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Ellery Foutch

Assistant Professor of American Studies

 
 work(802) 443-5768
 Fall 2020: by appointment
 Axinn Center 251

Ellery Foutch, assistant professor in American Studies, teaches courses on the art and material culture of the United States. She received her BA from Wellesley College, an MA from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, and her PhD in the History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania. Her recent articles include an exploration of patents for portable magic lantern projectors and illuminated, wearable technologies (for Modernism/modernity), and an analysis of nineteenth-century glass ballot boxes and notions of political transparency (for Common-place). Her current book manuscript investigates fascinations with perfection and its preservation in art and natural history of the nineteenth century.

 

Courses

Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

AMST 0101 - Intro to American Studies:      

Topic is determined by the instructor - refer to section for the course description.

Spring 2018, Spring 2020

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AMST 0205 / HARC 0205 - World War I & American Art      

World War I and American Art
This year (2017) marks the centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I. How did the “Great War” change American culture? How do we remember World War I, and how might its cultural products inform American identity? How did artists react to social turmoil and violence? In this course, we will examine the art and artifacts of American involvement in World War I, from posters (“Uncle Sam Wants You!”), flag parades, paintings, and films to prostheses, monuments, and memorials, as well as the war’s effect on gender roles and race relations. How might Middlebury observe the one hundredth anniversary of the war? 3 hrs. lect. AMR ART HIS NOR

Fall 2017

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AMST 0209 / ENAM 0209 - Am. Lit. & Cult: origins-1830      

American Literature and Culture: Origins-1830
A study of literary and other cultural forms in early America, including gravestones, architecture, furniture and visual art. We will consider how writing and these other forms gave life to ideas about religion, diversity, civic obligation and individual rights that dominated not only colonial life but that continue to influence notions of "Americanness" into the present day. Required for all majors and minors.3 hrs. lect./disc. AMR LIT NOR

Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2020

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AMST 0214 - Capturing Nature      

Mastodons, Mermaids, and Dioramas: Capturing Nature in America
Why did 18th-century museums stuff and mount exotic and domestic animals? Why does the American Museum of Natural History still house dioramas of so-called native peoples hunting? How has the study and staging of nature transferred into various kinds of artistic expression? In this course we will examine the intertwining of art, science, and ecology in the United States from the 1700s to the present day. Objects of study will include museum dioramas, scientific models, artifacts and artworks collected during scientific expeditions, and the work of Walton Ford and Christy Rupp, contemporary artists whose work engages ecological issues. (not open to students who have taken FYSE 1447) 3 hrs. lect. AMR ART NOR

Fall 2016

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AMST 0243 - American Bodies      

American Bodies
Bodies are sites and sources of pain and pleasure, pride and shame, suffering and resistance. The events of 2020 have revealed the vulnerabilities of our bodies to an unprecedented degree: vulnerabilities not only to disease, but also to inequities in healthcare, labor conditions, and police violence. Even as we have been inundated with messages about public health and images of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, we have also seen bodies deployed as vehicles for protest. Which “American Bodies” are represented, and how? In this course we will analyze a variety of media, from scientific and medical illustration to performance art, memorials, and popular culture, critically examining the roles and constructions of race, gender, sexuality, and class. 3 hrs. lect. AMR NOR

Fall 2019, Fall 2020

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AMST 0281 / HARC 0281 - Controversies in AmArt&Museums      

Viewer Discretion Advised: Controversies in American Art & Museums, 1876-Present
What are the “culture wars,” and why do they matter? What ideas are considered too “obscene” for American audiences? In this course we will explore controversies and scandals sparked by public displays of art in the U.S. including: Eakins’s Gross Clinic (1876), seen as too “bloody” for an art exhibition; the U.S. Navy’s objections to Paul Cadmus’s painting of sailors (1934); censorship and NEA budget cuts (Mapplethorpe & Serrano, 1989); backlash to The West as America’s deconstruction of myths of the frontier (1991); tensions surrounding Colonial Williamsburg’s “slave auction” reenactment (1994); debates over the continued display (and occasional defacement) of Confederate monuments in the era of the Black Lives Matter Movement. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AMR ART HIS NOR

Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

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AMST 0339 / HARC 0339 - Home: The Way We Live      

Home: The Why Behind the Way We Live
In this course we will examine the development of numerous housing types in America (with references to Europe). The prevalence of the single-family home today and its importance as the symbol of the “American dream” was never a forgone conclusion. In fact, the American home has been the focus of and battleground for cooperative movements, feminism, municipal socialism, benevolent capitalism, and government interventions on a national scale. 3 hrs. sem. AMR ART HIS NOR

Spring 2017

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AMST 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Select project advisor prior to registration.

