The Newberry Seminar in American Art and Visual Culture

George P.A. Healy. Self Portrait, Done in Paris. c. 1880.
George P.A. Healy. Self Portrait, Done in Paris. c. 1880.

Seminar sessions are held on Fridays from 2 – 5 pm at the Newberry, 60 West Walton Street, Chicago, Illinois.

This seminar provides a forum for presenting current research, as well as a venue that brings together a diverse community of local and regional Americanists for intellectual exchange, collegial conversation, and debate. We construe art history and visual culture in broad terms, embracing painting, sculpture, graphic art, architecture, and material culture as well as commercial and mass-mediated art, including illustration, reportage, advertising, caricature, comic art, photography, video, film, and other visual forms. We invite papers that cross and challenge borders both within and outside the discipline, that engage questions of methodology and ideology, probe the categories of race, ethnicity, class, and gender, and reflect critically on the state and outlook of the field.

To apply to present during the 2014-2015 academic year, see our Call for Proposals.

The seminar’s co-sponsors are the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College Chicago, the Department of History and Political Science at Purdue University Calumet, The Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at the University of Chicago, and the Department of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Diane Dillon, The Newberry; Erika Doss, University of Notre Dame; Sarah Burns, Indiana University; and Gregory Foster-Rice, Columbia College Chicago are the coordinators for the 2013-14 seminar.

To attend, please read our Registration Information. View our flyer for a PDF version of this schedule.

To see a listing of past seminars, please select a year below:

2012-2013 | 2011-2012 | 2010-2011 | 2009-2010

Seminar Schedule

Friday, September 13, 2013
American Art and Visual Culture Seminar
Joseph Cialdella, University of Michigan and Peter Hales, University of Illinois at Chicago

“From the Garden of Botanic Anarchy: Making Visual Cultures of Nature, Place, and Renewal in Detroit”
Joseph Cialdella, University of Michigan
“The End of History and the Return of the Repressed: Landscapes of Catastrophe in the Virtual World”
Peter Hales, University of Illinois at Chicago

Friday, November 15, 2013
American Art and Visual Culture Seminar
Elspeth Brown, University of Toronto and Kathleen Spies, Birmingham-Southern College

“ ‘The Amorous Regard’: George Platt Lynes and the Queering of Fashion Photography”
Elspeth Brown, University of Toronto
“The Showgirl and the City: Defining the Modern Metropolis in the Art of Walt Kuhn”
Kathleen Spies, Birmingham-Southern College

Friday, January 17, 2014
American Art and Visual Culture Seminar
John Davis, Smith College and Chris Dingwall, University of Chicago

“Only in America: Thoughts on Exceptionalism, Nationalism, and Provincialism”
John Davis, Smith College
“Reanimating Slavery: Memory, Automation, and the Alabama Coon Jigger”
Christopher Dingwall, University of Chicago

Friday, April 11, 2014
American Art and Visual Culture Seminar
Rebecca Bedell, Wellesley College and Tiffany Bidler, Saint Mary’s College

“Strategic Sentimentalism: John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt”
Rebecca Bedell, Wellesley College
“Synthetic Color, Artifice, and Femininity in Thomas Eakins’s Portrait of Professor Benjamin Howard Rand and An Actress (Suzanne Santje)”
Tiffany Bidler, Saint Mary’s College