Fall 2014 Undergraduate Courses

Updated on July 11, 2014.

Undergraduate Lectures

AHIS BC1001 Barnard Intro Survey
M. O'Neil
M/W 2:40pm-3:55, 304 Barnard Hall
Attempting to offer an introduction to artistic creation on a global scale, this course is team-taught by specialists in a number of different cultural and historical traditions. In the fall semester we will discuss the art of Europe, the Middle East, India, Japan, and China, in periods ranging from the Paleolithic to the Renaissance. Teaching assistants run weekly sections to supplement the lectures. Museum trips are an integral part of the course.

AHIS BC3682 Early Modernism and the Crisis of Representation
A. Alberro
T/Th 4:10-5:25, 504 Diana Center
This course studies the emergence and development of Modernism in all of its complexity. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which Modern artists responded to the dramatically changing notions of space, time and dimension in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. What impact did these dramatic changes have on existing concepts of representation? What challenges did they pose for artists? To what extent did Modernism contribute to an understanding of the full consequences of these new ideas of time and space? These concerns will lead us to examine some of the major critical and historical accounts of modernism in the arts as they were developed between the 1860s and the 1920s.

AHIS V3201 Arts of China
R. Harrist
M/W 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
An introduction to the arts of China, from the Neolithic period to the present, stressing materials and processes of bronze casting, the development of representational art, principles of text illustration, calligraphy, landscape painting, imperial patronage, and the role of the visual arts in elite culture. This class satisfies the Global Core requirement.

AHIS V3248 Greek Art and Architecture
I. Mylonopoulos
M/W 1:10-2:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
An introduction to the art and architecture of the Greek world during the archaic, classical, and Hellenistic periods (11th - 1st centuries B.C.E.). Discussion Section Required.

AHUM V3325 Arts of Islam: The First Formative Centuries (circa 700-1000)
A. Shalem
M/W 4:10-5:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
This introductory course attempts to cover the first 300 years, from circa 700-1000 AD, stressing the birth of Islam as the birth of a new aesthetic phenomenon in the Mediterranean Basin, Near East and Central Asia and its appropriations and innovations in creating a novel imperial style, while, at the same time, questioning the modern historiographies and narratives for these masterpieces.
Please note: Approval is still pending for inclusion in the Global Core. As of the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester this class will not count towards the Global Core Requirement.

AHUM V3340 Arts of China, Japan & Korea
D. Delbanco
M/W 10:10-11:25, 832 Schermerhorn Hall        
This course introduces distinctive aesthetic traditions of China, Japan, and Korea—their similarities and differences—through an examination of the visual significance of selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts in relation to the history, culture, and religions of East Asia. This class satisfies the Global Core requirement.

AHUM V3342 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture
G. Berninghausen
M/W 11:40-12:55, 832 Schermerhorn
Introduction to 2000 years of art on the Indian subcontinent. The course covers the early art of Buddhism, rock-cut architecture of the Buddhists and Hindus, the development of the Hindu temple, Mughal and Rajput painting and architecture, art of the colonial period, and the emergence of the Modern.

AHIS W3645 20th Century Architecture/City Planning
H. Gyger
T/R 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
This undergraduate lecture course is an introduction to key topics in the history and theory of modern architecture and urbanism of the twentieth century, primarily focusing on developments in Europe and the United States, complemented with selected case studies from countries in Latin America and Asia. The course does not systematically cover all the major events, ideas, protagonists, and buildings of the period. It is organized around thematic and sometimes monographic lectures, which are intended to represent the essential character of modern architecture from its beginnings around 1900 until more recent developments at the end of the century.

AHIS V3673 History of Photography
N. Elcott
M/W 11:40-12:55, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
Few media have shaped the course of modernity more powerfully than photography. Law, science, journalism, criminology, urban planning, and entertainment are but a handful of the fields remade by the introduction of photography. More ambivalent has been photography's relationship to art. Once relegated to the margins, photographic practices now occupy the center of much artistic production. This course will not attempt a comprehensive survey of the medium. Rather, we will trace central developments through a series of case studies from photography's nineteenth century birth to its current, digital afterlife. We will cover seminal movements and figures as well as more obscure practices and discourses. Particular attention will be paid to the theoretical and methodological questions concerning the medium.

