Fall 2015 Courses

Undergraduate Courses

Graduate Courses

Undergraduate Courses

ARTH200 Art and Society in Ancient and Medieval Europe to the Mediterranean (Professor Gensheimer)
TuTh 11-11:50 + section (ASY 2203)
Examines the material culture and visual expressions of Mediterranean and European societies from early times until ca. 1300 CE, emphasizing the political, social, and religious context of the works studied, the relationships of the works to the societies that created them, and the interrelationship of these societies.

ARTH201 Art and Society in the West from the Renaissance to the Present (Professor Mansbach)
MW 9-9:50 + section (ASY 2203)
Examines representative European and American works of art from the later Middle Ages to the present, highlighting the dynamic exchange between artistic and cultural traditions both within periods and across time.

ARTH255 Art and Society in the Modern American World (Professor McEwen)
MW 10-10:50 + section (ASY 2203)
Explores the origin and evolution of art in the modern American world, from the late colonial era to the present, comparing major artistic movements and their historical contexts. Considers the diversity of art across Lation America and the United States, and the ways in which artworks mediate social, ethnic, political, and national identities.

ARTH275 Art and Society in Africa (Professor Ater)
MW 11-11:50 + section (ASY 2203)
A comparative study of art and material culture from various regions of the African continent. Looking across ethnic and national boundaries, considers the many relevant political, social, and religious contexts.

ARTH321 Sixteenth-Century Northern European Painting (Professor Martinez)
TuTh 9:30-10:45 (ASY 3215)
Painting in France, Germany, England, and the Low Countries during the Renaissance and Reformation.



ARTH335 Seventeenth-Century Art in the Netherlands (Professor Georgievska-Shine)
TuTh 2-3:15 (ASY 3211)
Painting, sculpture and architecture in seventeenth-century Netherlands

ARTH345 Nineteenth-Century European Art to 1850 (Professor Hargrove)
TuTh 11-12:30 (ASY 3215)
Major trends from Neo-Classicism to Romanticism through an interdisciplinary perspective with an emphasis on historical context.

ARTH351 Art Since 1945 (Professor Shannon)
TuTh 12:30-1:45 (ASY 3211)
Prerequisite: ARTH201 or ARTH350.
This course offers an overview of advanced art since 1945, emphasizing developments in North America and Europe, and addressing painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, and other media. The class encourages students to view art in its historical contexts, seeing it as means of representing and thinking through social and cultural concerns.  As such, interpretive themes will include the human body and its relationships to social categories, the rapidly evolving forms of architecture and of the city, the roles of art institutions, the circulation of commodities, and the globalization of economies and cultures. Running throughout the course will be questions about the nature of postmodernity and postmodernism. Some meetings will be devoted broadly to movements, others to specific artists. Frequent in-class discussions will complement the lectures.

ARTH359I Film as Art; Gilliam and Cronenberg: The Existential Individual in an Absurd World (Professor Metcalf)
W 3-6 (HBK Room J Non Print)
This course will be an exploration in juxtaposition. Terry Gilliam and David Cronenberg come from distinctly different conceptual background, essentially a cartoonist/satiric artist and a philosophical writer, a “picture” guy and a “word” guy. Both come out of a mindset of the modernist/ existentialist worldview but make their artwork in an ironic/postmodern world – in simplest terms, the filmmakers both consider the lack of meaning in the world and the powerlessness of the individual. Gilliam thinks in terms of identity in terms of imagination; Cronenberg thinks in terms of the body’s effect on the mind. (and thinks and thinks and thinks.)

ARTH360 History of American Art to 1876 (Professor Metcalf)
TuTh 9:30-10:45 (ASY 3211)
Painting, sculpture, architecture, and the decorative arts in North America from the colonial period to 1876.

ARTH370 Latin American Art and Archaeology before 1500 (Professor Bland)
W 2-4:30 (ASY 3215)
Pre-Hispanic painting, sculpture, and architecture, with a focus on the major archaeological monuments of Mexico.

ARTH386 Experiential Learning
Prerequisite: Permission of ARHU-Art History & Archaeology department.
Junior standing or higher.

ARTH389D Special Topics in Art History and Archaeology: Demons, Ghosts and Monsters in Japanese Art (Professor Suzuki)
TuTh 12:30-1:45 (ASY 3215)
Supernatural beings and people’s fascinations for them exist in every culture. Yet, every society imagines these creatures in different ways, revealing both universal and culturally specific concerns to make sense and meaning of mysterious, fearful, and anomalous phenomena.  This course will focus on artistic representations of ghosts, demons and monsters as liminal entities in-between worlds and ontological spaces, and consider how these visual imaginations challenged, blurred, and distorted traditional categories of understanding. We will begin by looking at the ways in which Japan’s long history of animism, Shinto and Buddhism shaped Japanese conceptions of the supernatural. We will then examine visual representations of these mysterious beings in various media, including horizontal picture scrolls, wood-block prints and manga.

