Sarah Carter, Harvard University and Sascha Scott, Syracuse University | Newberry

Sarah Carter, Harvard University and Sascha Scott, Syracuse University

Friday, September 21, 2012

2 pm to 5 pm

Towner Fellows’ Lounge

Center for American History and Culture Programs
American Art and Visual Culture Seminar

“Picture Lessons: Object Teaching and Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture”
Sarah Carter, Harvard University

Object lessons—structured classroom exercises organized around the study of material things—were popular across the United States in the mid nineteenth century.  Educators employed objects and pictures to teach children to reason about moral issues, the differences between reality and representation, race, citizenship, and capitalism.  This chapter examines how images were used as classroom tools to transform the ways children both acquired and ordered information drawn from the material world. I analyze several groups of lithographs in the context of the classroom lesson plans created for them to argue that object lesson pedagogy may offer a new method for analyzing nineteenth-century visual culture.

“Awa Tsireh’s Paintings and the Art of Subtle Resistance”
Sascha Scott, Syracuse University

Awa Tsireh, a painter from San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico, developed an art of subtle resistance in the 1920s, a time when Pueblo culture was being persecuted by the Indian Bureau and was under siege by tourists and anthropologists. Awa Tsireh’s visual language, one bounded by Pueblo epistemologies, reveals the ways in which Pueblo artists navigated these colonial forces. By deploying evasive visual strategies—silences, misdirection, coding, and masking—Pueblo painters celebrated their culture at a time when it was under attack, helped to develop a market that benefited themselves and their communities, and did so while protecting boundaries of Pueblo knowledge.

Commentator: Scott Stevens, Newberry Library


Cost and Registration Information 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, e-mail the Scholl Center at  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.