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Drawing a Dialogue, Episode 12: History of Racism + Physiognomy in Cartooning

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Drawing a Dialogue, Episode 12: History of Racism + Physiognomy in Cartooning

Cathy G. Johnson

 Artwork by e jackson.

Artwork by e jackson.

Drawing a Dialogue is a podcast discussing comics in historical + educational contexts by Cathy G. Johnson + e jackson.

Episode 12: In the longest episode yet, Cathy + e present research on how racism affected the development of the visual language of cartooning. Spanning the 1700s to today, this episode explores the history of art education, caricature and how-to-draw books, and maps the history of minstrelsy in America, creating connections that informed early cartooning. In-depth research offers multiple samples of primary sources, including the art of “physiognomy,” the pseudoscience of judging character from facial features.

Contact: drawingadialogue@gmail.com, Twitter

Subscribe: iTunes, or any podcast app you may use!

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Episode Citation (chronologically as mentioned in podcast):

  • Drawing a Dialogue, Episode 10: The Canon - Link

  • Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Fleet Library Special Collections - RISD

  • Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum Prints, Drawings and Photographs Collection - RISD Museum

  • Bradley W. Gorham, 1999, “Stereotypes in the Media: So What”, Howard Journal of Communication - Link

  • Rosenthal, A., Bindman, D., & Randolph, A. W. (2016). No Laughing Matter: Visual Humor in Ideas of Race, Nationality, and Ethnicity. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College Press.

  • Frank Felsenstein chapter from No Laughing Matter (full citation above)

  • Katherine Hart chapter from No Laughing Matter (full citation above)

  • Essays on Physiognomy by John Casper Lavater (orig. 1770s), translated by Thomas Holcroft (reprint 1853), RISD Fleet Library, SPECIAL BF 843 .L3 1850 (Clarification from episode: This edition was published in 1853, but was originally written in the 1770s, which leads into the popularity of caricature in Europe in the 1790s)

  • Alan J Spector, 1998, Cultural Diversity and the US Media, “Disney does Diversity: The Social Context of Racial-Ethnic Imagery” - SUNY Press

  • “A History of Slavery in the United States” - National Geographic

  • Marlon Riggs, Ethnic Notions, 1986 - CA Newsreel

  • Tracy K. Smith - Poetry Foundation

  • Nicholas Sammond, 2015, Birth of an Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation - Duke University Press

  • "Vaudeville," - Wikipedia

  • Gordon, I. (2002). Comic Strips and Consumer Culture, 1890-1945. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.

  • "Vestigial" definition, Google

  • Drawing a Dialogue, Episode 4: The Wertham Special - Link

  • Leonard Rifas, Racial Imagery, Racism, Individualism, and Underground Comix - ImageTexT

  • Scott McLean, 1998, Cultural Diversity and the US Media “Minorities in Newsprint Cartoons” - SUNY Press

  • Saladin Ahmed, 2014, “How the Comics Code Killed the Weird, Experimental, Progressive Golden Age of Comics” - Buzzfeed

  • Hari Kondabolu, 2017, The Problem With Apu - TruTV

  • J. D. Harding (1700s), Elementary Art or, the use of the chalk and lead pencil, RISD Museum, INV2006562 Elementary Art

  • Jacques Callot (17th century), Images of beggars, RISD Museum, 45.0.43

  • G. N. Woodward + Isaac Cruickshank (1792), Original Caricature Water-color Sketches, RISD Museum, D-2 48.110.1-63a,b,c,d

  • Francis Grose (1791), Rules for Drawing Caricatures, London, RISD Fleet Library, SPECIAL NC 1473 .G7 1791

  • Davis, E. B. (2003). Life Drawing from Ape to Human: Charles Darwin's Theories of Evolution and William Rimmer's Art Anatomy. Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, 2(2),

  • Borough Johnson, S.G.A. (1931), Figure Drawing and Portraiture in lead pencil, chalk and charcoal, RISD Fleet Library, SPECIAL NC 765 .J6 1931

  • Paul H.D. Kaplan chapter from No Laughing Matter (full citation above)

  • Famous Artists Cartoon Course (1956), RISD Fleet Library, SPECIAL OVERSIZE NC 1320 .F22 v. [1]

  • Stan Lee + John Buscema (1978, reprint 1984), How To Draw Comics the Marvel Way, New York: Simon and Schuster

  • Hart, Christopher (2002), Anime mania : how to draw characters for Japanese animation, New York : Watson-Guptill Publications

  • Nancy S. Parks, a. (2004). Bamboozled: A Visual Culture Text for Looking at Cultural Practices of Racism. Art Education, (2), 14.

Letters To The Editor

  • Susan Stryker, Queer Pulp: Perverted Passions from the Golden Age of the Paperback

What are we reading?

  • Total Mood Killer by merritt k + Niina Pollari - Link

Theme song by Downtown Boys

Photos from primary source materials, copyright the Rhode Island School of Design Fleet Library + Museum:

Essays on Physiognomy by John Casper Lavater (orig. 1770s), translated by Thomas Holcroft (reprint 1853), RISD Fleet Library, SPECIAL BF 843 .L3 1850

Francis Grose (1791), Rules for Drawing Caricatures, London, RISD Fleet Library, SPECIAL NC 1473 .G7 1791, cover

Francis Grose (1791), Rules for Drawing Caricatures, London, RISD Fleet Library, SPECIAL NC 1473 .G7 1791, interior

Jacques Callot (17th century), Images of beggars, RISD Museum, 45.0.43

Jacques Callot (17th century), Images of beggars, RISD Museum, 45.0.43

Jacques Callot (17th century), Images of beggars, RISD Museum, 45.0.43

G. N. Woodward + Isaac Cruickshank (1792), Original Caricature Water-color Sketches, RISD Museum, D-2 48.110.1-63a,b,c,d

Famous Artists Cartoon Course (1956), RISD Fleet Library, SPECIAL OVERSIZE NC 1320 .F22 v. [1]

Famous Artists Cartoon Course (1956), RISD Fleet Library, SPECIAL OVERSIZE NC 1320 .F22 v. [1]