M 6:00 PM – 8:50 PM
In this course we will study the history of American visual culture, focusing primarily on the 19th century. Among other topics, we will explore technological innovations, the rise of mass entertainment spectacles, the growing sophistication of print culture, the impact of advertising, and the increasing importance of appearance in everyday life. Students will not only learn how to identify different visual media (and why discerning them is important), but also will come to better understand how visual culture operates as a language. By “reading” various images and placing them into larger historical contexts, the class will come to better see the impact of visual images at the time. As important, students will become familiar with how to use visual culture as primary evidence in historical study.
We will interrogate many things during the semester, including the concept of visual culture itself. What, exactly, is visual culture and why are historians only now turning to images as important source material? What are the promises and limitations of using images as historical evidence? We will consider many different theories, including those devoted to semiotics, simulation and imitation, and visual perception. “Observing the Interior of the Eye,” Popular Science Monthly, Oct. 1, 1876.
READINGS IN US HISTORY, 1820 – 1890
T 6:00 PM – 8:50 PM
This course offers an extensive introduction to the primary political, economic, social, and cultural developments in United States History from 1820 to 1898.
READINGS IN RACE AND ETHNICITY
TH 6:00 PM – 8:50 PM
This course takes a comparative approach to examining the complex history of racial and ethnic difference in the Americas, from the sixteenth through the twenty-first century. Focusing on academic interpretations of race and ethnicity as well as some primary-source texts – so that we experience the language, imagery, and animating questions surrounding race and difference across different eras and regions – we will explore the following themes and problems:
- How “race” and “ethnicity” have operated as social categories throughout the history of the Americas, and how those categories have worked differently in different regions over time.
- How constructions and descriptions of physiological and cultural difference around
the Americas have changed over time
- How hierarchies of race and ethnicity have shaped political, economic, and social outcome across the Americas over time
- How the experiences of difference defined by physical and cultural markers of descent (“race” and “ethnicity”) have varied across time and place in the history of the America
RESEARCH IN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
W 6:00 PM – 8:50 PM
This is a research seminar in African American History. It follows the Fall 2021 readings course in African American History from 1877 to present.
PUBLIC HISTORY PRACTICUM
In collaboration with an on-campus center engaged in public humanities, each student will devise and carry out a project that builds knowledge and skills needed for independent historical consulting. This is an individualized experience, by arrangement. Students who intend to enroll should contact Professor Mires immediately to begin a discussion of project proposals.
GRADUATE INDEPENDENT STUDY
56:512:698:01 & 02
Independent reading under the direction of a member of the department.
Supervised work experience in a public history office or private institutional setting, involving project work for one semester or a summer.