Emily Sessions received her PhD in the History of Art from Yale University.
Her dissertation, “Fertile Terrain: Botany, Art, and Power in Cuba’s Nineteenth Century,” places in conversation for the first time the natural history museums, botanical gardens, and thousands of paintings, drawings, and prints produced in and about Cuba from 1790 to 1860. She also works on connections between the Anglophone, Francophone, and Hispanophone Caribbean; the visual cultures of botany, cartography, and scientific illustration; and issues of power and identity embedded in representations of the landscape and in the worked land itself. During her time at the LuEsther T. Mertz Library and Archives, Emily will be examining the Library’s collection of natural history volumes from Cuba’s nineteenth century in terms of shifting discourses about empire and race on the island. She will also be tracing the history of the Garden’s first expeditions to Cuba at the turn of the century, a moment of rapid geopolitical change.