History 547: Art, Race, and Nation: Citizenship and Identity in the United States
Professor Tracy Teslow
11:00–12:20 p.m., Tuesday & Thursday
Office hours: T 1:00-2:00 pm, TH 2:30-3:30 pm, and by appointment
310D McMicken Hall tel: 556-2557 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In this course we will examine the social construction of American identity in the United States through a study of sculpture, painting, photography and emblematic imagery in their social, cultural, political, and scientific contexts. The Statue of Liberty, memorial sculpture, Depression era photography, and a variety of other art and imagery provide evidence about what it has meant to artists and Americans to be a citizen. We will address the problem of defining American citizenship, paying special attention to how citizenship has been understood not only in terms of American ideals of freedom, equality and opportunity, but particularly in terms of race, gender and power.
Matthew Jacobsen, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race, Harvard University Press, 1998.
Jane Kramer, Whose Art Is It?, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1994.
Kirk Savage, Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War and Monument in 19th Century America, Princeton University Press, 1997.
Additional readings posted on Blackboard [http://blackboard.uc.edu]
Course Structure, Assignments, Grading
Each week class meetings will be devoted to lecture material covering the historical period in question and relevant themes, as well as discussion of assigned texts and associated art. This means that it is critical that you carefully prepare the readings and examine the images provided before class to be prepared for discussion. Participation in class discussion is encouraged and expected. To facilitate discussion, each student is required to submit 5 discussion questions over the course of the quarter, based on the readings. Questions should be emailed to me no later than 8:00 a.m. of the day we will be discussing the relevant readings. In addition, students will write two short (4-5 page) papers on assigned topics, take an in-class final exam (which will consist of comparative identifications), and write a take-home final essay. Graduate students papers will be 8-10 pages. Details concerning the assigned papers and the final exam will be provided as they approach.
2 Papers (20% each) 40%
Final (take home essay + in-class exam) 50%
Plagiarism is not allowed allowed and will result in a failing grade for the assignment or exam on which the student is guilty of plagiarism. A second infraction will result in an automatic failing grade for the course. This is History Department policy. Plagiarism entails presenting others’ work as your own—whether that of your roommate, work obtained on the internet, or material from a book or article. You need not copy an entire paper or article to commit plagiarism—any identifiable portion of text that you include in your essay without proper attribution constitutes plagiarism and is grounds for action. If you are unclear about what constitutes plagiarism, please consult the guidelines in the Student Code of Conduct or talk to me.
Late papers—including papers turned in after the beginning of class—will be penalized. Exceptions will be made only in the case of hardship or illness. Every effort should be made to notify me in advance.
Email. Papers may not be sent as email attachments, except with permission.
Introduction (Mar. 30)
1: What is this class about?
Review of syllabus, discussion of class themes, aims.
Development and changes in the science and understanding of race and human difference from the 18th through the 20th century; how these ideas were instantiated in art and imagery in America and their relation to questions of American identity and citizenship.
1: History and Ideology of Race
Barbara Jean Fields, “Ideology and Race in American History,” in Region, Race, and Reconstruction: Essays in Honor of C. Vann Woodward, edited by J. Morgan Kousser and James M. McPherson, New York: Oxford University Press, 1982, p. 143-177.
Matthew Frye Jacobsen, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998: “Introduction: The Fabrication of Race;” “‘Free White Persons’ in the Republic, 1790-1840,” p. 1-38.
2: Race and Ethnicity
Jacobsen, Whiteness of a Different Color: “Anglo-Saxons and Others, 1840-1924;” “Becoming Caucasian, 1924-1965,” p. 39-136.
Gender, Race and Representation (Apr. 8)
1: Gender Theory and Historical Analysis
Joan W. Scott, Gender and the Politics of History, Columbia University Press, 1988: “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” p. 28-50.
Sander L. Gilman, “Black Bodies, White Bodies: Toward an Iconography of Female Sexuality in Late Nineteenth-Century Art, Medicine, and Literature” in “Race,” Writing, and Difference, ed. Henry Louis Gates, University of Chicago Press,  1986, p. 223-261.
A Republic of Liberty (Apr 13 & 15, 20)
Defining freedom, citizenship and a new nation in early America.
1: Allegories of Freedom
Eric Foner, The Story of American Freedom, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998: “The Birth of American Freedom,” p. 3-28; “To Call It Freedom,” p. 29-46; “An Empire of Liberty,” p. 47-68.
2: Depicting Emancipation
Savage, Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War and Monument in 19th Century America, Princeton University Press, 1997: “Exposing Slavery” and “Imagining Emancipation,” p. 21-88.
3: Race, Gender and Slavery: The Greek Slave
Eric Foner, The Story of American Freedom, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998: “The Boundaries of Freedom in the Young Republic,” p. 69-94.
Joy S. Kasson, “Narratives of the Female Body: The Greek Slave” in Reading American Art, Marianne Doezema, Elizabeth Milroy, eds., New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998: p. 163-189.
Civil War and Memory (Apr. 22)
Efforts to shape the memory and meaning of the Civil War.
2: Slavery, Civil War
Savage, Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: “Freedom’s Memorial,” “Slavery’s Memorial” and “Common Soldiers” p. 89-208.
Cowboys and Indians: Race and The Frontier (Apr. 27 & 29)
The West as a place in the American imagination; social, economic and political forces that fueled the image; Native Americans as part of the myth of the West; how the West was mapped in racial terms.
Alex Nemerov, “"Doing the 'Old America'": the image of the American West, 1880-1920,” in The West as America: Reinterpreting Images of the Frontier, 1820-1920, ed. William H. Truettner; with contributions by Nancy K. Anderson [et al.], Washington: Published for the National Museum of American Art by the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991: p. 285-343.