AHIS W3600X 19th Century Art
A. Higonnet
M/W 1:10-2:25, location TBA
The course examines selected topics in the history of European painting from the 1780s to 1900. It will explore a range of aesthetic, cultural and social issues through the work of major figures from David, Goya, and Turner to Manet, Seurat and Cezanne. This is a no laptop, no e-device course. Discussion Section Required.

Undergraduate Seminars and Colloquia

AHIS BC3926 Sacred Landscapes of the Ancient Americas
M. O'Neil
W 10-11:50, 501/2 Diana Center
This seminar will examine conceptions of sacred or otherwise revered landscapes and how artists and architects worked to capture, frame, or emulate landscape features in order to venerate and harness the potency of these features and associated deities. We will study concepts and theories concerning sacrality and sacred landscapes and explore select sites in North, Central, and South America as case studies, looking both at patterns and differences in sites and cultures across the Americas.

AHIS BC3950 Photo and Video in Asia
C. Phillips
W 6-8, 501/2 Diana Center                                                                
East Asia is now perhaps the world's most dynamic region, and its dramatic social and economic transformation has been mirrored in the work of a host of startlingly original and innovative visual artists. The class will explore the ideas and visual idioms that inform the leading contemporary photo artists in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. We will begin with a historical survey of the development of photography in East Asia since the mid-19th century, but we will concentrate on the period from 1960 to the present. Figures whose work will be explored include such Japanese artists and photographers as Eikoh Hosoe, Daido Moriyama, Tomatsu Shomei, Miyako Ishiuchi, Nobuyoshi Araki, Yasumasa Morimura, Moriko Mori, Naoya Hatakeyema, and Tomoko Sawada. From China, we will examine the work of artists like Zhang Huan, Hong Hao, Yang Fudong, Lin Tianmiao, and Xing Danwen, while Korean artists to be covered include Atta Kim and Yeondoo Jung. Since many of these artists work regularly in video as well as photography, there will be regular video screenings throughout the semester.

AHIS BC3959 Senior Research Seminar
R. Deutsche
T 6:10-8, 501/2 Diana Center
Course open to Barnard Art History majors only. Independent research for the senior thesis. Students develop and write their senior thesis in consultation with an individual faculty adviser in art history and participate in group meetings scheduled throughout the senior year.

AHIS BC3968 Art Criticism I
N. Guagnini
T 11-12:50, 501/2 Diana Center         
Contemporary art and its criticism written by artists (rather than by art historians or journalistic reviewers). Texts by Dan Graham, (Art and Language), Robert Smithson, Brian O'Dougherty, Martha Rosler, Barbara Kruger and others. Also, this class considers the art and writing of each artist together.

AHIS BC3970 Methods & Theories of Art History (section 001)
A. Alberro
Th 12:10-2, 501/2 Diana Center
Introduction to critical writings that have shaped histories of art, including texts on iconography and iconology, the psychology of perception, psychoanalysis, social history, feminism and gender studies, structuralism, semiotics, and post-structuralism.

AHIS BC3970 Methods & Theories of Art History (section 002)
J. Reynolds
T 2:10-4, 501/2 Diana Center
Introduction to critical writings that have shaped histories of art, including texts on iconography and iconology, the psychology of perception, psychoanalysis, social history, feminism and gender studies, structuralism, semiotics, and post-structuralism.

AHIS BC3985 Introduction to Connoisseurship
M. Ainsworth
M 9-10:50, TAUGHT AT THE METROLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
Factors involved in judging works of art, with emphasis on paintings; materials, technique, condition, attribution; identification of imitations and fakes; questions of relative quality.

AHIS C3948 Nineteenth Century Criticism
J. Crary
T 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Selected readings in 19th-century philosophy, literature and art criticism with emphasis on problems of modernity and aesthetic experience. Texts include work by Diderot, Kant, Coleridge, Hegel, Emerson, Flaubert, Ruskin, Baudelaire, and Nietzsche.

