Summer Seminar: American Visual Culture at AAS (Deadline: 3.21.14)

The Center for historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC) at the American Antiquarian Society encourages and facilitates the use and understanding of popular images by scholars in a variety of disciplines including American studies, history, art and architectural history, English, gender studies, literature, religion, theatre, and environmental studies. The 2014 Summer Seminar, The Art of Science and Technology, 1750-1900, will be held Sunday July 13 through Thursday July 17 at the American Antiquarian Society’s library in Worcester, MA.

The 2014 seminar will take a broad and inclusive view of science and technology in the era before academic and corporate institutions came to dominate both.  In addition to the formal disciplines of scientific inquiry pursued by “gentlemen of science”—botany, geology, medicine and the like—we will also consider the popularity of science and pseudo-science in public life, along with the practical applications of scientific knowledge in everyday life, such as gardening and cooking, especially by women.  By the same token, our notion of technology includes both the large, transformative developments—factories and railroads, for instance—and also the smaller, more immediate technologies of the home and artisan’s shop, including the technologies of art and science themselves.  The goal of the seminar is to help participants see science and technology in the ways American people might have done before 1900, and to bring those lessons in “how to look” and an array of related visual materials to their research and teaching.


Through workshops and lectures the seminar will allow participants first-hand access to the rich collections of eighteenth and nineteenth-century prints, photographs, book illustrations, periodicals, newspapers, maps, sheet music covers, and ephemera of all kinds at AAS. The seminar will include a field trip to an historic site exploring the American Industrial Revolution.


The seminar will be led by Gregory Nobles, Professor of History; Director, Honors Program, Georgia Institute of Technology. Guest faculty will include Susan Branson, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Syracuse University.


The application deadline is March 21, 2013. Application forms and further details about the seminar can be found at


The cost is the seminar is $750, which includes lunch each day and two evening meals. Limited financial aid is available. Please specify in your application statement if you require aid. For further information, please contact Nan Wolverton, Director of CHAViC, at or (508) 471-2119.