ARTH 061. Art and Culture of Indigenous Philadelphia: From Shackamaxon to the Present
(Cross-listed as ENVS 056)
For millennia prior to the signing of the “Great Treaty” by William Penn and Chief Tamanend of the Lenape under the Treaty Elm at Shackamaxon, Indigenous peoples have played a central role in the history of Philadelphia and the art and material culture of theregion. This course will examine the visual and material histories of Indigenous communities, artists, and leaders of present-day Philadelphia and its surrounding ancestral territories, from pre-contact to the present. We will consider the history of the city and the land upon which it stands as an Indigenous place, one that has been occupied since time immemorial by Indigenous peoples and that has served as a gathering place and cross-roads for the travelers, diplomats, and storytellers of many Native nations. We will consider how the Indigenous history of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania more broadly reflects on and is interrogable through present-day sites and constructions of civicidentity, and how to this day a resurgent Indigenous community calls Philadelphia home. Among topics for close study are the archaeologyand material culture of the Eastern Woodlands and ancestral Lenape territory, including earthworks, mounds, and their environmentalrelations; Euro-American representations of Indigenous peoples and the landscape from early contact through the nineteenth century, including important scenes in the city’s history such as Benjamin West’s Penn’s Treaty with the Indians and portraits of Indigenous leadersand diplomats passing through the city as part of delegations to the nation’s capital in Washington, DC; Indigenous oral histories of andvisual representations of such histories, such as the Shackamaxon wampum belt; monuments and the memorialization of colonial history; and modern and contemporary Indigenous art and exhibitions that reflect Philadelphia as vibrant urban Indigenous center.
Eligible for ENVS, ESCH
Fall 2023. Green.
Catalog chapter: Art and Art History: Art History
Department website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/art-history
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