History of Art
Loria Center, Rm. 251, 203.432.2668
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.
Tim Barringer (Loria 657, 203.432.8162, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Director of Graduate Studies
Nicola Suthor (Loria 653, 203.432.7210, email@example.com)
Professors Carol Armstrong, Tim Barringer, Edward Cooke, Jr., Diana Kleiner, Pamela Lee, Kobena Mercer, Amy Meyers (Adjunct), Mary Miller, Robert Nelson, Kishwar Rizvi, Nicola Suthor, Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan
Associate Professors Cécile Fromont, Milette Gaifman, Jacqueline Jung, Jennifer Raab
Assistant Professors Marisa Bass, Craig Buckley, Subhashini Kaligotla
Lecturers Martina Droth, Karen Foster, Ian McClure
Fields of Study
Fields include ancient Greek and Roman; Medieval and Byzantine; Renaissance; Early Modern; eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century European; Modern Architecture; African; African American and African diaspora; American; American Decorative Arts; British; Pre-Columbian; Islamic; East Asian.
Special Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree
All students must pass examinations in at least two languages pertinent to their field of study, to be determined and by agreement with the adviser and director of graduate studies (DGS). One examination must be passed during the first year of study, the other not later than the beginning of the third term. During the first two years of study, students typically take twelve term courses. In March of the second year, students submit a qualifying paper that should demonstrate the candidate’s ability successfully to complete a Ph.D. dissertation in art history. During the fall term of the third year, students are expected to take the qualifying examination. Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of their field and related areas, as well as a good grounding in method and bibliography. By the end of the second term of the third year, students are expected to have established a dissertation topic. A prospectus outlining the topic must be approved by a committee at a colloquium by the end of the third year. Students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. upon completion of all predissertation requirements, including the prospectus and qualifying examination. Admission to candidacy must take place by the end of the third year.
The faculty considers teaching to be an important part of the professional preparation of graduate students. Students are required to complete four terms of teaching. This requirement is fulfilled in the second and third years. Students may also serve as a graduate research assistant at either the Yale University Art Gallery or the Yale Center for British Art. This can be accepted in lieu of one or two terms of teaching, but students may accept a graduate research assistant position at any time after the end of their first year. Application for these R.A. positions is competitive.
Combined Ph.D. Programs
History of Art and African American Studies
The Department of the History of Art offers, in conjunction with the Department of African American Studies, a combined Ph.D. in History of Art and African American Studies. Students in the combined-degree program must take five courses in African American Studies as part of the required twelve courses and are subject to the language requirement for the Ph.D. in History of Art. The dissertation prospectus and the dissertation itself must be approved by both History of Art and African American Studies. For further details, see African American Studies.
History of Art and English
The Department of the History of Art also offers, in conjunction with the Department of English Language and Literature, a combined Ph.D. degree in History of Art and English Language and Literature. The requirements are designed to emphasize the interdisciplinarity of the combined degree program.
Course work In years one and two, a student in the combined program will complete sixteen courses: ten seminars in English, including The Teaching of English (ENGL 990) and one course in each of four historical periods (Medieval, Renaissance, eighteenth–nineteenth century, twentieth–twenty-first century), and six in History of Art, including HSAR 500 and one course outside the student’s core area. Up to two cross-listed seminars may count toward the number in both units, reducing the total number of courses to fourteen.
Languages Two languages pertinent to the student’s field of study, to be determined and by agreement with the advisers and directors of graduate studies. Normally the language requirement will be satisfied by passing a translation exam administered by one of Yale’s language departments. One examination must be passed during the first year of study, the other by the end of the third year.
Qualifying paper History of Art requires a qualifying paper in the spring term of the second year. The paper must demonstrate original research, a logical conceptual structure, stylistic lucidity, and the ability to successfully complete a Ph.D. dissertation. The qualifying paper will be evaluated by two professors from History of Art and one professor from English.
