Imaging Africans and African Americans in the United States
From the Revolution to the Harlem Renaissance
History of Art 117 (1)

K. Dian Kriz
List 410; 863-7286;
Office hours: Thurdays, 2-4:30 pm and by appt
This course examines forms of visual culture-paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture-that participate in the formation of racial, social and national identity in the US from c. 1776 until 1930. Focuses on how visual culture figured African and African Americans in their interrelationships with each other and with other social groups in the U.S.

Course Information | Syllabus
Internet Resources |Bibliography
Research Assistance | What's New | Web CT

Course Information

Course Reserves: Titles are on reserve at the Rockefeller Library

Assignments: Students will be required to write one page reaction papers each week on the readings, do a 20 minute oral presentation that will be linked to a 10-15 page research paper. Information on the paper/presentation will be distributed later.

Grading: 20% class participation, 20% oral presentation, 60% research paper (reaction papers are ungraded but required).



7 Sept: Introduction
14 Sept : The matter of blackness and whiteness

Ms. Rosemary Cullen, head special collections librarian at the John Hay Library, will also speak to us about the Brown collection of African American sheet music and other relevant printed sources at the Hay.


•  Morrison, Toni, “Black Matter(s),” in Richter, David, ed., Falling into Theory , pp. 310-22. Copies available in the HA 117 box which is next to the wall by my library carrel, #A52 (on A level of the ROCK).

•  Boime, Albert, The Art of Exclusion , pp. 1-13.

•  Dyer, Richard, White , pp.1-40

21 Sept. : Imprinting Africans and African Americans:


•  Lacey, Barbara, “Visual Images of Blacks in Early American Imprints,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3 rd series, 53:1 (January 1996), pp. 137-180. Available online

•  Joanne Melish, Disowning Slavery, pp. 163-209.

•  Marcus Wood, Blind Memory , pp. 78-142.

28 Sept : Representing the black body in art and art history


•  Pinder, Kymberly, “Black Representation and Western Survey Textbook,” Art Bulletin 81:3 (Sept. 1999), pp. 553-38. Available online

•  Collins, Lisa Gail, The History of Art: African-American Women Artists Engage the Past , pp. 36-63

•  Hills, Patricia, “Painting Race: Eastman Johnson's Pictures of Slaves, Ex-slaves and Freemen,” from Teresa Carbone and Patricia Hills , eds., Eastman Johnson: Painting America , pp. 121-66.

5 Oct : Memorializing Slavery and Emancipation in Public Sculpture


•  Savage, Kirk, Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves , pp. 21-88.

•  Hatt, Michael, “”Making a Man of Him': Masculinity and the Black Body in Mid-Nineteenth Century American Sculpture,” Oxford Art Journal 15:1 (1992): 21-35. Available online

12 Oct : Blacking up, identity, and minstrelsy: views from literature, history and art history

Class meeting at the John Hay Library on Prospect Street (meet in foyer)

Profs. Coppelia Kahn (English) and Susan Smulyan (American Civilization) will talk with us about this topic. We'll use printed resources at the Hay for the class.

Readings :

•  Kahn, Coppelia , “ Forbidden Mixtures: Shakespeare in Blackface Minstrelsy, 1844,” manuscript article, copies in HA 117 box by my Carrel, A 52 at the ROCK.

•  Lott, Eric, Love and Theft , pp. 15-62.

19 Oct.: Photography: private and public (re)productions of black and white bodies


•  Smith, Shawn Michelle, Photography on the Color Line , pp. 43-145. (Textbook, not in course packet)

•  Dyer, R., White , pp. 82-142.

26 Oct : Harlem Renaissance and muralism (including a Rhode Island post office mural, The Activities of the Narragansett Planters ) :


•  Please look at and read all the webpages on the website for the Wakefield mural my graduate practicum produced last semester. I'll furnish you with the url at least a week before this class.

•  Locke, Alain, “Enter the New Negro,” Survey Graphic Harlem Number (March 1925). Available online . The same issue, with Enter the New Negro, Alain Locke, and other pieces

•  George Schuyler, "The Negro Art Hokum," The Nation 122 ( June 16, 1926 ): 662–3. Available online

•  Hughes, Langston, "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," Nation , Vol. CXXII (June 16-23, 1926). Available online

•  Powell, Richard, “Re/Birth of a Nation,” in Rhapsodies in Black , pp.14-33.

•  Gates, Henry Louis, “ Harlem on My Mind,” in Rhapsodies in Black , pp. 160-7.

2 Nov.: African Americans in early 20 th century film

Prof. Joshua Stenger, specialist in film, Wheaton College will visit.

Readings : To be announced

9 Nov.: Presentations
16 Nov. : Presentations
23 Nov. : No class, Thanksgiving
30 Nov. : Presentations
9 Dec. : Research papers due, 5 pm , in box marked HA 117 placed in print closet, next to my office, List 410 .


