Spring 2019 Courses

Not long after Europeans stumbled across the Americas, a whole new genre of visual culture was born: representations of new lands and new peoples. Early European imagery was dominated by graphic works catering to audience fascination with the new, the bizarre, and things of prurient interest. The story of these images and their makers is fraught with issues of exoticism and justifying colonial subjugation of Indigenous peoples. Despite this, many of these early Othering images remain foundational to commonplace depiction of Indigenous Americans to this day. There is also a large body of visual works wherein indigenous Americans tried to incorporate Europeans and others into their own extant traditions and created representations of themselves and their cultures for the new European audience, using both traditional means and the new Western visual idiom. This seminar will critically reassess this body of work as well as looking into the history of those who sought out and collected such imagery through time.

Recommended reading: llona Katzew. Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 2011

This course fulfills the Non-Western/Non-European requirement.

This course fulfills the Museum Studies requirement.

ARHS 536

Imaging the Other: Representing Colonized and Colonizer in the Americas

Mondays, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dr. William Barnes OEC 414

From Civil War battlefields to Tiananmen Square. Inside factories and living rooms. Mountain peaks, city streets, wars, and birthday parties. Public lives and private moments around the world. Since the invention of photography in 1839, photographers around the world have documented people, places, and moments, allowing us to transcend our own experiences through the photograph. This course examines the development of documentary photography over the course of time and space/place, addressing broad questions such as: What is the purpose of documentary photography and how has it changed over time? What is the is meant by documentary photography, photo-journalism, and photography as art ? What is the relationship of photography to notions of “truth?” What ethical issues are at play in the production and consumption of documentary photography? What drives photographers to document the world? Can documentary photographs lead to changes in society? We will read key theoretical texts as well as current scholarship on the topic. Other specific topics to explore include photography and the built environment, women documentarians working in a male-dominated field, war photography, photography and racial and social justice, documentary film and its relation to photography, documenting the landscape, and museums/galleries & the acceptance of photography as an art form. While this course is conceived from an art historical perspective, students will be required to experiment with designing and producing their own documentary project (no special equipment required). 

Photographers to be studied include well-known documentary photographers such as Bernice Adams, Walker Evans, Louis Hine, Dorothea Lange, Mary Ellen Mark, Gordon Parks, W. Eugene Smith, Edward Steichen, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Jacob Riis, and Ansel Adams, as well as many other photographers working globally, from 1839 to the present.

Suggested background reading: Mary Warner Marien, Photography: A Cultural History

This course fulfills the European/European-American requirement. 
This seminar is Museum Studies Certificate designated.

ARHS 545 Documentary Photography Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dr. Heather Shirey OEC 414

Echoes of Greek and Roman art have been used to shape and frame western art and culture for centuries. In this course, we will examine how ancient Greeks and Romans used images to reflect personal and cultural ideologies and how those images were borrowed, appropriated, used, and abused, in later periods. We will consider how iconographic and stylistic choices were deployed to convey or reify meaning at the time of production, as well as how the meaning of those objects might have been reinterpreted, or influenced the art of later eras. We will look at the legacy of antiquity especially in the context of the 18th-19th century birth of archaeology and building of European collections and how they influenced modern notions of the Antique and Western art. The vagaries and issues surrounding the contemporary market in antiquities will also be explored.

This course fulfills the European/European-American requirement.
This seminar is Museum Studies Certificate designated.

ARHS 510 Greek and Roman Art in Constructions of Identity Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dr. Vanessa Rousseau OEC 414

Fall 2019 Courses

This seminar will explore the role of war, specifically that of WWII (1939-1945), in the production of architecture and art across the world. It will also consider sites of battle as landscapes worthy of analysis, as many still retain the scars of this conflict up to the present day including the beaches of Normandy seventy-five years later. Memory and its power in creating spaces of commemoration will be an important focus of the class. The role of the artist, whether as chronicler or propagandist will be considered, along with a consideration of what happened to artists who were displaced during the conflict. Students will conduct individual research on a topic of their choice that leads to a twenty-page paper and twenty-minute oral presentation. Field trips will supplement seminar discussions. It will be helpful for you to read a short history of WWII prior to class commencing.

This course fulfills the European/European-American requirement.

ARHS 540

The Landscape of WWII in Architecture & Art

Mondays, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dr. Victoria Young OEC 414

In 2018, a painting of a tree and rock sold at Christie’s Hong Kong for just over $60 million. The Chinese landscape tradition this painting represents stretches back three thousand years. This course examines the extensive history of this vibrant landscape painting tradition and its continued effect on contemporary transnational Chinese artists. Each course meeting will examine one contemporary artist and the many current and traditional dialogues (hashtags) of which she/he is a part. The various dynamic conversations, or streams of “metadata,” associated with the Chinese landscape and contemporary Western traditions found in her/his work will be the area of concentration for each class. The focal artists we examine will include Wu Guanzhong, Chen Chi-kwan, Zhang Hongtu, Xu Bing, Zao Wou-Ki, Cai Guo-Qiang, Liu Dan, Yang Yongliang, Qiu Zhijie, and Lin Tianmiao. Centuries-long dialogues regarding Song monumental and imperial mountainscapes, garden and topographical painting, literati ink studies, Chan Buddhist apparition painting, and kesi woven-silk works will be considered.

Students are not expected to have a background in Chinese studies. All readings will be in English.

This course fulfills the non-European/European-American requirement.

This seminar is Museum Studies Certificate designated.

Background Readings: 

Richard M. Barnhart, et al. Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting. New Haven & London:  Yale University Press; Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1997.

Cahill, James.  The Painter’s Practice: How Artists Lived and Worked in Traditional China. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

ARHS 530


Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dr. Elizabeth Kindall OEC 311

An introduction to the methods and problems of art history, including the theoretical approaches to art and its history, the examination and analysis of the work and its medium, the role of the museum and gallery in the study of art, ethical issues that arise in art history and bibliographic tools of the different disciplines of the field.

This course is required for all degree-seeking graduate students.

ARHS 500

Methods & Approaches to Art History

Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dr. Craig Eliason OEC 414

Why do museums matter in the 21st century? This course provides students with the framework to investigate the critical issues facing museums today. Students will explore the practical skills necessary for successful careers in museums and consider the ways in which new audiences, technology, and innovative programming shape the museum field. This course will include opportunities for dialogue with museum professionals, hands-on projects, and field trips to apply museum studies theory to the visitor experience. Course readings, discussions and projects will address the ways in which museums have changed over time and how these changes have led to reinterpreted core values of museums in the present day. Museum missions, practices, and resources will be interwoven with a discussion of audience, social objects, and blockbuster exhibitions.

This is a core course in the Museum Studies Certificate program.

ARHS 570

Museum Studies: Visitors, Trends & Exhibitions

Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dr. Jayme Yahr OEC 414