TV for lovers of history, art, furniture, and more

For those who may have missed David Jaffee’s talk on “Learning to Look at Early American Material Culture” when he presented it at AAS this fall (or for those who want to see it again), you’re in luck! The program will be airing on C-SPAN 3 this weekend at the following times:

  • Sat. 2/11 @ 11am ET
  • Sun. 2/12 @ 6pm ET
  • Mon. 2/13 @ 7am ET
  • Even if you don’t get C-SPAN, the presentation will be streaming live on the internet. And even if you are busy all this weekend, early next week the entire broadcast will be available to watch at your convenience in C-SPAN’s video library.

    A preview is available on C-SPAN’s website now.

    Click on the portrait to learn more about it and others in AAS's portraits collection

    Synopsis of the Talk
    In the middle of the nineteenth century, middle-class Americans embraced a new culture of domestic consumption, one that centered on chairs and clocks as well as family portraits and books. How did that new world of goods, represented by Victorian parlors filled with overstuffed furniture and daguerreotype portraits, come into being? David Jaffee will talk about the significant role of provincial artisans in four crafts in the northeastern United States – chairmaking, clockmaking, portrait painting, and book publishing – to explain the shift from preindustrial society to an entirely new configuration of work, commodities, and culture. His lecture will focus on many of the objects beloved by decorative arts scholars and collectors to evoke the vitality of village craft production and culture in the decades after the War of Independence.

    About the Speaker
    David Jaffee is Professor and Head of New Media Research at the Bard Graduate Center. Trained as a cultural historian, he has extensively studied the culture of the preindustrial northeast. His 1999 book, People of the Wachusett: Greater New England in History and Memory, 1630-1860, looked at town founders and local historians in Worcester County. He is now at work on a new project, New York as Cultural Capital, looking at how the nineteenth-century domestic interior – and the parlor in particular – was filled with furniture, displays of stereographs, plaster figures, and chromolithographs. He has held fellowships at several institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Winterthur Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the American Antiquarian Society. He is a member of the American Antiquarian Society, and he is on the board of the Society’s Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC).

    Professor Jaffee is also interested in pedagogy and the incorporation of new media. He has published several essays on teaching and learning with new media publications, as well as directed two NEH projects to develop multimedia resources for the history classroom. He has led numerous new faculty development seminars and programs, including the NEH-supported New Media Classroom, Learning to Look with the American Social History Program and AAS’s CHAViC Summer Seminar on Interpreting Historical Images for Teaching and Images.

    Published by

    Elizabeth Watts Pope

    Curator of Books, American Antiquarian Society

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