Qualifying examination Written exam: addressing a question or questions having to do with a broad state-of-the-field or historiographic topic. Three hours, closed book, written by hand or on a non-networked computer. Oral exam: given one week after the written exam, covering six fields, including three in English (question periods of twenty minutes each, covering thirty texts each, representing three distinct fields of literary history) and three in History of Art (twenty-five minutes each, fields to be agreed on in advance with advisers and DGS). Exam lists will be developed by the student in consultation with faculty examiners.
Teaching Two years of teaching—one course per term in years three and four—are required: two in English (up to two sections per course) and two in History of Art.
Prospectus The dissertation prospectus must be approved by both English and History of Art. The colloquium will take place in the spring term of the third year of study. The committee will include at least one faculty member from each department. As is implied by its title, the colloquium is not an examination, but a meeting during which the student can present ideas to a faculty committee and receive advice from its members. The colloquium should be jointly chaired by the directors of graduate studies of both departments.
First chapter reading Students will participate in a first chapter reading (also known as a first chapter conference) normally within a year of advancing to candidacy (spring term of year four). The dissertation committee, including faculty members from both programs, will discuss the progress of the student’s work in a seminar-style format.
Dissertation defense The hour-long defense is a serious intellectual conversation between the student and the committee. Present at the defense will be the student’s advisers, committee, and the directors of graduate studies in both English and History of Art; others may be invited to comment after the committee’s questioning is completed.
History of Art and Film and Media Studies
The Department of the History of Art offers, in conjunction with the Film and Media Studies Program, a combined Ph.D. in the History of Art and Film and Media Studies. Students are required to meet all departmental requirements, but many courses may count toward completing both degrees at the discretion of the directors of graduate studies in History of Art and Film and Media Studies. For further details, see Film and Media Studies.
History of Art and Renaissance Studies
The Department of the History of Art offers, in conjunction with the Renaissance Studies Program, a combined Ph.D. in the History of Art and Renaissance Studies. For further details, see Renaissance Studies.
The Center for the Study of American Art and Material Culture
The Center for the Study of American Art and Material Culture provides a programmatic link among the Yale faculty, museum professionals, and graduate students who maintain a scholarly interest in the study, analysis, and interpretation of American art and material culture. It brings together colleagues from a variety of disciplines—from History of Art and American Studies to Anthropology, Archaeological Studies, and Geology and Geophysics—and from some of Yale’s remarkable museum collections, from the Art Gallery and Peabody Museum to Beinecke Library. Center activities will focus upon one particular theme each year and will include hosting one or more visiting American Art and Material Culture Fellows to teach a course each term and interact with Yale colleagues; weekly lunch meetings in which a member makes a short presentation centered on an artifact or group of artifacts followed by lively discussion about methodology, interpretation, and context; and an annual three-day Yale-Smithsonian Seminar on Material Culture.
M.Phil. See Degree Requirements under Policies and Regulations.
M.A. (en route to the Ph.D.) This degree is awarded after the satisfactory completion of eight term courses and after evidence of proficiency in one required foreign language.
Program materials are available online at http://arthistory.yale.edu.
HSAR 500a, Methods in Art History Carol Armstrong
This seminar is designed to introduce students to a range of art historical methods past and present: a variety of formalisms, connoisseurship, different kinds of iconography, the social history of art, psychoanalysis, and a number of other approaches that are sometimes referred to as visual culture. Readings include classic texts by Riegl, Wölfflin, Panofsky, and Warburg, and more recent approaches by Alpers, Clark, and Crary, among others.
HSAR 509b / EAST 550, Japan’s Classics in Text and Image Edward Kamens and Mimi Yiengpruksawan
Fiction, poetry, and plays from the eighth century through the nineteenth, studied alongside related works of art and illustrated books housed in collections at Yale. An introduction to the Japanese classics as well as an example of interdisciplinary study in the humanities. No knowledge of Japanese required.
HSAR 512a or b, Directed Research Nicola Suthor
By arrangement with faculty.
HSAR 514b, Graduate Research Assistantship Nicola Suthor
By arrangement with faculty.
