Syllabus: Visualizing Revolution

Posted in teaching resources by Editor on August 21, 2011

With a new academic year upon us, this year’s syllabi sampling is generously provided by Laura Auricchio, of Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. Today’s syllabus comes from a graduate seminar offered four years ago in conjunction with Parsons’s MA program in the History of Decorative Arts (thus it’s heavy on visual and material culture and light on painting and sculpture). It’s been reformatted slightly, but the original is available here as a PDF document. We’ll have one more tomorrow. Thanks, Laura!

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Visualizing Revolution: America and France
Professor Laura Auricchio

How did works of visual and material culture help to shape, reflect, and commemorate the revolutions that roiled France and the United States at the end of the eighteenth century? Drawing on objects housed at the Cooper-Hewitt, and timed to coincide with a New-York Historical Society exhibition focusing on America’s 1824-5 celebrations of the Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, this course will examine stylistic and iconographic influences that crossed the Atlantic, and ask how and why the different contexts of the French and American revolution yielded different roles for the visual arts. Issues to be addressed will include: Neoclassicism as a “republican” style; the politics of dress and decoration; public festivals and monuments; and nineteenth-century visions of eighteenth-century events. This course will require students to integrate primary-source research with historical and theoretical readings, and is recommended only for students who have already taken Proseminar.

15%  Attendance / participation
15%  Weekly postings to course Blackboard site
20%  In-class presentation (15 minutes) (10/30, 11/6, 11/18)
20%  Final project: preliminary assignments (various dates)
30%  Final project: 15-page paper (12/18)

At the end of this course, students should be able to:
• Understand the different roles that decorative arts and material culture played in the French and American Revolutions.
• Appreciate the complexities of trans-Atlantic transmission of style and iconography.
• Consider the significance of consumption and patronage in aesthetic and political developments of the era.
• Think about the importance of visual culture in shaping historical memory.
• Demonstrate knowledge of recent and classic literature on visual culture in the French and American Revolutions.
• Contemplate how these two fields might productively inform each other.
• Conduct primary and secondary source research on objects from the period.
• Deliver an effective oral presentation accompanied by digital images.
• Write a term paper that combines careful looking and critical thinking, conveys command of the literature, expresses original ideas, and acknowledge sources accurately.

Reading Assingments

All required readings are on electronic reserves. Currently, no password is needed. If a password is added I will notify all students via e-mail. “Further reading” is not required. It is intended to help students who wish to delve more deeply into a topic, and to provide easily-accessible images to supplement the required readings. Items on the course shelf at the Cooper-Hewitt Library are identified by (CH).

Blackboard Postings
By 5 PM before each class meeting, please post to the “discussion” section of our Blackboard site at least one idea or question for discussion based on the assigned reading. I will also post one question each week, which you may answer on the discussion site instead of posting your own. I encourage you to use the site to reply to each other’s comments as well.

Attendance / Punctuality
Attendance at every class meeting visit is mandatory. Two absences will result in a lowered grade. Three absences require automatic failure. Arriving on time is essential. Each late arrival (15 minutes or more) will count as 1⁄2 absence.

Preparation / Participation
This is a discussion-oriented seminar. Please arrive at each meeting having completed, and prepared to discuss, the day’s assignments. High participation grades (B+ or above) will be awarded for participation that: (1) reflects careful attention to readings, assignments, and discussions; (2) is expressed clearly; and (3) demonstrates respect for the instructor and classmates, even if (or especially when) you disagree with them.

Papers / Presentations
Four letter-graded assignments (an annotated bibliography, an oral presentation, an abstract of your final project, and a 15-page paper) will determine the bulk of your grade. Detailed instructions and grading criteria will be distributed in advance of all due dates. Content and form will contribute to grading. Late papers will receive lower grades.

Re-Writes and Extra Credit
All papers may be revised and re-submitted at any time during the semester. To re-write a paper, please consult with me first so to discuss the nature and extent of the revisions needed to merit a higher grade. Re-writes will not be considered without consultation. For extra credit, students may write one or more response papers discussing any lecture, panel discussion, or symposium related to the issues raised in this class. I will announce these from time to time, and students should also keep an eye out for relevant events.

Plagiarism will result in failing the class and may entail additional repercussions determined by the Office of Advising. No exceptions will be made As defined by the University, “Plagiarism is the use of another person’s words or ideas in any academic work using books, journals, internet postings, or other student papers without proper acknowledgment.” A rule of thumb: When in doubt, cite your source. If any part of an assignment – a fact, an interpretation, an approach – was inspired by a source, use a footnote to direct your reader to the original source. If words, phrases, or sentences were borrowed, place them in quotation marks and footnote the source.

As you prepare your writing assignments for this class, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the following resources:
• Please use Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition) for bibliography and footnote style.
• For one-on-one help, available by appointment, via e-mail and phone, and on a walk-in basis, visit the University Writing Center, 65 Fifth Avenue, Ground Floor, room 105, http://www.newschool.edu/admin/writingcenter/index.html.
• See also the “resources” section of our Blackboard site, where I will post handouts on topics including: how to avoid plagiarism, using the Chicago Manual of Style, etc.

