Art and US Imperialism, Past and Present | National Humanities Center

Humanities in Class: Webinar Series

Art and US Imperialism, Past and Present

American Imperialism; Cultural History; Visual Arts; Paintings; Colonialism

Maggie M. Cao (NHC Fellow, 2021–22; David G. Frey Associate Professor, Department of Art & Art History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

April 27, 2023

Advisor: Martin Caver, NHC Teacher Advisory Council

“Imperialism” has long been an uneasy term for Americans in the contiguous United States. Many ignore or even deny the country’s colonial activities abroad, which started in the nineteenth century and continue today. This webinar will help educators bring empire into their teaching of the history and culture of the United States by mobilizing art as a productive lens. We will untangle the power relations and imperialist history informing nineteenth century US paintings of foreign people, places, and things. We will also look at artists living today who respond critically to that history in their work. In the process, we will understand what US imperialism looked like in the past and how it continues to affect contemporary communities and environments.

Webinar Resources

Before the live webinar please be sure to review the available materials in the webinar resource folder. Use the code provided in your registration email to access these resources.


History / Art / American Imperialism / Cultural History / Visual Arts / Paintings / Colonialism /