Syllabus

Fall 2009/VISUALST 260S-01
TOPICS IN VISUAL STUDIES: (RACIAL) STEREOTYPE

Tuesdays, 2:50PM-5:20PM

Professor Richard J. Powell
Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies
Room 204A, East Duke Building

Required Film Screening & Readings:

Films:
1.    Ethnic Notions (USA, 1987; Marlon Riggs, Dir.).

Book & Chapters:
1.    Homi Bhabha, “The Other Question: Stereotype, Discrimination and the Discourse of Colonialism,” The Location of Culture (New York: Routledge, 1994), 66-84.
2.    Karen C. C. Dalton, “Caricature in the Service of Racist Stereotypes: Evolution of Nineteenth-Century Caricatures of African-Americans,” Unpublished paper presented at the Seminar in American Art History, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA, 23 February 1993, 1-16.
3.    Elizabeth & Stuart Ewen, “Preface,” “Didot’s Invention,” “The Company of Strangers,” “Created Equal,” “Visual Truth,” “Curiosity Cabinets,” “Physiognomy: The Science of First Impressions,” “Hierarchies of Humanity,” “Camper’s Angle,” “Tablier Rasa,” “Spurzheim’s Funeral,” “Crania Americana,” & “An American Tale,” in Typecasting: On the Arts and Sciences of Human Inequality (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006), xv-150.
4.    Daniel H. Foster, “Sheet Music Iconography and Music in the History of Transatlantic Minstrelsy,” Modern Language Quarterly 70 (March 2009): 147-161.
5.    Eric Lott, Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).
6.    Charles Stone, “Satch Hoyt – A Command of Many Mediums,” International Review of African American Art 22 (No. 2, 2008): 18-19.
7.    Phoebe Wolfskill, “Caricature and the New Negro in the Work of Archibald Motley Jr. and Palmer Hayden,” The Art Bulletin 91 (September 2009): 343-365.

Course Schedule:

August 25 INTRODUCTION TO SEMINAR

September 1 Seminar screening and discussion of Marlon Riggs’s Ethnic Notions (1987).

September 8 Special Collections session, Perkins Library, & discussion of: Homi Bhabha, “The Other Question: Stereotype, Discrimination and the Discourse of Colonialism,” The Location of Culture (New York: Routledge,
1994), 66-84; & Phoebe Wolfskill, “Caricature and the New Negro in the Work of Archibald Motley Jr. and Palmer Hayden,” The Art Bulletin 91 (September 2009): 343-365.

September 15 Presentation by and discussion with visual artist Satch Hoyt.  Discussion of: Charles Stone, “Satch Hoyt – A Command of Many Mediums,” International Review of African American Art 22 (No. 2, 2008): 18-19; & Elizabeth & Stuart Ewen, “Preface,” “Didot’s Invention,” “The Company of Strangers,” “Created Equal,” “Visual Truth,” “Curiosity Cabinets,” “Physiognomy: The Science of First Impressions,” “Hierarchies of Humanity,” “Camper’s Angle,” “Tablier Rasa,” “Spurzheim’s Funeral,” “Crania Americana,” & “An American Tale,” in Typecasting: On the Arts and Sciences of Human Inequality (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006), xv-150.

In preparation for the 9/22 meeting, students will divide amongst themselves the 71 illustrations cited in the Dalton article, and create a PowerPoint presentation of the images to discuss in conjunction with the article they accompany.

September 22 Discussion of: Daniel H. Foster, “Sheet Music Iconography and Music in the History of Transatlantic Minstrelsy,” Modern Language Quarterly 70 (March 2009): 147-161; & Karen C. C. Dalton, “Caricature in the Service of Racist Stereotypes: Evolution of Nineteenth-Century Caricatures of African-Americans,” Unpublished paper presented at the Seminar in American Art History, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA, 23 February 1993; 1-16.

Students will divide the 68 broadsides and pieces of sheet music amongst themselves, in order to write their descriptions and start compiling their “reality checks” and supplemental imagery.

September 29 Presentation by John Taormina, Curator of Visual Resources, Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Duke University: “Organizing Visual Information.”  Discussion of: Eric Lott, Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).

October 6 FALL BREAK

October 13 Blog site development, seminar presentations & analyses of sheet music.

October 20 Blog site development, seminar presentations & analyses of sheet music.

October 27 Blog site development, seminar presentations & analyses of sheet music.

November 3 Blog site development, seminar presentations & analyses of sheet music.

November 10 Blog site development, seminar presentations & analyses of sheet music.

November 17 Blog site development, seminar presentations & analyses of sheet music.

November 24 Blog site development, seminar presentations & analyses of sheet music.

December 1 Blog site development, seminar presentations & analyses of sheet music.

Blog site for VISUALST 260S-01: (RACIAL) STEREOTYPE
As stated above, in place of a final seminar paper, the culminating, collective assignment will be an online blog which critically surveys, interprets, and provides descriptive information for 68 illustrated, African American-themed, works on paper (circa 1827-1902) in Duke University’s Special Collections Library.

The plan is to divide these broadsides and pieces of sheet music up among the participating students and, over the course of the semester, each student will provide the following data on the working blog site:

1. a basic (or objective) description of the image (100 word limit);
2. a personal (or subjective) description of the image (100 word limit);
3. a historical or biographical “reality check,” comprised of the following: a written account of an event of historical significance for African Americans occurring in the year the sheet music or broadside was created, OR a biographical statement about a historically significant African American man or woman from the city where the music was created AND who lived and made their mark in the decade the music was created (100 word limit); &
4. a 19th century image that corresponds the above reality check (i.e., a period engraving, lithograph, painting or photograph).

In the course of the seminar, the blog entries-in-progress will be available to the entire seminar to read and comment upon.  In addition to the seminar, selected guest bloggers (from academe and the art world) will provide commentaries as well.  At the end of the semester, the blog will be publicly launched and open to the world for contributions and comments.

To facilitate conducting research for the historical and biographical “reality checks” (as well as to assist in locating the corresponding 19th century images), students should consult the following reference books:

Burkett, Randall K., Nancy Hall Burkett, and Henry Louis Gates, eds., Black Biography, 1790-1950: a cumulative index (Alexandria, Virginia: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991).

Franklin, John Hope, From slavery to freedom: a history of African Americans (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000).

Gates, Henry Louis and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds., African American Lives (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Harley, Sharon, The Timetable of African American History (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995).

Hine, Darlene Clark, ed., Black Woman in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

Ripley, C. Peter, ed., The Black Abolitionist Papers: Vol. III, The United States, 1830-1846 (Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1985).

Salzman, Jack, David Lionel Smith, and Cornel West, eds., Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (New York: Macmillan Library Reference, 1996).

The PowerPoint preparations and Seminar presentations provide seminar participants an opportunity to present, in both digital and written forms, evidence of your ability to:

1    conduct sound, art historical, visual, cultural, and theoretical research;

2    explore some of the ideas addressed in this seminar;

3    compile relevant art and other visual data on the topics under discussion; &

4    incorporate into a written text your special insights on Africa’s engagement with the wider world, as expressed through “the visual”.

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