Origins1839 - 1900
Instrumental 1839 - 2020
We the People1900 - 1950
Justice for All1950-2000
Digital Democracy2000 - 2022
Kim Beil, Ph.D., is an art historian who teaches at Stanford University. Her book, Good Pictures: A History of Popular Photography (Stanford University Press, 2020) tracks 50 stylistic trends in the medium since the 19th century. Much of her research was drawn from vintage how-to manuals. Beil has also written about photography and climate change for The Atlantic, on screenshots for The Believer, Google streetview for Cabinet, and most recently, for The New York Times, about hiking 50 miles to track down a little-known Ansel Adams photograph in the High Sierra. She also writes about contemporary art and artists for Artforum, Art in America, BOMB, and Photograph magazines.
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The programs include free and open-to-the-public programs and content in 2022-23. Subscribe and stay tuned for more content as we unfold this discussion series.
View and download CENTER’s 2023 Program Guide featuring images and segments from interviews with Leigh Raiford, Ph.D., and Kim Beil, Ph.D., as well as the 2022 Program Guide featuring images and segments from interviews with Will Wilson and Shawn Michelle Smith.
The Democratic Lens lecture series will include six sections, each with a corresponding humanities theme, historical era, and selection of contributing scholars. In alignment with NEH Special Initiative’s “A More Perfect Union” theme, scholars will present photographs that connect audiences to the diverse cultures, landscapes, histories, and individuals who collectively shaped the nation. The Democratic Lens will prioritize underrepresented histories to emphasize the diversity of the citizenry. We will present accounts that illustrate the challenges our country has endured and the stories of how Americans have worked together to overcome them.