Materializing the Marginal: Race, Gender, and Class in the long Eighteenth Century

Parsons School of Design: Art/Design Hist & Theory

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Majors Only

Materializing the Marginal

Spring 2022

Taught By: Tracy Ehrlich

Section: A

CRN: 8508

Credits: 3

Among the main preoccupations of the age of Enlightenment was the nature of human diversity. In eighteenth-century Europe an eagerness to categorize human beings led to a construction of race in which skin color was the primary racial marker. Scientific theorists associated the color white with light and intelligence. Johann Joachim Winckelmann eloquently fabricated a mythical “white” Greek antiquity, contributing to the birth of Neoclassical aesthetics that linked whiteness with beauty and power. This course seeks to interrogate the relationship between the marginalized body and material culture during this “enlightened” age, particularly the way material things and objects were employed to signify race, gender, and class. Like the marginalized bodies we will address, material objects and goods often deemed marginal – such as fans, cosmetics, or dressing tables – demand re-examination as potent sources of identity construction. As often as material things worked to reinforce social hierarchy, equally often they worked to subvert social norms. Rather than proceeding stylistically, chronologically, or geographically, this class will move thematically, considering such topics as gendered spaces and furnishings; sociability and craft; the intersection of landscape and labor; race at the table; sourcing and the erasure of colonial identity in the Atlantic world. Our aim is not to be historically comprehensive. Discussions will be wide-ranging geographically – including France, England, Italy, and Spain as well as Spanish America and the Caribbean. Students may extend their research projects to Eastern Europe, China, Japan, and the Ottoman Empire.

Open to: All university graduate degree students.

College: Parsons School of Design (PS)

Department: Art/Design Hist & Theory (PGHT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Lecture (L)

Max Enrollment: 15

Add/Drop Deadline: February 6, 2022 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 17, 2022 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 7:28am 5/20/2022 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday

Times: 1:55pm - 3:45pm

Building: Academic Entrance 63 Fifth Ave

Room: 411

Date Range: 1/25/2022 - 5/10/2022