Declaring American Cultural Independence
Monday, January 17 | 7-8:30 pm
$15 members/$25 non-members
Before the Revolution, most American colonists had tended to think of themselves as British and were often deeply enamored with the culture and fashions of their cousins in London. That shifted after 1783 as many new citizens tried to kick start a distinctively American culture; to give America a national character different and distinctive from the national character of Britain. In this talk, we’ll survey many different ways that these artists and intellectuals tried to declare their cultural independence, before zeroing in on Noah Webster, the Connecticut schoolmaster who spent his life trying to persuade ordinary Americans to rethink their relationship with the British Empire’s mother tongue: the English language.
Virtual Seminars: New Perspectives on American History
In conjunction with the exhibition, For America: Paintings from the National Academy of Design, we are offering a series of 90-minute live virtual seminars that explore American history and culture.
The seminars are led by Dr. Richard Bell, Professor of History at the University of Maryland and author of the book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home, a finalist for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize. He has held research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar Award and the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship.
Credit: Walter Ufer Jim,1918Oil on canvas, 40 ⅛ × 36 ¼ in. National Academy of Design, New York Photo Credit: Image by Google Courtesy American Federation of Arts