Dr Emily Mann

Lecturer in Early Modern Art

Emily’s research centres on the relationship between visual culture and European expansion in the world through the growth of trading networks and territorial settlements, c.1550 to c.1800. At the same time as investigating historical processes and production, she is concerned with postcolonial/decolonial approaches and attitudes to empire’s material legacy.

Emily studied art history as an undergraduate at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she also completed her MA (2003) and PhD (2015). She has taught and supervised courses on European art and architecture from 1550 to 1850 at the Courtauld, the University of Cambridge and the University of York, and has also worked as an editor for national newspapers and magazines. Before returning to the Courtauld to teach in September 2017, she was a Leverhulme-funded Research Associate with the Centre for the Political Economies of International Commerce at the University of Kent. There she expanded her doctoral research on the architectural enterprises of overseas trading corporations in the globalising early modern world, connecting the construction projects of the English East India Company in Asia to those undertaken by the Virginia, Bermuda, Royal African and other companies.

Major themes in Emily’s current work include the significance of mapping and building in making claims over land and commerce; the representation of architecture in image and word; and the relationship between land and sea in early-modern experience. With a specialism in the emerging English/British empire, her research takes a ‘connected’, comparative approach that engages with the broader context of inter-imperial competition and conflict, as well as cross-cultural encounters and exchange. Her research to date has involved archival and field work in the Caribbean, North America, West Africa and India as well as Europe, and collaborative work with archaeologists and historians approaching the subject from other disciplinary perspectives.


  • MA History of Art Special Option: Architectures of Empire: Contested Spaces and their Legacies
  • BA1 Hogarth in London
  • BA2 Competing Ventures, Contested Visions: Constructing European Empires in the Early Modern World
  • BA3 London: Building a Global City
  • BA3 English Baroque Architecture
  • BA3 Lessons in Critical Interpretation: The Blathwayt Atlas
  • Foundations Block VI: Art and Society in Europe, 1700 to 1830

Other professional activities

  • Executive Editor, Architectural History
  • Assistant Editor, Theory and Struggle


  • Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain
  • Early Caribbean Society
  • Association of Caribbean Historians
  • Society of Early Americanists
  • British Group of Early American Historians
  • Hakluyt Society

Research interests

  • Art and imperialism
  • Maps and mapping
  • Caribbean studies
  • London and other cities
  • Fortified spaces and architectural destruction
  • Comparative history
  • Transcultural heritage

Upcoming and recent publications

  • ‘Two islands, many forts: Ireland and Bermuda in 1624’, in Ireland, Slavery and the
    Caribbean: Comparative Perspectives
    , ed. by Finola O’Kane Crimmins and Ciarán O’Neill
    (Manchester University Press, 2021)
  • ‘An empire under construction: the view from inside East India House’, in Inner Empire: Architecture and Imperialism in the British Isles, c.1550-2000, ed. by G. A. Bremner and Daniel Maudlin (Manchester University Press, 2022)
  • ‘Empire-building and resistance in Barbados, from Charles Fort to the Hilton Hotel’, Perspecta:
    The Yale Architectural Journal (2019), pp. 85-96
  • ‘Beyond the Bounds: Exploitation and Empire in the First Map of Pennsylvania’, in The Worlds of William Penn, ed. Andrew R. Murphy and John Smolenski (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming 2018)
  • ‘Building’, in Transoceanic Constitutions: The Corporation as a Protagonist in Global History, 1550–1750, ed. William Pettigrew and David Veevers (Brill, forthcoming 2018/19)
  • ‘Viewed From a Distance: Eighteenth-Century Images of Fortifications on the Coast of West Africa’, in Shadows of Empire in West Africa: New Perspectives on European Fortifications, ed. John Kwadwo Osei-Tutu and Victoria Smith (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
  • ‘A Promotional Map of Barbados, c. 1675’, Common-place.org 17, no. 3 (Spring 2017), http://common-place.org/book/vol-17-no-3-mann/
  • Co-authored with William Pettigrew, ‘Matter of Life and Death: Reasons to Remember in St Mary’s Cemetery, Chennai’, in Preserving Transcultural Heritage: Your Way or my Way? (Vale de Cambra: Caleidoscópio, 2017)
  • Co-authored with William Pettigrew, Edmond Smith and David Veevers, ‘Multinational Corporations in Barbados’, Journal of Barbados Museum and Historical Society 63 (2017), pp. 97-117
  • ‘To Build and Fortify: Defensive Architecture in the Early Atlantic Colonies’, in Building the British Atlantic World: Spaces, Places and Material Culture, 1600-1850, ed. Daniel Maudlin and Bernard L. Herman (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2016)
  • ‘Thirty different Drafts of Guinea: A Printed Prospectus of Trade and Territory in West Africa’, in Court, Country, City: British Art and Architecture, 1660-1735, ed. Mark Hallett, Nigel Llewellyn and Martin Myrone (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2016)
  • ‘First Lines of Defence: The Fortification of Bermuda in the Seventeenth Century’, in ‘The Mirror of Great Britain’: National Identity in Seventeenth-Century British Architecture, ed. Olivia Horsfall Turner (Spire Books, 2012), pp. 51-71
  • ‘In Defence of the City: The Gates of London and Temple Bar in the Seventeenth Century’, Architectural History 49 (2006), pp. 75-99