2021 CHAViC Summer Seminar

The 2020 seminar has been POSTPONED until summer 2021.

On Stage: Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century America

Working Syllabus

Sunday: Arrival and Orientation

4:00 Meet at Antiquarian Hall (AH), 185 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA

Welcome, Introductions, Orientation, Tour of the Library (Nan Wolverton, Director of AAS Fellowships and Director, CHAViC, and Wendy Bellion, Sewall C. Biggs Chair of American Art History and Co-Director, Center for Material Culture Studies, University of Delaware)

5:00 Introduction to Print Techniques (Lauren Hewes, Chief Curator and Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts)
6:00 Reception and dinner at the Goddard Daniels House (GDH), 190 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA

Monday: Introduction to Nineteenth-Century Visual Spectacle

9:00-10:30 Introduction to AAS Online Resources and the Reading Room: Meet the Curators and Head of Reader Services (AH)
10:30-11:00 Coffee/tea break (GDH)
11:00-12:30 Lecture and discussion with Wendy Bellion: “Pictures Onstage: Pantomimes to Panoramas”


  • Wendy Bellion, “City as Spectacle: William Birch’s Views and the Chestnut Street Theatre,” Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 32:1 (Jan. 2012), 15-34
12:30 - 2:00 Lunch
2:00 - 3:30 Picturing performance from the street to the stage: Hands-on workshop with prints (Wendy Bellion and Nan Wolverton)


  • Amy E. Hughes, “Theater; or, Looking Beyond Plays and Places,” J19 6:2 (Fall 2018): 411-418
  • Lauren Lessing, "Theatrical Mayhem in Junius Brutus Stearns’s Hannah Duston Killing the Indians," American Art 28:3 (Fall 2014): 76-103
3:30 - 5:00 Research time on your own in library

Dinner on your own

Tuesday: Celebrity Culture

9:00-10:30 Lecture and discussion with Joseph Roach, Sterling Emeritus Professor of Theater, Emeritus Professor of English, Yale University: “America's Firsts: The Performer as Spectacle” (GDH)


  • Joseph Roach, It (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007), selected pages TBA
  • Joseph Roach, “Performance; or, Answering a Call from the Nineteenth Century,” J19 6:2 (Fall 2018): 419-426
10:30-11 Coffee break
11:00-12:30 Hands-on workshop with Prof. Roach: The image of the actor in prints and photographs


  • David Mayer, “‘Quote the Words to Prompt the Attitudes’: The Victorian Performer, the Photographer, and the Photograph,” Theatre Survey 43:2 (Nov. 2002): 223-251
12:30-1:30 Lunch
1:30-3:00 Writing about the stage from prompt books to periodicals: hands-on workshop in print and manuscript sources (Wendy Bellion and Ashley Cataldo, Curator of Manuscripts)
3:00-5:00 Research time in library/prepare for Friday presentation

Dinner on your own

Wednesday: Race and Performance

9:00-10:30 Lecture and discussion with Douglas A. Jones, Jr., Associate Professor of English, Rutgers


  • Douglas A. Jones, Jr., “American; or, The Emergence of Audiences and their Blackface Salve,” J19 6:2 (Fall 2018): 403-409
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break
11:00-12:30 Hands-on workshop with Prof. Jones: African American performance history


  • Heather S. Nathans, “The Nineteenth Century, or Marking Time in American Performance Culture,” J19 6:2 (Fall 2018): 395-402
12:30-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:30 Discussion with Rachel Miller, Hench Post-Dissertation Fellow, AAS: “The Labor of Performance in 19th-Century America”
3:00-4:30 Tour Mechanics Hall, Worcester (https://www.mechanicshall.org/about/history/)
5:00-7:00 Research time in library/prepare for Friday presentation

Dinner on your own

Thursday: Field trip Day

AM Tour the Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ’Round the World, New Bedford Whaling Museum
PM Tour Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University
5:30 Evening Cookout at GDH

Friday: Presentations

9:00-9:30 Setup for object presentations
9:30-11:30 Group object presentations
12:00 Lunch
1:00-1:20 Fellowship Opportunities at AAS (Nan Wolverton)
1:20-2:00 Concluding discussion and wrap up
2:00-5:00 Departure/Research in library


Meeting Locations:
Goddard Daniels House (GDH)
Council Room (CR)
Antiquarian Hall (AH)

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Closed through May 4

Mon, Tu, Th, Fri: 9:15 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Wed: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Directions and parking

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