ARTH 389F Special Topics in Art History and Archaeology: Africa and the Photographic Lens (Professor Haney)
TuTh 11-12:15 (ASY 3211)
This seminar explores lens-based projects in African cities ranging from the 1850s to the present-day. We will consider how photography, film, and transmedia works relate to complex social, aesthetic, and philosophical dimensions. Topics include mobility of technologies and images in early photographic missions, modernity and modernisms, self-fashioning, portraiture and performance, colonial projects, commercial photography and imagination, formulations of the archive, press and propaganda, community and national memory, the civic spaces of photography, migration, cities and new media. Research visits will draw on DC’s resources, among them the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archive at Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art.

ARTH 389G Special Topics in Art History and Archaeology: Symbols and Symbolic Language (Professor Colantuono)
TuTh 9:30-10:45 (ASY 4213A "The Collaboratory")
Forms of visual symbolism are found in virtually every culture around the globe and across time.  Just as the use of symbolic language seems to be fundamental to humanity, the interpretation of enigmatic symbols is likewise an essentially human behavior.  This course proceeds from a review of the major theories of symbolic language and methods of symbolic interpretation to a representative survey of global cultural products that incorporate symbolic elements, ranging from ancient Egyptian through contemporary art.  These will primarily include works of visual art (painting, sculpture, graphics and photography), but will also encompass a wide variety of utilitarian, functional and luxury objects (e.g., implements of religious worship, vehicles, furniture, etc.) likewise featuring symbolic images.  Readings will all be in English and English translation and include excerpts from the major symbol theorists as well as interpretative scholarly essays.  Students will develop original research papers applying  theoretical principles in the interpretation of symbols and works of symbolic art of their choosing.

ARTH484 Modern Chinese Film and Visual Culture (Professor Kuo)
TuTh 11-12:15 (HBK 0302J)
Modern Chinese culture, society, and history studied through examples of art, film, and visual culture. Also offered as FILM426

ARTH488C Colloquium in Art History: Contemporary Chinese and Chinese-American Cinema on Women (Professor Kuo)
Tu 12:30-1:45 (HBK 0302J)
Through a transnational study of major filmmakers from mainland China to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Chinese diaspora, the course is intended to consider  issues of female cinematic authorship, gender and sexuality in cinematic representation, power and knowledge,  negotiations of local and global cultural politics. Also offered as FILM429C and WMST498J. Credit granted for ARTH488C, FILM429C, or WMST498J.

ARTH488O Colloquium in Art History: Looking for Love in Renaissance Places (Professor Georgievska-Shine)
TuTh 11-12:15 (ASY 3217)

ARTH498 (PermReq) Directed Studies in Art History I. Individual Instruction Course

ARTH499 (PermReq) Honors Thesis. Individual Instruction Course

Graduate Courses

ARTH 619A: Studies in Italian Renaissance Art: Leonardo's Universe
Professor Meredith Gill
Monday 3:00-5:40 p.m.
ASY 4213A
In this colloquium, we will examine the career and works of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) with a view to examining how he pursued art and science as ways to understand the world and the human place in it.

We will follow his life story and the chronology of his paintings, drawings, models, and unrealized projects as a framework by which to trace specific and unfolding themes.  These include the relations of art and science as forms of knowledge; gender; poetics; and psychoanalysis.  How was it possible for Leonardo to create the works that he did?  We will think about the degree to which making art enabled Leonardo to understand natural phenomena, such as reproduction, the action of water, and birds in flight; and these alongside the inventions of humankind, such as war, architecture, poetry, and the bestiary.  Among other topics, we will look at his investigations of anatomy, his mechanical inventions, and his theory of the arts.

Our class structure will be two-fold, comprising lectures and weekly readings, and also focused case-studies on individual works of art or themes selected by participants. In this way, we will cover a cross-section of the scholarship on Leonardo, as well as investigate critical themes in science, art history, and the humanities.

ARTH689A: Selected Topics in Art History; Studies in Materials and Materiality: Support, Ground, Paint, Varnish, Objects
Professor Renée Ater
Tuesday 12:00-2:40 p.m.
ASY 4304
In this colloquium, we will examine the materials of easel painting with a brief foray into printmaking. While loosely based on the I-Series course entitled Color: Art, Science, and Culture, this class will move beyond the study of color to consider easel painting and printmaking holistically. Focusing on the physical structures of easel painting, we will look at the support, the ground and preparatory layers, the paint layer, and the varnish layer. We will also examine printmaking from plate to ink to paper. We will consider the historical and critical implications of the study of materials, examining the notion of materiality and its importance for our research as art historians. The class will include possible visits to the conservation labs at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Freer Gallery.

