Although it is increasingly common for history texts to include stunning visual materials, the historical pedagogy to use such materials continues to lag behind other fields such as American Studies or art history. Visual sources provide early American historians a number of opportunities to recast the way the survey course is taught. Rethinking the survey to take advantage of visual materials can take at least three basic forms:
1) Illustrating major themes visually
2) Reading visual sources as historical texts
3) Recognizing the power of visual materials as agents of historical change
By examining colonial furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, early images of African-Americans in colonial portraiture, and Moravian religious art, this presentation will explore the potential of visual materials to recast the way the survey course is taught and provide some examples of the three interpretive models in which visual materials can achieve this end.
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