Current Upper Level Courses in Art History
ARHI 2314 - Ancient Architecture and New York City
This course offers a survey of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman architecture. Students will study structures from the Old Kingdom pyramids to late antique churches, synagogues, and mosques. It uses the many buildings of New York City that draw on ancient architectural traditions to reconstruct how they worked in their own time, and why modern architects and publics still rely on these old formal vocabularies. The course will take two basic approaches to the buildings we encounter. 1) What did the building feel like to use, and what created these effects? 2) How did/does the building support or break down existing power structures? These questions will lead students to understand ancient architecture as a way of making and thinking that still has direct relevance to understanding key social issues of modern-day New York. Students taking the class should expect to spend significant time encountering New York architecture, from war memorials and arches to community spaces and parks. Sketching buildings will be required—drawing skills will not be assessed.
ARHI 2370 - Art and Science in the Middle Ages
This course investigates intersections of art and science from the Carolingian period through the 14th century and the historical role images played in the pursuit of epistemic truths. Science in the Middle Ages included a broad range of intellectual pursuits into both the supernatural and natural worlds, and scholars have classified these pursuits in various ways (i.e., experimental or theoretical science, practical science, magic, and natural philosophy). A particular focus of this course is placed on the assimilation of Greek and Islamic scientific advances in cartography, cosmology, and optical theory into the Latin theological tradition.
ARHI 4230 - Art and Ethics: Articulating Function in the Visual Art
This course will examine the inter-disciplinary dialogue between art and ethics. What exactly do the terms "art" and "ethics" denote... and connote? Can one nudge the terms together into some kind of binary concept, like "ethical art" or "artful morality" (!)? Or do these terms relate at some other, deeper level, with a common ontological foundation? In the course of the semester, we will consider the relationship between art and ethics, as they have surfaced in philosophy, in theology, in history, in the history of art, and in art criticism from antiquity to the present era.
ARHI 2221 – Japanese Visual Culture: Prehistory to Present (4 Credits)
An examination of Japanese visual culture from prehistory to contemporary society. Issues and material explored: the development and spread of Buddhism, temple art and architecture, narrative art and prints, the interaction of art and popular culture, manga, anime, and contacts with western society.
ARHI 2254 – Topics in Global Art (4 Credits)
In this course, students will examine topics in non-European art before 1500. Topics may include Islamic art, African and African diasporic art, Asian art, and/or art of the Ancient Americas.
ARHI 2530 - 19th Century Art (4 Credits)
This course examines the relationship between art and modernity across the long nineteenth century in Europe, beginning with the age of revolutions and culminating in the rise of the avant-garde. We will explore experiments in painting, sculpture, photography, print, and architecture, as well as changing cultures of exhibition, spectacle, and reproduction. Special attention will be paid to topics of revolution, empire and nation-building, enslavement, industrialization and technological change, capitalism and corporatization, and global exchange — forces and phenomena that continue to inform our world today.
ARHI 4600 - Senior Seminar (4 Credits)
As the capstone seminar for art history majors, this course has several goals: to give art history majors an introduction to the principal thinkers who shaped the field of art history; to explore some of the key methodological approaches to art history today; to hone students’ skills in critical reading and viewing; and to provide students the opportunity to conduct independent research on an art historical topic of their own choosing. Offered fall semesters only; required for majors.
ARHI 2260 - Global Modern Architecture
What do we think of when we see such words as “modern,” “modernism,” and “modernity”—especially as they pertain to architecture and the built environment? How can we reinterpret and challenge existing views of these terms when we start from the regions of the world (sometimes called the non-west and the global south) that are home to the majority of the world's people? In this course, we'll examine the production of space in Asia, Africa, and Latin America from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries as breaks from the past, yet inextricable from the colonial encounter.
ARHI 2450 - 17th Century Art
This course surveys artistic developments in Europe in the Seventeenth Century and their relationship to the shifting political and intellectual landscape. The art of the Baroque is characterized by an interest in emotional appeal, visual immediacy, and the articulation of power. Major artists include Caravaggio, Bernini, Velázquez, Rubens, Poussin, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. The themes we will explore include the relationship of art production and reception to the political and religious environment, the development of national styles, the intersection of art, nature and science, and the emergence of academies as systems for artistic training and political control. In addition to introducing students to the visual arts of the Seventeenth Century, this course will emphasize the critical analysis of works of art and of art-historical scholarship.
ARHI 2528 - Asian American Art
What does it mean to study “Asian American art”? Although the term Asian American is itself relatively new, having emerged through activist movements in the 1960s, work by artists of Asian descent has long circulated in the Americas, from the 1565 opening of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade onward. This class explores the diverse histories of Asian American art in what is now known as the United States, across a range of topics and themes, including mercantile trade networks and “export art”; immigration, exclusion, and diaspora; Orientalism; World’s Fairs; modernism, abstraction, and postmodernism; and popular culture. Throughout, we will pay special attention to the work of Asian American artists in New York, both historical and contemporary, with visits to museums, galleries, and studios in the city.
ARHI 2320 – The Fall of Ancient Rose: A Material Culture Investigation (4 Credits)
An interdisciplinary investigation of the period ca. 300—800 AD. The traditional model of Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" will be considered in the light of modern conceptions of "Late Antiquity" by scholars such as Peter Brown, who see this as a period of sometimes dramatic cultural and political transformation, defined by the growth of the vibrant new kingdoms of Western Europe, and the development of Christianity and Islam. Using the methodologies of Ancient History, Archaeology, Art History and Classics, the course will consider these two approaches through the lens of material culture. How and why did cities, sculpture, religious art, pottery, textiles, military equipment and luxury goods change during this period, and what do they all reveal about how and why Rome fell—if it did at all?
ARHI 2418 – Gender and Sexuality in Renaissance Art (4 Credits)
This course explores the role of gender and sexuality in the art of the European Renaissance. We will consider how the visual arts both constructed and reflected ideals of feminine and masculine identity, homosocial relations, and erotic desire. Investigating the roles and identities of women and men as patrons, creators, viewers, and subjects of early modern art, we will also consider discourses of feminism, gender, and sexuality both in the early modern period and in contemporary academic practice.
ARHI 3110 – Decolonizing the Museum (4 Credits)
In this course we will become familiar with decolonial theory and practice, taking the museum as our site in inquiry. Through readings and conversations with museum professionals with very different views on the subject, we will grapple with the question posed in the course title. Among other concerns, we will examine representation in the museum, restitution and repatriation of cultural objects, and the role of the museum in larger processes of reparative justice.