HSAR 521a, Art and Colonialism Cecile Fromont
This course investigates the role of art in colonial projects and the impact of colonialism on art. It analyzes in particular the ways in which colonialism shaped visual and material cultures and environments in Latin America and Africa from the early modern period to the present. It is organized around three themes: colonization and the birth of the museum, the role of art in the colonial project, and world art in the postcolonial era.
HSAR 522b, The Problem of the Fetish Cecile Fromont
Borrowing its title from the two-part 1985/87 article by William Pietz, “The problem of the fetish,” this seminar starts with an examination of the social, religious, and economic conditions under which the word fetish was coined, presumably in the seventeenth–eighteenth century, on the West African coast. The course then considers the evolution of the word from an idiom descriptive of a type of objects created in the interactions between European travelers and Africans in the early modern period, to an analytical term that played a central role in the perception and study of non-Western art in general and African art in particular. Class discussion and reading focus on the similarities and differences between the idea of fetish and neighboring notions of idol or curiosity and on the role played by religious and ideological discourses in the coining and posterity of the concept.
HSAR 564b / ANTH 531b / ARCG 531b / CLSS 815b / EALL 773b / HIST 502b / JDST 653b / NELC 533b / RLST 803b, Sensory Experiences in Ancient Ritual Carolyn Laferriere and Andrew Turner
A comparative exploration of the role the senses played in the performance of ancient and premodern ritual, drawing from a range of ancient traditions including those of Greece, Rome, and Egypt, and from cultural traditions of the Near East, India, China, and the New World. Placing particular emphasis on the relationship between art and ritual, we discuss the methods available for reconstructing ancient sensory experience, how the ancient cultures conceived of the senses and perception, and how worshipers’ sensory experiences, whether visual, sonic, olfactory, gustatory, or haptic, were integral aspects in their engagement with the divine within religious ritual. This seminar incorporates material in the Yale Art Gallery.
HSAR 581a / ARCG 581a / CLSS 890a, Roman Painting: Achievement and Legacy Diana Kleiner
Roman mural painting in all its aspects and innovations. Individual scenes and complete ensembles in palaces, villas, and houses in Rome and Pompeii are explored, as are their rediscovery and revival in the Renaissance and neoclassical period. Special attention is paid to the four architectural styles; history and mythological painting; the impact of the theater; the part played by landscape, genre, and still life; the accidental survival of painted portraiture; and the discovery and rejection of trompe l’oeil illusionism and linear perspective.
HSAR 591a / MDVL 650a, Visions and Art in Medieval Europe Jacqueline Jung
From the Book of Revelation to the Showings of Julian of Norwich (d. 1423), accounts of visions in the Christian tradition were inextricably intertwined with the visual arts. Through examinations of medieval texts, images, and material culture, in conjunction with modern analyses of related phenomena, this seminar explores the range of representational practices that helped medieval Christians summon up, make sense of, and communicate extraordinary moments of contact with the divine. We address such questions as the changes in visionary experiences over time, the role of language and literacy in the communication of such experiences, the impact of gender on visions, the varieties and functions of other senses (especially touch and taste) in medieval visions, and the impact of visionary reports on the development of art. We begin by addressing the theoretical, cognitive, and anthropological facets of visionary experience before turning to medieval primary sources such as saints’ lives, accounts of otherworld journeys, miracle books, sermons, monastic chronicles, and individually composed vision books, and to modern interpretations by historians such as Caroline Bynum, William Christian, Peter Dinzelbacher, Jeffrey Hamburger, Barbara Newman, Giselle de Nie, and Jean-Claude Schmitt. Visual materials include both depictions of visions (such as Apocalypse manuscripts, paintings of the Temptation of St. Anthony, and renderings of Hildegard’s visions) and images that played a role in sparking visionary experience (such as Marian statues, crucifixes, Man of Sorrows images, and Baby Jesus dolls). Reading knowledge of German, French, and Latin is strongly recommended.
