American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

July 2021 Virtual Institute - Visual Culture of the American Civil War and Its Aftermath

Published September 21, 2020

The American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning at The Graduate Center, CUNY, will host a National Endowment for the Humanities institute in Summer 2021 for 25 college and university teachers to study the visual culture of the American Civil War and its aftermath. Postponed this year due to Covid-19, this fifth iteration of the institute will focus on the era’s array of visual media—including the fine arts, ephemera, photography, cartoons, maps, and monuments—to examine how information and opinion about the war and its impact were recorded and disseminated, and the ways visual media expressed and shaped views before, during, and after the conflict.

Due to continuing restrictions regarding face-to-face meetings, the institute will be entirely online, giving participants the opportunity to view lectures and interact with noted historians, art historians, and archivists. In addition, they will participate in new “behind the scenes” virtual sessions with curators and staff in major museums and archives. A core team of three institute faculty will introduce participants to the rich body of new scholarship that addresses or incorporates Civil War and postwar visual culture, meet them via individual remote conferences to guide their research, and help them to use visual evidence to enhance their scholarship and teaching. The 2021 institute faculty includes: Jermaine Archer, Amanda Bellows, Louise Bernard, Joshua Brown, Sarah Burns, Gregory Downs, Matthew Fox-Amato, Amanda Frisken, Dominique Jean-Louis, Barbara Krauthamer, Turkiya Lowe, Maurie McInnis, Susan Schulten, Scott Manning Stevens, and Dell Upton.

Information about applying as well as the institute’s program of activities will be available in November at:

Thanks to a supplementary NEH grant, many of the institute’s resources and previous activities are available online on The Visual Culture of the American Civil War website. The site features video lectures and related picture galleries, primary documents, and print and multimedia bibliographies.

Image: Engraving. "Emancipation Day in South Carolina" - the Color-Sergeant of the 1st South Carolina Colored addressing the regiment, after having been presented with the Stars and Stripes, at Smith's plantation, Port Royal, January 1. , 1863.  Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Vol. 15, No. 382 (1863 Jan. 24), p. 276. 

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