Graduate Courses in Art History 2014-2015
ARTH 600 (CRN 3400) Advanced Pro-Seminar (3 credits), Prof. Chriscinda Henry, Th, 1135-1425, Arts W-220
This advanced pro-seminar introduces key concepts and practices of art history through guided
discussions of issues, ideas, and trends central to the current practice of the discipline and its historical formation. Class sessions will be led by McGill faculty members from AHCS and associated departments and institutes, as well as local museum professionals who will address critical debates in the field. Providing orientation to the field and to the department, this course also emphasizes
key skills and issues of professionalization. One week will be dedicated to the essential art of grant
writing, preparing you for specific funding applications. As the semester progresses, we will also discuss
career opportunities, conference participation, publication strategies, and essential resources for success in
At its core, this seminar is intended to prepare you for a productive and engaged graduate career. We will emphasize four key skills, all central to advanced art-historical research:
1. Close and careful reading and analysis. Although topics and methods under consideration will differ from week to week, we will be working together to hone a core set of critical reading skills. What, we will ask, are the key claims asserted in our readings? How is evidence constituted and deployed? Are the arguments compelling? What broader intellectual agendas give them urgency?
2. Clear and critical written exposition. This is a writing-intensive seminar. In addition to the grant proposal and near-weekly responses to the readings, you will also produce a critical essay reflecting on a departmental lecture and a final paper due December 5th. Reading and discussion in Week 9 will also be dedicated to the practice and conceptual implications of descriptive writing.
3. Confident oral participation and presentation skills. Informed, open-minded and respectful participation in every class is mandatory. Come to class with views, opinions, points for discussion and questions about the sources used. As in most graduate seminars, students will lead research presentations in advance of the final paper. Student presentations are scheduled for the last two classes of the semester.
4. Visual analysis. Sophisticated visual interpretation is a key skill that art historians bring to the interdisciplinary table. When doing the readings, consider how the author approaches visual material. We will also analyze images in many of our sessions.
Weekly Responses and Participation: 25%
Departmental Lecture Essay: 5%
Grant Writing: 10%
Final Research Paper: 60% (5% proposal, 20% presentation, 35% paper)
ARTH 606 (CRN 7027) Research Paper Preparation (3 credits)
ARTH 608 (CRN 8957) Research Paper 1 (6 credits)
ARTH 609 (CRN 14699) Research Paper 2 (6 credits)
ARTH 630 (CRN 5256) Directed Reading 1 (3 credits)
ARTH 646/EAST 564 (CRN 18654) Topics: Chinese Visual Culture (3 credits), Prof. TBA, M, 1435-1725, Arts W-5
ARTH 701 (CRN 3402) Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam (0 credits)
ARTH 725 (CRN 18655) Methods in Art History 1 (3 credits), Prof. Matthew Hunter, W, 1435-1725, PL 3463, room 201
Nearly a half century after the publication of his landmark essay “Art and Objecthood”, Michael Fried (b. 1939) remains a polarizing figure. Whether hailed or reviled, Fried cuts a long shadow across the modern tradition and its persistence in the contemporary moment through his work as critic, poet, and interlocutor with several of the period’s major artists and intellectuals including T.J. Clark, Jacques Derrida, Clement Greenberg and Stanley Cavell. Yet, much of Fried’s extensive writing has been been art-historical in nature, ranging from studies of Caravaggio to Greuze—from Courbet and Manet to Thomas Demand and Jeff Wall. Neither a biographical survey nor a retrospective assessment of his oeuvre, this seminar uses Fried’s writings to assay the practices and stakes of art-writing that have been formulated in, and in response to, his unflinchingly ambitious work. The seminar will explore the relations between the history and theory of art, the modern and the early modern, and the politics of criticism in an era of neoliberalism through dialogue with several guest-participants who have studied with Fried and/or engaged critically with his work.
ARTH 730 (19316) / COMS 675 (CRN 18662) Current Problems in Art History 1:”Media and Urban Life” (3 credits), Prof. Will Straw, W, 1135-1425, PL 3463 Rm 201 (MISC)
This course deals with cities and with the place of culture within urban life. Its main focus is on the ways in which various cultural forms may be seen as contributing to the “mediality” of urban life – that is, to the storing, transmission and processing of information and cultural expression. Designed for both Communications and Art History students, the course will deal with such topics as the transformation of urban facades into expressive surfaces, the cultural role of the urban night, the sensory character of cities, shifting patterns of urban media and so on. The main focus of the course will be Montreal, but we will be looking at other cities as points of comparison and dealing in a more general sense with cities and their culture.