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021

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AMST 0701 - Senior Work I      

Senior Work
(Approval required)

Fall 2019, Fall 2020

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AMST 0710 - Honors Thesis      

Honors Thesis
For students who have completed AMST 0705, and qualify to write two-credit interdisciplinary honors thesis. on some aspect of American culture. The thesis may be completed on a fall/winter schedule or a fall/spring schedule. (Select a thesis advisor prior to registration)

Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021

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AMST 1017 - Material Culture in Focus      

Material Culture in Focus
In this course we will investigate material culture, objects made or altered by human hands and design. We will keep a tight focus on one object or group of objects, cultivating an in-depth understanding and benefitting from access to local collections, curators, makers, and users. The focus will change annually, but the subject will always be an object of material culture that students will examine first-hand and research. Students will then create a lasting documentation and analysis of the work for public benefit, whether as an exhibition, a publication, or a website.

For Winter 2021, we will focus on hair and hairwork, exploring the multivalent meanings of hair in American culture, past and present. Nineteenth-century Americans often saved or exchanged locks of hair as mementos, constructing elaborate items of jewelry or keepsake wreaths that emblematized familial relationships and kinship networks. These tokens could serve memorial purposes or solidify friendships. This material, crafted from the body, was often worn on the body, near the heart, or displayed within the intimate space of the home. In more recent decades, hair has become an activist issue and a potent political medium for artists foregrounding feminism and ethnic or racial identity. In this course, we will study many artifacts of hairwork in local collections, conducting archival research and sharing our findings via a website and exhibition; a studio workshop will give us hands-on experience with Victorian techniques of hairwork. We’ll also consider the work of contemporary artists who use hair as a medium: Janine Antoni, Mark Bradford, Sonya Clark, Aisha Cousins, Wenda Gu, David Hammons, Althea Murphy-Price, Paula Santiago. (This course is open to AMST, ART, HIST, and HARC majors, others by waiver) AMR ART HIS NOR WTR

Winter 2018, Winter 2021

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FYSE 1447 - Capturing Nature      

Mastodons, Mermaids, and Dioramas: Capturing Nature in the Americas
Why did 18th-century museums stuff and mount exotic and domestic animals? Why does the American Museum of Natural History still house dioramas of so-called "native peoples" hunting? How has the study and staging of nature transferred into various kinds of artistic expression? In this seminar we will examine the intertwining of art, science, and ecology in the United States from the 1700s to the present day. Objects of study will include museum dioramas, scientific models, artifacts, and artworks collected during scientific expeditions, as well as the work of Walton Ford and Christy Rupp, contemporary artists whose works engage ecological issues. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW NOR

Fall 2019

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Published Works:

“Bringing Students into the Picture: Teaching with Tableaux Vivants,” Art History Pedagogy & Practice 2, no. 2 (2017): https://academicworks.cuny.edu/ahpp/vol2/iss2/3

“Capturing Nature: American Artists’ Pursuit of Natural History,” Flora/Fauna: The Naturalist Impulse in American Art, ed. Jennifer Stettler Parsons (Old Lyme, CT: Florence Griswold Museum, 2017): 74-95.

“Moving Pictures: Magic Lanterns, Translucent Hats, and Urban Advertising in the Nineteenth Century,” Modernism/modernity 23, no. 4 (Nov. 2016): 733-769 and https://modernismmodernity.org/articles/moving-pictures-magic-lanterns

“The Glass Ballot Box and Political Transparency,” Common-place 16:4, Special issue on politics and elections (Fall 2016): http://common-place.org/article/glass-ballot-box-political-transparency/

“Introduction” and Guest Editor of “Art and Invention in the U.S.: Special Feature” for Panorama Issue 3 (Summer 2016): http://journalpanorama.org/art-and-invention-in-the-united-states/

Program in American Studies

Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753