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Descriptions of Courses Taught

Introduction to Art and Art History


     Introduction to Art and Art History is a cross cultural exploration of the fundamental aspects of the materials, concepts, and the role of the artist from prehistory to our current moment. We examine techniques of art making including but not limited to painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, performance, and architecture. Our study of art explores how meaning is created and derived in historical and cultural contexts along themes of mortality, concepts of the sacred, power, politics, protest, place and identity. 


Prehistoric Art to Early Judaism & Christianity

     The ancient survey course is a cross cultural examination of the history of mankind from the prehistoric age to the transition to monotheistic religions and expressions of the sacred as light in Gothic architecture.  Our lower division survey covers the cross-cultural exchanges and conflicts that contribute to the foundations of western civilization through canonical works of art and architecture. We begin with the study of the earliest examples of the distinct human capacity to think abstractly as expressed in symbolic visual language. Our exploration continues with the advent of the earliest civilizations including Mesopotamia, The Near East, and Egypt. We examine the art and architecture of the great empires of the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans.  


Art History from the Medieval period to the Renaissance


     This lower division survey course examines the history of Western art from ca. 600-1600.  We will cover the Medieval period, or Middle Ages and the Renaissance using images, objects, and architecture to develop  a comprehensive understanding of the social, political, and religious forces that  shaped this period.  We will examine a broad variety of art and cultures through knowledge of the development of visual arts and material culture.  Interpret cross-cultural and changing religious beliefs and how they influence artistic production. Students will analyze political ideologies arising during this period and consider their impact on recurring motifs in the visual arts. We will describe and evaluate the impact of Greco/Roman philosophy and science on the development of European society in the 11th and 12th centuries in relation to Scholasticism and the development of the Gothic style in art.


Baroque to early Modern Art History


     This course examines the History of Western art from the Baroque period, ca. 1600 to Early Modernism in the 20th century. Through illustrated lectures, readings, videos and discussions, we will engage with images, objects, and architecture to develop a comprehensive understanding of the social, political, and religious forces that shaped the historical and cultural context of this period.  Key themes that affect the the fabric of society and the art and architecture for this era include Protestant Reformation, industrialization, the birth of photography, and colonialism. 



Modernism to Contemporary Art History

“Contemporary Art is the institutionalized network through which the art of today presents itself to itself and to its interested audiences all over the world. It is an intense, expansionist, proliferating global subculture, with its own values and discourse; communicative networks; heroes, heroines, and renegades; professional organizations; defining events; meetings and monuments; markets and museums —in sum, distinctive structures of stasis and change.”

                                            Terry Smith, What is Contemporary Art?

“…The historian of contemporary art must be that much more vigilant about questions of historiography and periodization, that much more attuned to the formative influence of the models we enlist and the tone we take in our confrontation with and analysis of recent practices. Instead of simply treating each document as an article of faith, many  of us are inherently skeptical about the evidence at hand—what constitutes the official object of our study in the first place.”

                                    Pamela Lee, Carnegie Professor of Modern &

                                    Contemporary Art, Yale

​    Our approach to the study of contemporary art will be to critically examine and analyze the cultural, historical, and political collisions and fusions that inform the aesthetics, experience, and expressions of contemporary art. We will look at he historical precedents that contemporary art draws upon and rebels against with consideration of inherent bias in the discipline of art history itself. This class explores changing definitions, aesthetics, and art practice from the mid 20th century to the current moment. Concepts and theoretical frameworks that guide our studies are postmodernism, Intersectionality, double consciousness, Postcolonialism, feminism, identity politics, globalism, and relational aesthetics. 


Multicultural Perspectives of American Art History


     In this lower division survey of American art, our goal will be to understand and practice the methodology of multiculturalism, while also acknowledging the controversies over its existence and academic precedents of marginalization.  Our aim will be to consider and discuss in depth the subject matter and content in the visual arts of African American, Anglo-American, Asian-American, Latino & Latina American, Native American and American women artists.  We will consider and discuss in depth stories of oppression, perseverance, and contributions to American society from the variety of ethnic groups that comprise the country. We will analyze cultural and historical contexts through the artistic objectives of these artists, especially in relation to dominant artistic conventions in American art. Our survey begins with the pre-conquest indigenous and first nation peoples of the Americas and culminates in the social justice movements of the 1960's. 


Non Western Art History


     The Non Western Art History course is a broad survey of art offering a rich visual encounter with the cultural and historical heritage of the Islamic world, Africa, India, China, Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea, Oceania, and the Americas—pre and post conquest of first nation and indigenous populations. This study introduces cultural perspectives developed outside the Western (European) tradition and provides students with a global, yet ethnic and culturally specific perspective of the visual arts.   This global approach to the study of art and architecture demonstrates common themes of our shared humanity. We examine and analyze concepts and aesthetics that migrate across cultures throughout history forming the entanglements that comprise the modern world.  


     Students are introduced to culturally specific beliefs, rituals, politics (pre and post colonial contact where appropriate)iconography, and innovations.  Individualized and group projects on contemporary artists from these cultures provide students experiential engagement with the methods, frameworks. and presentation of content for the history of art. 

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