Syllabus: Arts and Trans-Atlantic Revolution

Posted in teaching resources by Editor on August 22, 2011

Here’s the second part of our back-to-school syllabus feature for the fall, this one from one of Laura Auricchio’s undergraduate courses. It’s a nice pairing with yesterday’s MA-level course and interesting to see how some themes persist even as the readings and assignments have been reworked for a different context. Both syllabi offer terrific examples of pace variation, nicely inserted late in the semester. I’ve abridged much of the logistical content, but the full syllabus is available here as a PDF file. Thanks again to Laura, and all the best to everyone still pulling syllabi together for the new semester.  -CH

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Arts and Trans-Atlantic Revolution
Professor Laura Auricchio

Visual culture plays crucial roles in both shaping and commemorating moments of political and social change. This course asks how both “high art” and “popular” images and objects contributed to upheavals that shook both sides of the Atlantic at the end of the 18th century. Focusing on revolutions in the U.S. (1775-1783), France (1789-1799) and Haiti (1791-1804), the course examines thematic, stylistic, and iconographic influences that crossed the ocean, with particular emphasis on the varying roles of race, class, and gender in each context. The course also traces the visual legacies of these revolutions in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, examining, for instance, how, why, and to what effect Jacob Lawrence created his series dedicated to the Haitian slave-turned-leader Toussaint L’Ouverture (1938), or Emanuel Leutze painted George Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851). Visits to works on view in NYC are central to the course experience.

15%  Attendance/ participation/ preparation
15%  Weekly reading responses
Preliminary assignments on topic of final paper:
15%  -Formal analysis (2-3 pages)
15%  -Annotated bibliography (8-10 sources)
10%  -Proposed argument (1 page)
30%  -Final paper (8-10 pages)

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.

1. January 26 Overview: Art and Revolution

Part I: The American Revolution (1775-1783)

2. February 2 Towards an American Visual Culture
Due in class: Short assignment on Prown / Breen
• Jules David Prown, “Style as Evidence,” Winterthur Portfolio 15, no. 3 (Autumn 1980): 197-210.
• T. H. Breen, “’Baubles of Britain’: The American and Consumer Revolutions of the Eighteenth Century,” Past and Present 119 (May 1988): 73-104.

3. February 9 Consuming Revolution: Images and Objects
Due in class: Short assignment on Boston Massacre / Withington
• “Boston Massacre: A Behind-the-Scenes Look At Paul Revere’s Most Famous Engraving,” Early American Review (Winter 1996). For a larger image, please click on “Enlargement of Paul Revere’s Engraving…” at the bottom of the page. Please also click and read the links to newspaper accounts and victims’ obituaries.
• Ann Fairfax Withington, “Manufacturing and Selling the American Revolution,” in Everyday Life in the Early Republic, edited by Catherine Hutchins (Winterthur: Delaware University Press, 1994), 285-315.

4. February 16 Field Trip #1 — Introduction to New-York Historical Society
To prepare for this field trip please set up a login and then search for the collection entitled “Trans-Atlantic Revolution.” This image set includes all of the objects that we will look at during our visit. Students who opt to write their final papers on objects in the New-York Historical Society may select their objects from this set. Please clear other object choices with me.

5. February 23 Gender, Class, and Memory
Due in class: (1) Object choice for final paper; (2) Short assignment on Purcell / Ulrich
• Sarah J. Purcell, “Commemoration, Public Art, and the Changing Meaning of the Bunker Hill Monument,” The Public Historian 25, no. 2. (Spring 2003): 55-71.
• Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “How Betsy Ross Became Famous,” Common-Place 8, no. 1 (October 2007).

6. March 2 Nationality, Race, and Memory
Due in class: Short assignment on “Washington Crossing the Delaware”
• Barbara S. Groseclose, “Washington Crossing the Delaware: The Political Context,” American Art Journal 7, no. 2 (November 1975): 70-78.
• Michael Lobel, “Black to Front: Michael Lobel on Robert Colescott,” Artforum 43, no. 4 (October 2004): 266-69, 306, 310.
• “Culture Shock: The Art of Kara Walker,” at PBS.

