About this course

In this course we use visual records as a way of understanding history at the turn of the 20th century. Learners will learn how to navigate visual primary sources and use them to investigate:   the historical debates that emerged in political cartoons; issues of race and prejudice in both cartooning and photography; photography as a tool of power in conquest and colonization; the often forgotten Philippine-American war; ethnographic photography; how the theme of civilization and barbarism appeared to justify imperial wars; early use of cross-cultural photography in mass media.

The roundtable discussion format of the course will set up a discursive and exploratory style of learning. Learners will be exposed to multiple points of view as the teaching team brings together scholars who have studied the topics from different disciplines. Learners will also learn how to work with visual evidence as primary sources to assemble arguments. For teachers, the course presents a number of units developed for the MIT Visualizing Cultures (VC) project. 

The instructors are the authors who created the VC resource, and the course provides a pathway into the VC website content. The VC website is widely taught in both secondary and college courses, and is the primary resource for this course. 

Educators can selectively pick modules that target needs in their classrooms; the course can be used in a flipped classroom where students are assigned modules as homework.


Learning Formats: Videos