HSAR 605a, Russian Realist Literature and Painting Molly Brunson
An interdisciplinary examination of the development of nineteenth-century Russian realism in literature and the visual arts. Topics include the Natural School and the formulation of a realist aesthetic; the artistic strategies and polemics of critical realism; narrative, genre, and the rise of the novel; the Wanderers and the articulation of a Russian school of painting; realism, modernism, and the challenges of periodization. Readings include novels, short stories, and critical works by Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Goncharov, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and others. Painters of focus include Fedotov, Perov, Shishkin, Repin, and Kramskoy. Special attention is given to the particular methodological demands of inter-art analysis.
HSAR 610b, Art of Frame/Frame of Art Robert Nelson
The chiastic title introduces the tensions and paradoxes of frames of art, actual, represented, and conceptual. This seminar works from the rich historical and theoretical literature about frames and framing in order to investigate central issues of the history of art: the power and theology of images; the role of agents outside the pictorial field; the functions and implications of abstraction, illusionism, and perspective; and the conceptual means by which art history frames art. While the temporal focus is premodern—Classical through Baroque—topics from all periods and areas of art history are welcomed. The research agenda of the seminar depends upon the interests of the students. The challenge is to conduct detailed historical analysis while attending to questions and approaches from areas outside standard accountings of the art of these periods. No prior knowledge of the theory and art involved is necessary, but specific projects require relevant research skills and languages.
HSAR 651a, Global Landscape in an Age of Empire Tim Barringer
This seminar uses Yale resources to explore the global travels of European artists in the long nineteenth century (ca. 1770–1914), the age of empire. A key focus is the resistance encountered in contact zones and spaces beyond Europe, such as the countersigns of Indigenous cultures that refuse to be accommodated within the conventions of the picturesque and sublime. The course is divided into four segments: South (the Grand Tour and Pacific exploration), North (the Picturesque in the British Isles), East (European artists traveling in the Ottoman world and Asia), and West (the Caribbean and the Americas). In each case, histories of European art are disrupted by other narratives and forms of visual resistance that may also be understood as political. Research papers are based on materials in Yale collections, with an emphasis on materials little examined in the existing historiographies.
HSAR 652a, Documenting the World Kishwar Rizvi
This seminar explores the significance of the documentary survey in Europe and the Middle East. Writing the history of the world can only be undertaken from a particular ideological point of view; for example, although medieval illustrated manuscripts, such as the Compendium of History of Rashid al-Din (1304) and the Travels of Sir John Mandeville (ca. 1371), were concerned with situating the reader within the context of religious and political authority, during the eighteenth century the attempt was made to document the world through scientific explorations of race, religion, and geography, as exemplified by the magnum opus Ceremonies and Customs of the World Religions, by Bernard and Picart (1727–31). This seminar studies original and facsimile copies of manuscripts at Yale libraries.
HSAR 674b, The History of Color, 1400–2000 Carol Armstrong and Nicola Suthor
This seminar looks at the vexed history of color in all of its aspects, from the Renaissance to the present. Divided between colore/couleur and colorito/coloris, and frequently opposed to disegno/dessin, color has often been relegated to second place and to the status of supplement, derogatorily associated with the superficial, the ephemeral, the deceptive, the illusory, the artificial, and the feminine. At the same time, it has been understood as the “difference” of painting, it is the essence of “what painting is” from a material and practical point of view, it has been at the heart of the paragone debates, and it has been a linchpin of modern and modernist art and theory. This course looks at the history of thought about color in a variety of areas: the alchemical and chemical; the practical and the theoretical; the science of optics; discourse, rhetoric, poetics, and philosophy. Writers addressed include Cennino Cennini and other authors of artist’s manuals; Roger de Piles, Sir Isaac Newton, and Johann Wolfgang van Goethe; Charles Baudelaire, Michel Eugène Chevreul, and Josef Albers; Rainer Maria Rilke and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Artists considered include Titian, Peter Paul Rubens, and Jean-Antoine Watteau; Eugène Delacroix, J.M.W. Turner, Edouard Manet, and the Impressionists; Georges Seurat and Paul Cézanne; Henri Matisse, Helen Frankenthaler, and the color-field painters.
