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Wendy Asquith

Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

Wendy Asquith joined the University of Nottingham as a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in 2016 for a project entitled The Spectacle of Universal Human Rights: A Century of Intergovernmental Display at World's Fairs. She has interdisciplinary research interests in the visual culture of human rights and humanitarianism, postcolonial nationhood and African diasporic communities of the Atlantic World from the nineteenth century onwards.

She was an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award holder (2010-2013) with Tate Liverpool and the University of Liverpool for the project Haiti in Art: Creating and Curating in the Black Atlantic. She has a PhD (2015), MA (2009) and BA (2008) from the University of Liverpool's History department. She was a Terra Foundation Summer Residency Fellow in 2010, a John W. Kluge Center Fellow at the Library of Congress in 2011 and a Huntington Library Research Fellow in 2012. She was also the recipient of a British Federation for Women Graduates bursary in 2014.

Wendy's doctoral research has made a contribution to the historiography of modern, postcolonial nationhood, analysing Haitian visual arts displays at international expositions in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The project explored how a range of agents (including politicians, artists, activists, diasporas, government bodies, international corporations and NGOs) mobilised the cultural capital of 'Haitian-ness' to suit disparate agendas.

Before joining the University of Nottingham, Wendy was a Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the AHRC and LABEX-funded project 'Dark tourism' in comparative perspective: sites of suffering, sites of memory. Previously, she was appointed as a Postdoctoral Research Associate by the AHRC-funded North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP) led by the University of Manchester, to research, design and deliver a programme of public policy engagement training (focussing on national government, UK parliament and NGOs) for postgraduates across seven universities. She has also supported the N8 Research Partnerships' arts and humanities programme New Thinking from the North as well as working with Liverpool's Institute of Cultural Capital.

Research Summary

Wendy is currently researching a twentieth- and twenty-first-century history of the visual culture created and circulated by the United Nations (UN) and, its predecessor, the League of Nations (LN).… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

Wendy is currently researching a twentieth- and twenty-first-century history of the visual culture created and circulated by the United Nations (UN) and, its predecessor, the League of Nations (LN). This project centres on an analysis of a series of displays staged by the LN and UN at world's fairs and international expos from 1920-2020. It will examine the extent to which the visual culture and technologies that the LN and UN have deployed at these events grew out of the partisan reality of both organisations' memberships and specific western traditions of empire and benevolent paternalism. It will also consider how these traditions have been adapted and supplemented in the twentieth century to present a vision of a new humanitarianism based on the ideal of universal human rights. By employing the methodology of Visual Culture Studies, she hopes to offer a new perspective on modern diplomatic and humanitarian histories.

Past Research

Wendy has published on the display of Caribbean nationhood at global mega-events and contemporary Haitian art in the post-earthquake context. She has also contributed a catalogue essay for the Nottingham Contemporary's exhibition Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou, staged in 2012. She has a number of publications in preparation based on her doctoral research. These include an article on the display of Haiti's postcolonial nationhood at the World's Columbian Fair of 1893 and a monograph exploring the development of the cultural capital of 'Haitian-ness' from the late nineteenth to twenty-first centuries.

During her doctoral research, in collaboration with Tate Liverpool, Wendy created the Black Atlantic Resource, an online platform that functions as a legacy of the exhibition Afro Modern: Journey's through the Black Atlantic, held in 2010.

In 2015, she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the AHRC-sponsored North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP). She led a training programme in public policy engagement from PGRs and ECRs in the arts and humanities across seven universities. Working with partners from UK Parliament, NGOs, the media and think tanks, she delivered a number of training events, a suite of online resources and managed a student-led research-fund.

In 2016, Wendy was a Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the AHRC and LABEX-funded project 'Dark tourism' in comparative perspective: sites of suffering, sites of memory'. This project, led by Professor Charles Forsdick at the University of Liverpool, Is being undertaken in collaboration with partners at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. For this project, Wendy produced an extensive bibliography of literature, in English, on the subject of dark tourism. She also presented on behalf of the project team at conferences in Paris, and, next year, an article she has co-authored with other members of the project team, Comparing Franco-British perspectives on the dark tourism phenomenon, will be published.

Other past awards include fellowships held with the Terra Foundation for American Art (2011), at the John W. Kluge Center in the Library of Congress (2011) and at the Huntington Library(2012) (both generously sponsored by the AHRC through the International Placement Scheme).

  • WENDY ASQUITH and CHARLES FORSDICK, 2017. "Dark Tourism": The Emergence of a Field Mémoires en Jeu/Memories at Stake. 3, 46-54
  • WENDY ASQUITH and CHARLES FORSDICK, 2017. The Intersectionality of Dark Heritage: Overlapping Histories of Enslavement and Incarceration Mémoires en Jeu/ Memories at Stake. 3, 63-71
  • 2017. Dark Tourism: Working Bibliography Available at: <http://www.memoires-en-jeu.com/notice/working-bibliography-about-dark-tourism/>
  • WENDY ASQUITH, 2013. Expectations of Catastrophe: Mario Benjamin, Commissions, and Counter-Context Small Axe: A Caribbean Platform for Criticism. 17(3), 227-243
  • WENDY ASQUITH, 2012. Beyond Immobilised Identities: Haitian art and internationalism in the mid-twentieth century. In: ALEX FARQUHARSON and LEAH GORDON, eds., Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou, Nottingham Contemporary. 40-43

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