Summer Seminar - Black and White: Race and American Visual Culture, 9 - 13 June 2017, USA

Publish Date: Feb 09, 2017

Deadline: Mar 15, 2017

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.


Password protected links to the readings to be posted in the spring. Students will receive a username and password.


The seminar leader will be Tanya Sheehan, Associate Professor, Art Department, Colby College and Editor, Archives of American Art Journal, Smithsonian Institution.

Guest faculty will include Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor, Assistant Professor, History Department, Smith College and Jasmine Nichole Cobb, Assistant Professor, Department of African & American Studies, Duke University.


Tuition for the seminar is $750, which includes lunch each day, two evening meals, and a field trip. A limited amount of financial aid is available. Please indicate in your application if you are in need of aid.


The cost of housing is not included in the tuition fee.

Rooms, at the reduced rate of $129 per night, are available at the Worcester Courtyard by Marriott, 72 Grove Street, Worcester, MA 01605. State and local taxes apply. Reservations must be made by Monday, May 8, 2017, to receive this rate. To make a reservation please call the hotel directly at 1-508-363-0300 and mention that you are coming in with the American Antiquarian Society "CHAViC Summer Seminar" group.

In addition, reasonable rates for dorm rooms at nearby Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will be available. Rates will be posted soon

Rates will be posted soon.


For further information, please contact Nan Wolverton, Director of CHAViC, at or (508) 471-2119.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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