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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics Events & Colloquium

The Human Being in American Art - Transatlantic Book Launch

When:We 20-04-2022 18:00 - 19:30
Where:online - Center for Ideas and Society, University of California at Riverside

Please note: this event is taking place on 20 April. We mistakenly advertised the date as 20 March in our newsletter.

The Human Being in American Art . Transatlantic Book Launch. Hosted by the Center for Ideas and Society, University of California at Riverside.

Co-Sponsors: The Research Center for the Study for Democratic Cultures and Politics, University of Groningen; and the Potomac Center for the Study of the History of Modernity, University of Maryland.


Humans are organisms, but “the human being” is a term referring to a complicated, self-contradictory, and historically evolving set of concepts and practices. Humans explores competing versions, constructs, and ideas of the human being that have figured prominently in the arts of the United States. These essays consider a range of artworks from the colonial period to the present, examining how they have reflected, shaped, and modeled ideas of the human in American culture and politics. The book addresses to what extent artworks have conferred more humanity on some human beings than others, how art has shaped ideas about the relationships between humans and other beings and things, and in what ways different artistic constructions of the human being evolved, clashed, and intermingled over the course of American history. Humans both tells the history of a concept foundational to US civilization and proposes new means for its urgently needed rethinking.


Speakers include: Caroline Arscott (Courtauld Institute of Art), Laura Bieger (University of Groningen), Alan Braddock (College of William and Mary), Larne Abse Gogarti (UCL Slade School of Fine Arts), Jessica Horton (University of Delaware), Michael Leja (University of Pennsylvania), Joshua Shannon (University of Maryland), Cherise Smith (University of Texas at Austin), and Jason Weems (University of California at Riverside)