The Colonial Revival

This seminar focuses on the Colonial Revival in the United States, a complex cultural phenomenon succinctly described as “national retrospection.” Chronologically, the course ranges from the early nineteenth century to the American Revolution Bicentennial of 1976, with special attention to the revival’s heyday from circa 1880 to 1940. The Colonial Revival takes many forms, encompassing decorative arts, architecture, landscape design, painting, sculpture, graphic arts, literature, photography, and film. Key practices include forming collections, staging commemorations, and preserving historic sites. Situated within the oft-cited historical contexts of industrialization, urbanization, and immigration, the Colonial Revival intersects discourses of romantic nationalism, regionalism, progressivism, nativism, and modernity. Readings include historiography, primary sources, and recent scholarship. Museum visits may be required. 3 credits.