Art History Course Descriptions

2014-15 Undergraduate Academic Catalog

ARH 210. ART HISTORY OF THE ANCIENT WORLD  (4 sh)
This course introduces the student to the history of world art and architecture from the Paleolithic Period through the 4th century. We will explore the contexts in which these works were created, considering a variety of factors that influenced their production, style, meaning, authorship, patronage, and continued importance. We will pay particular attention to issues such as power, gender, and death as well as the reception of the period’s art both then and now. We will learn to think and speak analytically about visual and textual material from cave paintings to the Roman temple. No prerequisite.

ARH 211. ART HISTORY OF THE MEDIEVAL AND PRE-MODERN WORLD (4 sh)
This course introduces the student to the history of world art and architecture from the 5th century through the 16th century. We will explore the contexts in which these works were created, considering a variety of factors that influenced their production, style, meaning, authorship, patronage, and continued importance. We will pay particular attention to global cultural exchange and exploitation that occurs through travel, exploration, and conquest as well as the emphasis placed on art's function in society religiously, culturally, and politically. You will learn to think and speak analytically about visual and textual material from the illuminated manuscript to the Mayan ballcourt. No prerequisite.

ARH 212. ART HISTORY OF THE MODERN WORLD (4 sh)
This course introduces you to the history of world art and architecture from the 17th century to the present. We will explore the contexts in which these works were created, considering a variety of factors that influenced their production, style, meaning, authorship, patronage, and continued importance. We will pay particular attention to historical moments of revolution and reform as well as the increasing emphasis placed on art’s critical function in society both culturally and politically. You will learn to think and speak analytically about visual and textual material from Italian Baroque architecture to contemporary Japanese performance art. No prerequisite.

ARH 301. ART HISTORY METHODOLOGIES (4 sh)  
This course introduces students to the various methodologies used to analyze a work of art as well as the role that the study of art has played in defining contemporary visual culture. The course material will be presented through assigned readings and class discussion, highlighting the work of contemporary and historically significant art historians, philosophers, art critics and artists. Prerequisite: One 200 level art history course.

ARH 320. ISSUES IN CONTEMPORARY ART (4 sh)   
This course considers the arts since 1960, covering the period both broadly and in selective detail.  To better understand how and why art in our time takes the forms it does, we will consider new approaches to creating and exhibiting art, relevant social and political issues to which artists respond, and the impact of critical theory upon both the visual arts and art history and criticism.  No prerequisite.  Offered fall and spring.

ARH 321. ISSUES IN AMERICAN ART (4 sh)  
Course content will vary depending on the expertise of the instructor, and might include any culture of the Americas, from the Inuit to the Maya, the Aztec to the Rapa Nui, or the Bay Area painters to the New York School. Faculty experts could focus on African American artists or on the African Diaspora, or both; they could also choose to have students address the artistic, patronage, and political relationships between Europe and the United States during the Colonial Era, Reconstruction, or during or after the World Wars. Considerations of peculiarly American modes of representation, display, or collection might also be the focus, as might critiques of the very notion of an American categorization of these activities. There are no prerequisites.

ARH 333. JEWISH, CHRISTIAN, & ISLAMIC CULTURES: CONTACT & CONFLICT (4 sh)
This will examine the visual cultures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In particular, we will look at points of contact, continuity, and conflict. For example, the ancient traditions of Judaism inform the development of early Christian iconographies, while later Christian art reinterprets “Old Testament” iconographies as a critique of contemporary Jewishness. In the generations after the death of the Prophet, the arts of Islam borrow artistic motifs from the traditions of Christianity in an effort to both compete and convert. All three faiths come into violent contact during the medieval crusades, a conflict recorded in the visual art, yet some works from this period reflect a co-existence that seems entirely contrary to the historical record. No prerequisites.

ARH 330. THE UN/ETHICAL MUSEUM (4 sh)
This course explores museums and art collections as sites of conflict. Students will be introduced to ethical and legal aspects of art’s acquisition, ownership, and display, as well as case studies that highlight shifting historical perspectives on art’s plunder and destruction. The course culminates in an independent research project that isolates a current controversy in the ethics of art collection, display, or preservation. Museum visits and attendance at additional lectures will be required. No prerequisites.

ARH 340. HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY (4 sh)
This course surveys the history of the photographic arts from the development of the camera obscure to the present use of digital technologies.  Issues discussed may include the role of technology in the arts; scopophilia and voyeurism; the uses of photography in science, government, propaganda, and advertising; perceptions of objective reality and manipulation in the photographic image; reproducibility, time, and movement; and personal/amateur photography.  No prerequisite.

ARH 341. ISSUES IN AFRICAN ART (4 sh)   
This course introduces the artistic production of the arts of Africa. A variety of media—sculpture, painting, architecture, performance, and personal decoration—will be examined, and we will consider both traditional and contemporary definitions of African art and cultures. We will pay special attention to art as it exists within or defines social contexts, initiations, religious ceremonies, political and royal institutions, domestic arenas, cross-cultural exchanges, and colonialism. No prerequisite.  

ARH 342. ISSUES IN ISLAMIC ART (4sh)
This course examines the artistic traditions of Islam from the 7th to the 21st century. We will consider work that relates specifically to the practice of Islam, such as the mosque or the calligraphy of the Koran, as well as secular art produced under Islamic rule, such as the palace or imperial clothing. Visual material will be organized according to medium (such as architecture and the arts of the book) as well as form (such as calligraphy, abstract design, and figural imagery). No prerequisites.

ARH 481.  INTERNSHIP IN ART HISTORY (1-4 sh)
Internships are designed to provide students with work experience and insight into art history-related professions.

ARH 489.  TEACHING AND LEARNING APPRENTICESHIP IN ART HISTORY (1-4 sh)
Junior and senior art history majors, especially those considering careers in art history or teaching in general, may wish to deepen their experience by working closely with a faculty mentor on a course. The course in question must have been taken by the student prior to enrollment and a detailed plan for the apprenticeship must be worked out with the course instructor in advance. This apprenticeship requires satisfactory completion of the following:

  • The TLA (teaching and learning apprentice) must have a)completed the course for which she/he will be a TLA with a grade or at least an A-, b) completed higher level relevant course work that prepares the student to be a TLA with a minimum grade of B+, or c) permission of the department chair;
  • The TLA must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher;
  • The TLA must have junior or senior standing;
  • A registration form must be completed and submitted prior to the first day of class for which the student will serve as a TLA. The form will require a syllabus and the signatures of the TLA, faculty mentor, the TLA's faculty advisor and the department chair/program director or coordinator.

ARH 491. INDEPENDENT STUDY IN ART HISTORY (1-4 sh)
Open to juniors and seniors with permission of instructor.

ARH 495. SENIOR SEMINAR IN ART HISTORY (4 sh)  
A capstone experience for majors, this course offers students practical experience in researching, writing and presenting an independent senior thesis project. Prerequisite: ARH 301 Art History Methodologies.

ARH 499. INDEPENDENT RESEARCH IN ART HISTORY (1-8 sh)
Open to juniors and seniors with permission of instructor. In conjunction with a faculty member, the student will formulate and execute an original research project. A research proposal form completed by the student and faculty mentor is required for registration.

This page was updated June 3, 2016