Katerina Korola

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Personal profile

Personal profile

Katerina Korola is an art historian and media scholar whose work explores the history of photography, cinema, and modern art from the nineteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on the intersection of technical media and the environment.

She is currently working on her first book, Picturing the Air: Photography and the Industrial Atmosphere, which tells a history of air pollution as a photographic problem. Mobilizing the methods of technical art history and the environmental humanities, the project examines the aesthetic and material strategies that photographers developed to evade, negotiate with, and at times even negate the smoke, dust, and smog of the industrial atmosphere, giving rise to a fantasy of environmental purity that continues to perform ideological work today. Other research interests include the visual culture of science (especially scientific photography and film), educational cinema of the silent period, the history of botanical illustration and vegetal ornament, and abstraction across media (especially the monochrome format).

Katerina received her joint-PhD in Art History and Cinema & Media Studies from the University of Chicago, where she received the 2022 Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award. Her research has been supported by the Hanna Holborn Gray Dissertation Completion Fellowship, the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD), the Fonds de la recherche du Québec (FRQSC), Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University. She is currently an Assistant Professor in German Studies at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and an Affiliate Fellow in the Environmental Humanities at Harvard’s Mahindra Humanities Center.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Chicago

Award Date: Aug 30 2021

External Positions

Mellon Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

Sep 2024Apr 2025

Research Affiliate, Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University

Sep 1 2023Aug 30 2024

Research Interest Keywords

  • Photography
  • Film Studies
  • Media Studies
  • History of Modern Art
  • Environmental Humanities
  • German Modernism


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