Spring 2021 Undergraduate Courses

Last updated: Thursday, December 3rd, 2020. Red text denotes a new or changed course since the previous update.

Please confirm course modalities on the Directory of Classes: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/home.html

Undergraduate Lectures

Undergraduate lectures are open to all undergraduate students. Graduate students may enroll in lecture courses listed at the 2000-level and above, as outlined in the program handbooks.

AHIS BC1002 Introduction to the History of Art II (Barnard course)
A. Higonnet
M/W 2:40-3:55
Either term may be taken separately. Brief examination of the techniques of visual analysis, followed by a chronological survey of the major period styles of Western European art. Emphasis on the introduction of form and content in the works studied and on the correlation of the visual arts with their cultural environments. BC1001: Greek and Roman art; medieval art. BC1002: Renaissance to modern art. Discussion section required.

AHIS UN2119 Rome Beyond Rome: Roman Art and Architecture in a Global Perspective
F. de Angelis
M/W 2:40-3:55
This course will approach the art of the Roman empire from two vantage points. In its first half, it will consider it from the inside. Through a regional survey of the art and architecture produced in the provinces of the Roman empire between the 2nd c. BCE and the 4th c. CE, it will focus on the mechanisms by which models emanating from Rome were received and adapted in local contexts (so-called “Romanization”), as well as on the creative responses that the provincials’ incorporation into the empire elicited. The second half of the course will consider the art of the Roman empire from the outside, i.e., from the perspective of its neighbors in the Middle East and in Africa, as well as its self-proclaimed successors and imitators. On the one hand, we will see how ancient states such as the kingdom of Meroë and the Parthian empire, or regions such as the Gandhara, interacted with the visual culture of Rome and its empire. On the other, we will explore the degree to which the classical roots of the modern colonial empires in Asia, Africa, and the Americas both managed and failed to shape the visual cultures that these empires developed. Discussion section required. CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core requirement.

AHIS BC2355 Apocalypse (Barnard course)
G. Bryda
M/W 10:10-11:25
This lecture course explores how art and architecture responded to changing attitudes toward death and the afterlife over the course of the European Middle Ages, from early Christian Rome to the dawn of the Protestant Reformation in Germany. Generally speaking, the course will chronicle the arts relating to medieval “eschatology”—or concerns over the fate of the soul at the end of time. We will analyze the visual culture associated with ordinary people preparing for their own death and the deaths of loved ones, saints and Biblical figures whose triumph in death served as exemplars for the living, and institutional and individual anxieties over humankind’s destiny on Judgment Day. Artworks under consideration will encompass various media and contexts, including monumental architecture and architectural relief sculpture, tomb sculpture, wall painting, manuscript painting, reliquaries, and altarpieces.

AHIS UN2305 Renaissance Imperial Spain
D. Bodart
T/R 10:10-11:25
The course will survey Renaissance art in Hapsburg Spain, considered in the wide geographical context of the extended and dispersed dominions of the different crowns of the Spanish monarchy, which connected the Iberian Peninsula with Italy, Flanders and the New World. It will concern visual art in its various media, mainly painting, sculpture and architecture, but also tapestries, prints, armor, goldsmithery and ephemeral decoration, among others. Works of the main artists of the period will be introduced and analyzed, giving attention to the historical and cultural context of their production and reception. The course will particularly focus on the movement of artists, works and models within the Spanish Hapsburg territories, in order to understand to what extent visual arts contributed to shaping the political identity of this culturally composite empire.

AHIS UN2400 Nineteenth Century Art
M. Gamer
T/R 8:40-9:55
How do you picture a revolution? What does it mean to represent the world as it “really” is? What is art’s purpose? Or is its purpose precisely—and paradoxically—to serve no purpose at all? These are some of the many questions that confronted artists in nineteenth-century Europe, and that we will explore together in this course. Lectures will address a variety of media—from painting and sculpture to the graphic and decorative arts—across a range of geographic contexts, including France, Britain, Spain, Russia, Egypt, Algeria, and New Zealand. Special attention will be paid to the ways the arts both shaped and were shaped by constructions of gender, class, and race, as well as by the forces of industrialization, urbanization, empire, and enslavement. Discussion section required.

