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Emmett Mackay

Emmett Mackay

Thesis Title 

Working Title: “Man of the Soil:” Ideological Ambiguity and Subversion in the Physiognomic Peasant Portraits of August Sander


MA - Art History


Dr. Catherine MacKenzie

Research Interests

  • New Objectivity movement 
  • Typology, Physiognomy & Photography 
  • The Illustrated Press in Weimar Germany 
  • Photographic and Film Theory 
  • Nostalgia & Memory Studies 
  • Theories of Representation


Emmett Mackay is a current MA student in the department of Art History at Concordia. He holds a BA with Honours in Art History from Carleton University where he worked for two years at the Carleton University Art Gallery.

Emmett’s research focuses on the relationship between physiognomy, typology and the representation of nation in 1920’s German visual culture. Under the supervision of Dr. Catherine MacKenzie, his thesis will explore the ideologically ambiguous role of the rooted peasant “type” in the work of German photographer August Sander. Considering Sander’s oeuvre in relation to its historical and historiographical contexts, Emmett’s study will examine the ways in which the photographer’s project conforms to, and diverges from, the reactionary conservative theories of his time. In 2021, Emmett hopes to return to Germany to conduct parts of his research on Sander at Die Photographische Sammlung der Kulturstiftung der Sparkasse KölnBonn.

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