American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

Institute Faculty 2023

Principal Faculty

Joshua Brown is professor of history emeritus and former executive director of the American Social History Project at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is a noted scholar of visual culture in U.S. history, and author of Beyond the Lines: Pictorial Reporting, Everyday Life, and the Crisis of Gilded Age America (2002), and co-author of Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction (2005). He is currently working on a study of Civil War visual culture for which he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Brown will lecture on the illustrated press and political cartoons and participate throughout the institute.

Sarah Burns is the Ruth N. Halls Professor of the History of Art (emerita) at Indiana University. She is a leading scholar of nineteenth-century American art and popular culture, and author of award-winning studies, including Painting the Dark Side: Art and the Gothic Imagination in Nineteenth-Century America (2004) and Inventing the Modern Artist: Art and Culture in Gilded Age America (1996), and is co-editor of American Art to 1900: A Documentary History (2009). Burns will be the lead art historian throughout the institute.

Gregory Downs is professor of history at the University of California, Davis. He is author of Declarations of Dependence: The Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Transformation of American Popular Politics (2011), After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War (2015), and The Second American Revolution: The Civil War-era Struggle over Cuba and the Rebirth of the American Republic (2019), and co-editor of The World the Civil War Made (2015). Recipient of anACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship, he also co-wrote the National Park Service’s Theme Study on Reconstruction. Downs will be the institute’s primary faculty resource on the Civil War and Reconstruction.


Visiting Lecturers and Session Leaders

Louise Bernard is the director of the Museum of the Obama Presidential Center. She was director of exhibitions at the New York Public Library, and previously a senior content developer and interpretive planner in the New York office of the museum design firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates, where she worked on the development of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, along with other international projects. Bernard will discuss exhibitions and memorials about slavery, emancipation, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow.


Michele H. Bogart is professor emeritus of art history and visual culture at Stony Brook University.  She is author of Public Sculpture and the Civic Ideal in New York City, 1890-1930 (1989/1997), The Politics of Urban Beauty: New York and Its Art Commission (2006), and Sculpture in Gotham: Art and Urban Renewal in New York (2018).  Bogart will provide a walking tour of New York City's Civil War-era monuments.


Matthew Fox-Amato is assistant professor of history at the University of Idaho. He is author of Exposing Slavery: Photography, Human Bondage, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America (1919). He is the recipient of numerous fellowships and honors, including the McNeil Center for Early American Studies Zuckerman Prize. He is currently working on projects about the visual culture of the presidency and iconoclasm in the Civil War era. Fox-Amato will lecture on photography, slavery and antislavery.

Aston Gonzalez is associate professor of history at Salisbury University in Maryland.  He is a scholar of nineteenth century African American history, politics, and visual culture.  He is author of Visualizing Equality: African American Rights and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century.  The book was a Finalist, 2021 Association for the Study of African American Life and History Book Prize, and 2020 First Book Award, The Library Company of Philadelphia.  Gonzalez will lecture on the pre-war image of slavery.

Hilary N. Green is associate professor of history at the University of Alabama.  She is the author of Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools in the Urban South, 1865-1890 (2016).  And the co-series editor with J. Brent Morris of the Reconstruction Reconsidered, a University of South Carolina Press book series.  Green will lecture on the shaping of the memory of the war as manifested in nineteenth century and twentieth-century public sculpture and monuments.

Lauren Hewes is the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts and Interim Vice President for Collections at the American Antiquarian Society. She is a leading authority on nineteenth-century American prints and photographs, has previously held positions at the Print Council of America, the National Park Service, and the Shelburne Museum, and has published widely on American printmaking and portraiture. Hewes will lecture and lead a "Behind the Scenes" session on Civil War ephemera.


Dominique Jean-Louis is a doctoral candidate in U.S. History at NYU studying Caribbean immigration to and education in New York after the civil rights movement. She was a Mellon Predoctoral Fellow at the Museum of the City of New York as and contributed to its New York at Its Core exhibition, and also a curatorial project historian on the recent New-York Historical Society exhibition Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow.  Jean-Louis will discuss exhibitions and memorials about slavery, abolition, and the post-emancipation era.

Turkiya Lowe is National Park Service national chief historian. Previously, she was NPS chief historian for the southeast region, managing history and cultural anthropology programs for 67 national parks, and earlier served as regional program manager for the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program. Lowe will discuss recent and proposed exhibitions and memorials about slavery, Emancipation, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow.


Amy Mooney is associate professor of art history and visual culture at Columbia College, Chicago. Her publications include a monograph on Chicago painter Archibald J. Motley, Jr., (2002) as well as contributions to anthologies and catalogs including Beyond Face: New Perspectives in Portraiture (2018), and Black Is Black Ain’t (2013).  Mooney is the recipient of numerous fellowships including American Council of Learned Societies, Black Metropolis Research Consortium Andrew Mellon Foundation Fellowship, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.  Mooney will lecture on African American portraiture during the war. 

Susan Schulten is professor and chair of the history department at the University of Denver. She is author of A History of America in 100 Maps (2018), the award-winning Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America (2012) and The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880-1950 (2002). Schulten will lecture on the mapping of the Civil War and the Civil War West.


Scott Manning Stevens is associate professor and director of Native American and indigenous studies at Syracuse University. He is co-author of Art of the American West: The Haub Family Collection at the Tacoma Art Museum (2014), and Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North (2013), and co-editor of Why You Can't Teach United States History without American Indians (2015). Stevens will discuss the visualization of Indian resistance in the Civil War era.


Heather Andrea Williams is Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought, and Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom (2005), and Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery (2012), both published by UNC Press, as well as American Slavery: A Very Short Introduction (2014), published by Oxford University Press.  Williams will lecture on the range of pictorial publications and images that visualized Emancipation.

Institute Director

Donna Thompson Ray is the project director for faculty development programs at the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning. She has directed many NEH-funded faculty development programs and visual history projects, including Learning to Look: Visual Evidence and the U.S. Past in the New Media Classroom (2002-04) and the Picturing U.S. History: An Interactive Resource for Teaching with Visual Evidence website. She is a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. history at Drew University specializing in nineteenth-century American visual culture.

Civil War Summer Institutes