Welcome to the Department of Art History & Communication Studies

The Department of Art History & Communication Studies embraces the interdisciplinary and transcultural study of art, culture and communications. We study technologies of information, image, and sound through a broad range of historical and theoretical approaches.

The Department offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Communication Studies, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Art History. At the undergraduate level, we offer degrees in Art History (major, minor, honours), and a minor in Communication Studies.

Grounded in the disciplinary traditions of our constitutive fields, AHCS encourages research currently emerging at the intersections of art history and communication studies. These include the analysis of visual and material culture, studies of new media, the history of technology, eco-critical approaches, analyses of identity in art and communications, and questions of Indigeneity, gender, sexuality, race, class, globalism, and nationhood.

Art History

Within the Department, the Art History program examines global histories of art, architecture, visual and material culture from expanded antiquity to the present. Our courses interrogate the development of art-historical methodologies and the institutions that have served the discipline. Our faculty offers expertise informed by Indigenous knowledge and critical practices; histories of medicine, science, technology, and new media; global and transcultural perspectives. We analyze museums, exhibitions, patronage, and collecting. We draw from gender, sexuality, and feminist studies, along with decolonizing, postcolonial and critical-race perspectives. Our courses range from medieval East Asia to contemporary Indigenous art; they consider the art and architecture of Byzantium, early modern Europe and its colonial entanglements, and the art, media, and culture of the present moment.

Communication Studies

The Communication Studies program investigates the histories of media and technology in their broadly social, cultural and political dimensions. At the undergraduate and graduate levels, our courses explore critical and cultural approaches to these areas of inquiry, equipping students with current theories and research methods for conducting innovative forms of inter-disciplinary analysis in media, culture, infrastructure, and technology. These areas include sound studies, feminist media studies, post-colonial and anti-racist studies of media and empire, critical theory informed by intersectionality, Indigenous studies, and environmental humanities, critical science and technology studies, Black studies of media, music, technology and memory, queer studies, disability studies, and film studies. Drawing from anti-oppressive research and teaching practices, Communication Studies as a field centers questions of change, movement building, social transformation, and justice. Our scholarship and teaching practices are informed by our engagements with local communities and our experiences as writers, musicians, artists, and research collaborators, building on a long history of traditions in the field, and at McGill.

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