Hall Center For The Humanities


John Michael Vlach
American Studies/Anthropology, George Washington University

"The Strength of These Arms: Endurance, Creativity, and Authority in the Plantation Landscape"
Humanities Lecture Series

Thu., Feb. 11, 1999, 12:00am
John Michael Vlach is a renowned scholar and teacher at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Vlach is often said to be the person most responsible for defining scholarship on African Americans and material culture. He is nationally and internationally known for his "path-breaking, penetrating, thorough, creative scholarship on race, ethnicity, folk art, vernacular architecture, and material culture." A creative and productive scholar, Vlach is also the Director of the Folklife Program at GWU.

Vlach has been awarded numerous grants and awards, and has served as a consultant for notable museums such as the Smithsonian Institution, Colonial Williamsburg, Inc., the Museum of the Confederacy, and the American Craft Museum. Organizations such as the J. Paul Getty Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Center for the Advanced Study of Art, Design, and Material Culture have also consulted Vlach on a wide variety of topics due to his expertise and originality in the field of material studies.

A prolific writer and editor, his books such as The Afro-American Tradition in Decorative Arts (1978), By the Work of Their Hands: Studies in Afro-American Folklife (1991), and his newest work Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery (1993), are respected classics in the fields of architecture, art history, material culture studies, and African American history.

During his visit to KU, Vlach conducted two colloquia: "The Ironwork of Charleston, SC" and "The Surprising Origins of the Shotgun House."

February 11, 1999
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