(Offered as ARCH 101 and ARHA 101) This introductory course focuses on the tools used to communicate and discuss ideas in architectural practice and theory. We study both the practical, from sketching to parallel drawing, to the theoretical, from historical to critical perspectives. Connecting both, we cover the formal analysis elements necessary to “read” and critique built works. Class activities include field trips, guest presentations, sketching and drawing, small design exercises, discussion of readings, and short written responses. Through these activities, at the end of the semester the student will understand in general terms what the dealings and challenges of architecture as a discipline are.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Omitted 2019-20. Assistant Professor Arboleda.2019-20: Not offered
An introduction to two-dimensional and three-dimensional studio disciplines with related lectures and readings. Historical and contemporary references will be used throughout the course to enhance and increase the student’s understanding of the visual vocabulary of art. How the comprehension of differing visual practices directly relates to personal investigations and interpretations within the covered disciplines of drawing, sculpture, painting, photography and printmaking. This includes applying elements of composition, weight, line, value, perspective, form, spatial concerns, color theory and graphics. Work will be developed from exercises based on direct observation and memory, realism and abstraction. Formal and conceptual concerns will be an integral aspect of the development of studio work. Class time will be a balance of lectures, demonstrations, exercises, discussions and critiques. Weekly homework assignments will consist of studio work and reading assignments. Two two-hour class sessions per week. No prior studio experience is required.
Not open to students who have taken ARHA 111 or 215. Limited to 25 students. Fall semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman. Spring semester: Visiting Lecturer Culhane.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
(Offered as ARCH 105 and ARHA 105) This hands-on design studio will foster innovation as it guides students through the development of conceptual architecture. Through a series of projects that build on each other, students will develop their own design language and experiment with architecture at several scales - from an interior screen that plays with light, shadow and color, to a dynamic built structure and its integration into a site. We will work through both hand-drafted and computer drawings, as well as physical model-making to understand plan, section, and elevations as well as diagramming and concept models. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.
Requisite: No prior architecture experience is necessary, but a willingness to experiment and a desire to learn through making are essential.
Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
An introductory course in the fundamentals of drawing. This course will be based in experience and observation, exploring various techniques and media in order to understand the basic formal vocabularies and conceptual issues in drawing; subject matter will include still life, landscape, interior, and figure. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, final portfolio. Two three-hour sessions per week.
Limited to 20 students. In the fall semester 4 seats are reserved for first-year students. Fall semester: Professor Sweeney. Spring semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
(Offered as ARHA 135, ARCH 135, and EUST 135) This course is an introduction to painting, sculpture, and architecture of the early modern period. The goal of the course is to identify artistic innovations that characterize European art from the Renaissance to the French Revolution, and to situate the works of art historically, by examining the intellectual, political, religious, and social currents that contributed to their creation. In addition to tracing stylistic change within the oeuvre of individual artists and understanding its meaning, we will investigate the varied character of art, its interpretation, and its context in different regions, including Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.
Limited to 30 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Courtright.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as BLST 313 [A] and ARHA 138) In the traditionally non-literate societies of Africa, verbal and visual arts constitute two systems of communication. The performance of verbal art and the display of visual art are governed by social and cultural rules. We will examine the epistemological process of understanding cultural symbols, of visualizing narratives, or proverbs, and of verbalizing sculptures or designs. Focusing on the Yoruba people of West Africa, the course will attempt to interpret the language of their verbal and visual arts and their interrelations in terms of cultural cosmologies, artistic performances, and historical changes in perception and meaning. We will explore new perspectives in the critical analysis of African verbal and visual arts, and their interdependence as they support each other through mutual references and allusions.
Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as ARHA 145, EUST 145, and SWAG 145) This course will explore the self-conscious invention of modernism in painting, sculpture and architecture, from the visual clarion calls of the French Revolution to the performance art and earthworks of "art now." As we move from Goya, David, Monet and Picasso to Kahlo, Kiefer and beyond, we will be attentive to changing responses toward a historical past or societal present, the stance toward popular and alien cultures, the radical redefinition of all artistic media, changing representations of nature and gender, as well as the larger problem of mythologies and meaning in the modern period. Study of original objects and a range of primary texts (artists’ letters, diaries, manifestos, contemporary criticism) will be enhanced with readings from recent historical and theoretical secondary sources.
Limited to 50 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Staller.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 147 and ASLC 143) An introduction to the history of Chinese art from its beginnings in neolithic times until the end of the twentieth century. Topics will include the ritual bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the Chinese transformation of the Buddha image, imperial patronage of painting during the Song dynasty and the development of the literati tradition of painting and calligraphy. Particular weight will be given to understanding the cultural context of Chinese art.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Morse.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 148 and ASLC 123) A survey of the history of Japanese art from neolithic times to the present. Topics will include Buddhist art and its ritual context, the aristocratic arts of the Heian court, monochromatic ink painting and the arts related to the Zen sect, the prints and paintings of the Floating World and contemporary artists and designers such as Ando Tadao and Miyake Issey. The class will focus on the ways Japan adopts and adapts foreign cultural traditions. There will be field trips to look at works in museums and private collections in the region
Fall semester. Professor Morse.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as ARHA 149 and BLST 123 [A]) An introduction to the ancient and traditional arts of Africa. Special attention will be given to the archaeological importance of the rock art paintings found in such disparate areas as the Sahara and South Africa, achievements in the architectural and sculptural art in clay of the early people in the area now called Zimbabwe and the aesthetic qualities of the terracotta and bronze sculptures of the Nok, Igbo-Ukwe, Ife and Benin cultures in West Africa, which date from the second century B.C.E. to the sixteenth century C.E. The study will also pursue a general socio-cultural survey of traditional arts of the major ethnic groups of Africa.
Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as ARHA 152, ARCH 152 and ASLC 142)
This introductory course explores the art, architecture, and urban planning of the Islamic world, from the origins of Islam in the seventh century C.E. to the contemporary moment. It follows a basic chronology, but is structured primarily around thematic issues central to the study of Islamic visual culture, including, but not limited to: the primacy of the written word, geometry and ornament, optics and perception, sacred and royal space, the image and aniconism, Orientalism, modernity and tradition, and artistic exchange with Europe, China, and beyond. The class will focus on the relationships between visual culture, history, and literature by analyzing cities, buildings, and objects such as the caliphal capitals of Baghdad and Cairo, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the palace of the Alhambra in Granada, the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Suleymaniye complex in Istanbul, illustrated manuscripts and photography from Iran, and contemporary art from New York City, alongside primary and secondary texts. Films, audio recordings, and field-trips to local museum collections will supplement assigned readings and lectures. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Assistant Professor Rice.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as ARHA 153 and ARCH 153) This introductory course engages one of the most discussed typologies in world architecture: the monument. From the Sydney Opera House to the Eiffel Tower, monuments have entered into global consciousness as individuals from tourists to government officials have celebrated their supposed uniqueness. Meanwhile, monuments have drawn the ire of ISIS and the Taliban—two groups which have become famous for destroying venerated structures. Whether the subject in question is a tourist, a religious pilgrim, or a terrorist bent on destruction, humans are often drawn to monuments because of their power to captivate. This course examines the relevance of this psychic power. Over the course of the semester, we will address the architectural, social, cultural, theoretical, and political questions that emerge from an investigation of a range of famous and lesser-known monuments, including but not limited to: the Eiffel Tower; the Taj Mahal; the Great Mosque of Mecca; the Statue of Liberty; the Alhambra; the American Capitol Building; and the Suez Canal. We will also discuss the role of ISIS and the Taliban in shaping contemporary debates concerning the meaning and importance of architectural preservation as it relates to the monuments of the Middle East and South Asia. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will develop their writing skills while gaining knowledge of the issues that guide the study of world monuments, specifically, and architectural history, at large. This course is intended to introduce students to the field of architectural studies.
