2022 CHAViC Summer Seminar

On Stage: Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century America

“All the world’s a stage,” wrote William Shakespeare, and so it seemed across the cultural landscape of the nineteenth-century United States. The 2022 Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC) seminar will focus on visual and material cultures of theater and related histories of spectacle and spectatorship. Interdisciplinary in subject and scope, the seminar welcomes emerging and senior scholars across multiple fields.

Seminar participants will explore theater as a lens for understanding larger practices and ideas of performance and related subjects, including labor, technology, race, and print culture. Workshops and guest lectures will highlight the extraordinary collections at AAS, including engravings, lithographs, photographs, promptbooks, playbills, musical scores, broadsides, periodicals, and ephemera such as theater tickets and trade cards.

Topics will include the spaces, sites, and mechanics of theatrical spectacle, including playhouses, museums, panoramas, public streets, optical technologies, set design, costume design, historical reenactments, and tableau vivants.

The seminar’s leader will be Wendy Bellion, professor and Sewell C. Biggs Chair of American Art History at the University of Delaware. She is the author of the awardwinning Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America (2011) and Iconoclasm in New York: Revolution to Reenactment (2019).

The seminar will be held from Sunday, June 26, through Friday, July 1, 2022, at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Participation is intended for college and university faculty as well as graduate students and museum professionals.

Faculty

The seminar leader will be Wendy Bellion, Professor and Sewell C. Biggs Chair of American Art History at the University of Delaware. She is the author of the award-winning Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America (2011) and Iconoclasm in New York: Revolution to Reenactment (2019).

Guest faculty will include:

Bethany Hughes, Assistant Professor of American Culture, University of Michigan

Douglas A. Jones, Jr., Associate Professor of English, Rutgers University, and author of The Captive Stage: Performance and the Proslavery Imagination of the Antebellum North (2014).

Joseph Roach, Sterling Emeritus Professor of Theater, Emeritus Professor of English, Yale University, publications include Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance (1996) and It (2007).

 

Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC)

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Hours
By appointment:
Monday: 9-5
Tuesday: 10-5
Wednesday: 9-5
Thursday: 9-5
Friday: 9-5

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