AHIS C3997 Senior Thesis Seminar
K. Jones
W 4:10-6, location TBA
Required for all thesis writers.

AHIS W3811 Medieval Architecture, Sources, and New Technologies
S. Van Lieffringe
R 12:10-2, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Many primary sources provide information about architecture and building practice in the Middle Ages. Some writings, such as abbot Suger's account of the construction of the new choir at Saint Denis are directly related to a specific building. Other treatises, such as Vitruvius or texts of land surveyors were understood as general treatises on architecture and building practice. All these sources provide a rich corpus for the study of buildings of the Middle Ages. Furthermore, today's new technologies such as 3D modeling, laser surveying technologies, web search engines, etc. open promising avenues of research in architectural history. Studying documents in connection with the buildings while addressing the latest technologies offers an innovative and exciting approach for researching the mechanisms that underlie the radical transformations that architecture underwent in the Middle Ages.

AHIS W3854 Bernini, Baroque Sculpture and the Painterly
C. Mangone
M 2:10-4, 832 Schermerhorn Hall
This course will examine afresh the painterly illusionism of Bernini’s statues as well the intermediality of his ensembles of sculpture, painting and architecture (known as bel composti). Rather than situate materiality and facture subordinate to illusion and ideation (as is typically the case), we will consider baroque sculpture as material as much as immaterial. What might be gained if we look beyond Bernini’s dematerializing illusionism, and consider the material presence of his work? Was Bernini interested in medium specificity? In what media do we have evidence of him thinking pictorially?  Are Bernini’s processes, whether in drawing or in modeling, similar to those of painters who also drew and modeled? How does Bernini’s work and process compare to that of contemporary sculptors like Alessandro Algardi, Francesco Mochi and Giuliano Finelli, to name a few? The goal is to come away from this class with a better sense for how material and conceptual dialogues among the arts shaped Baroque sculpture.

AHIS W3886 Art Between the Wars 1919-1939
K. Minturn
T 2:10-4, 832 Schermerhorn
Coming on the heels of the Guggenheim's recent blockbuster exhibit, "Chaos and Classicism," Art Between the Wars is a seminar dedicated to the investigation of interwar art, architecture, film and photography produced in France, Italy, Germany, and the USSR from 1919-1939. We will examine the widespread return to figuration, the rampant retour à l'ordre mentality, and the rapid replacement of the historical avant-garde movements of Cubism, Futurism, Expressionism and Suprematism (and Constructivism), with Purism, Novecento, Neue Sachlichkeit, and Soviet Socialist Realism, respectively. By way of contrast we will also consider the example of America's own homegrown interwar movement, Regionalism.

AHIS W3895 Major’s Colloquium: Introduction to the Literature and Methods of Art History
Z. Strother
M 11-12:50, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Prerequisites: the department's permission. Students must sign-up in 826 Schermerhorn.
Introduction to different methodological approaches to the study of art and visual culture. Majors are encouraged to take the colloquium during their junior year.

AHIS W3898 Yoruba and the Diaspora
Z. Strother
M 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
We will study one of the great classical civilizations of Africa, the Yoruba kingdoms of Nigeria and Benin, and their impact on the arts of Cuba (Santería/Lucumi), Haiti (Vodoun and associated easel painting), Brazil (Candomblé, Umbanda), Surinam, and the U.S. There will be one or more museum field trips. For their research projects, students are free to work on a variety of topics, ranging from the subjects already listed to: the representation of Santería in Hollywood; the films of Maya Deren; Cuban modernism; Zora Neale Hurston in Haiti; etc. Pedagogically, the seminar will emphasize close reading skills. Students will be asked to prepare a short analytical paper on the readings each week, sometimes on an assigned question, sometimes not. In addition, I will be working with the students to develop their skills to conduct original research and will ask them to address one or more of the theoretical models discussed in class in their final essay (15 pages). This class satisfies the Global Core requirement.