HSAR 709a, Precarity Pamela Lee
An intensive reading seminar on precarity and neoliberalism, and the aesthetic and art-critical responses to the diverse phenomena these terms encompass and name. Topics include bio- and necropolitics; the Anthropocene and environmental justice; human capital and its complements in immaterial, reproductive, and contingent labor; black, brown, and red bodies under perpetual siege and surveillance; education, credit, and debt. Readings in autonomist/workerist and post-Marxist literature; debates on the status of critique within the arts; strategies of protest and/or refusal/withdrawal within the art world and its institutions; and how artists, students, and arts professionals confront the material realities of precarious life. Enrollment limited and by approval of the instructor.
HSAR 712b / FILM 842b, Approaches to the Urban Screen Francesco Casetti and Craig Buckley
What distinguishes the urban screen—in terms of spatiality, economics, phenomenology, and technology—from other screens proliferating today? The course aims to think genealogically about the emergence and descent of large-scale urban screens as forms of public display and as new metropolitan interfaces. Today we are witnessing long-standing conceptions of the screen as a surface for the play of representations ceding ground to ecological understandings of the screen as an environmentally embedded node and as a point of dynamic mediation between actors and the world. Considering materials from film history, architectural history, art history, and urban history, the seminar considers the urban screen as a crucial part of the broader redefinition of the screen. Urban screens can be understood in terms of a rupture and recovery of screen history, wherein the fracturing of the screen (as movie screen) is coextensive with the recovery of older and alternate understandings of the screen (as facade, as protection, as shelter, as furniture, as filter, as masquerade, as control mechanism). A key aspect of the seminar is to work through the existing frameworks for thinking about urban screens and to propose new approaches that might shape this nascent area of study. In revisiting alternate histories of the screen, the course explores emerging screen cultures and their implications for the future of screen studies. Field trips to the Yale Art Gallery, Yale Center for British Art, Peabody Museum, and Beinecke Library.
HSAR 735a, Material Literacy Edward Cooke
In the past decade, art history, history, and literary studies have taken a material turn. Much of this interdisciplinary work begins from the perspective of the viewer/user and then works toward a formal and associational “reading” of an object. Such an approach privileges vision over tactility and other senses and emphasizes the final product rather than exploring the deliberate choices taken along the way of making. This perhaps reflects an ever-increasing illiteracy about our relationship to materials and processes. This seminar offers an alternative approach, one that is process-driven. This type of inquiry begins on the inside of an object and works outward toward the final product and its context. We emphasize the choice and use of materials and analyze the tools and maneuvers chosen to manipulate the material. Issues that may arise include intensive versus extensive tool use; labor systems; seasonal or life-cycle rhythms of production; transmission of skills, motives, and impact of clients; metaphorical implications of specific materials and processes; and function and unanticipated adaptation. We discuss objects not simply as reflections of values, but as active, symbolic agents that emerge in specific contexts yet might change in form, use, or value over time. Human activity creates material culture, which in turn makes action possible while also recursively shaping and controlling action.
HSAR 743a, The Book in the Sixteenth-Century Americas Barbara Mundy
This course centers on books created in the Americas over the course of the sixteenth century, with an emphasis on Mexico, where a millennium-long book tradition was reshaped through its encounter with manuscripts and printed books of European origin. It surveys the Aztec, Mixtec, and Maya screenfold manuscripts that were the indigenous forbears of the sixteenth-century butterfly-bound book, and it considers the impact that new genres and new technologies, particularly the printing press, had on indigenous manuscripts. Topics include the nature of writing systems and pictography; the visual properties of literary genres; the semantics and economies of early modern media, particularly paper and ink; and the conceptual frameworks of “colonial” and “hybrid.” We work closely with works in Yale collections, particularly the Beinecke Library.