7. March 9 Field Trip #2 — Study Visit to New-York Historical Society
Due in class: Five (5) comparative images that relate to your chosen object

Part II: The French Revolution (1789-1799)

8. March 23 Reinventing Everyday Life
Due in class: (1) Formal Analysis (2-3 pages, 15% of final grade); (2) Short assignment on Auslander / Hunt
• Leora Auslander, “Regeneration Through the Everyday? Clothing, Architecture and Furniture in Revolutionary Paris,” Art History 28.2 (April 2005): 227-247.
• Lynn Hunt, “Symbolic Forms of Political Practice,” Chapter 2 in Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984), 52-86.

9. March 30 Images as Sources: Shaping Research Questions
Due in class: Preliminary research questions Discussions A, C, F, G and H in “Imaging the French Revolution,” American Historical Review 110 (Feb. 2005).
A.  Power of images in establishing “historical memory.”
C.  Relationship between text and images.
F.  Challenges of comprehending sources.
G.  Importance of knowing the author.
H.  Interpreting images with more information.

10. April 6 Revolutionary Bodies
Due in class: Short assignment on Colwill / Reichardt and Kohle
• Elizabeth Colwill, “Pass as a Woman, Act Like a Man: Marie-Antoinette as Tribade in the Pornography of the French Revolution,” in Marie-Antoinette: Writings on the Body of a Queen, edited by Dena Goodman (New York and London: Routledge, 2003), 139-70.
• Rolf Reichardt and Hubertus Kohle, “From Aristocrat to New Man,” Chapter 5 in Visualizing the Revolution: Politics and the Pictorial Arts in Late Eighteenth-century France (London: Reaktion Books, 2008), 150-82.

11. April 13 Remembering the French Revolution
Due in class: (1) Annotated bibliography (8-10 sources). Must include at least one of each: primary source, secondary source, book, journal article. 15% of final grade); (2) Short assignment on Samuels
• Maurice Samuels, “Showing the Past,” in The Spectacular Past: Popular History and the Novel in Nineteenth-Century France (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004), 18-47.

Part III. The Haitian Revolution (1791-1804)

12. April 20 Envisioning Race / Picturing Saint Domingue
Due in class: (1) Proposed argument of final paper (1 page, 10% of final grade); (2) short assignment on Weston / primary source texts
• Robin Blackburn, “Haiti, Slavery, and the Age of the Democratic Revolution,” William and Mary Quarterly 63, no. 4 (2006): 643-74. [please consult for background as needed]
• Primary source selections from: The Code Noir (1685); Médéric-Louis-Élie Moreau de Saint-Méry, Description…of the French Part of the Island of Saint-Domingue (1797); and Julien Raimond, “Observations on the Origin and Progression of the White Colonists’ Prejudice against Men of Color” (1791), in Slave Revolution in the Caribbean 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents, edited by Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus (Boston and New York: Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2006), 49-54, 57-59, 78-82.
• Helen D. Weston, “Representing the Right to Represent: The Portrait of Citizen Belley, Ex- Representative of the Colonies by A.-L. Girodet,” Res 26 (Fall 1994): 83-99.

13. April 27 Creolization and Visual Culture
Due in class: Short assignment on Grigbsy / Polk
• Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, “Revolutionary Sons, White Fathers, and Creole Difference: Guillaume Guillon-Lethière’s Oath of the Ancestors, 1822,” Yale French Studies 101 (2001): 201-26.
• Patrick Polk, “Sacred Banners and the Divine Cavalry Charge,” in Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou, edited by Donald J. Cosentino (Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1995), 325-47.

14. May 4 Haiti’s Heroes: From Neoclassicism to Modernism
Due in class: Short assignment on Célius / Jacob Lawrence
• Carlo Célius, “Neoclassicism and the Haitian Revolution,” in The World of the Haitian Revolution, edited by David Patrick Geggus and Norman Fiering (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009), 352-92.
• Carol Greene, Oral History Interview with Jacob Lawrence (October 26, 1968), Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. For the images and texts of Jacob Lawrence’s The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture series (1938) click on the link and select this title from the “Series” drop-down menu.

15. May 11 Representing Haiti after the 2010 Earthquake
Due in class: Final paper (8-10 pages, 30% of final grade)

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