C O U R S E  S C H E D U L E

N.B. The contents and schedule of this syllabus are subject to change due to student needs and unforeseen events.

Week 1. September 4: Introduction: The Revolutionary Role of Visual Culture
Further Reading:
• François Furet and Mona Ozouf, eds., A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution, translated by Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989)
• Emmet Kennedy, A Cultural History of the French Revolution (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).
• Kenneth Silverman, A Cultural History of the American Revolution (New York: Crowell, 1976).
• Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992).

Part I. The American Revolution

Week 2. September 11: A Revolution in Commerce
• T. H. Breen, “’Baubles of Britain’: The American and Consumer Revolutions of the Eighteenth Century,” Past and Present 119 (May 1988): 73-104.
• Michael Zakim, “Sartorial Ideologies: From Homespun to Ready-Made,” The American Historical Review 106, no. 5. (December 2001): 1553-86.
Further Reading:
• T.H. Breen, The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
• Richard L. Bushman, The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992).
• Cary Carson, Ronald Hoffman and Peter J. Albert, eds., Of Consuming Interests: The Style of Life in the Eighteenth Century (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1994). (CH)
• Martin Daunton and Matthew Hilton, eds., The Politics of Consumption: Material Culture and Citizenship in Europe and America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).
• Margaretta M. Lovell, Art in a Season of Revolution: Painters, Artisans and Patrons in Early America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005).

Week 3. September 18: Public Opinions: Prints and Festivals
• Sarah J. Purcell, “’Blood-Bought Fame’: National Identity and Commemoration During the Revolutionary War, 1775-1781,” in Sealed with Blood: War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002), 11-48 and notes 216-25.
• David Waldstreicher, “The Revolutionary Politics of Celebration,” in In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism, 1776-1820 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 17-52.
Further Reading:
• Donald H. Cresswell, The American Revolution in Drawings and Prints: A Checklist of 1765-1790 Graphics in the Library of Congress (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1975). (CH)
• E. McClung Fleming, “The American Image as Indian Princess 1765-1783,” Winterthur Portfolio 2 (1965): 65-81.
• E. McClung Fleming, “From Indian Princess to Greek Goddess: The American Image, 1783-1815,” Winterthur Portfolio 3 (1967): 37-66.
• Simon Newman, Parades and the Politics of the Street: Festive Culture in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997).
• Len Travers, Celebrating the Fourth: Independence Day and the Rites of Nationalism in the Early Republic (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1997).
• Wendy C. Wick, George Washington An American Icon: The Eighteenth-Century Graphic Portraits (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1982).

Week 4. September 25: Revolution in Everyday Life: Objects and Images
Due in class: Please identify the object(s) you will work on for your final project.
• Eugene F. Miller and Barry Schwartz, “The Icon of the American Republic: A Study in Political Symbolism,” The Review of Politics 47, no. 4 (October 1985): 516-43.
• Ann Fairfax Withington, “Manufacturing and Selling the American Revolution,” in Everyday Life in the Early Republic, edited by Catherine E. Hutchins (Winterthur, Delaware: Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1994), 285-315.
Further Reading:
• Steven C. Bullock, Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996).
• Susan Gray Detweiler, George Washington’s Chinaware (New York: Abrams, 1986). (CH)
• Lesley Hoskins, ed., The Papered Wall: History, Pattern, Technique (New York: Abrams, 1994). (CH)
• Florence M. Montgomery, Printed Textiles: English and American Cottons and Linens, 1700-1850 (New York: Viking Press, 1970). (CH)
• Florence M. Montgomery, Textiles in America, 1650-1870, A Dictionary Based on Original Documents (New York: Norton, 1984). (CH)
• Richard C. Nylander, Wallpaper in New England (Boston: Society for the Presentation of New England Antiquities, 1986). (CH)

Part II. The French Revolution

Week 5. October 2: Picturing and Producing Revolution
Curatorial Visit: We will meet at 4 PM in the Cooper-Hewitt wallcoverings department. Greg Herringshaw will show us samples of American and French Revolutionary wallpapers, and MA program alum Laura Handlin will share her research on American Revolutionary papers. At 5 PM we’ll head back to the classroom to discuss the readings.
• J. David Harden, “Liberty Caps and Liberty Trees,” Past and Present 146. (February 1995): 66- 102.
• Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink and Rolf Reichardt, “Revolutionary Symbolism Under the Sign of the Bastille,” in The Bastille: A History of a Symbol of Despotism and Freedom, translated by Norbert Schürer (Durham, NC: Duke University Pres, 1997), 79-131, and notes pages 263-70.
Further Reading:
• “Imaging the French Revolution,” American Historical Review 110 (Feb. 2005).
• Warren Roberts, The Public, the Populace, and Images of the French Revolution: Jacques-Louis David and Jean-Louis Prieur, Revolutionary Artists (Albany: State University of New York, 2000).
• Alan Wintermute, 1789: French Art During the Revolution (New York: Colnaghi, 1989). (CH)