HSAR 747a, Architecture and the Kinetic Image Craig Buckley
This seminar examines the relationship between concepts of architectural and cinematic space in the twentieth century. The aim is to provide an introduction to the literature on architecture and cinema and to examine a series of laboratories, buildings, sets, pavilions, and environments marked by the impact of moving images, encounters that have transformed concepts of space and expanded the media through which architects think and work. Examining the collaborations of architects, film directors, set designers, critics, and technicians, the course probes the evolving nature of technologies of the kinetic image, and its complement, the manner in which architects have increasingly sought to conceptualize space in terms of movements and flows, from that of the human body, to the automobile, to information. Topics may include Étienne-Jules Marey's experimental station; expressionist film sets; film experiments at the Bauhaus; cinema design in Weimar Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris; the multiscreen films of Charles and Ray Eames; the Philips Pavilion; Intermedia environments of the 1960s; the use of film in urban analysis by Donald Appleyard, Denise Scott Brown, and Robert Venturi; the projection environments and multimedia pavilions of Expo '70; early video installations by Dan Graham and Dara Birnbaum; and the introduction of computer animation into architectural design.
HSAR 753a, Theories of Imagination and Visual Perception Margaret Olin
This seminar traces the role of imagination and visual perception as conceived by philosophers, phenomenologists, perceptual psychologists, and other theorists in mainly Western thought since the seventeenth century. The ways in which perception and imagination are conceived together are informed by changing conceptions of each term. “Imagination” can be seen as a mental power of internal image making that must be considered separately from perception, or it may be considered as an indispensable component of perception, which itself can be conceived as a more or less faithful representation or a creative process. Readings are chosen from among the works of John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Hippolyte Taine, Hermann von Helmholtz, Henri Bergson, Jean Piaget, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and others. The significance of the discourse for art and literature is stressed. Students make presentations and submit papers on topics of their choosing in consultation with the instructor. Qualified undergraduates are welcome.
HSAR 786a / AFAM 745a, Black Atlantic Visual Arts since 1980 Kobena Mercer
This seminar surveys black diaspora practices in late-twentieth- and early twenty-first-century art while questioning the survey genre as such. Examining contributions of black artists to paradigm shifts that have interrogated the identity of art over the past thirty years, we review the demands that issues of race and ethnicity place on interpretive models in the historiography of art. Considering thematic categories in which to understand what is distinctive to the diasporic conditions of Black Atlantic practitioners, while consistently relating their concerns to broad patterns in art practice as a whole in an era of globalization, the aim is to identify critical terms that best narrate the transformations black diaspora artists have introduced to a period characterized by the shift from modern to postmodern to contemporary.
HSAR 803a / EAST 500a, Reflecting Truth: Meiji Photography between Performativity and Representation, Modernity and Empire Ayelet Zohar
Celebrating 150 years since the Meiji Restoration (1868) is an ideal opportunity to look back and ponder the engagement with an alternative history of photography, from a Japanese point of view. Photography arrived in Japan soon after its creation in the UK and France (1839), and first images were created as soon as 1848 in Kagoshima and Nagasaki. We consider the two paths photography developed in Japan, and their intersections: experimental approaches with performative modes of execution (i.e., direct light, opaque image, camera-less photographs, etc.), versus representations of Japan, a method that can be studied through two tracks—the creation of exotic, nonmodern images for the Western, consuming eye; and the documentation of Japan’s rapid modernization and political developments into settlement, nationalism, colonialism, and militarism.
HSAR 814a, Japan’s Global Baroque Mimi Yiengpruksawan
The intersection of art, science, and diplomacy at Kyoto and Nagasaki in the time of Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch cultural and mercantile interaction in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with attention to the entangled political relations linking the shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Philip II of Spain, Jesuit missionaries such as Alessandro Valignano, and the Christian daimyō of Kyushu and the Inland Sea. Focus on Japanese castle architecture, nanban screens, world maps, arte sacra, and tea ceremony practices as related to the importation of European arte sacra, prints and drawings, scientific instruments, and world atlases such as Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Includes inquiry into back-formations such as “baroque” and “global” to describe and/or interpret sixteenth- and seventeenth-century cultural productions.
