First Year Graduate Seminar: Visual Art and Culture: History and Theory
This course examines the ideas that have shaped modern art historical study and discusses how awareness of these can deepen our understanding of the nature and power of visual images and artifacts. This discussion-based seminar focuses on important art historical texts in which issues central to the discipline have been developed in depth and deployed in the analysis of actual artifacts and images. Also featured are theoretical and critical texts from outside the discipline that have had a major impact on modern thinking about art and the history of artistic culture. We examine Marxist theories of the commodity and labor, anthropological theories of art and social agency, and semiotic theories of the image as sign. The issues relating specifically to visual art and culture include - visual representation and visual cognition; pattern and ornament; the materiality of the image; temporality in art; world views and artistic forms; and visual figuration of the political and ideological. Cross-cultural awareness is encouraged by comparing the distinctive preoccupations to have emerged in the study of different artistic traditions, Western and non-Western.
Estimated cost of materials: 0$-50$.
Textbooks/Other Materials: Set readings will be posted online. No textbook
Course Requirements: Presentations and participation 20% Final essay 80%
Intended Audience: Graduate students working in the humanities who have an interest in the history and theory of visual art and culture
Class format: Weekly three hour seminar