AHIS UN2405 Twentieth Century Art
A. Alberro
T/R 4:10-5:25
The course will examine a variety of figures, movements, and practices within the entire range of 20th-century art—from Expressionism to Abstract Expressionism, Constructivism to Pop Art, Surrealism to Minimalism, and beyond—situating them within the social, political, economic, and historical contexts in which they arose. The history of these artistic developments will be traced through the development and mutual interaction of two predominant strains of artistic culture: the modernist and the avant-garde, examining in particular their confrontation with and development of the particular vicissitudes of the century's ongoing modernization. Discussion sections complement class lectures. Course is a prerequisite for certain upper-level art history courses. Discussion section required.

AHIS UN2500 Arts of Africa
Z. Strother
M/W 10:10-11:25
Introduction to the arts of Africa, including masquerading, figural sculpture, reliquaries, power objects, textiles, painting, and architecture. The course will establish a historical framework for study, but will also address how various African societies have responded to the process of modernity. CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core requirement.

AHUM UN2604 Arts of China, Japan, and Korea
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. CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core Requirement.

Section 001
T. Xu
T/R 8:40-9:55 M/W 4:10-5:25

Section 002
N. Kuromiya
T/R 10:10-11:25

Section 003
J. Kim
T/R 7:40-8:55

Section 004
C. Jiang
M/W 8:40-9:55

AHIS UN2612 A History of China in 27 Objects
A. Murck
M/W 11:40-12:55
This course introduces twenty-seven significant monuments and objects comprising a selective overview of 4000 years of traditional Chinese culture. Through these twenty-seven objects, we will think about historical currents, consider materials (clay, stone, bronze, lacquer, paper, silk, ink, and wood), how things were made, how these objects were used among the living, and why some of them were buried with the dead. Because analogy and metaphor is fundamental to Chinese language, we will examine visual symbols, auspicious imagery and rhetoric of resistance that had their origins in literature. The goal of the course is to raise awareness of visual clues in Chinese art and to establish basic visual literacy. After successfully completing this course you will be better able to articulate a research question, read more critically, write a visual analysis, and impress friends and family as you name a painting used in restaurant décor.

AHIS UN2702 Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture
L. Trever
M/W 1:10-2:25
The Western Hemisphere was a setting for outstanding accomplishments in the visual arts for millennia before Europeans set foot in the so-called “New World.” This course explores the early indigenous artistic traditions of what is now Latin America, from early monuments of the formative periods (e.g., Olmec and Chavín), through acclaimed eras of aesthetic and technological achievement (e.g., Maya and Moche), to the later Inca and Aztec imperial periods. Our subject will encompass diverse genre including painting and sculpture, textiles and metalwork, architecture and performance. Attention will focus on the two cultural areas that traditionally have received the most attention from researchers: Mesoamerica (including what is today Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras) and the Central Andes (including Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia). We will also critically consider the drawing of those boundaries—both spatial and temporal—that have defined “Pre-Columbian” art history to date. More than a survey of periods, styles, and monuments, we will critically assess the varieties of evidence—archaeological, epigraphic, historical, ethnographic, and scientific—available for interpretations of ancient Latin American art and culture.

AHUM UN2901 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture
S. Agarwala
M/W 10:10-11:25
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, Rajput and Deccani painting and architecture, art of the colonial period, and the emergence of the Modern. CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core requirement.

Undergraduate Colloquium

Required course for Columbia AHIS/HTAC/AHVA majors. Interested students must sign up using the SPRING 2021 MAJORS COLLOQUIUM SIGN-UP FORM. The form will open on Thursday, November 5th, 2020 at 10am. The form will close on Friday, November 13th, 2020 at 5pm. Admission is at the instructor's discretion. Early sign-up is strongly encouraged.

AHIS UN3000 Majors’ Colloquium: Introduction to the Literature and Methods of Art History

This course is an introduction to the theories and methods of art history and visual culture. It is required for undergraduate majors.

Section 001
Z. Strother
T 10:10-12

Section 002
F. Baumgartner
W 10:10-12

AHIS UN3000 is restricted to Columbia undergraduate majors in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. It is not open to Barnard or Professional Studies students.

Undergraduate Seminars

Undergraduate seminars are open to Columbia and Barnard undergraduates. Students must submit an application in order to be considered for enrollment. Admission is at the instructor's discretion.

Department of Art History and Archaeology seminars: Each undergraduate seminar course description includes a link to an online application form. Interested students must fill out and submit their Spring 2021 undergraduate seminar applications by 5pm on Friday, November 13th, 2020.

Barnard Art History seminars: Interested students must fill out the Barnard Art History Seminar Application Form and email their Spring 2021 applications directly to the Barnard Art History Department (arthistory@barnard.edu) by Friday, November 6th, 2020. Update: The application deadline for Barnard seminars was extended to Thursday, November 19th.

AHIS UN3002 Senior Thesis Seminar
B. Bergdoll
M 4:10-6
Required for all thesis writers. Counts toward elective lecture credit. For more information about the senior thesis program, please visit the Senior Thesis Information Page.

AHIS UN3316 Mediterranean Maps
D. Mellon
W 12:10-2
How do maps construct, rather than represent, territories, identities, pathways, and temporalities? From esoteric personifications of the continents to portolan nautical charts, this seminar investigates maps of the Mediterranean Sea and its borderlands from 1300 to 1700. The course is developed around the fruitful intersection of two lines of interest: first, in the historical construction of a “Mediterranean” identity; second, in the highly varied and sometimes conflicting mapping traditions present in this area. We will discuss maps’ relationships to navigation, trade, and urban development in North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Eastern Mediterranean. Students will also develop and apply the visual analysis skills of art history to maps, learning about their material properties and use through close-looking and engagement with online collections.

‘Mediterranean Maps’ seminar application form.

AHIS UN3410 Approaches to Contemporary Art
B. Joseph
T 2:10-4
This course examines the critical approaches to contemporary art from the 1970s to the present. It will address a range of historical and theoretical issues around the notion of "the contemporary" (e.g. globalization, participation, relational art, decolonization, Afrotropes, and artists publications) as it has developed in the era after the postmodernism of the 1970s and 1980s.

‘Approaches to Contemporary Art’ seminar application form.

AHIS UN3433 Enlightenment and Archaeology
Z. Bahrani
R 2:10-4
This undergraduate seminar examines the emergence of the disciplines of Near Eastern and Classical archaeology, looking into the antiquarian interests and related collecting practices of eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe. These interests were centered around lands under the Ottoman empire, in the Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Students will learn about antiquarianism and the development of the scientific discipline of archaeology, how archaeology defined itself and set itself apart from its predecessors, focusing on the collecting and documentation of antiquities within the context of empire, the start of organized excavations in this region, the origins of the modern museum and early archaeological photography. Seminar applications should be submitted to the Department of Art History and Archaeology.

‘Enlightenment and Archaeology’ seminar application form.

AHIS UN3444 Reflexivity in Art and Film
J. Crary
T 4:10-6
This seminar will explore a range of individual works of Western art from the 16th century to late 20th century in which the tension between illusionism and reflexivity is foregrounded. It will focus on well-known paintings and films in which forms of realism and verisimilitude coexist with features that affirm the artificial or fictive nature of the work or which dramatize the material, social and ideological conditions of the work’s construction. Topics will include art by Durer, Holbein, Velazquez, Watteau, Courbet, Morisot, Vertov, Deren, Godard, Varda, Hitchcock and others. Readings will include texts by Auerbach, Gombrich, Brecht, Jameson, Barthes, Didi-Huberman, Bazin, Lukacs, Mulvey, and Daney.

‘Reflexivity in Art and Film’ seminar application form.

AHIS BC3844 Revolution and Art (Barnard course)
A. Higonnet
W 10:10-12
In 1789, a French revolution shook the government foundation of Europe, and with it, all the arts. The principles of monarchy were rejected, women gained unprecedented freedoms, and French slavery was abolished. How did the arts express those upheavals? A reaction against the Revolution began by 1805. An emperor crowned himself, slavery was reinstated, and women’s rights were revoked. How did the arts deal with this backlash?

‘Revolution and Art’ seminar application form, which must be emailed to the Barnard Art History Department.

AHIS BC3910 Contemporary Photography and Related Media (Barnard course)
J. Lehan
R 12:10-2
An introductory survey of contemporary photography and related media through the framework of current exhibitions in New York City. Exhibitions of photography and video play a particular role in mirroring the present moment, which finds political themes front and center. Prevalent are exhibitions that redress (art) historical erasure, present counter histories, or take direct aim at specific governmental policies.

‘Contemporary Photography and Related Media’ seminar application form, which must be emailed to the Barnard Art History Department.

AHIS BC3928 Dutch Seventeenth Century Art (Barnard course)
A. Eaker
M 10:10-12
This course meets at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is devoted to close examination of real art-works in a museum context. This year’s focus is on Dutch art of the seventeenth century, one of the most celebrated chapters in the history of art. Students will be exposed to seminal art historical texts on the period, at the same time as they receive exposure to connoisseurship, conservation, and technical art history.

