Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization

Division of Social Sciences, The University of Chicago

portrait of Neil Brenner
portrait of Neil Brenner

Jessica Landau

Assistant Instructional Professor, Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization (CEGU)
2023–24 Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies, CEGU

jlandau1@uchicago.edu↗, Calendly

As an art historian, my research looks at images of North American megafauna from the 19th and 20th centuries in order to understand the ways in which problematic settler colonial and masculinist tropes from these periods are still present in contemporary conservation discourse. Some of my other research interests include the history of public land in the United States and the history of natural history. I teach courses that approach these and other topics from an interdisciplinary perspective grounded in the environmental humanities, art history, museum studies, and Indigenous studies. In my teaching, I am interested in the development of experiential learning, nontraditional assessments, and inclusive pedagogy.


Selected Publications

“Can Animals Own Copyright? Animal Generated Photography from George Shiras to the Monkey Selfie,” American Art, special issue on Copyright and Creative Practice, forthcoming Fall 2023

“Proximity, Wholeness, and Animality: The Case of Little Sorrel’s Repatriation,” in Curator: The Museum Journal, Notorious, special issue, vol. 66, issue 3, July 2023

“Animal Ghosts: Histories of Hunting, Conservation, and Colonialism in the Work of the Big Four,” Survival of the Fittest: Envisioning Wildlife and Wilderness with the Big Four: Masterworks from the Rijksmuseum Twenthe and the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson: National Museum of Wildlife Art, 2023: 38-48

“The Process of Coming and Going in this World: a Conversation about Interspecies Collaboration, Domestication, and Sound,” with Ruth Burke, Society & Animals, Special Issue: Perceptual Encounters (December 2021): 695-715

“A better acquaintanceship with our fellows of the wild”: George Shiras and the Limits of Trap Camera Photography”, in Ecocriticism and the Anthropocene in Nineteenth Century Art and Visual Culture, edited by Emily Gephart and Maura Coughlin, London: Routledge, 2019: 158-166



Interpretative Master Plan Advisory Committee member, National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and Dubuque County Historical Society, Dubuque, IA

Special issue editor, “Notorious: Potentials and limits of curating infamous objects, the fraught history of natural history collecting and display,” Curator: The Museum Journal, vol. 66, issue 3, July 2023

Unserious Ecocriticism: Play, Humor, and Environmental Destruction in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture, edited volume, with Maria Lux, under contract

“The Politics of Bigfoot Porn, or the Relationship Between Sasquatch and the Far Right,” in Interrogating the Visual Culture of Trumpism, edited by Natalie E. Phillips and Grant Hamming

Critical Habitat: The Paradox of the Conservation Aesthetic in American Art and Visual Culture of the Long Twentieth Century, in progress book manuscript



The Politics of Environmental Knowledge (Fall + Spring 2023)

Remaking the Prairie: The Cultural Politics of Ecological Restoration (Summer 2023)