HISTART 194-002

First Year Seminar:
From 'postcolonial' to 'postmodern': South Asian art in the wake of Independence and Partition

T Th 4:00pm - 5:30pm
3 Credit Seminar

What is the relationship between artistic modernism and political independence? How did the creation of new nation states transform the art institutional landscape across South Asia? What kinds of relationships between form and politics emerged in the wake of significant events like the Partition of India? These are just some of the questions we will explore in this seminar, as we study artistic practices as well as the institutions and networks of modernism in the Subcontinent following the end of colonial rule. We will critically interrogate the position of the postcolonial artist, and how larger socio-political developments interacted with formal expression and the choice of materials.

The role and development of technologies of production and circulation will be underscored, as will the changing contexts of patronage and exhibition. We will conclude at the turn of the century, evaluating the conditions for the proliferation of 'postmodernist' practices across media, while diagnosing the advent of the so-called "global contemporary." The course will provide both theoretical tools and significant case studies in analyzing relationships between politics and artistic form, encouraging participants to hone their own analytical, writing, and presentation skills in this regard. Class participation will be a significant component of this course and will be structured into in-class presentations and discussion, as well as a series of visual annotation assignments. A final paper will be required at the end of the semester.

Course Readings: Will be available through Canvas. No textbook.

Course Requirements: One in-class presentation (20%); in-class discussion participation (20%); Visual annotation assignments (20%); Final paper abstract and office hours discussion (10%); Final paper (8-10 pages; 30%).

Intended Audience: First-year students

Estimated cost of materials: $0

HISTART Distribution Requirements: Asia / Modern and Contemporary.

Keywords: postcolonial, South Asia, modernism, visual art, Partition, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka