Vision & Justice: The Art of Citizenship

Civic Course

In March 2017, Sarah Lewis was invited to launch a pilot civic curriculum through the three-part Vision & Justice class at the Brooklyn Public Library. Colleagues and New York city residents and citizens showed up as students on a Friday night, of all times, and have been asking for a continuation of the series since. Lewis has since been invited to replicate this course for other institutions across the country.  

Harvard Course

This course is organized around a guiding question: How has visual representation both limited and liberated our definition of American citizenship and belonging? Today, as we are awash with images, and as social media has allowed us to witness racially motivated injustices with a speed unimaginable until recently, we have had to call upon skills of visual literacy to remain engaged global citizens. The rights of citizenship are many, but central to them all is the right, even the responsibility, to engage and participate in collective society, and to be recognized. The course wrestles with the question of how the foundational right of representation in a democracy, the right to be recognized justly, is indelibly tied to the work of visual representation in the public realm.

Selected student essays published by aperture:

Racial Innocence in Postwar America by Maia Silber

Envisioning the Right to Vote by JOnathan Karp

Keith Lamont Scott and the Legacy of Police Violence by david E. White Jr.

In California, Trees as Witness and Living Memorial by Elizabeth HUber

The Cotton Bowl and the Super Bowl by Eli Wilson Pelton

Separate Cars on the Open Road by ian askew

Don’t Touch Our Hair by Jeneé Osterheldt

Art and Activism in a Contested Democracy Contributions by Taiyo Na, Jonathan Michael Square, Carmen Hermo, Nina Crews, Valentine Umansky

Framing Justice Contributions by Nathan Cummings, Josiah Corbus, Ted Waechter, Christopher Chow, and Larisa Owusu