American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

2020 NEH Summer Institute: Apply Now!

July 2020—NEH Summer Institute on the Visual Culture of the Civil War and Its Aftermath

This July, the American Social History Project will once again host a two-week NEH Summer Institute for college and university faculty on the Visual Culture of the American Civil War and Its Aftermath

The fifth iteration of our institute will focus on the Civil War and Reconstruction era's array of visual media--including prints, photographs, cartoons, illustrated newspapers and magazines, maps, ephemera, and the fine arts.  The institute will examine how information and opinion about the war and its aftermath was recorded and disseminated, and the ways visual media expressed and shaped Americans' understanding, North and South, free and enslaved. Guided by a team of three faculty that represents the range of work in the field, institute participants will hear daily lectures and presentations by noted historians, art historians, and archivists, and take part in hands-on sessions in major New York museums and archival collections. These institute activities will introduce participants to the rich body of scholarship that addresses or incorporates Civil War and Reconstruction-era visual culture, encourage them to explore avenues for further research in the field, and assist them in developing their own research and/or teaching projects. Reading assignments preceding and during the institute will prepare participants for full engagement in discussions and activities. And time will be provided to prepare individual projects, undertake research in local archives, and meet with the three principal institute faculty members as well as guest speakers.

The institute will meet from July 6 to July 17, 2020 at the CUNY Graduate Center (34th Street and Fifth Avenue) and other archival and museum sites around the city, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York Historical Society, and New York Public Library. Faculty and visiting speakers include: Jermaine Archer, Amanda Bellows, Louise Bernard, Georgia Barnhill, Michele Bogart, 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.

While scholars and teachers specializing in U.S. history, American studies, and art history will find the institute especially attractive, we encourage applicants from any field who are interested in the Civil War and Reconstruction era and its visual culture, regardless of your disciplinary interests. Independent scholars, scholars engaged in museum work or full-time graduate studies are also urged to apply. You need not have extensive prior knowledge of the Civil War, Reconstruction or visual culture or have previously incorporated their study in any of your courses or research. However, your application essay should identify specific ways in which two weeks of concentration on the topics will enhance your teaching and/or research. In addition, please describe a research or teaching project you will develop during the institute. The ideal institute participant will bring to the group a fresh understanding of the relevance of the topic to their teaching and research.

Completed applications must be submitted via our online application system or e-mail or postal mail no later than March 1, 2020 (postal mail must be postmarked by March 1).

Full details and application information are available on the ASHP/CML Institute website. For further information, please contact Institute Director Donna Thompson Ray, 212-817-1963.

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

Image: Currier & Ives. The first colored senator and representatives - in the 41st and 42nd Congress of the United States. United States, 1872. New York: Published by Currier & Ives. Photograph.