UBC History Colloquium | Broad Brush Strokes and Fine Lines: Courtroom Drawing and the Visual History of the 20th Century

Wednesday April 5, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

The UBC Department of History Colloquium Series brings together scholars who are exploring important methodological, chronological, or geographical issues that challenge the frontiers of our discipline and contribute strongly to our collective discussions.

As part of the 2022/2023 Colloquium series, we are pleased to invite you to a talk by Dr. Charlotte A. Lerg, Assistant Professor in American Cultural History at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany.

Whether you choose to attend virtually or in-person, please register for the event. A light lunch will be available for in-person attendees who register in advance.

This instalment of the History Colloquium is co-sponsored by the Public Humanities Hub (PHH). PHH is supported by VPRI, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Education and the Allard School of Law.


Talk Abstract

In courtroom sketches, broad brush strokes capture the general atmosphere of a case while fine lines point to details and pivotal moments. The combination of both creates the image we get of a trial. Because of their individual character, these drawings make exceptional historical documents that not only reveal something particular about the past, but symbolically represent the very process of how we construct historical understanding. At the same time, this unique material holds an intriguing position within the (mass)media landscape of the 20th century, which usually seems so dominated by technologically generated visual culture. The social practices of documentary drawing, both generally and specifically in courtroom art, invite us to develop new approaches to visual modes of documentation in the oscillations between art and evidence.

About the Speaker

Charlotte A. Lerg teaches American history and transatlantic studies at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Germany, where she also serves as managing director of the Lasky Center for Transatlantic Studies. Holding an MA in Modern History and Philosophy from the University of St. Andrews and a PhD in History from Tübingen University, she has also taught at the Universities of Bochum, Münster, and Jena. She held fellowships at the John W. Kluge Center (Library of Congress) and at the German-Historical-Institute in Washington DC. Her Habilitation [second book] Universitätsdiplomatie. Prestige und Wissenschaft in den transatlantischen Beziehungen 1890-1920 came out in 2019. Charlotte has also written a textbook in German on the American Revolution. Further publications focus on cultural diplomacy and transatlantic relations in the 19th and 20th century, especially on the 1848 Revolutions, the First World War and the Cold War. She is a board member of the Bavarian-American Academy and one of three editors-in-chief of HIC. International Yearbook for Knowledge and Society. Her current research projects are concerned with visual knowledge and historiography, as well as Canadian memory culture, comics, and media history.