How this course works.

This course could easily be run with a different set of objects each semester (paintings, photographs, quilts, sculpture, buildings, etc.)  I have made choices for the lessons based on what I hope will work well for the class. We are by no means limited to my list and students are invited to make substitutes or change the plan. We will get into how to do that when we meet.

Weekly assignments:

The class will meet once a week for 15 weeks. There are 13 lessons posted with readings, videos, and links to museums and other resources. We will spend about one class on each lesson, with the remaining time set aside for projects, prepping for museum visits, working on papers, and exams.

Each lesson is broken into two parts:

  • Assignments to finish before class, and
  • Assignments to do if time allows.

If you can, do it all. If not, do your best.

  • BROWSE means look at the pictures, read the headings, and skim or sample the text.
  • READ means follow the argument or narrative. Come away with the main points.
  • FOCUS means get out the highlighter, read closely, raise questions.

The Seeing America videos are full of information. Most are about 6 minutes long, but they are carefully edited and packed with good insights and excellent visuals.

American Encounters
Miller, Angela L.; Berlo, Janet Catherine; Wolf, Bryan J.; and Roberts, Jennifer L., “American Encounters: Art, History, and Cultural Identity” (2018). Books and Monographs. 39.


It should open on any laptop or mobile device, but the larger the screen, the easier it is to read. I have it on both an Android phone and in the Apple Books app, which allows for highlighting, bookmarks, and keyword searches. Let me know right away if you need help with this. If you would rather use a print version, Amazon has rentals. Used copies are usually available.

Every lesson will include videos and articles from the Seeing America project on the Smarthistory site. Sometimes the videos will mirror subject matter from the book; often they bring in new material.




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