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Sonya Petersson

About me

I am research officer at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics. The rest of my time I divide between teaching art history and visual studies, and research. My research interests include media theory, print media culture, image and text, analog as well as digital image reproduction, and art historiography. 


In my doctoral thesis, Konst i omlopp: Mening, medier och marknad i Stockholm under 1700-talets senare hälft (2014), I investigated the transformations of the eighteenth-century concept of art through the lens of three types of media practices: the Swedish popular press, art exhibitions, and the print market. The thesis constitutes a critique of the historiography on the birth and establishment of the autonomous concept of art.

More recently, I have conducted the postdoctoral project Graphic Illustration: Picture, Concept, and Combined Mediality from the Point of View of Mechanical Reproduction (2016–19). In this project, I studied how technologies of image reproduction, on both semantic and material levels, intersect with image and text in the nineteenth-century illustrated press. The project reframes the modern (post 1800) concept of illustration by raising the question of how the pair of image and text are mediated and materialized by media technologies conventionally understood as invisible.

During 2020, I have been enrolled in the Metadata Culture research group (

Research projects