Ellery Foutch

Assistant Professor of American Studies

 
 work(802) 443-5768
 Fall 2017: Wednesday 12:30-2:30, Friday 10:00-11:00 or by appointment
 Axinn Center at Starr Library

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.

https://modernismmodernity.org/articles/moving-pictures-magic-lanterns

http://common-place.org/article/glass-ballot-box-political-transparency/

 

 

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 2016, Spring 2018

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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. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AMR LIT NOR

Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017

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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. 3 hrs. lect. AMR ART NOR

Fall 2014, Fall 2016

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AMST 0243 - American Bodies      

American Bodies
In this course we will examine the material culture of the body and the body as material culture. Themes to be explored include skin (tattoos, tans, cosmetics), muscle (exercise and ideal bodies, historical and contemporary), adornment (fashion, jewelry, body modification practices), health crazes, performance, medical imaging, and enhancement (fictional and technological cyborgs, plastic surgery). We will explore practices that fragment the body and objects that were exchanged as tokens of affection, such as 19th century hairwork and eye miniatures. Historical figures to be discussed include cosmetics magnate Madame C.J. Walker, health enthusiasts Sylvester Graham and the Kellogg brothers, bodybuilder and exercise entrepreneur Eugen Sandow, dancer Josephine Baker, efficiency expert Frederick Winslow Taylor, and P.T. Barnum’s collaborations with performers such as Tom Thumb and the conjoined twins Chang and Eng. 3 hrs. lect. AMR NOR

Fall 2014

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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

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AMST 0324 / HARC 0324 - AmCiv War: Art&Visual Culture      

The American Civil War in Art and Visual Culture, Present
We will examine the art, artifacts, and material culture of the “War Between the States,” from flag and uniform design, periodical illustrations, and photography, to Sanitary Fairs, fundraisers, and keepsakes. History and genre paintings by Winslow Homer and Lilly Martin Spencer will illuminate both battlefield and homefront. We will also explore the legacy of the Civil War, analyzing monuments and memorials, anniversary commemorations (especially the 1960s Centennial and the Civil Rights Movement), reenactments, and contemporary artists’ engagement with the War’s visual imagery (Kara Walker, Glenn Ligon, Matthew Day Jackson). Several sessions will meet at the Middlebury College Museum of Art. 3 hrs. lect. AMR ART HIS NOR

Spring 2015, Spring 2016

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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 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018

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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)

Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018

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AMST 1014 - American Middle Class Home      

The American Middle-Class Home, 1850-Today: The Domestic Interior
In this course we will study the visual and material culture of the American middle-class home, 1850 to today. In contrast to the prevailing interest in the high-end decorative arts and homes of the very wealthy, we will examine mass-produced decorations and home-made crafts. How have people constructed and communicated their identities via domestic interiors? How do toys mirror or shape our perceptions of home? From prints to posters, houseplants to aquariums, this course will consider the effects of technology and mechanical reproduction on the look of domesticity. We will also study the culture of at-home visual entertainments, from early “magic lanterns” and optical toys to the effects of televisions and computers on perception and social life. ART HIS NOR WTR

Winter 2016

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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 2018, we will focus on a “relic chair” of the Henry Sheldon Museum. Following the style of the classic Windsor chair and its democratic associations (Windsor chairs famously populate Independence Hall and were the seats of choice for those writing and debating the Constitution), Henry Sheldon crafted this particular chair using at least twenty-five different kinds of wood; each spindle comes from a famous landmark, ship, site, or artifact. Students will investigate the history of the form, the practice of chair-making, Colonial Revivals, the significance of the tradition of the “relic,” and its subsequent influence. We will have first-hand experience with wood-working and exhibition-building, creating our own Middlebury “relic chair” as well as a website that will share our research, findings, and analysis with a broader public. AMR ART HIS NOR WTR

Winter 2018

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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 2015

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Program in American Studies

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