Peter Christensen is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Rochester. His teaching and research center on modern architectural and environmental history, particularly of Germany, Central Europe, and the Middle East, with a focus on their transactional contexts. His theoretical interests include the intellectual manifestations of geopolitical and multiculturalist thought since the nineteenth century. He maintains a strong interest in the role of infrastructure in the construction of visual culture. He explores critical applications of the digital humanities in his research and teaching, including this major research project, Object Biometrics. His recently published book, Germany and the Ottoman Railways: Art, Empire, and Infrastructure (Yale University Press, 2017), examines the cultural aspects of the German construction of the Ottoman railway network from 1868 to 1919.

Gaurav Sharma is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Department of Computer Science, Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, and Department of Oncology at the University of Rochester. From 2008-2010, he served as the Director for the Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences (CEIS), a New York state supported center for promoting joint university-industry research and technology development, which is housed at the University of Rochester. From 1996 through 2003, he was with Xerox Research and Technology in Webster, NY, first as a member of research and technology staff and then as a Principal Scientist and Project Leader.


Joshua Romphf is the programmer for the Digital Humanities Center. Originally from London, Ontario, he holds an MA in Film and Media Preservation from the George Eastman Museum and The University of Rochester. His interests include fabrication, computer vision, video encoding, and electronics.

Graduate Students

Alicia Chester is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies and Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Rochester. Entitled “The Permanent Cloud and the Passing Storm: A Genealogy of Memory Between Photographic Media and Psychology,” her dissertation traces the history of photography through psychiatric and medical imaging, from nineteenth-century portraits of psychiatric patients created for taxonomic and diagnostic purposes to current brain imaging technologies. Previously, she was the Collections Research Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2011-2012), and a coeditor of and contributing author to Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Discipline (Routledge, 2012), an anthology directed by James Elkins. Alicia holds a B.F.A. (2003) and M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies (2010) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Li Ding is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Rochester, under the supervision of Prof. Gaurav Sharma. He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) in 2015. His research interests span the field of image processing and computer vision.

Julia Tulke is a third-year PhD student in the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies and Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Rochester. Her work focuses on street art and graffiti as mediums of expression and dissent in cities undergoing social and political crises. In this context she has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Athens since 2013. More information on this ongoing research project can be found at She holds a B.A. in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the Free University Berlin (2011) and an M.A. in European Ethnology from the Humboldt University of Berlin (2014).

Past Graduate Students

Eitan Freedenberg is a PhD candidate in Visual and Cultural Studies and Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Rochester, and a curatorial assistant at the Buffalo Architecture Center. His dissertation analyzes connections between open-air museums, World’s Fairs, garden cities, and other “themed landscapes” that reflect changing notions of space and place in the early twentieth century. In 2014, he was the curatorial assistant for Technicolor 100, George Eastman House’s online exhibition about Technicolor’s centennial, and in 2015, he curated The Glory of Old Monroe, a gallery exhibition at the University of Rochester that explored Rochester’s involvement in the Civil War.

Alana Wolf-Johnson is a Ph.D. candidate in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester. Driven by her interest in sonic representations of space, her dissertation will examine aural mediations of the built environment in twentieth and twenty-first century North American works of art. Prior to beginning her graduate education, she was an arts and culture journalist and worked at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and the North Carolina Museum of Art and also served as artistic director of Public Acts of Art. Currently a board member for the Museum of Portable Sound, she is developing two curatorial projects for 2016, one addressing the materiality of photography in cinema and the other focusing on sonic mobility and migration.

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