COVID-19

Graduate Courses in Art History 2020-2021

Fall 2020

ARTH 502 (CRN 23675) (3 credits)
Advanced Topics: Art and Architectural History: "Risk, Value, Accident: Art and the Actuarial Imagination"

Prof. Matthew Hunter
Tuesday, 11:35 PM - 2:25 PM

The Slave Ship. J. M. W. Turner
"Art insurance is huge business,” so one recent art-market commentator observes, “and not least now that artworks move around the world in far greater volume and frequency than ever before.” Insurance indeed exerts pervasive influence upon contemporary art: requirement for art’s circulation, judge of its monetary value, arbiter of its conditions of display. But, how has insurance come to occupy such a central position in the arts? Where, when and why have artists and architects made technologies of risk key to their enterprises? And what can a longer history of art’s entanglements with underwriting teach us about the contemporary moment? Art history possesses few working narratives of how insurance has ramified through the visual arts and architecture on its way to literally underwriting their conditions of contemporary ubiquity. This seminar aims to advance such a critical history. Introducing the general problematic, we will work through a sequence of cases as we aim to build a provisional genealogy of insurance’s crossings with art, architecture, and the museum.

Syllabus (pdf)


ARTH 600 (CRN 17752) (3 credits)
Advanced Professional Seminar
Prof. Cecily Hilsdale
Wednesday, 11:35 AM-2:25 PM

This seminar is designed to build and refine the primary critical skills of the discipline—both practical and theoretical—and also to broaden students’ critical approaches to art historical study. The first four sessions of the term are devoted to the art of compelling visual analysis, strategies for framing arguments, as well as grant writing.

In part two of the seminar we reflect on our current moment, specifically one of the most charged symbolic responses to racial injustice emerging across the globe: the maiming and toppling of monuments and other markers involving histories of racial conflict. These core sessions are devoted to a series of contested sites and monuments, including Holocaust memorials, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, confederate and indigenous monuments, and even the James McGill statue on campus. We will consider such monuments and sites in conjunction with a set of readings on the nature of public monuments, collective memory and historicity, as well as recent advocacy and position papers issued by professional academic organizations such as the Society of Architectural Historians in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
 


ARTH 630 (CRN 23668) (3 credits)
Directed Reading 1

Supervisor approval required.


ARTH 698 (CRN 17755) (12 credits)
Thesis Research 1

For the completion of thesis research.


ARTH 699 (CRN 17756) (12 credits)
Thesis Research 2

Supervised independent research work on an approved topic relating to thesis preparation.


ARTH 701 (CRN 1801) (0 credits)
Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam

Compulsory examination for all doctoral candidates.


ARTH 725 (CRN 17757) (3 credits)
Methods in Art History 1 
Ancient and Living Archives: "Indigenous Materials, Eternal Sovereigns and Cultural Belongings"
Prof. Gloria Bell
Monday, 11:35 AM-2:25 PM

Drawing inspiration from Seneca historian Arthur Parker who described First Nations wampum as an “ancient archive” for Indigenous peoples in 1916, this seminar investigates wampum, beadwork, and other arts practices and technologies as archives both ancient and living. Throughout this course we will engage with scholarship on materiality, visual sovereignty, art institutions, and the embodied practice of historical and contemporary Indigenous artists. Our readings include a mixture of art history, materiality studies, and archival theories. We will make site visits to art institutions to think about the competing sovereignties of Indigenous cultural belongings and artworks within colonial art institutions and to encourage sustained respectful engagement with cultural belongings being artworks for Indigenous and settler communities.
Syllabus (pdf)


Winter 2021

ARTH 630 (CRN 15321) (3 credits)
Directed Reading 1

Supervisor approval required.


ARTH 654 (CRN 15322) (3 credits)
Making Worlds: Art, Materiality, and Early Modern Globalization (1500-1700)
Prof. Angela Vanhaelen
Wednesday, 11:35 AM-2:25 PM
Arts W-220

Early modernity was a period characterized by the massive migration of peoples worldwide as a result of religious conflicts, expanding trade routes, colonization, slavery, and missionary activities, among other historical factors. Explanatory narratives of colonialism, empire building, and religious conversion—of center, periphery, and globalization—have been under revision in recent years in order to nuance our understanding of what were immensely complex and multi-faceted phenomena. The seminar accordingly will shift the focus from governing regimes and institutions to ways in which creative forms and practices were intertwined in the dynamics of materiality and early modern globalism and to a consideration of how processes of world-making are historically connected with globalization’s devastation of worlds. Such a proposition attends to the experimentation that activated and responded to the circulation of people, materials, artefacts, and motifs across borders and bodies of water; and it investigates these interactions as constant, on-going practices that could be inherently contradictory. The focus on art—on producing and engaging with it from multiple perspectives—foregrounds new and often unanticipated ways of crafting and understanding an increasingly interconnected world. A central question of the seminar is how the ‘global turn’ challenges the methodologies of art history.


ARTH 699 (CRN 15324) (12 credits)
Thesis Research 2

Supervised independent research work on an approved topic relating to thesis preparation.


ARTH 701 (CRN 1585) (0 credits)
Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam


Compulsory examination for all doctoral candidates.


ARTH 714 (CRN 15325) (3 credits)
Directed Reading 2

Supervisor approval required.


ARTH 725 (CRN 15326) (3 credits)
Pandemics
Prof. Cecily Hilsdale and Mary Hunter
Tuesday, 11:35 AM - 2:25 PM
Arts W-220

While remaining acutely aware of the risks of presentism, where the study of the past is justified solely in relation to agendas of the present, this seminar draws its inspiration from the momentous crises facing in the world today: what we might call the double global pandemic of Covid-19 and the rising voices of racial injustice calling for reform. While responses to these issues are very much part of our contemporary dialogue, the historical roots of such responses are far less familiar to most. On this point our seminar intervenes by posing the following fundamental questions: What is the longer history of our response to the crises that define our contemporary moment? Can the study of the visual and material culture from the past offer meaningful contextualization for the events we face today? With these broader questions as our guides, the seminar focuses on the longer history of monuments, oppression and alterity as well as the visual culture of health, confinement and contagion. We will approach these issues from our primary research areas, which are rarely studied together: medieval Byzantium and nineteenth-century France—each the center of their respective political and artistic nexus but interconnected with routes of near global flow. Our dialogue is driven by the conviction that we have much to learn by delving into unfamiliar and unexpected contexts in a rigorous manner, and to question the role of the self in the writing of art history. Ultimately thinking through the relationship between historical periods and the contemporary world, for your final research project, we will ask you to reflect on how one facet of the pandemics of our contemporary moment is inflected in the period and culture that you study.

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