Week 6. October 9: Performing Patriotism
• Leora Auslander, “Regeneration Through the Everyday? Clothing, Architecture and Furniture in Revolutionary Paris,” Art History 28.2 (April 2005): 227-47.
• Cissie Fairchilds, “Fashion and Freedom in the French Revolution,” Continuity and Change 15, no. 3 (2000): 419-33.
• Lynn Hunt, “Symbolic Forms of Political Practice,” in Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984), 52-86.
Further Reading:
• Jennifer Harris, “The Red Cap of Liberty: A Study of Dress Worn by French Revolutionary Partisans 1789- 94,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 14, no. 3 (Spring 1981): 283-312.
• Joan B. Landes, Visualizing the Nation: Gender, Representation, and Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001).
• Mona Ozouf, Festivals and the French Revolution, translated by Alan Sheridan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988).
• Aileen Ribero, Fashion in the French Revolution (London: Batsford, 1988). (CH)
• Richard Wrigley, The Politics of Appearance: Representations of Dress in Revolutionary France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).

Week 7. October 16: Legitimizing Napoleon
• Patricia Mainardi, “Assuring the Empire of the Future: The 1798 Fête de la Liberté,” Art Journal 48, no. 2, Images of Rule: Issues of Interpretation. (Summer, 1989): 155-63.
• Odile Nouvel-Kammerer, ed., Symbols of Power: Napoleon and the Art of the Empire Style 1800- 1815 (New York: Abrams, 2007), 26-77.
Further Reading:
• Kattell le Bourhis, ed., The Age of Napoleon: Costume from Revolution to Empire, 1789-1815 (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989). (CH)
• Eleanor DeLorme, ed., Josephine and the Arts of Empire (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005). (CH)
Egyptomania: L’Égypte dans l’art occidental, 1730-1930 (Paris: Louvre, 1994).
• Terence M. Russell, ed. The Napoleonic Survey of Egypt: Description de l’Égypte (Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate, 2001). (CH)

Part III. Student Presentations

Week 8. October 23: Individual Meetings with Instructor
Individual appointments replace class meeting.

Week 9. October 30: Student Presentations Group 1
Due in class: Group 1 annotated bibliographies to distribute to instructor and all classmates.

Week 10. November 6: Student Presentations Group 2
Due in class: Group 2 annotated bibliographies to distribute to instructor and all classmates.

Week 11. November 13: Student Presentations Group 3
Due in class: Group 3 annotated bibliographies to distribute to instructor and all classmates.

Part IV. Commemorations

Week 12. November 27: Museum Visit: French Founding Father
Due in class: Two-page abstract of final project, following the guidelines outlined for thesis petitions in Student Handbook.
Museum Visit: We will meet at 3 PM inside the lobby of the New-York Historical Society on Central Park West between 76th and 77th Streets. Margi Hofer, Curator of Decorative Arts, will take us on a tour of French Founding Father: Lafayette’s Return to Washington’s America.
• Andrew Burstein, “The People Salute Their First Fifty Years,” in America’s Jubilee (New York: Vintage, 2001), 228-254 and notes 339-341.
• Anne C. Loveland, “Lafayette’s Farewell Tour,” in Lafayette, Hero of Two Worlds: The Art and Pageantry of His Farewell Tour of America, 1824-1825, edited by Stanley J. Idzerda, Anne C. Loveland and Marc H. Miller (New York: The Queens Museum, 1989), 63-90.
Further Reading:
• David A. Clary, Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship that Saved the Revolution (New York: Bantam, 2007).
• Lloyd Kramer, Lafayette in Two Worlds: Public Cultures and Personal Identities in an Age of Revolutions (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press,1999).
• Auguste Levasseur, Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825, or Journal of a Voyage to the United States, translated by John D. Godman (Philadelphia: Carey and Lea, 1829). Available on Google Books.

Week 13. December 4: Commemorating the American Revolution: Then and Now
Please review reading from week 12
Further Reading:
• Charlene Mires, Independence Hall in American Memory (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002).
• Barbara J. Mitnick, ed., George Washington: American Symbol (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1999).
• Gary B. Nash, First City: Philadelphia and the Forging of Historical Memory (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002).

Week 14. December 11: The French Revolution: Staging History
• Maurice Samuels, “Showing the Past,” in The Spectacular Past: Popular History and the Novel in Nineteenth-Century France (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004), 18-62.
• Ronald Schechter, “Gothic Thermidor: The Bals des victimes, the Fantastic, and the Production of Historical Knowledge in Post-Terror France,” Representations, no. 61, Special Issue: Practices of Enlightenment. (Winter, 1998): 78-94.
Further Reading:
• Denise Amy Baxter, “Two Brutuses: Violence, Virtue, and Politics in the Visual Culture of the French Revolution,” Eighteenth-Century Life 30, no. 3 (Fall 2006): 51-77.
• Kate Berridge, Madame Tussaud: A Life in Wax (New York: William Morrow, 2006).

Week 15. December 18: Conclusions
Due in class: Final paper

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