Spring 2008 Graduate Courses
(ACLG G4001) Archeological Theory and Practice
The History of the Discipline from the end of the 18th century, with particular attention for the recent trends. The different categories of archeological evidence. The research of sites. The dating methods and the problem of chronology. The different uses of archeological evidence: for reconstructing ancient people, environment, society, economy, religion. The course ends exploring two basic issues: the relationships between Archeology and Politics, and between Archeology and History of Art.
(AHIS G4085) Andean Art & Architecture
Open to undergraduates. Survey of the art of the Andes from earliest times until the Spanish conquest. Emphasis on the nature of Andean tradition and the relationship between art and society.
(AHIS G4106) The Indian Temple
This course explores the emergence and development of the Indian temple, examines the relationship between form and function, and emphasizes the importance of considering temple sculpture and architecture together. It covers some two thousand years of activity, and while focusing on Hindu temples, also includes shrines built to the Jain and Buddhist faiths.
(AHIS W4131) Early Christian and Byzantine Art
Survey of early Christian and Byzantine art from its origins in the eastern provinces of the late Roman Empire through the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
(AHIS W4362) Architecture in the Spanish World
Early Modern Spain was a place of cross-cultural convergence, with influences coming from Italy and northern Europe, the viceroyalties of Mexico and Peru, and its own conflicted medieval and ancient past. This course surveys the architecture and cities of the Spanish world from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries as a reflection of this historic reality.
(AHIS G4480) Art and the Reformation
Artistic production in Germany and the Netherlands in the 16th century and the transformation of the social function of art as a consequence of the development of reformed theories of art and the introduction of humanist culture: Albrecht Dürer, Hans Baldung Grien, Hans Holbein the Younger, Albrecht Altdorfer, Quentin Massys, Lucas van Leyden, Jan Gossaert, Jan van Hemessen, and Pieter Aertsen.
(AHIS G4650) Post-War Critical Theory
Description to come
(AHIS G6150) Genesis of Buddhist Art
Description to come
Painting and the Religious Orders
The lectures focus primarily on large-scale painting in Tuscany and Umbria, beginning with the Basilica of San Francesco at Assisi in the late 13th century; they conclude with a consideration of several late-15th-century fresco programs reflecting the growing crisis that led a few decades later to the fracture of the Western Church with the outbreak of the Reformation in 1517. Included in these lectures on monumental painting will be discussions of large-scale altarpieces, which can be veritable billboards of the various Orders' ideology of the religious life. Prefacing the main body of lectures will be introductory ones on the organization of religious life in the Latin West and on the conundrums of the representational arts inherent in Christian theology. As a coda, the course finishes with some case studies of the chiastic reciprocity of painting and personal piety in the period.
Seminars and Colloquia
(AHIS G8067) Literature of African Art
The seminar seeks to excavate the field of African art history, with special emphasis on the legacy of anthropology and the challenges posed by feminism, African voices, public exhibition, and canon formation.
(AHIS G8099) Native American Landscapes
The idea that Native Americans have an intrinsic connection to the American landscape has been circulated by both Indian people and non-Indians. Cultural critics have demonstrated that this assumption effaces the way in which both nature and ethnic identity are cultural constructs. In this course, we will explore the idea of the Native landscape by looking at ways indigenous North Americans have transformed their natural environments and represented them as a means of understanding their cultural significance. Our interpretations of these sites and objects will be informed by theoretical readings on the nature of space and of the "landscape" that address both Indian and non-Indian contexts. Readings are organized around three themes. The first is the cultural construction of space, in which we will investigate how social groups confront the natural environment and endow it with meaning. In the second, we will take up the issue of sovereignty, thinking through the question of territorial rights and also whether Native people can have sovereignty without control over ancestral lands. Finally, we will explore the notion of environmentalism in Native American art. As will become clear, for many each of these concerns overlaps with the others. Readings draw in particular from artists' writings and major exhibitions of indigenous art organized around the issue of place.
(AHIS G8120) The Art of Xu Bing
This seminar explores the career of the first Chinese artist to reach a truly international audience. Issues raised by Xu Bing's art to be addressed include the instability of language and writing, the functions of various media he has used, and the reaction of his work to concepts of "Chinese Art" in china and beyond. Students will visit to artist's studio and also hear presentations by invited critics.
(AHIS G8126) Japanese Architecture: Tokyo
This course will address the history and visual representations of the city of Tokyo from the mid-19th century to the present.
(AHIS G8128) Edo Period Painting
This seminar will examine visual expressions of sinophilia and eccentricity in Japanese painting of the Edo period. Through an investigation of both original texts and modern studies of such artists as Ike Taiga and Itô Jakuchû, the seminar will also explore how such factors as the social background, personal networks, religious faith, and degree of literacy of Edo-period painters found expression in their art. Using Tsuji Nobuo's Kisô no keifu (The Lineage of Eccentricity) and more recent publications in western languages as a guide for discussions, the course will concentrate on painters active in mid-Edo period (late 17th-18th century) Kyoto and Edo. Students in the seminar will be encouraged to work directly with actual works in the Metropolitan Museum and the Burke Collection in New York, and with the Price Collection, on exhibit through April 2008 at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
(AHIS G8159) Ancient Art in Seals
Using the Collection of Seals and Tablets at the Pierpont Morgan Library, this seminar offers students the opportunity to conduct original research. The seminar will focus on Middle to Late Bronze Ages as well as Iron Age glyptic material with well understood contexts from Syria, Cyprus and Greece. Central topics for research and discussion include style, artistic exchange, and the construction of authority.
(AHIS G8290) Roman Provincial Art
This seminar concentrates on the impact of Roman presence in the geographically and culturally diverse provinces of the Empire and the ways in which that impact was reconfigured by local populations. The time frame extends from the 1st century b.c.e. to the 4th century c.e. and the geographical frame from Britain to Turkey and from Germany to the Sahara and the Nile.
(AHIS G8434) The Venetian Scuole
Studies in the architecture and pictorial decoration of the scuole grandi, the confraternities that were essential elements of the civic organization of Renaissance Venice.
(AHIS G8652) The Bauhaus
Description to come
(AHIS G8686) Methods Seminar: The Rhetoric of History
Simon Shama's Dead Certainties constructs history as a form of fiction, centering on an ekphrasis of a battle scene. T. J. Clark's The Sight of Death is written as a diary of looking. Robbe-Grillet's In the Labyrinth is another ekphrastic fiction. Hayden White's Metahistory is an important exploration of rhetorical way of embedding historical narrative. Roland Barthes will provide another set of examples: "The Rhetoric of the Image" and S/Z.
(AHIS G8694) Spectral Modernity/cinematic specters
This course will evaluate a range of recent arguments about the inseparability of cinema from the experience of modernity in the 20th century. It will consider some of the social, cultural and political elements which constituted the century of cinema in the light of the so-called "death of film," the collapse of semiotic-psychoanalytic film theory, the current cinephilia debate, the spread of new media, and of corporate-led globalization. Jean-Luc Godard's Histoire(s) du cinema will be a core work for discussion of both the unstable contemporary status of film and its relation to the catastrophes of recent history. Works by other major directors will also be examined. Enrollment limited.
(AHIS G8742) Inventing the Monument
Z. Bahrani, F. de Angelis
This seminar will focus on the invention of the public monument as a commemorative genre, and the related concepts of time, memory, and history in the ancient world (near East, Egypt, Greece, Rome). Public monuments will be studied in conjunction with readings from ancient texts (in translation), as well as historical criticism, archaeological and art historical theories. Reading knowledge of German required.