Spring semester. Professor Carey.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as ARHA 154, ARCH 154, and ASLC 154) This introductory course surveys the architecture, painting, sculpture, textiles, decorative arts, and photography of South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan), from 2300 B.C., touching on the present. It considers the role of tradition in the broader history of art in India, but does not see India as "traditional" or unchanging. The Indian sub-continent is the source for multi-cultural civilizations that have lasted and evolved for several thousand years. Its art is as rich and complex as that of Europe, and as diverse. This course attempts to introduce the full range of artistic production in India in relation to the multiple strands that have made the cultural fabric of the sub-continent so rich and long-lasting. Films, musical recordings, and museum field-trips will supplement assigned readings and lectures. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Rice.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
This introductory course explores art produced between 1960 and 2016. We will take a transnational approach, from the emergence of Pop art as an international phenomenon in the 1960s to the mushrooming cloud of biennials in the twenty-first century. The course will sometimes look at art’s intersection with architecture, film, and visual culture more broadly. The geopolitical and geo-economic entanglements of both art and art history will never be out of sight. We will keep in mind the following questions: How have new technologies, civil rights movements, emergent subjectivities, new forms of theoretical inquiry, and processes of globalization shaped the work of art? How have artists critiqued both institutions and the art historical canon? How does contemporary art both participate in and stand apart from the world in which and for which it was made?
Limited to 40 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Vicario.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 157, ARCH 157, and BLST 193 [D]) This introductory course engages the buildings, cities, and landscapes of former colonies in Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. Beginning with the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the non-European territories, which once comprised the lucrative possessions of modern European empires, quickly became independent states charged with developing infrastructure, erecting national monuments, and handling the influx of laborers drawn to the metropolises that were formed, as sleepy colonial towns grew into bustling postcolonial cities. This course will examine the buildings, urban spaces, rural landscapes, and national capitals that emerged in response to these political histories. We will approach a number of issues, such as the architecture of national independence monuments, the preservation of buildings linked to the colonial past, the growth of new urban centers in Africa and India after independence, architecture and regimes of postcolonial oppression, the built environments of tourism in the independent Caribbean, and artists’ responses to all of these events. Some of the places that we will address include: Johannesburg, South Africa; Chandigarh, India; Negril, Jamaica; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; and Lilongwe, Malawi. Our goal will be to determine what, if any, continuities linked the buildings, landscapes, and spaces of post-independence Africa, India, and the Caribbean in the twentieth century.
Over the course of the semester, students will gain skills in analyzing buildings, town plans, and other visual materials. Also, this course will aid students in developing their writing skills, particularly their ability to write about architecture and urban space.
Spring semester. Professor Carey.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as ARHA 159 and ARCH 159) This course is an examination of the emergence, development, and dissolution of European modernist art, architecture and design. The course begins with the innovations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, created in consort with the growth of modern urbanism, colonialist politics, and psychological experimentation. Distinctions between the terms modernity, modernism, and the avant-garde will be explored as we unpack the complex equations between art, politics, and social change in the first half of the twentieth century. Covering selected groups (such as Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, l'Esprit Nouveau, Bauhaus, and Constructivism), this course will consider themes such as mechanical reproduction, nihilism, nationalism, consumerism, and primitivism as they are disclosed in the making and reception of modernist art and architecture.
Fall semester. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as ARHA 160 and ARCH 160) This course examines the art, architecture, and design produced in Europe and the United States from the aftermath of World War II to the end of the twentieth century. We will begin with art in relationship to war, the Holocaust, and the expansion of capitalism, consumerism, suburbia, and the skyscraper. Finally, we will conclude by engaging the rejection of modernist strategies in the latter part of the twentieth century. We will survey movements such as COBRA, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, the Situationists, Minimalism, land art, performance art, feminist art, Neo-Expressionism, and the archival turn; architectural groups such as Archigram, CIAM, the post modernists, and deconstructionists; and defining texts by Adorno, Sartre, Arendt, Debord, Foucault, Krauss, Derrida, among others.
Spring Semester. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as ARHA 186 and LLAS 186) This course provides an introduction to the Pre-Columbian art and architecture of the Americas. It explores major traditions in architecture and city planning, murals, sculpture, painting, masks, and textiles. The first half of the semester concentrates on Preclassic and Classic Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America); the second on Postclassic Mesoamerica, North America, and the Andes.
Fall semester. Visiting Professor Couch.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as ARHA 187 and LLAS 187) This course provides an introduction to Native American Indian art and architecture from North and Latin America. It focuses on the modern and contemporary periods (with some attention to archaeological art), exploring traditions in architecture, sculpture, painting, masks, textiles, and ceramics. The first half of the semester concentrates on the Woodlands, Plains, and Southwest; the second on the Northwest Coast, Arctic, Mexico and Guatemala, Central America, the Andes, and Amazonia. The course will be interdisciplinary, with each unit including readings of narratives or texts, analyses of visual materials, and each will also include readings on aesthetics and translation, as well as cultural and literary criticism, as appropriate.
Limited to 35 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Couch.
The most quotidian objects possess the power to connect to a broad audience. This course will harness that power to make art that measures and recounts past events in human history. The events might be small or large, little known, personally experienced, or widely recounted. Students will interrogate the context, function, materiality, and symbolism of common objects from as many vantage points as possible. We will explore how objects in multiples can disrupt, engage, challenge, obscure or metaphorically highlight the meaning in materials. The class will explore methods of combining, linking, and connecting common objects both conceptually and physically toward the manifestation of both singular and collaborative artworks. We will work together to select suitable materials and methods to quantify, measure, and actualize diverse histories and narratives. Students should be prepared to share materials, ideas, stories, and ways of working.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2019-2020. Visiting Professor Clark.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARCH 202 and ARHA 202) This seminar explores the emerging interdisciplinary field that combines the theory and practice of architecture and anthropology. We compare and contrast these two disciplines’ canonical methods, their ethical stances, and their primary subject matters (i.e., buildings and people). With that, we reflect upon the challenges of ethnoarchitecture as a new discipline, emphasizing the challenges of carrying out architectural research and/or construction work among people from cultural backgrounds different than the architect’s own. In general, this course invites critical thinking about the theory and practice of architecture, especially when it confronts issues of difference, including ethno-cultural and social class differences.
Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone; previous instruction in architectural studies, area or ethnic studies, or social studies can be beneficial but is not mandatory.
Limited to 20 students. Fall Semester. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Arboleda.2019-20: Not offered
What happens when a painted image escapes its rectangle and pushes out of illusionistic depth into the literal space of the room? How does it change a viewer’s understanding of sculptural form when the sculpture’s physical volumes have been optically flattened, heightened, or contradicted by the addition of color? In this course we will invite interaction between illusionistic and literal, tactile space to consider unique possibilities where the concerns of painting and sculpture merge. We will explore how each discipline can expand its scope with an amalgam of tactile and chromatic visual elements and experience. The semester will begin with a series of structured studio problems and with research into contemporary art practices that incorporate both color and tactile volume. We will also look into the wealth of historical precedents for these practices. This critical review and first-hand study of artworks, in conjunction with studio experimentation, will help each student determine the shape of an end-of-semester artwork or series of works. Readings, visiting artists, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.
Requisite: One prior studio course in painting or sculpture, or permission of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Spring Semester. Professor Keller.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as ARCH 204, ARHA 204 and LLAS 204) This course studies the theory, policy, and practice of low-income housing in marginalized communities worldwide. We study central concepts in housing theory, key issues regarding low-income housing, different approaches to address these issues, and political debates around housing the poor. We use a comparative focus, going back and forth between the cases of the United States and the so-called developing world. By doing this, we engage in a “theory from without” exercise: We attempt to understand the housing problem in the United States from the perspective of the developing world, and vice versa. We study our subject through illustrated lectures, seminar discussions, documentary films, visual analysis exercises, and a field trip.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Arboleda.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARCH 205 and ARHA 205) This theory seminar aims to provide students with a strong basis for a deep engagement with the practice of sustainability in architectural design. The studied material covers both canonical literature on green design and social science-based critical theory. We start by exploring the key tenets of the sustainable design discourse, and how these tenets materialize in practice. Then, we examine sustainable design in relation to issues such as inequality and marginality. As we do this, we locate sustainability within the larger environmental movement, studying in detail some of the main approaches and standards of sustainable design, the attempts to improve this practice over time, and the specific challenges confronting these attempts. In addition to reading discussions, we study our subject through student presentations and written responses, a field trip, and two graphic design exercises.
Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone, but students would benefit from having a previous engagement with a course in architectural design, architectural history and/or theory, introduction to architectural studies, or environmental studies.
Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
This course draws on the 75,000-year history of beads used as mnemonic devices from all over the world including abacuses (Middle East and Asia), rosaries (Europe), lukasa (Central Africa), and Zulu love letters (South Africa). Focusing specifically on the complexity of the rich beading traditions and techniques, we will study how beads are used as a language. We will explore codes that have been and can be easily translated into beads. Students will learn to identify and create over 50 bead embroidery and off-loom beading techniques (many that are unique to South African cultures). They will expand the very definition of what constitutes a bead; be encouraged to use beads made from materials that engage all five senses; capitalize on variation in size, color, shape and texture as metaphor; focus on the meaning in material (wood, metal, paper, etc.); and design beaded memory devices. Topics will be presented in slide lectures and class trips to beadwork collections.
Limited to 14 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Clark.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARCH 209 and ARHA 209) This course will be a design investigation of sustainable architecture. Students will research cutting edge innovations in green technology and present their findings through graphic boards and verbal presentations. They will then design their own systems for water collection, air filtration, energy capture, site strategies, and solar power. A design language will be developed through a series of rigorous design exercises and creative innovation, and will culminate in a building project. Students will further develop sketching, drafting and model-making skills both by hand and with the computer. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.
Requisite: ARCH 105 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
The history and practice of installation art is one of hybridity: drawing from sources such as minimalism, conceptual art, soft architecture, site-specificity, land and environmental art, video, performance, and feminist art. The work of installation engages the aural, spatial, visual, and environmental planes of perception. It grows out of the collapse of a work's autonomy, medium specificity, and sense of eternal and inert matter. In this course we will seek to answer a number of questions about the nature of installation: How does work get contextualized and redefined through its placement within a larger social, political, and economic sphere of meaning? Why is installation art interested in spectator participation? What is the nature of this participation? Where does it intersect with performance art and sculpture? How do immersive installations shift our bodily, sensory experience of a work—being inside of a piece as opposed to looking in? Where do we see the blurring between medium, material, and site? We will investigate options and determinants operative in both indoor and outdoor sites, installations, and environments. The term will begin by exploring a particular and fairly broad history through texts, images, and videos to situate our experiments within a context.
Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2019-20. Visiting Artist-in-Residence Reed.2019-20: Not offered
What can artists learn from the traditions of fiction, fantasy, filmmaking, and theatrical set design about the making of worlds? Does a work expand in meaning and scope when it exists in a context of its own cultural sphere and narrative outside of our own? How can contrasting our realities with fantastical and imagined worlds help us perceive our current conditions more clearly? What is the artist's role in creating mythology, navigating truth, or defining reality? On World-Making is an in-depth exploration of the imagination as a realm for collective/individual liberation and experimentation addressing these questions at its core. Through studio explorations in sculpture, installation, creative writing exercises, drawing, and video, we will engage with a variety of creative strategies and materials towards this pursuit. Readings, screenings, and class discussions will enhance the studio process, exposing students to artists and writers using elaborate narrative and mythology as core tenets of their work.
Requisite: One prior studio class. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2019-20. Visiting Artist-in-Residence Reed.2019-20: Not offered
An introduction to intaglio and relief processes including drypoint, engraving, etching, aquatint, monoprints, woodcut and linocut. The development of imagery incorporating conceptual concerns in conjunction with specific techniques will be a crucial element in the progression of prints. Historical and contemporary references will be discussed to further enhance understanding of various techniques. Critiques will be held regularly with each assignment; critical analysis of prints utilizing correct printmaking terminology is expected. A final project of portfolio making and a portfolio exchange of an editioned print are required.
Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Senior Resident Artist Garand. Spring semester: Visiting Lecturer Rachel Gross.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
An introduction to the practice of sculpture in a contemporary and historical context. A series of directed projects will address various material and technical processes such as construction, modeling, casting and carving. Other projects will focus primarily on conceptual and critical strategies over material concerns. By the end of the course, students will have developed a strong understanding of basic principles of contemporary sculpture and have acquired basic skills and knowledge of materials and techniques. Further, students will be expected to have formed an awareness of conceptual and critical issues in current sculptural practice, establishing a foundation for continued training and self-directed work in sculpture and other artistic disciplines. Two three-hour class meetings per week.
Requisite: ARHA 102 or 111 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 14 students. Fall and spring semesters. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
An introduction to the fundamentals of the pictorial organization of painting. Form, space, color, and pattern, abstracted from nature, are explored through the discipline of drawing by means of paint manipulation. Slide lectures, demonstrations, individual and group critiques are regular components of the studio sessions. Two three-hour meetings per week.
