What We Are Reading Today: World War I and American Art

Updated 27 August 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: World War I and American Art

World War I had a profound impact on American art and culture. Nearly every major artist responded to events, whether as official war artists, impassioned observers, or participants on the battlefields.

It was the moment when American artists, designers, and illustrators began to consider the importance of their contributions to the wider world and to visually represent the United States’ emergent role in modern global politics.

World War I and American Art, edited by Robert Cozzolino, Anne Classen Knutson and David M. Lubin, provides an unprecedented consideration of the impact of the conflict on American artists and the myriad ways they reacted to it.

Artists took a leading role in chronicling the war, crafting images that influenced public opinion, supported mobilization efforts, and helped to shape how the appalling human toll was mourned and memorialized.

World War I and American Art features some 80 artists— including Ivan Albright, George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, Childe Hassam, Violet Oakley, Georgia O’Keeffe, Man Ray, John Singer Sargent, and Claggett Wilson— whose paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, posters, and ephemera span the diverse visual culture of the period to tell the story of a crucial turning point in the history of American art.

Taking readers from the home front to the battlefront, this landmark book will remain the definitive reference on a pivotal moment in American modern art for years to come.


What We Are Reading Today: African Dominion  by Michael A. Gomez

Updated 25 September 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: African Dominion  by Michael A. Gomez

  • Michael Gomez unveils a new vision of how categories of ethnicity, race, gender, and caste emerged in Africa and in global history more generally
  • Islam’s growth in West Africa resulted in a series of political experiments unique to the region

Pick up almost any book on early and medieval world history and empire, and where do you find West Africa? On the periphery. This pioneering book, the first on this period of the region’s history in a generation, tells a different story. 

Interweaving political and social history and drawing on a rich array of sources, including Arabic manuscripts, oral histories, and recent archaeological findings, Michael Gomez unveils a new vision of how categories of ethnicity, race, gender, and caste emerged in Africa and in global history more generally. Scholars have long held that such distinctions arose during the colonial period, but Gomez shows they developed much earlier.

Focusing on the Savannah and Sahel region, Gomez traces the exchange of ideas and influences with North Africa and the Central Islamic Lands by way of merchants, scholars, and pilgrims. 

Islam’s growth in West Africa resulted in a series of political experiments unique to the region, culminating in the rise of empire. A major preoccupation was the question of who could be legally enslaved, which together with other factors led to the construction of new ideas about ethnicity, race, gender, and caste — long before colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade.

Telling a radically new story about early Africa in global history, African Dominion is set to be the standard work on the subject for many years to come.