Dr. Elizabeth Lee, Art & Art History

American Art: Power, Place, Identity

I attended the Valley & Ridge workshop to develop sustainability connections in my American Art: Power, Place, Identity (ArtH204) course, and walked away with more ideas that I can probably incorporate into a single class, but the key concepts I plan to build on are experiential and place-based learning. A unit in the course focuses on nineteenth-century landscape, considering how the land became a subject in art and what interests in represents from the early days of European settlement through western expansion to the start of the conservation movement at the turn of the twentieth century. From Valley and Ridge, I plan to adapt the “looking at landscape” exercise to sensitize students to the different ways landscape can be seen. We plan to do this on the Dickinson Farm, where we will also take a tour focused on sustainable agricultural practices. Another unit in the course examines slavery and the Civil War. This section will provide an additional opportunity for experiential and place-based learning through the House Divided project, which recently published a report on Dickinson and slavery and has created a slavery walking tour of campus. We plan to read the report and take the walking tour with a student guide from House Divided, using the experience to carry us into current national discussions on slavery and remembrance. Toward the end of the class, I expect to assign a project in which students address the question of how we memorialize the history of African-Americans in the US with reference to national examples but with an eye on local history and on Dickinson’s history in particular.