The American Civil War: Art and Material Culture

This course examines the intersection between 1861 and 1865 of internecine conflict, involuntary African immigration and enslavement, and Indian genocide. Discussion will focus on the role material culture and visual representation played in the prosecution of warfare, and continue to play in its remembrance. Participants will analyze varied material, from clothing to entire landscapes, photographs, illustrated magazines, ceramics, and statuary. Classes will be devoted to photography for reportage and portraiture, the treatment of the wounded and the dead, public and domestic statuary, intimate possessions of citizens, slaves, and Natives, conflicts between colonists and Natives, and commemoration and re-enactment. The lives, possessions, and representations of women are as important as those of men. Envisaged field trips to museums and sites include the Armory of the 7th New York Regiment, Green-Wood Cemetery, and the mid-nineteenth-century African American community of Weeksville. 3 credits.