Harry Lewis entered the American Studies department in the Fall of 2018 with interests in visual culture, political participation, and practices of representation. A finalist for the 2017 Truman Scholarship, Harry comes from a background of activism, writing about issues of race, gender, sexuality, and sexual violence for the Huffington Post for several years. His undergraduate Honors thesis, completed at the University of Delaware, focused on Dana Schutz's depiction of Emmett Till in the 2017 Whitney Biennial and the intersection between racial identity, activism, and theories of art history. Other previous research projects include an analysis of memorials erected worldwide that incorporated steel from the Twin Towers; a critical examination of gendered chemical testing procedures at the Olympic Games; and a queered theoretical approach to the United Nations' position on Human Rights.
What are you studying/working on right now?
As it's only my first semester, I have not chosen a fixed research path; however, my interests include the role of art and architecture in shaping politics and the relationship between imagery and political ideology.
Where/what did you study as an undergraduate?
I graduated from the University of Delaware in May of 2018 with an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Art History. While an undergraduate, I also majored in Political Science and Women's & Gender Studies, and minored in Spanish and Africana Studies.
Why American Studies and why GW?
American Studies is a field that is broad and multidisciplinary, allowing me to incorporate my various interests into one cohesive program of study. Washington, D.C. is the heart of our country and there is no better place to embark on a critical examination of American culture and society than here.
If you were stuck on an island and could only have one book to read, which would you choose?
Were I to have to choose one book for the foreseeable future, I would have to go with my volume of the collected works of Shakespeare. There'd be a play for every mood, and it'd certainly take a while to get through.
What American city would you spend the rest of your life in and why?
As a Jersey native, I have to say that Philadelphia is one of the greatest and most underrated cities in the country. There's culture, a rich history, and a wide variety of people and places to experience. Plus, Philly sports fans are some of the toughest people around - don't mess with our city.
What advice would you give to GW undergraduates in American Studies?
Take all kinds of courses that interest you, even if they don't seem to fall under your intended field of study. Some of my favorite undergraduate classes were things that I signed up for either out of curiosity or, occasionally, by accident.