David Jaffee

I teach landscape and Early American material culture courses at the BGC, and also serve as Head of New Media Research. I have just published a new book, A New Nation of Goods: Material Culture in Early America (2010), highlights the significant role of provincial artisans in four crafts in the northeastern United States — chairmaking, clockmaking, portrait painting, and book publishing — to explain the shift from preindustrial society to an entirely new configuration of work, commodities, and culture. I've turned to a new project, New York as Cultural Capital, looking at how the nineteenth-century domestic interior, the parlor in particular, filled with furniture, displays of stereographs, plaster figure, and chromolithographs. That work has led to a related BGC exhibition course on Visualizing Nineteenth Century New York where we are hard at work on a student mounted digital exhibition.

I started off as a a social historian, then moved along to cultural history. Another strong interest has been pedagogy and the incorporation of new media into teaching and learning. I headed up a CUNY-wide team (where I taught before the BGC) for Randy Bass' Visible Knowledge Project. I have published several essays on teaching with new media that contributed to the emerging literature in the scholarship of teaching and learning; those pieces focused on how students learn and faculty teach with material culture evidence. At CUNY I directed two NEH projects to develop multimedia resources for the history classroom. And finally, this year we will host an NEH Summer Institute for College Teachers on American Material Culture: 19th Century NYC that will also introduce faculty to an array of digital tools for teaching and research.