Jane Kamensky is an associate professor of history at Brandeis University, where she offers courses in colonial American history, women’s and family history, and the writing of history. Her interests center on the cultural history of seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and early nineteenth-century North America. Her most recent book, The Exchange Artist: A Story of Paper, Bricks, and Ash in Early National America, will be published by Viking next year.
At Radcliffe, Kamensky will begin a new project on the life and times of the artist Gilbert Stuart, a New England-born provincial who became the early republic’s most renowned celebrity portraitist. Connecting Stuart to the visual cultures of the seven Atlantic cities in which he studied and worked, the book will explore the relationships among art, nation, and commerce in the early nineteenth century. Kamensky undertakes this study of Stuart’s life as part of a cluster of four historians exploring the promise and perils of biography. In 2007–2008, she will continue her work on Stuart by taking formal training in art history in London as an Andrew W. Mellon New Directions Fellow.
Kamensky received her BA (1985) and her PhD (1993) from Yale University. Her work has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. She is a founding coeditor of Common-place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life.