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In this talk, Dr. Mary K. Coffey (Dartmouth) examines Mexican Muralist Jose Clemente Orozco’s contributions to formulations of the American epic in the 1930s through an analysis of his fresco cycle, The Epic of American Civilization, painted at Dartmouth College between 1932 and 34. The presentation will focus on scenes in the “Modern” half of the cycle that pertain to the relationship between what was called “Anglo” and “Hispano” America. She demonstrates how Orozco’s critical engagement with period formulations of Pan-Americanism challenged ideas about US America’s exceptionalism while also considering how his challenge can inform to contemporary debates over race and immigration.
Mary Coffey is Professor of Art History at Dartmouth College. She specializes in the history of modern Mexican visual culture, with an emphasis on Mexican muralism and the politics of exhibition. She also publishes in the fields of American art, Latin American cultural studies, and museum studies. She has published essays on a broad range of visual culture, from Mexican folk art to motorcycles to eugenics exhibitions. She is the author of How a Revolutionary Art Became Official Culture: Murals, Museums, and the Mexican State (Duke, 2012), and Orozco's American Epic: Myth, History, and the Melancholy of Race (Duke, 2020) which offers the first book-length analysis of Jose Clemente Orozco's 24 panel fresco, The Epic of American Civilization, painted at Dartmouth College between 1932-34.
Today we take for granted that great chefs become famous, and that they can influence social consciousness and public policy, not through private wealth or direct lobbying, but more often by leveraging the rarity and unique nature of their expertise. Everyone eats, but not everyone cooks, and cooking well is a practice that takes care, attention, and training. Nonetheless, cooking does not usually take place on stage or in front of television cameras, and it was not always the case that the lowly cook in the back of the house received accolades from those who were enjoying the food out in the dining room. So when did it become possible to parlay good cooking into social and political capital? Looking back at some of the earliest chefs who achieved fame and fortune in Italy we can find the roots of the celebrity chef culture we know so well today.
Danielle Callegari (Ph.D., Certified Specialist of Wine) is Assistant Professor in the Department of French and Italian at Dartmouth College and Councilor of the Dante Society of America. Her teaching and research focuses on premodern Italian literature and food and wine studies. She has published on a variety of subjects including Dante, medieval food and wine culture, early modern women’s writing and religion, and modern Italian food and politics. Her first monograph, Dante’s Gluttons: Food and Society in Medieval Italian Literature, is forthcoming with Amsterdam University Press.
New Hampshire Humanities programs are made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this these programs do not necessarily represent those of the NEH or New Hampshire Humanities.