Internet Resources

Brown University Library Databases and Resources:

Image Resources. A guide to locating image resources at Brown and on the web.

Accunet/AP Photo Archive. An electronic library containing the Associated Press' current photos and also a selection of pictures from their 50 million image print and negative library. Includes audio.

America: History and Life. 1954-present; article abstracts and citations of reviews and dissertations on the history and culture of the United States and Canada.

AMICA Library. A growing image collection of more than 100,000 works of art digitized by museums in the United States, Canada, and Britain, representing objects from all cultures and time periods. Includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, decorative art, and utilitarian objects.

Anita.The Art Slide Library catalog of slides and photographs.

Anthropological Literature. 1984-present; indexes articles on anthropology and archaeology, including art history, demography, economics, psychology, and religion.

Art Abstracts. 1984-present; indexes periodicals, yearbooks, museum bulletins, exhibition listings, and interviews in 250 key international English-language arts publications.

Art Index Retrospective. 1929-1984; cumulates citations from volumes 1-32 of the printed Art Index. In addition to art and architecture, topics covered include advertising, antiques, archaeology, crafts, industrial design, motion pictures, museology, photography, and television.

Arts and Humanities Citation Index. 1988-present; source for information in all arts and humanities disciplines. Useful for retrieving recent articles which cite a known earlier article. Includes some full text.

Bibliography of the History of Art. 1973-present; covers European and American art from late antiquity to the present.

The Great American History Fact Finder (xreferplus).

Grove Dictionary of Art Online. Prehistory to the present; a comprehensive full-text online reference resource for Art History. Includes some full text.

Historical Abstracts. 1977-present; article abstracts and citations of books and dissertations on the history of the world from 1450 to the present. Excludes the U. S. and Canada

Humanities Abstracts. February 1984-present; more than 300 periodicals in archaeology, art, classics, film, folklore, journalism, linguistics, music, the performing arts, philosophy, religion, world history, and world literature. Includes some full text.

IIBP Full Text (International Index to Black Periodicals Full Text). 1910 - present; multi-disciplinary, international database that includes current and retrospective bibliographic citations and abstracts from over 150 scholarly and popular journals, newspapers and newsletters from the United States, Africa and the Caribbean. Full text coverage of 31 core Black Studies periodicals (1998 forward)is also included.

International Repertory of the History of Art. 1975-1989;Includes abstracts and indexes on all aspects of European and American art and architecture.

Josiah. Current; Brown University's online library catalog, provides access to information about books, periodicals, and other materials owned by the Brown libraries.

Electronic Journals:

African- American Review

Art History

Bibliography of the History of Art

Cultural Studies

Ethnic and Racial Studies


Journal of American History

Journal of American Studies

Journal of Black Studies (JSTOR)

Journal of Modern History (JSTOR)

Journal of Negro History (JSTOR) 1916-1996

Journal of Social History

Many more databases, electronic journals, and internet search services can be found on the Library's e-resources web page.

Other Internet Resources:

African-American Sheet Music
Brown University Library
American Memory at the Library of Congress

Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture
University of Virginia

African-American Odyssey
American Memory at the Library of Congress

African-American Perspectives
American Memory at the Library of Congress

African-American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920
Selections from the Ohio Historical Society
American Memory at the Library of Congress

African-American Mosaic: Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture
Library of Congress

By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s
American Memory at the Library of Congress

Selected Civil War Photographs
American Memory at the Library of Congress

America's first Look into the Camera: Daguerrotype Portraits and Views 1839-1864
American Memory at the Library of Congress

America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
American Memory at the Library of Congress

William P. Gottlieb: Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz
American Memory at the Library of Congress

Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten 1932-1965
American Memory at the Library of Congress

By the People For the People: Posters from the WPA 1936-1945
American Memory at the Library of Congress

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Finding Aids
New York Public Library

Images of African-Americans from the Nineteenth Century
The Digital Schomburg, New York Public Library

Archives of African American Music & Culture
Indiana University

African-American History and Culture
Smithsonian Institution

Amistad Research Center
Tulane University
(currently broken link but I don't want to remove)

California African American Museum

Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museum for African Art
New York

African-American Art on the Internet
B. Davis Schwartz Memoral Library, Long Island University

Perspectives in American Literature: The Harlem Renaissance
Paul Rueben, California State University



Selected bibliography for African-American Sheet Music. A part of Brown's digital project.

African-American Sheet Music 1850-1920. Includes many illustrated works. A particular focus of the project is on images of African-Americans.

Essential References in the section on African-American Literature in the Research Guide to the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays at the John Hay Library. Each title listed includes a link to the Josiah record for that title.


Research Assistance

For library instruction, help with research, questions about accessing the sites or works cited here, please contact:
Head Special Collections Librarian
The John Hay Library

Please feel free to e-mail, call or visit!

Humanities Discipline Group The John Hay Library History of Art