Piers Britton

Professor, Vis & Media Studies

Office: VMS/Art History, Peppers Art Center

Phone: 909/748-8503


Dr. Piers Britton

Current Research and Areas of Expertise

I have two areas of research interest – design and aesthetics in film and television, and art and artists’ biographies in Renaissance Rome and Florence.

With Simon Barker I have co-authored a groundbreaking study of production design for television, Reading Between Designs (2003), and more recently I have written TARDISbound (2011) a book on the British SF television series Doctor Who and its trans-media migrations. I am currently working on a large-scale, theoretically informed study of production design, costume and fashion in film and television, provisionally entitled “Immaterial Culture.” Over the last decade I have also published three major articles on the relationship between the medical theory of the four humors and the arts in Renaissance Italy.

 Courses Taught at Redlands

  • VMS 101: Introduction to Visual & Media Studies
  • VMS 212: Television Fiction and its Audiences
  • VMS 260: The Changing Venus:
  • VMS 264: Designing for Science Fiction Television (with June Hudson)
  • VMS 301: Theories of Media and Visual Culture
  • ARTH 102: Introduction to Art History
  • ARTH 202: Raphael, Michelangelo and the Medici
  • ARTH 264: Art and Human Consciousness in Ancient Greece and Rome
  • ARTH 324: Gender and Sexuality in the Italian Renaissance
  • ARTH 326: Modernism and Modernity
  • ARTH 328: After the Modern

Degrees Held

  • PhD in the History of Art, University of Manchester, 1997
  • BA in the History of Art, University of Manchester, 1991

Previous Teaching Experience

I taught Art History at the University of Manchester before coming to the University of Redlands.

Major Awards Received

 Awarded Major Scottish Studentship, 2002-2005, for PhD Research

Significant Publications

  • “‘It’s All-New Doctor Who’: Authorising Design and Redesign in the Moffat Era,” in Doctor Who – The Eleventh Hour: A Critical Celebration of the Matt Smith and Steven Moffat Era, ed. Andrew O’Day. London: I.B. Tauris. Forthcoming, 2013
  • “Making ‘A Superior Brand of Alien Mastermind’: The Modernist Rhetoric of Design in the new Doctor Who,” in New Dimensions of Doctor Who: Adventures in Space, Time and Television, ed. Matt Hills. London: I.B. Tauris, 2013
  • TARDISbound: Navigating the Universes of Doctor Who. London: I.B. Tauris. 2011.
  • “Michelangelo and the Rerum Corporis in Vasari’s Vite: The Limits of Physiognomy.” Source: Notes in the History of Art, Vol. XXVIII No. 3, Spring 2009. 
  • “Design for Screen Science Fiction,” in The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction, ed. Mark Bould, Andrew M. Butler, Adam Roberts & Sherryl Vint. London & New York: Routledge, 2009
  • “Raphael and the bad humours of painters in Vasari’s Lives of the Artists.” Renaissance Studies. Vol. 22, No. 2, March 2008.
  • “(Hu)moral Exemplars: Type and Temperament in Cinquecento Art,” in Visualizing Medieval Medicine and Natural History, 1200-1550, eds. Jean A. Givens, Karen M. Reeds, & Alain Touwaide, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006. 
  • “‘Mio malinchonico, o vero ... mio pazzo’: Michelangelo, Vasari and the problem of artists’ melancholy in sixteenth-century Italy.” Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 24 No. 3, Fall 2003, pp. 653-675.
  • “Lionizing Leonardo: A Physiognomic Conceit in Vasari’s Vite.” Source Vol. 22 No. 4, Summer 2003.
  • Reading Between Designs: Visual Imagery and the Generation of Meaning in The Avengers, The Prisoner and Doctor Who. With Simon J. Barker. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003.
  • “The Signs of Faces: Leonardo on Physiognomy and ‘the Four Universal States of Man.’” Renaissance Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2, June 2002.

Professional Affiliations

  • Renaissance Society of America
  • Society for Cinema and Media Studies

There are more than 1,700 trees on the University of Redlands campus.

In April 2010, it was designated a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. Redlands is among just three other colleges or universities in California to receive this designation.

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