Illinois Directory

Illinois Directory

search    >>    detail

To edit this profile, click the pencil icon above.

Unit CCO contacts for this profile are: For more information see "where to edit information".
Login to search for students
image for Terri Weissman

Terri Weissman

Associate Professor
Modern and Contemporary Art, the History of Photography and New Media, Design History
Unit for Criticism and Interpretative Theory
143 Art & Design Bldg
Office: Architecture 404
M/C 590
Champaign, IL  61820

Selected Publications


Global Photography: An Critcial Introduction (Bloomsbury Press, in process, expected 2017)

The Realisms of Berenice Abbott: Documentary Photography and Political Action (UC Press, 2011)

American Modern: documentary photographs by Abbott, Evans, and Bourke-White (UC Press, 2010) co-written with Sharon Corwin and Jessica May

Praise for The Realisms of Berenice Abbott:

Winner: Phillips Book Prize

"A fine book...Accounts for the look of Abbott's photographs in a way no one has done before." -- Alexander Nemerov, Stanford University

"This brilliant book provides the most original and thoughtful consideration to date of the photography of Berenice Abbott..." -- John Pultz, author of The Body and the Lens: Photography 1839 to the Present

"...Weissman's book will inspire a new generation of scholars to attend to documentary in fresh ways instead of flattening the genre into a general category of photgoraphic practice-- a major accomplishment." -- Jennifer Greenhill, University of Southern California

"Complex and compelling...A model for future scholarship on both historical and contemporary photography." -- Drew Sawyer, History of Photography

"From a wealth of primary material, much of it long buried in archives and libraries, Weissman has created a fine documentary. Abbott's singular vision of the interaction of these are all presented with clear prose and scholarly consideration. Photography fans will find much here." -- Library Journal

Praise for Amerian Modern:

"With three smart essays and an incisive selection of pictures, American Modern shows how the practice of documentary photography during the 1930s was morem capacious adn flexible than we ever thought....This book tells us how beloved documentarians like Abbott, Bourke-White and Evans learned how to walk these many paths...This is good stuff." -- Anthony W. Lee, Mount Holyoke College

"While acknowledge that Alfred Stieglitz's circle had earned the young medium a measure of artistic legitimacy, [Walker] Evans rejected his predecessor's airy, often abstract imagery. American Modern..shows how this impulse paved the way for some of the 1930s most famous photographs. -- Wall Street Journal

"Well-written essays reveal the dark mood and deeply political roots of the documentary style and focus on each artist's journey." -- Shutterbug

Selected Articles:

  • "Impossible Closure: Realism and Durational Aesthetics in Susan Meiselas's Nicaragua," NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, forthcoming.
  • “Realism & Storytelling in American Scene Photography,” catalog essay, American Scene Photography: Martin Z. Margulies Collection (Fort Lauderdale: NSU Museum of Art, 2014): np
  • "Freedom's Just Another Word," in Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present, ed. by Suzanne Hudson and Alexander Dumbadze (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) 
  • "Berenice Abbott and the Science of Photography," in Berenice Abbott (Paris: Jeu de Paume,  2011)
  • "The Spectacle of Trauma: 9/11 in the Museum," Visual Resources XXI, no. 2 (June 2005), 1-20




BA, Oberlin College; MA, Columbia University; PhD, Columbia University

Academic Interests

Terri Weissman is Associate Professor of Art History in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She teaches modern and contemporary art history, the history of photography and the history of design; she is also affiliated with the University of Illinois’s Unit for Criticism and Interpretative Theory. Weissman is the author of The Realisms of Berenice Abbott: Documentary Photography and Political Action (University of California Press, 2011), which examines the successes and failures of Abbott’s realist, communicatively oriented model of documentary photography. She also served as the co-curator and co-author for the exhibition and accompanying publication American Modern: Documentary Photographs by Abbott, Evans, and Bourke-White (University of California Press, 2010). Her articles and reviews have appeared in edited volumes such as Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present and journals such as Visual Resources, Media-N,, ArtNexus, Grove Art Online, American Historical Review, SCOPE, and Third Text. Weissman’s current book-length project investigates the visual culture of social movements in the United States after the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, especially those that are clearly conscious of—and strategic about—being represented in the media. She is also at work on an introductory history of photography textbook with Erina Duganne titled, Global Photography: A Critical History (Bloombsury, 2017). Her work has been supported by the O’Keeffe Research Center, the Smithsonian, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois.