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“Afric-American Picture Gallery” Lesson Plan, Britt Rusert

Freshman Seminar 161: Fantasy in the Hold: Black Fantasy from Equiano to Delany
Fall 2015
Britt Rusert, brusert@princeton.edu

 

Midterm Project: Excavating the Afric-American Picture Gallery

DEADLINES

Mon., November 9: Be prepared to present on the results of your research in class

  • 5-7 minutes; feel free to bring in images, articles, or other visual or media materials that relate to your project

PROJECT DUE: Thurs., November 19, e-mailed to brusert@princeton.edu  by 5PM

This assignment will allow you to dig deeper into William J. Wilson’s “Afric-American Picture Gallery,” by doing some outside research on this incredibly rich text. Each student will pick one key artwork, figure, or section of the text upon which to conduct further research. Your research may entail looking at nineteenth-century African American portraiture, learning about important black activists in the antebellum period, researching black visual artists in the period, or learning about the history of African American newspapers and magazines. You will then (1) prepare a 5-7 page write-up that details your research findings and gives a close reading of your “art object,” inflected by your research findings.

In addition to the write-up of your research discoveries, you should include (2) a Bibliography listing your research sources (primary and secondary sources). Your bibliography should follow MLA guidelines, and you should also follow the MLA guidelines for in-text citation. See the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) for a guide to MLA style and formatting: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/

Finally, (3) attach to your project any relevant images, websites, art exhibits, or other visual or textual material that you uncovered in your research.

Midterm steps to success:

  • SIGN UP for one art object represented in the Picture Gallery
  • SIGN UP to meet with me to design a research plan for your project
  • READ the entire text carefully, and read the section pertaining to your project even more carefully
  • RESEARCH your ART OBJECT and its various historical and cultural contexts
  • COMPILE a BIBLIOGRAPHY of sources that provide context for your art object as well as Wilson’s decision to include in his virtual/textual exhibit
  • COMPOSE a research write-up that discusses your findings and also offers a close reading of this section of the text
  • PRESENT the results of your research, in class on Monday, November 9
  • HAND IN your final project (write-up, bibliography, and relevant materials) by Thursday, November 19, e-mailed to brusert@princeton.edu

Possible topics/subjects:

  • Head of Phillis Wheatley
  • Sculpture of Ira Aldridge
  • Portrait of Toussaint L’Ouverture
  • Fairy tale section of text – Voyage to the Black Forest
  • Painting of Slave Ship
  • “Picture” of the “First and Last Colored Editor”
    • painting about the origins of the black press in the United States
  • Head of Crispus Attucks
  • Sunset of Abbeokuta (Nigeria)
  • Underground Railroad Paintings
  • Painting of Mount Vernon
  • Painting of a Black church in the South
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