2017 CHAViC Summer Seminar
In Black and White: Race and American Visual Culture
The 2017 CHAViC Summer Seminar will explore how American visual culture expressed ideas about race, specifically blackness and whiteness, across the long nineteenth century. Through lectures, readings, hands-on workshops, and group research, participants will learn how popular forms of visual culture have constructed racial identities in the United States and how looking can function as a racialized practice.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn from the extraordinary collections at the AAS, including popular prints, political cartoons, photographs, illustrated books and periodicals, sheet music, and ephemera. Case studies may include: caricatures of African Americans in Edward Clay’s lithographic series Life in Philadelphia (1828-1830), the visual culture of blackface minstrelsy and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), graphics from popular periodicals like Harper’s Weekly that picture racial politics at key moments in US history, efforts to recreate the “image of the black” by African American writer Phillis Wheatley and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, fantasies of racial difference in illustrated children’s books and commercial trade cards, and efforts to visualize raced bodies in early photographic portraiture.
The seminar will be held from Friday, June 9 through Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA. Participation is intended for college and university faculty as well as graduate students and museum professionals.