry, the former Energy Minister), lawyers, environmental activists and union representatives, amongst others.

I am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College and serve on the editorial board of Austrian Studies and the Journal of Austrian Studies.

I have supervised PhD students working on a range of topics, including museum studies, contemporary art practice, photographic theory, urban history and culture, cultural sociology, and cultures of energy. I would welcome enquiries from students who wish to pursue PhDs in twentieth century film and visual culture, in science and visual culture, in Austrian studies and in the energy humanities.

Research Groups

Durham Energy Institute

  • Energy Policy Group

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Petrocultures Research Group (2016). After Oil. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2009). Public Speaking in the City: Debating and Shaping the Urban Experience. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2000). Fashioning Vienna: Adolf Loos's Cultural Criticism. Routledge.

Chapter in book

  • Stewart, Janet C. (2017). Resource Curse. In Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment. Szeman, I., Wenzel, J. & Yaeger, P. Fordham University Press. 285-288.
  • Stewart, Janet (2016). Visual Culture Studies and Cultural Sociology: Extractive Seeing. In The Sage Handbook of Cultural Sociology. Inglis, David & Almali, Anna-Mari London: Sage. 322-334.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2006). Conflict, Compromise and Resistance: Popular Culture in Austria, 1918-1945. In History of Austrian Literature 1918-1945. Robertson, Ritchie & Kohl, Katrin Rochester: Camden House. 87-106.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2006). Exhibiting and Communicating Berlin around 1900. In Imagining the City, Volume Two: The Politics of Urban Space. Midgley, David, Emden, Christian & Keen, Catherine Oxford: Peter Lang. 8: 193-215.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2005). Connecting and Locating Culture. In Blueprints for No-Man's Land. Connections in Contemporary Austrian Culture. Stewart, Janet C. & Ward, Simon Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien: Peter Lang. 9-28.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2005). Reconstructing the Centre: Sociology and Architecture in the New Berlin. In The Sociology of Art. Inglis, David & Hughson, John Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 183-212.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2004). A Taste of Vienna: food as a signifier of urban modernity in Vienna 1890–1930. In The City and the Senses: Urban Culture Since 1500. Cowan, Alexander & Steward, Jill Ashgate Publishing Company.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2003). Raum und Raumwahrnehmung in den dramatischen Werken Arthur Schnitzlers. In Arthur Schnitzler im zwanzigsten Jahrhundert. Fliedl, Konstanze Vienna: Picus Verlag. 105-119.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2002). The Kunsthaus Tacheles: The Berlin Architecture Debate in Micro-Historical Context. In Recasting German Identity: Culture, Politics and Literature in the Berlin Republic. Taberner, Stuart & Finlay, Frank Camden House.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2002). The World of the Waltz. Dance and Non-Contemporaneity in Schnitzler's Texts. In Arthur Schnitzler: Zeitgenossenschaften/Contemporaneities. Krobb, Florian & Foster, Ian Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., New York, Oxford, Wien: Peter Lang.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2002). The Written City. Literary Representations of Vienna at the Turn of the Centuries. In Literature in Vienna at the Turn of the Centuries. Continuities and Discontinuities Around 1900 and 2000. Grabovszki, Ernst & Hardin, James Camden House. 27-49.

Edited book

  • Stewart, Janet C. & Ward, Simon (2005). Blueprints for No-Man's Land: Connections in Contemporary Austrian Culture. Britische und Irische Studien zur deutschen Sprache und Literatur / British and Irish Studies in German Language and Literature. Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien: Peter Lang.

Journal Article

  • Stewart, Janet C. (2014). Sociology, Culture and Energy: The Case of Wilhelm Ostwald's 'Sociological Energetics' - A Translation and Exposition of a Classic Text. Cultural Sociology 8(3): 333-350.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2013). Filming Vienna 1900: The Poetics of Cinema and the Politics of Ornament in Raúl Ruiz's Klimt. Journal of Austrian Studies 46(2): 49-79.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2013). Making Globalization Visible?: The Oil Assemblage, the Work of Sociology and the Work of Art. Cultural Sociology 7: 368-384.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2007). 'Breaking the Power of the Past over the Present': Psychology, Utopianism, and the Frankfurt School. Utopian Studies 18(1): 21-42.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (2002). 'Nicht die Kunst darf sich vereinnahmen lassen': Franzobel, Literature and Politics in the 'New Austria'. German Life and Letters 55(2): 219-233.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (1999). 'Georg Simmel at the Lectern'. Body & Society 5(4): 1-16.
  • Stewart, Janet C. (1998). 'Talking of Modernity: The Viennese Vortrag as Form'. German Life and Letters 51(4): 455-469.

Conference Paper

  • Stewart, Janet C. (2010), Flows of Capital Between Energy Cities - paper presented at the World Energy Cities Partnership Conference held in Perth, Australia, World Energy Cities Partnership Conference. Perth, Australia, Perth.

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