For Educators

Click here to download the U.S. Library of Congress Cartoon Analysis Worksheet

Thanks to Anthony Oerter for sharing his excellent Chinese Exclusion resources (which pre-date Angel Island) for educators. Tony operates a website about Californian Frederick Bee, who like Nast, was a strong opponent of anti-Chinese rhetoric and policies. Bee was a rare, pro-Chinese activist in the heart of the Sinophobic tumult in California.

Thomas Nast’s drawings and the era in which he lived, provide thought-provoking, teachable moments.

I am available, via distance learning (Adobe Connect or Google Hangout or Zoom) to present an overview lecture & visual presentations) live to classrooms. Afterward, I encourage an interactive or Q and A period from students. Sessions range from 20, 40 or 60 minutes in length. There is no fee for educators, but my schedule is limited. Suggested topics:

1. Chinese Exclusion – how the Chinese were depicted (pro and con) by Thomas Nast and on the West Coast by George Keller

2. The Art of Opinion. The essentials of a political or editorial cartoon. The use of satire in history. The visual voice. Today, satire if often achieved with Photoshop, but as events in France this winter have pointed out, the cartoon is perceived as dangerous weapon in commentary communication. Thomas Nast paved the way.

3. Cartoons and immigrants. What does it mean to be an American. Who gets accepted and who does not? How did cartoons influence opinion? Can they still? Are there parallels to what Nast drew 160 years ago and modern issues? What does it mean to “otherize” someone and is it an effective means of control?

4. Accepting differences. Race, culture and religion. Nast wasn’t always fair. What shaped his attitude to defend some and attack others? Helping to understand how he thought and reacted may shed light on the way people are influenced today to cause controversy with their opinions.

Please visit again soon as this website plans to add materials, lesson plans, and short videos.

Email me for further information: Michele Walfred

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Thomas Nast's cartoons of Chinese Americans

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