Sweeney, J. Gray, “Racism, nationalism, and nostalgia in cowboy art.” Oxford Art Journal Vol. 15 No. 1 ('92) p. 67-80.
Julie Schimmel, “Inventing ‘the Indian’,” The West as America: Reinterpreting Images of the Frontier, 1820-1920, ed. William H. Truettner, Washington: Published for the National Museum of American Art by the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991: p. 149-189.
Mick Gidley, Edward Curtis and the North American Indian, Incorporated, Cambridge University Press, 1998: “Representing the Indian,” p. 257-283.
On Reserve: Christopher Cardozo, Sacred Legacy: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian, Simon & Schuster, 2000. [reproduces Curtis’s photos]
American Memory website: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award98/ienhtml/curthome.html
PAPER #1 DUE -- Apr. 27 (beginning of class)
Primtivism, Exoticism, Realism: African-Americans in Art, African-Americans as Artists (May 4 & 6, 11)
Examining the complex relationship of citizenship, American ideals and the experience of black Americans, from the early to mid-20th century, from white and black perspectives.
1: African Americans as Exotics
Marianne Torgovnick, Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives, Chicago: University of Chicago, 1990: “Defining the Primitive/Reimagining Modernity,” p. 3-41.
Karen C. C. Dalton and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. “Josephine Baker and Paul Colin: African American Dance Seen Through Parisian Eyes,” Critical Inquiry, Summer 1998, Vol. 24, No. 4, p. 903-934.
2: African American Self-Representations: W.E.B. DuBois
Shawn Michelle Smith, Photography on the Color Line: W.E.B. DuBois, Race, and Visual Culture, Durham, NC: Duke University, 2004: “The Art of Scientific Propaganda,” and “‘Families of Undoubted Respectability,’” p. 43-112.
W.E.B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Terri Hume Oliver, eds., New York: W.W. Norton & Company,  1999: “Forethought,” “Of Our Spiritual Strivings,” p. 5-6, 9-16.
3: African American Self-Representations: Archibald J. Motley, Jr.
Amy M. Mooney, “Representing Race: Disjunctures in the Work of Archibald J. Motley, Jr.,” The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Studies, vol. 24, no. 2., p. 162-179.
Depression Era America (May 13, 18 & 20)
Efforts of photographers and painters to depict and comment upon America and the social and economic crises of the Depression era; the ideology behind Social Realism and its antagonists, problems of modernity.
Wanda M. Corn, “The Birth of a National Icon: Grant Wood's American Gothic” in Marianne Doezema and Elizabeth Milroy, eds., Reading American Art. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998, p. 387-408.
2: Social Realism and Photography
Nicholas Natanson, The Black Image in the New Deal: The Politics of FSA Photography, Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1992: “The Photo-Series: Russell Lee, Chicago, and the 1940s,” p. 142-202.
FSA photographs: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/fsahtml/fahome.html
3: Crisis of Capitalism: Workers in Depression Era America
Stacy I. Morgan, Rethinking Social Realism: African American Art and Literature, 1930-1953, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004: “Articulating History to the Radical Present: Murals,” 42-105.
Melissa Dabakis, Visualizing Labor in American Sculpture: Monuments, Manliness, and the Work Ethic, 1880-1935, Cambridge, U.K.; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999: “Icons of Labor: Capitalism, Communism, and the politics of Sculpture, 1917-1935,” p. 174-211.
PAPER #2 DUE -- May 18 (beginning of class)
American Heroes (May 25)
Questions of citizenship and patriotism; how war and memorializing war contributes to nation-building and Americans’ identity as national citizens.
1: Vietnam and Korea
Robin Wagner-Pacifici and Barry Schwartz, “The Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Commemorating a Difficult Past,” American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 97, No. 2 (Sept. 1991), p. 376-420.
Karal Ann Marling and Robert Silberman, “The Statue Near the Wall, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Art of Remembering,” Smithsonian Studies in American Art, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1987), p. 4-29.
Multicultural America (May. 27, June 1 & 3)
Debates and controversies over race and citizenship, community, and the role of public art following World War II. Can Americans re-imagine themselves as free and equal in the context of changing conceptions of race? What does it mean to be a (good) citizen?
1: Rejecting Race, Embracing Man?
The Family of Man, created by Edward Steichen, prologue by Carl Sandburg, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1955 .
2: Murals, politics and identity: Mexican-Americans
John Beardsley, “And/Or: Hispanic Art, American Culture,” in Writings About Art, Carole Gold Calo, ed., Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1994: p. 248-261.
Marcos Sanchez-Tranquilino, “Space, Power, and Youth Culture: Mexican American Graffiti and Chicano Murals in East Los Angeles, 1972-1978,” in Looking High and Low: Art and Cultural Identity, Brenda Jo Bright and Liza Bakewell, eds., Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 1995: p. 55-88.
3: Civil Rights, the Black Arts Movement, and African-American Public Self-Representation
Donaldson, Jeff, “The rise, fall and legacy of the Wall of Respect movement.” International Review of African American Art v. 15 no1 (1998) p. 22-6.
Eric Foner, The Story of American Freedom, W.W. Norton & Company, 1998: “Sixties Freedom,” p. 274-303.
4: Race and Public Art: The 1980s
Jane Kramer, Whose Art Is It?, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1994.
Final Exam: Tuesday, June 8, 9:45 - 11:45 a.m.
In-class exam; take-home essay due at beginning of exam.