HSAR 822a / EALL 710a / EAST 710, Fragmentism and Assemblage in Traditional Japanese Culture Edward Kamens and Mimi Yiengpruksawan
A cross-disciplinary consideration of the phenomenon of disaggregation of texts and visual artworks and their reconfiguration in new forms. Focus on examples from the Japanese past in comparative and theoretical perspective. Students engage directly in the preparation of an installation on this theme in the Yale Art Gallery for spring 2019. Prerequisite: proficiency in literary and modern Japanese.
HSAR 837a, The Painting of Modern Life Marisa Bass
“Genre imagery” is a category of art perennially resistant to interpretation, and one most often defined by what it is not. It encompasses pictures understood to be secular, nonnarrative representations of everyday life, which at the same time appear staged, parodic, and at far remove from lived experience. These are works that raise issues of class and of gender and that speak above all to the exigencies of modern life within the culture of consumerism that bore them. This course examines genre painting from its first emergence in the sixteenth-century Netherlands to its apogee in the seventeenth century. We interrogate the notion of self-awareness in these works, the issues associated with their enduring characterization as “moralizing” images, their development in relation to the tectonic shifts of the Protestant Reformation, and the polyvalence of their comic mode. Particularly crucial to our discussion is the artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, whose works in many ways defy the very category to which they most seem to belong. This seminar travels over October recess to Vienna to see the retrospective Bruegel exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, among other collections. Enrollment is limited and advanced permission of the instructor is required.
HSAR 838b, Arts of the Contact Zone Subhashini Kaligotla
Taking India as the pivot of our explorations, this seminar engages major scholarly approaches to the heterogeneous arts and cultures of the contact zone. Understood as a geographical crossroads, this is a cultural sphere constituted by recourse to a plurality of visual styles, linguistic universes, religious systems, and political languages. Weekly readings and discussions take a critical, in-depth look at one work that has had a far-reaching impact on writing the entangled histories of such places. We unpack, theoretically and methodologically, concepts such as cosmopolitanism, hybridity, transregionalism, mobility, globalism, and the intercultural. We read scholars writing from within the discipline of art and architectural history, and also those grounded in history, the history of religion, literary studies, landscape studies, and subaltern and postcolonial studies. Our goal each week is to evaluate the distinctive contribution of each work by examining its theoretical premises and choices, its methods and evidence, the structure of its arguments, as well as its limitations and blind spots. Participants are expected to lead at least one discussion and submit a final research paper.
HSAR 839b, Visualizing the Witness Margaret Olin
This seminar investigates what it means not only to read or listen to, but to see testimony. It makes extensive use of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies and its historical development in order to understand the assumptions upon which visual testimony is based and the strategies on which it relies. Except for significant feature films such as Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, visual Holocaust testimony is rarely analyzed as the product of visual media, and the Fortunoff archives offer a brilliant and varied field of endeavor to use for this purpose. While it centers on the archives, the seminar develops the theoretical background and skills of close reading and close looking necessary to analyze a wide range of testimony on many different subjects. Students make presentations and submit papers on topics of their choosing in consultation with the professor. Qualified undergraduates are welcome.
HSAR 840b, Jewish Identity and Feminist Art Margaret Olin
Like other minority artists, Jewish women have played a significant role in the feminist art movement since the early 1970s in the United States, Europe, and Israel, including painting, sculpture, photography, installation, and video art. Many of them have incorporated into their work an examination of their Jewish identities. This course examines the interplay between feminism and Judaism in the work of well-known artists such as Nancy Spero (1926–2009), Eleanor Antin (b. 1935), Judy Chicago (b. 1939), Mierle Laderman Ukeles (b. 1939), Martha Rosler (b. 1943), and Chantal Akerman (1950–2015), as well as in the work of those representing lesser-known trends, such as the recent Jewish religious feminist art movement in Israel and the United States. The discussions emphasize critical thinking and the larger social, historical, and intellectual contexts within which these artists operate[d]. Students make presentations and submit papers on topics of their choosing in consultation with the instructor. Qualified undergraduates are welcome.