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Centre for the Study of Sexuality and Culture

Carol Mavor

Carol Mavor is Professor of Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester. Mavor is the author of three books: Reading Boyishly: Roland Barthes, J. M. Barrie, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Marcel Proust, and D. W. Winnicott ( 2007);  Becoming: The Photographs of Clementina, Viscountess,  Hawarden (1999) and Pleasures Taken: Performances of Sexuality and Loss in Victorian Photographs (1995), all  published by Duke University Press. Her work has been widely acknowledged and reviewed in publications in the US and UK, including the New Yorker, the Times Literary Supplement and The Village Voice.  Currently, she is finishing a novel entitled FUL, and a slim film book entitled Black and Blue.  

 Mavors recent and forthcoming essays include: Blossoming Bombs, on post 1945 art and the post-nuclear; Utopia: Red, Round, and Spelled with an E, on photography, Rudolf Steiner and Ernst Bloch; For-getting to Eat: Alices Mouthing Metonymy, on Lewis Carroll, memory and appetite; and Happiness with a Long Piece of Black Leader: Chris Markers San Soleil, on the lining of forgetting.


As of late, Mavor has been writing and lecturing on Alain Resnais and Marguerite Duras Hiroshima mon amour,  as well as the nourishment of race in Roland Barthes Camera Lucida  and the boyish fascination with the forest in the contemporary photographs of Collier Schorr and Anthony Goicolea.


Mavor began her academic studies in studio art. Before embarking on her PhD at the University of California, in Santa Cruzs History of Consciousness Program (under the direction of Hayden White), she completed an MFA at the University of California, San Diego (at the end of conceptual art under the tutelage of anti-art, performance greats like Allan Kaprow and Eleanor Antin.) For her MFA,  she produced a number of elaborate installation and performance pieces that revolved around the cult of the child, gender and sexuality, in folk tales and Lewis Carroll tales.


Embracing the relationship between writing and art-making was a natural outcome of Mavors studies as both artist and historian.  As a result, walking the line between writing and art-making has always been central to her teaching and practice, a way to get lost, on purpose. And this might mean teaching her students (to paraphrase Emmet Gowin, perhaps the photographer of the American South) that our best work often catches us off guard, when we do not know what we are looking for. It is then that something can find us. In Gowins exact words: It is not what I came for, but it is what came to me.


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The Victoria University of Manchester
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