Ellery Foutch
Office
Axinn Center 251
Tel
(802) 443-5768
Email
efoutch@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Spring 2022: On Zoom,Tuesdays, 2-3:30, Wednesdays, 10:30 am - noon, and by appointment

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 Taught

Course Description

Intro to American Studies
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Fall 2022

Requirements

AMR, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020

Requirements

AMR, NOR

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Course Description

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) (formerly AMST 0214) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, ART, CW, NOR

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Course Description

Art and Material Culture of American (US) Middle-class home
In this course we will consider the effects of technology and mechanical reproduction on the United States home, from prints to posters, houseplants to aquariums, mass-produced decorations to home-made crafts. 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. How do race, class, gender, and issues of labor and leisure inflect the middle-class domestic sphere and relate to social concerns outside the home? We will also examine the work of contemporary artists inspired by the aesthetics and social relationships of the United States middle-class home, including Martha Rosler, Mona Hatoum, and Laurie Simmons. 3 hrs. lect. AMR, ART, NOR

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

AMR, ART, NOR

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Course Description

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. (open to AMST, HARC and ART majors only, other by approval) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

AMR, ART, HIS, NOR

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Course Description

Vermont Collaborations Public Humanities Lab
In collaboration with local archives, museums, and community organizations, we will work closely with primary sources, learning skills of transcription, analysis, and interpretation; in the spirit of Public Humanities, we will share this scholarship with the broader community, whether in the form of an exhibition, a publication, a website, podcasts, or other digital media. The focus will change annually or by sections, but this project-based course will emphasize place-based experiential learning and community partnerships in its critical engagement with histories of collections and archives. This course is part of the Public Humanities Labs Initiative administered by the Axinn Center for the Humanities.
*For Spring 2021:*
2021 marks the bicentennial of the birth of Henry Luther Sheldon, founder of Middlebury’s Sheldon Museum of Vermont History (founded 1881). In this course we will mine the Archives of the Sheldon Museum for information about the early years of the museum’s establishment, exploring institutional history, histories of collecting, and local history, alongside a critical investigation of how archives and collections are formed, developed, and made legible (or illegible) to broader publics. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2022

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Course Description

Independent Study
Select project advisor prior to registration.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Work
(Approval required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

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Course Description

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)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Winter 2022, Winter 2023

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Course Description

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. This course is part of the Public Humanities Labs Initiative administered by the Axinn Center for the Humanities.

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)

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

AMR, ART, HIS, NOR, WTR

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

ART, CW, NOR

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Publications

“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/