‘Dutch Seventeenth Century Art’ seminar application form, which must be emailed to the Barnard Art History Department.

AHIS BC3976 Japanese Photography (Barnard course)
J. Reynolds
R 10:10-12
This course will examine the history of Japanese photography from the middle of the 19th century to the present. The class will be organized both chronologically and thematically. Throughout its history, photography has been an especially powerful medium for addressing the most challenging issues facing Japanese society. Among the topics under discussion will be: tourist photography and the representation of women within that genre in the late 19th century, the politics of propaganda photography, the construction of Japanese cultural identity through the representation of “tradition” in photography, and the interest in marginalized urban subcultures in the photography of the 1960s and 1970s. Although the course will be focused on Japan, the class will read from the literature on photography elsewhere in order to situate Japanese work within a broader context.

‘Japanese Photography’ seminar application form, which must be emailed to the Barnard Art History Department.

AHIS BC3984 Curatorial Positions, 1969–Present (Barnard course)
V. Smith
T 10:10-12
Contemporary exhibitions studied through a selection of great shows from roughly 1969 to the present that defined a generation. This course will not offer practical training in curating; rather it will concentrate on the historical context of exhibitions, the theoretical basis for their argument, the criteria for the choice in artists and their work, and exhibitions' internal/external reception.

‘Curatorial Positions, 1969–Present’ seminar application form, which must be emailed to the Barnard Art History Department.

Bridge Seminars

Bridge seminars are advanced courses open to undergraduate and graduate students. Students must submit an application in order to be considered for enrollment. Admission is at the instructor’s discretion.

Each bridge seminar description includes a link to an online application for that seminar. Interested students must fill out and submit their Spring 2021 bridge seminar application forms by 5pm on Monday, January 4th, 2021.

AHIS GU4521 Sin and Sodomy
G. Bryda
T 10:10-12
For the unrepentant sins of their inhabitants God had Sodom and Gomorrah, the ignominious twin cities from Genesis, shattered to smithereens. Throughout the Middle Ages, the tale was invoked to justify harsh judgment of mortal sins of the flesh and “unnatural” sex acts, in particular those occurring between members of the same sex. This bridge seminar focuses on the church’s desire to control the potential of human sexuality to subvert its order of “natural” law. Through historical texts and artworks from the period, we will analyze the wide diversity of medieval attitudes toward non-normative sex and eroticism in a variety of contexts, from the construction of the phenomenon of sodomy in early and high medieval exegesis, the eradication of pre-Christian fertility rituals in northern and eastern Europe, the playful undermining of gender roles in secular medieval romances, to illicit accounts of public sex in pleasure gardens and bath houses, and monumental hellscapes rendered with graphic visualizations of sexual violence. Moving chronologically through the Middle Ages, we will end by addressing modern questions surrounding the sexuality of Jean the Duke of Berry and Albrecht Dürer, and Hieronymus Bosch’s fixation with butt play. Discussion will be informed by critical readings in queer theory, feminism, and gender studies by Jack Halberstam, David Halperin, Susan Stryker, to name a few, and by medievalists employing these methods, such as Roland Betancourt, Caroline Walker Bynum, Michael Camille, Dyan Elliott, and Robert Mills.

‘Sin and Sodomy’ seminar application form.

AHIS GU4760 Great Waves: Arts of the Floating World
M. McKelway
T 2:10-4
“Pictures of the Floating World” (Ukiyo-e) constitute some of the most significant developments in the history of Japanese art, which would have a profound impact on the history of art in Europe and the west in the early modern period. These images were created on all pictorial formats, from scroll paintings and painted fans to woodblock prints, wooden posters, lanterns, and kites. Because “floating world” images pervaded so many different media, they offer a unique lens through which to examine the roles of art in an early modern society as well as the very nature of that society. Our course will focus primarily on the multi-color woodblock print (nishiki-e, literally “brocade picture”), a popular pictorial form that was accessible to broad sectors of society, and will focus on prints created in the city of Edo between 1700 and 1860. The course will be shaped around three or four approaches: brief weekly lectures to introduce prominent images and themes; discussion of readings that offer critical perspectives; close looking at images to discover the creative collaborations between print designers and publishers; and if possible, direct examination of works of art in the collections of Columbia University and other institutions and collections in New York.

‘Great Waves: Arts of the Floating World’ seminar application form.