Friday, January 28, 2011, 2:00 - 5:00PM
Commentator: Kim Theriault, Dominican University
First Chicago: The 1812 Fort Dearborn Massacre in the Early Republic
Ann Durkin Keating, North Central College
On August 15, 1812, about 500 Potawatomi attacked about 100 U.S. soldiers and their families as they evacuated Fort Dearborn. In under an hour, 15 Indians and 52 members of Heald’s group were dead. Sculptor Carl Rohl-Smith memorialized the event in his 1893 Fort Dearborn Massacre. On prominent public display for almost a century, the statue is now in a warehouse. The embattled story of the Fort Dearborn Massacre mirrors the contested history of this event in Chicago history. Controversy about the use of the word massacre has led to renaming the event as the Battle of Fort Dearborn, while objections to the portrayal of Native Americans have led to removing the work from public display. This paper explores how this work of public art reflects a contested history, how it has shaped public perceptions of the past, and whether it should again be on public display.
Memorialization vs. Marginalization: Contemporary Vernacular Landscapes and the American Civil War
Maura Lyons, Drake University
Virginia’s governor reignited a long-smoldering controversy by declaring April 2010 “Confederate History Month” without mentioning slavery. This paper investigates similarly charged contemporary memorializations of the Confederacy and the Civil War through vernacular landscapes. These built designs, which include Gettysburg Park, a Mississippi slave market, and a housing development in Ohio, simultaneously draw from and compete against a powerful visual culture tracing back to the mid-nineteenth century. Although the designs invoke the past in order to combat the marginalization of particular locations, communities, and values within the crowded American public sphere, their visual associations may prohibit redefinitions of place, race, or class in the United States.
The seminar conversation may continue informally at a nearby restaurant if the group is interested -- all participants and presenters are welcome to attend this post-seminar gathering.
Papers are pre-circulated electronically to those who plan to attend the seminar in person. For a copy of the paper, e-mail Heather Radke at firstname.lastname@example.org,or call (312) 255-3524.
The Newberry Seminar in American Art and Visual Culture is co-sponsored by the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College Chicago, the Department of Art History at Indiana University, and the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at theUniversity of Chicago
Scholl Center for
American History and Culture
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago IL 60610
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