Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A22. The Selfie and More...(Much More)

Around 2002 the term “selfie” seems to have been first used. Today a third of the photos taken by those ages 18-24 are said to fall into this category. This seminar challenges students to think about the manner in which we portray ourselves (self-fashioning), others and our world. From a historical perspective, we will exam the first “selfie”, a photograph called a daguerretype created in 1839 by Robert Cornelius and then go back in time to look at the earliest artists of the “self”: Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn and Francisco Goya. Since constructing one’s identity influences how we perceive others, we will then branch off to look at the portrayal of people by the great Vermeer. Central to our study will be engagement with the Fall blockbuster exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer. The goal of this class is twofold: to help you negotiate your densely visual world and provide you with an understanding of how the fashioning of self and of others becomes a window into the complexities (gender, class, race, religion, etc.) of humankind and therefore yourselves.

Evelyn Ruth StaudingerEvelyn Ruth Staudinger
Professor of Art History