Public Program- David Jaffee

Lectures and Performances
Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 7:00pm to Friday, November 4, 2011 - 6:45pm

"Learning to Look at Early American Material Culture" by David Jaffee

In the middle of the nineteenth century, middle-class Americans embraced a new culture of domestic consumption, one that centered on chairs and clocks as well as family portraits and books. How did that new world of goods, represented by Victorian parlors filled with overstuffed furniture and daguerreotype portraits, come into being? David Jaffee speaks about the significant role of provincial artisans in four crafts in the northeastern United States: chair-making, clock-making, portrait painting, and book publishing to explain the shift from preindustrial society to an entirely new configuration of work, commodities, and culture. His lecture focuses on many of the objects beloved by decorative arts scholars and collectors to evoke the vitality of village craft production and culture in the decades after the War of Independence.

David Jaffee is Professor and Head of New Media Research at the Bard Graduate Center. Trained as a cultural historian, he has extensively studied the culture of the preindustrial northeast. His 1999 book, People of the Wachusett: Greater New England in History and Memory, 1630-1860, looked at town founders and local historians in Worcester County. He is now at work on a new project, New York as Cultural Capital, looking at how the nineteenth-century domestic interior, the parlor in particular, filled with furniture, displays of stereographs, plaster figure, and chromolithographs. He has held fellowships at several institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Winterthur Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the American Antiquarian Society. He is a member of the American Antiquarian Society, and he is on the board of the Society. Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC).

Professor Jaffee is also interested in pedagogy and the incorporation of new media. He has published several essays on teaching and learning with new media publications, as well as directed two NEH projects to develop multimedia resources for the history classroom. He has led numerous new faculty development seminars and programs, including the NEH-supported New Media Classroom, Learning to Look with the American Social History Program and AAS's CHAViC Summer Interpreting Historical Images for Teaching and Images.

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