AHIS W3899 African American Visual and Decorative Arts
K. Jones
W 11-12:50, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
This course surveys the earliest forms of visual production by North Americans of African descent, spanning the period from 1640-1900. Our focus encompasses decorative arts and crafts (furniture, wrought iron, pottery, quilts), architecture and the emerging field of African American archeology, along with photography and the fine arts of painting and sculpture. We will consider how certain traditions brought from Africa contributed to the development of the early visual and material culture of what came to be called the United States. We will also reflect on how theories of creolization, diaspora, and resistance help us understand African American and American culture in general.

Bridge Lectures

AHIS W4089 Native American Art and Culture
E. Hutchinson                                                                            
T/Th 4:10-5:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
This introduction to Native North American art surveys traditions of painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, photography and architecture and traces the careers of contemporary Indian modernists and postmodernists. It emphasizes artistic developments as a means of preserving culture and resisting domination in response to intertribal contact, European colonization and American expansion.

AHIS W4155 Art and Archaeology of Mesopotamia
Z. Bahrani
M/W 2:40-3:55, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
Introduction to the art and architecture of Mesopotamia, beginning with the establishment of the first cities in the fourth millennium B.C.E. through the fall of Babylon to Alexander of Macedon in the fourth century B.C.E. Focus on the distinctive concepts and uses of art in the Assyro-Babylonian tradition.

AHIS W4870 Minimalism and Postminimalism
B. Joseph
T/Th 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
This course examines minimalism-one of the most significant aesthetic movements-during the sixties and seventies. More than visual art, the course considers minimal sculpture, music, dance, and "structural" film, their historical precedents, development, critical and political aspects. Artists include: Carl Andre, Tony Conrad, Dan Flavin, Eva Hesse, Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Anthony McCall, Yvonne Rainer, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson.

Bridge Seminars

Limited enrollment. Application form required

AHIS G4102 Chinese Art Under the Mongols
R. Harrist
T 2:10-4, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
The Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), when China was ruled by the Mongols, was a period of intense creativity in the visual arts of all media. Long the focus of studies devoted to China's scholar-amateur or literati artists, the period of Mongol rule has more recently inspired new approaches that attempt to deal with a much wider range of materials and that place the arts of the Yuan dynasty within a pan-Asian context. Focusing on works of art in local collections, we will address topics such as the definition of Mongol identity as expressed in the visual arts produced in China, the continuation of workshop and professional painting traditions illuminated by recent archaeological discoveries, relationships among the arts of different media, including metalwork, ceramics, and textiles. The seminar also will require students to reexamine long accepted notions of "self-expression" and the social dimensions of literati painting and calligraphy.

AHIS G4266 The Power of Ornament: Roman Imperial Imagery and Its Reception
F. de Angelis
M 11-12:50, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
This lecture intends to answer questions about the nature of Roman monuments and their decoration: What was their function? And how did they actually fulfill that function? To what extent was the diffusion of Roman public imagery the outcome of a planned scheme, and to what extent should we instead see it as the unintended result of different factors? In addressing these questions, the lecture will focus particularly on the mechanisms that led to the entrenchment of imperial ideology in Roman society, moving beyond conventional narratives that frame this issue in terms of an ‘acceptance vs resistance’ dichotomy.

PLEASE NOTE: The format of this course allows for class discussion but does not require formal student presentations. Applications are due August 15, 2014.

AHIS G4451 The Materiality of Painting, from Titian to Velazquez
D. Bodart
Th 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Venetian painting of the 16th century was famous for its painting process—colorito—that was entirely produced through colors without the use of drawn lines. Titian was the main representative of colorito and his work reflects the emergence of visible brushstrokes in painting. This seminar will focus on the emergence of the Venetian brushstroke and its transfer to Spain, particularly as it relates to the works of El Greco and Velázquez.

AHIS G4650 Postwar Critical Theory
J. Rajchman
W 2:10-4, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
Is today a time of reinvention for the critical theory that took shape after the Second World War? In this course, taking 1989 as a new take-off date, we explore this hypothesis through a series of over-lapping questions including: what is contemporary as distinct from modern? What is an apparatus as distinct from a medium, a media, or a machine? Is there or can there be a global art history? Can participation be critical? Focusing on the role of visual art and art institutions, their expansions and transformations, we thus address the question of the fate and the function of critical theory in the new world of information economies, new urbanizations, biennials and art-fairs.