Requisite: ARHA 102 or 111 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Professor R. Sweeney.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
This course is an exploration into the shared territories of drawing, architecture, and sculpture, and the hybrid spaces that may be created between those disciplines. An improvisational and responsive approach, in the spirit of experimentation and open inquiry, frames the studio-based course work. We will consider potentials and challenges of space, light, materials, joinery, structural geometries, organic growth, and temporality. After this initial period of information gathering, students will be free to determine the format or combination of formats that will shape an extended semester-end project. Readings, artist talks, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.
Requisite: One prior course in studio arts, architecture, or film production, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Keller.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
An introduction to black-and-white still photography. The basic elements of photographic technique will be taught as a means to explore both general pictorial structure and photography’s own unique visual language. Emphasis will be centered less on technical concerns and more on investigating how images can become vessels for both ideas and deeply human emotions. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, readings, and slide lectures about the work of artist-photographers, one short paper, and a final portfolio involving an independent project of choice. Two three-hour meetings per week.
Limited to 12 students. Fall and Spring semesters. Professor Kimball.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
This course will focus on a small, select number of photographs studied in significant depth. Making use of diverse methods of looking and analysis, we will examine photographs that are both canonical and non-canonical, from the earliest daguerreotypes in the nineteenth century to avant-garde experimentation in the twentieth century to the expanding global image ecologies of the present. We will study the social, intellectual, and art histories of photography, interrogating concepts of visual representation and reproduction, and issues of technology, identity, and power, while also employing the theoretical lenses of critical writers.
Spring Semester. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as ARHA 221 and FAMS 221) This introductory course is designed for students with no prior experience in video production. The aim is both technical and creative. We will begin with the literal foundation of the moving image—the frame—before moving through shot and scene construction, lighting, sound-image concepts, and final edit. In addition to instruction in production equipment and facilities, the course will also explore cinematic form and structure through weekly readings, screenings and discussion. Each student will work on a series of production exercises and a final video assignment.
Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Professor Mellis. Spring semester: Professor Levine.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
A course appropriate for students with prior experience in basic principles of visual organization, who wish to investigate further aspects of pictorial construction using the figure as a primary measure for classwork. The course will specifically involve an anatomical approach to the drawing of the human figure, involving slides, some reading, and out-of-class drawing assignments. Two two-hour meetings per week.
Requisite: ARHA 102 or 111, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor R. Sweeney.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
This course explores the visual structures of natural things. The processes and disciplines of drawing, acrylic painting, watercolor and sculpture will be used to examine natural subjects such as plants, animals, landscape and the figure. We will work directly from life. Out-of-class trips will be frequent to access natural subject matter not found in the classroom.
Requisite: One of ARHA 111, ARHA 214, or ARHA 215 (because of the diversity of subject and materials used). Limited to 8 students. Fall semester. David Gloman.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as HIST 226 [EUP/TC], ARHA 226, EUST 226, and SWAG 225) Although overlooked in military histories until recently, women have long been actively involved in warfare: as combatants, as victims, as workers, and as symbols. This course examines both the changing role of women, and the shifting constructions of “womanhood,” in four major European conflicts: the wars of Elizabeth I in sixteenth-century England, the wars and peace of Marie de Médicis in seventeenth-century France, the French Revolution, and the First World War. Using methodologies drawn from Art History and History, the course seeks to understand the gendered nature of warfare. Why are images of women and the family central to the iconography of war, and how have representations of womanhood shifted according to the aims of particular conflicts? To what extent do women’s experiences of warfare differ from men’s, and can war be considered a source of women’s liberation or oppression? Students will analyze a range of historical images in conjunction with primary source texts from these conflicts and will also develop an original research project related to the course’s themes. Two class meetings per week.
Recommended requisite: A course in Art History or History. Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Boucher.2019-20: Not offered
The combination of language with visual information offers a rich range of possibilities. In this course we will investigate strategies of interweaving image and text to create works that draw upon the qualities of each to produce hybrid forms. The class will look at a variety of sources and respond to them in a series of hands-on studio projects. These sources include maps, diagrams, calligraphy, illustrations and manuscripts, as well as work from the history of art and literature. The projects will involve drawing, printing, book-making, writing and photography to produce work that deploys image and text to express narrative, poetic, political or informational content.
Requisite: studio experience is recommended. Limited to 16 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as ARHA 232 and ARCH 232) This course traces the history of modern cartography from the integration of indigenous map-making techniques into colonial Latin American land surveys in the sixteenth century to the use of GIS software by militaries and corporations to create detailed images of foreign and domestic territories in the twenty-first century. Along the way, we will question the political and economic impetus that drove governments, militaries, municipalities, and private entities to create renderings of the land on which we live. We will also investigate the technological history of map-making as we consider the extent to which innovations in modern science have influenced the production of maps. This course will challenge the presumption that maps are factual portrayals of physical space. It will also question how divergent forms of culturally based knowledge as well as economic constraints and corporate rivalries have historically influenced map-making and subsequently shaped our understanding of territories near and far. We will think through these issues while investigating a number of major topics in the history of modern cartography: map-making and indigenous expertise in the Americas prior to and during European intervention; colonial cartography in the Americas, Asia, and Africa; the explosion of the map-making industry in eighteenth and nineteenth-century England and France; the mapping of oceans and other remote landscapes during this time; the twentieth-century genre of pictorial maps in the United States; cartography and modern warfare; and artists’ responses to these histories. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will build their writing and research skills while gaining knowledge of the methods that scholars employ when reading a wide variety of maps. Moreover, in approaching contemporary debates in the field of cartography, this course will introduce students to landscape studies.
Fall semester. Assistant Professor Carey.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as ARCH 250 and ARHA 250) This course explores the challenges and possibilities of humanitarian design, a growing area of interest in architectural practice. The course includes a field trip to Ecuador, to take place over Spring Break. This field component is deeply integrated into the course contents. During the first part of the semester, students become familiar with relevant theoretical and practice-based approaches to disaster reconstruction. With that, they gain an understanding of the complexities of this area, and a good grasp of the tasks and issues to be dealt with in the field. Upon returning from Ecuador, the rest of the semester is devoted to debriefing, producing and analyzing documentation, and drawing general lessons for the theory and practice of humanitarian design. The main case study is that of post-disaster reconstruction following Ecuador’s 2016 Pedernales Earthquake, which killed over 600 people and injured over 16,000. We will study the outcome of diverse reconstruction efforts and approaches four years after the earthquake. In order to compare and contrast approaches, our fieldwork will focus on two settings, an urban and a rural one, both located in the coastal Manabí province.
Limited to 12 Amherst College students. Admission with consent of the instructor. There will be an application process before pre-registration. Those students selected will have their travel expenses covered. Spring semester. Assistant Professor Arboleda.