Readings may include Philip Ball, Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color (2001); Andrea Feeser, ed, The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation, and Application of Dyes and Pigments, 1400-1800 (2012); Ian Hodder, Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationship Between Humans and Things (2012) Andrea Kirsch and Rustin S. Levenson, Seeing Through Paintings (2000); Daniel Miller, ed. Materiality (2005); Ray Smith, The Artist’s Handbook, 3rd edition (2009); Ad Stijnman, Engraving and Etching 1400-2000: A History of the Development of Manual Intaglio Printmaking (2012); W. Stanley Taft and James W. Mayer, The Science of Paintings (2000).

Please note that Professor Suzuki will offer a complementary course in Spring 2016, tentatively entitled Studies in “New” Materialities: Agency, Ontology, Embodiment, Cognition (in collaboration with Professor Sally Promey, Yale University. This is not a team-taught course, but an experiment in collaboration, with courses on the same subject being offered simultaneously, “in tandem,” in two institutions, with students and professors entering into various sorts of conversation over the course of the semester.)

ARTH 692: Methods of Art History
Professor Anthony Colantuono
Thursday 12:00-2:40 p.m.
ASY 4304
This course is designed as an introductory survey of fundamental art-historical methods, providing a basis for advanced graduate-level research.  The course will deal primarily with a series of case studies in famous art-historical problems, examining how different scholars attempted to solve those problems. The course also deals tangentially with questions of historiography, disciplinary politics, macropolitical context and the intellectual biography of the art historian.

For all non-Art History and Archaeology majors, permission of the department is required.

ARTH 708B: Seminar in Ancient Art & Archaeology. Monuments and Topography of the City of Rome
Professor Maryl Gensheimer
Tuesday 3:00-5:40 p.m.
ASY 4304
At its height, the Roman Empire stretched from modern-day Britain to Morocco, and from Spain to Syria.  This course examines the capital city of this hegemonic power, analyzing the monuments and topography embellishing the so-called caput mundi from its founding in the eighth century BCE onward.  Emphasis is given to the late Republican and early Imperial periods (the 2nd c. BCE -- 2nd c. CE) and to contextualizing the monuments and dynastic building programs of Rome within their urban context.  The various archaeological and art historical approaches taken to topics such as the creation of monumentality; Roman identity; and the impact of cultural exchanges between the Romans and their conquered nations will also be examined as a means of understanding and interpreting the Roman cityscape.

ARTH 749B: Seminar in Nineteenth-Century European Art
Professor June Hargrove
Thursday 3:00-5:40 p.m.
ASY 4304
This seminar will explore the visual representations and artifacts of war, ranging from public commemorations to individual condemnations, in Europe and America over a span of 300 years. The intent is to explore a wide variety of visual responses to conflict, primarily those pertinent to those on both sides of the Atlantic, but open to global perspectives (such as the Japanese imagery of World War II). Students will be expected to participate actively in the class sessions. This includes a variety of undertakings, such as discussion readings, short presentations, debates, and oral reports.

In addition to some lectures, this course requires several readings a week, which are the basis for the class discussions. These discussions are supplemented by pertinent images that you have researched and put on a class Wiki page connected with Canvas. Each participant will be a discussion leader at least once during the semester, for which s/he will present a 10-15 minute overview of the war(s) under discussion. Discussion leaders will choose and post the readings at least one week prior to their session and prepare discussion points for that day. All of the participants are expected to come with questions/responses/ideas that pertain to the readings and the images that are posted on the Wiki.

ARTH 759D: Seminar in Twentieth-Century Art; Abstraction and Utopia
Professor Steven Mansbach
Monday 12:00-2:40 p.m.
ASY 4304
This seminar will interrogate the claim that the genesis of abstract art – and much of modern art in general – was the result of a searching commitment to achieving a higher order of social, political, spiritual, or aesthetic life.  We may also question the claim that abstraction was a manifestation of a stylistic imperative, one that emerged almost inexorably form the “force” of modernist developments. 

The first several seminar sessions will focus on discussions of assigned readings, which range widely both chronologically and in terms of genre. Utopian novels from the 19th century will figure prominently, as collectively they constituted a variegated foil against which modernist artists reacted, sometimes critically but almost always imaginatively.

ARTH 768B: Seminar in Latin Art and Archaeology; Critical Approaches to Latin American Art in the 20th Century
Professor Abigail McEwen
Wednesday 3:00-5:40 p.m.
ASY 4304
This seminar devotes itself to an historiographical appraisal of modern Latin American and Latino art history, beginning at mid-century and continuing through the revisionist critiques of the present day.  Major critics and theorists are discussed with particular attention to the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in formative canons established from the United States to Mexico and the Southern Cone.  Our interpretation of critical strategies takes into account the relationships between writers and the artists they studied as well as the parallel articulations of “American” art consolidating at the same time.  Students will develop research projects drawn from the José Gómez Sicre (1916-91) archives at the Art Museum of the Americas, Organization of American States.  Writers to be studied include Aracy Amaral, Damián Bayón, Shifra Goldman, Gerardo Mosquera, Mari Carmen Ramírez, Joaquín Torres-García, Marta Traba, José Vasconcelos, and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto.