This seminar will examine how to use visual evidence to recapture essential debates at five critical moments in American history: the Civil War, the Progressive Era, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Civil Rights Movement. Americans have always used images to communicate with one another. Images are not merely illustrations of history. They are essential primary source documents. Images have shaped American history, influencing both the course of events and our historical memory. Critically analyzing a document requires practice and skill; the same is true for using images effectively as windows on the past. Teaching visually involves contextualizing paintings, photographs, advertisements, political cartoons, and films in their historical moment, uncovering the story of their creation and reception, analyzing how they capture the essence of the national debate underway at a particular historical moment, and seeing how their meaning changes over time. Properly analyzing images also requires linking them to the documents of the era. Teaching visually is not a path to reading less, it is a way to expand our understanding of how images have shaped history and the historical record.
Readings are sent by the Institute to seminar participants. Readings may include:
Sontag, Susan. Regarding the Pain of Others. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002.
Travel & Accommodations
Chapman University is located in Orange, California. Orange is situated near many state freeways, as well as Interstate 5.
Airport shuttles are available from a variety of local airports, including John Wayne/Orange County Airport (SNA) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
For driving directions visit the Chapman University website.
Workshop participants will be housed in on-campus residence halls. Participants will have their own rooms, but share bathrooms and common space on each floor. Participants will have access to computer clusters, but many choose to bring laptops.
The university provides basic bedding and towels only. Please note that participants should plan to bring alarm clocks, shower shoes, hangers, irons, and hair dryers. There are a few communal kitchenettes located in the building but not within each suite; however, participants should bring their own utensils. Housekeeping services are provided throughout the week.
Meals will be served in a university cafeteria in space shared by other programs. All on-campus meals will be paid for by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
Each summer seminar participant will receive reimbursement of travel expenses up to $400. Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the seminar.
Participants traveling internationally or from Alaska and Hawaii receive a $500 stipend in lieu of reimbursement upon completion of the seminar.
Applicants to seminars should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the $400 allowance is insufficient to cover all travel expenses.
Our reimbursement policy has changed from previous years. For more information on our policy click here.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is proud to announce its agreement with Adams State University to offer three hours of graduate credit in American history to participating seminar teachers. For more information click here.
Email the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.