[Update November 2019: The course application process is closed and students have already been selected. This course is open to Amherst College students only].2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as ARHA 253 and ARCH 253) This course traces the social and political history of the modern city from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. In the process, it questions the extent to which contemporary megacities—like São Paulo or Shanghai—reflect a social and urban system of organization that has its roots in earlier experiments in metropolitan design. Over the course of the semester, we will approach a number of genericized architectural spaces that have recurred across modern cities in ways that elucidate the broader template to which such urban zones often conform. These sites include the park, the nightclub, the brothel, the restaurant, the port, the highway, and the hotel, to name only a few. Our examination of these spaces will foreground the role of architecture and urban planning in shaping social interaction in these common locales. We will approach these sites as manifested in several modern metropolises, such as Paris, Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai, Dakar, São Paulo, and New York. In investigating these places, we will ask: What makes a city? What, if any, continuities characterize the organizational structures, social spaces, and living conditions of modern cities in the western and non-western worlds? In encouraging students to explore the relationships between European and non-European urban centers, this course will serve as a point of departure for rethinking the binaries that separate the West and the Non-West. Through written assignments and independent research, students will gain knowledge of the ways in which urban spaces have informed social, political, economic, and cultural histories in America and beyond. This course will also aid students in developing their writing and research skills.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Carey.2019-20: Not offered
This course examines art produced since 1989. We will pay particular attention to the international network comprising artists, curators, institutions, and the art market. How does the globalization of the art world instantiate and at times diverge from the process of economic integration taking place on a planetary scale in the past three decades? How does cultural difference function within this topsy-turvy world? How do artists claim territory amidst the redrawing of the cultural map? The course engages in a balancing act of looking closely at specific practices (artistic, curatorial, institutional, and sales-driven) while zooming out to analyze the larger field of art’s operations.
Limited to 40 students. Professor Vicario. Omitted 2019-20.2019-20: Not offered
This course explores art produced since 1920 in Latin America. From the state-sponsored murals of post-revolutionary Mexico to the “Constructive Universalism” of Joaquín Torres-García in Uruguay, how did artists align themselves with and distinguish themselves from movements and ideas circulating in Europe and the United States? When and why did U.S. institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art begin to collect, exhibit, and theorize art from Latin America? At mid-century, how was the proliferation of geometric abstraction in Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Caracas entangled with the modernization projects in those cities? In the wake of the Cuban Revolution, in what ways did the spread of anti-imperialist ideas radicalize artistic practices across the region? When dictatorships commandeered several countries from the 1960s through the 1980s, how did political and cultural repression generate new dangers but also new tactics for artists? Studying more recent practices, we will investigate art projects produced on the U.S.–Mexico border, the interaction between artists from Latin America and an increasingly global art world, and the curatorial trends characterizing the early twenty-first century display of art from the region. Throughout the course, the work of art will be analyzed as the battleground upon and across which political struggles were fought. Each student will engage in a research project that culminates in a final paper.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Vicario.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 257, ARCH 257, and BLST 253) Creole dwellings were first erected by enslaved builders working under Diego Colón (the son of Christopher Columbus) on the island of Hispaniola. By the end of the first wave of European expansion in the early nineteenth century, the creole style existed across imperial domains in the Caribbean, North and South America, Africa, the Indian Ocean, and even Asia. We will examine the global diffusion of this architectural typology from its emergence in the Spanish Caribbean to its florescence in British and French India in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In doing so, we will address buildings and towns in Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonies worldwide. Some of the urban centers that we will engage include: Kingston, Jamaica; Pondicherry, India; Cape Town, South Africa; Cartagena, Colombia; Saint-Louis, Senegal; and Macau, China. In investigating both creole structures and the cities that harbored such forms, we will think through the social and economic factors that caused buildings and urban areas to display marked continuities despite geographical and imperial distinctions.
Fall semester. Professor Carey.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as ARHA 258, ARCH 258 and EUST 258) The purpose of this course is to introduce students to research on lived environments from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, the architecture that shaped them, and the art and objects that they contained. The goal of each class, through reading and discussion, is to investigate what a researchable question is in the fields of history, art history, architecture, and material culture in Europe, England, and the Americas. Using multi-disciplinary research strategies, we will examine the power of precious and ordinary objects (including furniture, tapestries, devotional paintings, family portraits, and sculpture), the contemporary connotations of their materiality, and consider what objects in a home might signify about a family’s status, political allegiance, spirituality, and place in the world. Further, we will ask how art, objects and décor shape the beholder’s experience of spaces inside and outside a residence, in private and in public. What does the display of objects in collections, including those from far-away cultures other than the patron’s, signify to the owner and the viewer? Visiting lecturers will present their ideas on various topics such as the anthropology of art, the significance of precious materials, and collecting. We will take field trips to museums and meet curators in order to identify a research topic.
This course will give students tools to conduct their own research into past lived environments and their contents, and identify how we in the 21st century might come to understand them. As the culmination of the course students will collaboratively develop a prospectus for a research project with one or two other classmates. Assignments to meet that goal include adding new content to Wikipedia as a record of students’ findings and a contribution to knowledge for a wider public.
Open to sophomores but also motivated first-years interested in research in a variety of fields. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Courtright.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 259 and ARCH 259) This course is an examination of utopian plans in architecture and art. We will consider the philosophical constructs of utopia in architectural drawings, buildings, and plans in relation to film, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. We will consider how different projections about life in the future are also harsh criticisms of the present, which often rely upon imagined concepts of social organizations in times past. The course reflects on utopian art from antiquity to the present, including an examination of selected utopian authors, including Sir Thomas More, Edward Bellamy, and William Morris, with an emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We examine the tensions between theory and practice by studying the successes and failures of actual attempts at realizing utopian communities. We will question the differences between utopia, dystopia, displacement and the home, as we consider whether utopian art and design is viable in the twenty-first century.
Fall semester. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as ARHA 261 and ASLC 260) Visual imagery plays a central role in the Buddhist faith. As the religion developed and spread throughout Asia it took many forms. This course will first examine the appearance of the earliest aniconic traditions in ancient India, the development of the Buddha image, and early monastic centers. It will then trace the dissemination and transformation of Buddhist art as the religion reached South-East Asia, Central Asia, and eventually East Asia. In each region indigenous cultural practices and artistic traditions influenced Buddhist art. Among the topics the course will address are the nature of the Buddha image, the political uses of Buddhist art, the development of illustrated hagiographies, and the importance of pilgrimage, both in the past and the present.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Morse.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 267 and ASLC 267) The book has played (and continues to play) a central role in the Islamic world. As a technology, it gives physical form to the Qur’an, an orally proclaimed text, allowing Islam’s scripture to be read, touched, held, and easily transported. It is a carrier of divine blessing, but also of wisdom, authority, tradition, and affiliation. The earliest Islamic books were either very fragile, being made of papyrus, or expensive, being made of animal skin (parchment). Knowledge of papermaking, which traveled westward from its place of origin in China, revolutionized the production of manuscripts in royal and intellectual hubs like Samarqand, Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordoba. Books on geography, history, poetry, and science soon proliferated, many of them filled with fantastic paintings made of gold leaf, ground minerals, and carbon-based inks. We will study the history of the Islamic book, from manuscripts of the Qur’an, which often bear calligraphy but almost never include illustrations, to historical, astrological, and poetic works—like the famous Shahnama (Book of Kings)—that contain images of various types and sizes. We will pay special attention to who produced, collected, and circulated these books, and ask how and according to which criteria they were conceived, used, and evaluated. We will bring to our objects of study a close-viewing lens, but also explore the use of computational tools drawn from the Digital Humanities. Visits to view book materials in local collections will supplement classroom discussion and assigned readings. No previous knowledge of the topic is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
Fall semester. Professor Rice.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as ARHA 270 and BLST 293 [D]) The course of study will examine those African cultures and their arts that have survived and shaped the aesthetic, philosophic and religious patterns of African descendants in Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and urban centers in North America. We shall explore the modes of transmission of African artistry to the West and examine the significance of the preservation and transformation of artistic forms from the period of slavery to our own day. Through the use of films, slides and objects, we shall explore the depth and diversity of this vital artistic heritage of Afro-Americans.
Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as ARHA 281, ARCH 281, and ASLC 281) This course examines artistic exchanges and encounters in the Islamic world during the early modern period. We will focus on the movement of artists, objects, and systems of knowledge between and beyond the Mamluk, Ottoman, Timurid, Safavid, and Mughal courts, placing special emphasis upon encounters with the arts of Europe and East Asia. Among the topics to be considered are the design, circulation, and trade of textiles; the arts of diplomacy and gift exchange; the nature of curiosity and wonder; and artists’ responses to the “other.” This course aims to challenge conventional, essentialist binaries (e.g., East vs. West, Islamic vs. European), and to re-assess the standard art historical narratives from a more culturally, geographically, and economically interconnected perspective.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Rice.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 288, ASLC 288 and FAMS 321) Overblown cinematic spectacles, meandering storylines, and distracting dance numbers commonly characterize Indian commercial cinema known as Bollywood. The course is organized to study Bollywood as what scholar Lalitha Gopalan has called a “constellation of interruptions” and proposes that these features contribute to a consistent narrative structure developed within a distinctive visual and cinematic tradition. We will analyze a selection of feature-length films closely, debate scholarly articles, write guided assignments, and pursue independent research papers. We will develop provocative historical and theoretical perspectives that locate Indian films in a critical relation to other traditions of world cinema. Two 80 minute classes and one 180 minute screening.
Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2019-20. Visiting Professor Sinha.2019-20: Not offered
Drawing and sculpture have, for millennia, occasionally joined forces to create objects that rely equally on the worlds of illusion and literal three-dimensional form and its shadows. This combination of seemingly contradictory phenomena often begets artworks both mysterious and magical because of their refusals to fit neatly into either discipline. The world of relief sculptures has a long history, and the world of tactile drawings that step out into a three-dimensional field is a burgeoning one. In this course we look at the historical lineage of relief sculpture, and at ways in which drawing has become increasingly physical and object-like in the past century. We will then move into studio work, allowing for experimentation in a wide variety of materials, subjects, and processes, as well as in the incorporation of color. Over the semester, each student will produce a series of related artworks that focus on merging thing and illusion. This studio work will be supplemented with a mix of pertinent artist talks, museum visits, readings, and field trips.
Requisite: One of the following three studio courses—ARHA 111, 102, 214, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 8 students. Professor Keller. Omitted 2019-20.2019-20: Not offered
In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore the practice of documentary photography. This course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class visual exercises. We will examine the history, theory and ideological questions and complications of working with those outside of or within one’s own circle of experience. This will be complemented by a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary photographers, and slide lectures that consider the multitude of ways artists use photography within the documentary tradition.
Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Kimball.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
An investigation of ideas into the development of visual imagery focusing on series of works utilizing drawing and printmaking. Contemporary and historical references of artists' series of works will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects, culminating in a final project consisting of a cohesive, visual body of work. Experimentation of conceptual and technical boundaries will be encouraged and explored. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Visual work will include a wide variety of drawing media, including, but not limited to traditional methods. The techniques of intaglio and relief printmaking will be used in combination with and concurrent to the drawn images.
Requisite: Introductory level Drawing or Printmaking I or consent of the instructor. Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
A studio course that will emphasize compositional development by working from memory, imagination, other works of art and life. The use of a wide variety of media will be encouraged including, but not limited to, drawing, painting, printmaking and collage. Students will be required to create an independent body of work that explores an individual direction in pictorial construction. In addition to this independent project, course work will consist of slide lectures, individual and group critiques, in-class studio experiments and field trips.
Requisite: ARHA 222, 326 or 327. Limited to 8 students. Spring semester. Professor R. Sweeney.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
A studio course that investigates more advanced techniques and concepts in sculpture leading to individual exploration and development. Projects cover figurative and abstract problems based on both traditional themes and contemporary developments in sculpture, including: clay modeling, carving, wood and steel fabrication, casting, and mixed-media construction. Weekly in-class discussion and critiques will be held. Two two-hour class meetings per week.
Requisite: ARHA 214 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Keller.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 325 and ASLC 325) An examination of the construction, use, and interpretation of images and icons. The primary focus will be on images and icons in the Buddhist and Hindu faiths; however, the class will also make comparisons with those in Christianity and the religions of Africa and New Guinea. Some of the topics to be covered will include the relationship between icons and deities, the authentication and animation of images, the connections between icons and political authority, the ritual use of images, and aniconism and iconoclasm. The class is designed to focus on art historical writing.
Limited to 18 students to facilitate class discussion. Spring semester. Prof. Morse.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
This course offers students knowledgeable in the basic principles and skills of painting and drawing an opportunity to investigate personal directions in painting. Assignments will be collectively as well as individually directed. Discussions of the course work will assume the form of group as well as individual critiques. Two three-hour class meetings per week.
Requisite: ARHA 215 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Gloman.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
This course is an exploration of intaglio, relief and planographic printmaking processes. Combining conceptual concerns with techniques will be integral to the development of imagery. The course will involve continuous and vigorous visual research of historical and contemporary artist printmakers and teach the techniques of drypoint, etching, engraving, aquatint, monoprints, monotypes, woodcut and linocut. Printmaking processes will include color printing, multiple plate, combinations of various printmaking techniques, series and large scale prints. All students will complete a final project of an editioned portfolio exchange of prints and a handmade portfolio. Individualized areas of investigation are encouraged and expected. In-class work will involve demonstration, discussion and critique.
Requisite: ARHA 213 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2019-20. Senior Resident Artist Garand.2019-20: Not offered
This course is a continuing investigation of the skills and questions introduced in ARHA 218. It will include an introduction to varied camera and film formats and both analog and digital photography methods. An emphasis will be placed on defining, locating and pursuing independent work; this will be accomplished through a series of weekly demonstrations, assignments and a final independent project. Student work will be discussed and evaluated in group and individual critiques. This is complemented by slide presentations and topical readings of contemporary and historical photography.
Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Kimball.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as ARHA 330 and FAMS 443) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore fictional narrative filmmaking through readings, weekly screenings and production. Within a script-to-screen process, emphasis will be placed on organization and the translation of the script into a visual narrative. Rotating in small crews between cinematographer, gaffer, sound producer, production designer and director, each student will write, shoot and edit one short film, not to exceed 8 minutes in length (including credits). One 3-hour class (which will include reading discussions, labs/workshops, script readings, and rough cut critiques) and one afternoon screening each week. Most production will be completed in groups outside of class.
Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Montague.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 335 and FAMS 335) This intermediate production course surveys the outer limits of cinematic expression and provides an overview of creative 16mm film production. We will begin by making cameraless projects through drawing, painting and scratching directly onto the film strip before further exploring the fundamentals of 16mm technology, including cameras, editing and hand-processing. While remaining aware of our creative choices, we will invite chance into our process and risk failure, as every experiment inevitably must.
Through screenings of original film prints, assigned readings and discussion, the course will consider a number of experimental filmmakers and then conclude with a review of exhibition and distribution strategies for moving image art. All students will complete a number of short assignments on film and one final project on either film or video, each of which is to be presented for class critique. One three-hour class and one film screening per week.
Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Levine.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
What is art history? What is its history? What are its premises and where does it come from? This seminar will explore the historical foundations, formulations, and applications of current art historical methods, the foundations of the art historical discipline as it emerged from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as attitudes towards and theories on art practice in their diverse global contexts from before the modern period. Both practice and theory will be considered through discussion of select texts and objects drawn from a variety of traditions. Topics may include: style and periodization; iconography, narratology, and phenomenology; semiotics; the social functions of images and the social history of art; the cultural foundations of representation, aesthetics, and vision; art and the material world; art, gender, and sexuality; collecting and commodification of art; and post-colonialism and post-modernism.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Rice.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as BLST 315 [A] and ARHA 353) Through a contrastive analysis of the religious and artistic modes of expression in three West African societies—the Asanti of the Guinea Coast, and the Yoruba and Igbo peoples of Nigeria—the course will explore the nature and logic of symbols in an African cultural context. We shall address the problem of cultural symbols in terms of African conceptions of performance and the creative play of the imagination in ritual acts, masked festivals, music, dance, oral histories, and the visual arts as they provide the means through which cultural heritage and identity are transmitted and preserved, while, at the same time, being the means for innovative responses to changing social circumstances.
Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as ARHA 383 and ASLC 319) An examination of the history of chanoyu, the tea ceremony, from its origins in the fifteenth century to the practice of tea today. The class will explore the various elements that comprise the tea environment-the garden setting, the architecture of the tea room, the forms of tea utensils, and the elements of the kaiseki meal. Through a study of the careers of influential tea masters and texts that examine the historical, religious, and cultural background of tea culture, the course will also trace how the tea ceremony has become a metaphor for Japanese culture and Japanese aesthetics both in Japan and in the West. There will be field trips to visit tea ware collections, potters and tea masters. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Morse.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as ARHA 384 and ASLC 384) An image that can be replicated serves a very different function from a single unique work of art; it addresses new audiences and elicits a wider range of responses. This course will explore three different types of replicated images in Japan—woodblock prints, lithographs, and photographs. With the unprecedented achievement of literacy among urban populations during the early seventeenth century, Japan developed highly inventive woodblock texts and images. The course will begin with an investigation of the Japanese print in the Edo period (1615–1868) through the works of artists such as Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige. It will subsequently examine the early history of the photograph in the nineteenth century and then how the postcard replaced the print as the favored format for the dissemination of images during the early twentieth century, becoming the primary visual means for communicating Japan’s modernity before the advent of World War II. The course will conclude with a study of photography from the 1920s to the present day. Photography also documented Japan’s modern era, the social tensions that appeared in the high-grown era after WWII, and today often transcends national boundaries.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Morse.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 385, EUST 385, and SWAG 310) This course will explore the construction of the monstrous, over cultures, centuries and disciplines. With the greatest possible historical and cultural specificity, we will investigate the varied forms of monstrous creatures, their putative powers, and the explanations given for their existence—as we attempt to articulate the kindred qualities they share. Among the artists to be considered are Valdés Leal, Velázquez, Goya, Munch, Ensor, Redon, Nolde, Picasso, Dalí, Kiki Smith, and Cindy Sherman. Not open to first-year students. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Staller.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 388 and ASLC 383) This course will survey the Chinese pictorial and calligraphic traditions from the Neolithic era to the present day. Particular emphasis will be placed on the period from the Northern Song to the Qing dynasties and the development of the landscape idiom, but the course will also address the figure, bird and flower, and narrative traditions as well. It will conclude with an exploration of the ways contemporary artists engage the legacy of China’s cultural heritage. Special attention will be given to the differences between Western methodological approaches to Chinese painting and the theories of painting developed by the Chinese themselves.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Morse.2019-20: Not offered
We will investigate a series of historical events (such as the Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis, Stonewall, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King) as well as the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of identity politics (Feminism, Black Power, the Brown Berets) and the counterculture. We will study the myriad art forms and their attendant ideologies invented during the decade (such as Pop, Op, Color Field, Minimalism, Land Art, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Fluxus), as well as some crucial critics, dealers and art journals, in an effort to understand the ways in which artists rejected or appropriated, then transformed, certain themes and conceptual models of their time. This course will include class trips.
Requisite: One course in modern art or consent of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 11 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Staller.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 441 and FAMS 441) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore creative documentary practice through readings, weekly screenings and production assignments. Each student will complete a series of projects working both as a single maker and in collaboration with other members of the class. Topics may include: shooting the interview; scripting, performance and reenactment; history and narrativity; place and space; ethnography and the “embedded” filmmaker. We will also host visiting filmmakers and, where possible, visit a cultural institution which supports and screens cutting-edge documentary work.
The course will be taught annually but will focus on a set of revolving themes and issues that inform contemporary documentary filmmaking and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The theme for Fall 2019 will be “Place and Space". One 3-hour class (some of which will include field shooting and research trips) and one evening screening each week.
Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Levine.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
(Offered as ARHA 444 and FAMS 444) Essay filmmaking is a dynamic form with many commonly cited attributes—the presence of an authorial voice, an emphasis on broad themes, an eclectic approach to genre, and the tendency to digress or draw unexpected connections. Yet, true to its nature, the precise definition of the essay film is in constant flux. It can be both personal and political, individual and collective, noble and mischievous. Essay filmmakers themselves are equally diverse, ranging from established film auteurs to Third Cinema activists and contemporary video artists.
If we entertain the notion that the processes of cinema closely resemble the mechanics of human thought, then the essay film may be the medium’s purest expression. To watch or make such a film, we must give ourselves over to a compulsive, restless energy that delights in chasing a subject down any number of rabbit holes and blind alleys, often stopping to admire the scenery on the way. As with thought, there is no end product, no clear boundaries, no goal but the activity itself.
The term "essay" finds its origins in the French essayer, meaning “to attempt” or to try.” In this advanced production workshop, we will read, screen and discuss examples of the essayistic mode in literature and cinema while making several such attempts of our own. Students will complete a series of writing assignments and video projects informed by class materials and group discussion.
Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
In this course, we will take the skills and insights gained in introductory production courses and develop them over the length of the semester through the creation of one short project, ten minutes long. Students may work individually or in pairs. We will learn by making work as well as by researching, reading, and watching films related to our projects. We may take this opportunity to delve into and learn the conventions of our chosen form, or we may decide that our content demands formal experimentation and risk-taking. The course will be structured by the projects each student brings to it. We will begin the semester with brainstorming, research, script/documentary proposal writing, and pre-production. Each student will develop a script or in-depth proposal to begin with. As we move into production, we will review and deepen our knowledge of camera, lighting (available & set), sound (location & studio), and editing principles and techniques. We will move between production and post-production in the second half of the semester, first developing sequences, then rough assemblies, rough cuts, and fine cuts, before ultimately completing our final cut.
Requisites: Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have completed at least one previous course in video production and preferably two previous courses, one at the 200-level and one at the 300-level. Limited to 10 students. Admission with consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Mellis.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
(Offered as ARHA 452, EUST 452, and SWAG 452) Shortly after the Franco-Prussian War—when there were more bloody corpses in the streets of Paris than at the height of the French Revolution—Monet and some others invented Impressionism. Rather than grab horror by the throat, as Goya and Picasso did in Spain, they created an earthly paradise. To this end, some ecstatically immersed themselves in nature; others tapped the gas-lit pleasures of the demi-monde.
We will revel in the different visions of Monet, Degas, Renoir, as well as of Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse—the Symbolist and Fauvist artists who followed. We will feast on the artists’ images, originals whenever possible (including Monet’s Matinée sur la Seine at the Mead). We will study their words—Van Gogh’s letters, Gauguin’s Noa Noa, Matisse’s “Notes of a Painter”—and analyze the ways in which they transformed their experiences into art. We will consider the centrality of beauty and joy in the creation of art and life. There will be at least one required field trip, on a Friday. This is a research seminar: each student will choose an artist, whose paradise they will study in depth, and share as a class presentation and substantial paper.
Requisite: One course in modern art, or consent of the instructor. Knowledge of French helpful but not required. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Staller.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ENGL 462, ARHA 462, and FAMS 462) In recent years, curating has taken on an increasingly central role in the production of contemporary media cultures. As the practice of selecting, organizing, and presenting cultural artifacts for public exhibition, curating often determines the sorts of media forms audiences have access to and the frameworks through which those media forms are interpreted. Curating requires a facility with a wide variety of skills, from historical research to critical analysis, communication, administration, and creative thinking. Yet it also entails an attentiveness to the complex socio-political issues that subtend all approaches to cultural representation.
This course introduces students to the history, theory, and practice of film and video curation, paying special attention to the curation of experimental media. Students will learn about curating in both theoretical and practical ways, analyzing a variety of conceptual issues and debates that have emerged from historical and contemporary approaches to experimental film and video exhibition, while also embarking on creative assignments designed to allow them to begin developing their own curatorial perspectives. Through weekly screenings, readings, and discussion seminars, as well as visits to off-campus arts venues and cultural institutions, we will examine the different registers of film and video exhibitions that are regularly shaped by curators (program, sequence, exhibition space, text, and formats, etc.), as well as the broader social and political stakes of media curation. Two class meetings and one screening per week.
Requisite: At least one foundational course in FAMS or ARHA. Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Guilford.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as FREN 473 and ARHA 473) This seminar stages the connections, associations, and interactions that bind together books and their users. It is premised upon the idea that books (manuscripts, printed texts, digital publications, and related media) initiate complex exchanges and relations: they enrich our world, affect our perceptions, stimulate our sensations, and trigger our emotions. Knowledge perpetuates itself in books: books are the crossroads where one consciousness pursues the consciousness of the other, the dwellings where communities are founded or dismantled, and faiths united and untied. In this seminar, we will bring together the methodologies of art history, textual analysis, ethnography, material culture, and art making and curating in order to investigate the place of books in our society and in history. Each session will be devoted to a singular aspect of the book, broadly conceived. Possible topics may include the book as an object of collection; colonial and post-colonial uses of the book; the intersection of body and codex; the book as talisman and amulet; diverse practices of reading and assembling the page; the precarious status of the author; and the materiality of the book. In parallel, throughout the semester, students will conceive an exhibition (and an exhibition catalog) about the Book, to be presented at Frost Library. Conducted in English.
Requisite: One course in ARHA, FREN, HIST, ANTH, or related discipline. Consent required for first-year students. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professors Sigal and Rice.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ENGL 479, FAMS 479, and ARHA 479) The filmmaker John Grierson broadly defined documentary as “the creative treatment of actuality.” How then, do documentary filmmakers responsibly balance the creative license of fiction with a respect for facts and material realities? Similarly, how do we as viewers agree upon a set of terms or rules for judging the success of a documentary film? “Problems in Documentary” explores the complications of the documentary form, which is neither fictional invention nor factual reproduction. This course will involve both creative and critical practice. It is designed for students with prior experience in both studying and making audiovisual media.
Students will read, watch, and discuss material that considers key problems in documentary filmmaking (negotiating power and textual authority; intervening in versus observing events; representing traumatic events; obtaining consent; recreating the past; representing social actors; finding the right form for a subject; filming and editing ethically; navigating institutional protocols) before developing a series of individual documentary video assignments. Subsequent discussions and critique, both in-class and in writing, will focus on evaluating these projects in terms of how they respond to the challenges raised by documentary critics and makers encountered in class.
Requisites: A 200-level Foundations in Critical Media Studies course (“Coming to Terms: Cinema,” “Coming to Terms: Media,” “Knowing Cinema,” “Knowing Television,” or “Introduction to Film Theory”) and an introductory film/video production course. Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professors Levine and Rangan.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as ENGL 481, ARHA 481, and FAMS 481) Experimental film is a vital area of contemporary media culture where artists engage the moving image from a wide range of creative approaches, exploring film as an aesthetic, poetic, or political medium, rather than a commercial enterprise. By departing from the conventions of mainstream film, experimental filmmakers present their audience with a stimulating challenge, asking viewers to develop new critical frameworks through which to assess films that often resist classification and traditional interpretive approaches.
In this seminar, students will take up this challenge by exploring different ways of entering into conversation with the work of experimental filmmakers. Through weekly screenings, in-class visits by contemporary filmmakers, and group discussions of course readings (such as artists’ writings, interviews, and related theoretical material), we will develop critical and creative vocabularies that help us to analyze and respond to an array of experimental films and videos. Along with completing writing assignments and in-class presentations, students will plan and execute a final project that can assume a number of critical or creative forms, such as an interview with a filmmaker, a short video, or an analytical essay.
Requisite: At least one foundational course in FAMS, ARHA, or ENGL. Open to juniors and seniors, and to sophomores with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Guilford.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
Independent reading course. A full course.
Fall and spring semesters. The Department.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
Preparation of a thesis or completion of a studio project which may be submitted to the Department for consideration for Honors.
Open to seniors with consent of the Department. Fall semester. The Department.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019