Spring 2023 Class ScheduleArt History offerings for the 2022-23 school year are tentative and subject to change without notice.
|Course #||Course Title||Instructor||Day/Time||Location|
|ART HIST 101-6||First-year Seminar: Black Portraiture||Byrd||TR |
9:30a - 10:50a
ART HIST 101-6 First-year Seminar: Black Portraiture
Portraiture by Black artists has gained widespread prominence and visibility in recent decades, whether in the form of national portraits such as those of Barack and Michelle Obama, large-scale public art commissions, or through attention to prison photo studios that document self-expression and familial relations among incarcerated subjects. One of the most popular and potent sites of cultural, social, and political contestation, “Black portraiture” has emerged as an expansive category of inquiry across the fields of art history and cultural studies. In this first-year seminar, students will engage a range of approaches to Black figural representation from the early twentieth century to the present. We will analyze how artists and ordinary subjects have used film, painting, photography, and sculpture to generate representations of themselves and others in order to address issues including but not limited to beauty, class, gender and sexuality, racism and antiblack violence, modernity, and decolonization. Students will learn how to interpret, discuss, and write about portrait-based objects in terms of their material form, circulation, reproduction, sites of display, and patronage.
|ART HIST 260/ATP 270||Introduction to Contemporary Art||Relyea||MW |
ART HIST 260/ATP 270 Introduction to Contemporary Art
This slide-lecture survey course is designed to give both art majors and non-majors an introduction to the myriad forms and concerns of art from the 1960s to the present. We will begin by examining the rise of pop and minimal art, and the challenge these movements—along with the earthworks, conceptual art, and performances that followed them—posed to the idea of modernism and the traditions of painting and sculpture. The question of postmodernism will be important to the course both thematically and chronologically. The second half of the course will focus on the issues raised by the return to representation in painting, by photography and other technologies of reproduction, by new media and genres like video art and installation, by shifts in concern regarding audience and public art, and by increased pluralism and globalism and their impact on our definitions of mainstream and avant-garde. No prerequisites. This course is available as a distribution requirement. P/N permitted only if course is not used either as a general distribution or departmental requirement.
|ART HIST 342||Eighteenth-Century European Art: Rococo Art||Caticha||TR |
ART HIST 342 Eighteenth-Century European Art: Rococo Art
In this course we will study Rococo art, from its origins in the sixteenth century to its fall from popularity circa 1785. By unpacking both the Rococo’s bad reputation and socio-political importance, we will explore how the style was both gendered and racialized. How did Rococo art challenge dominant heteronormative aesthetic practices? How did it establish and fetishize a culture of whiteness in direct opposition to a growing colonial plantation system across the Atlantic? Throughout the quarter we will cover a variety of art forms (painting, sculpture, the decorative arts, and architecture) through the lives of key female patrons—including the infamous Marie Antoinette and lesser-known art historical “influencers” such as Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry. Focusing primarily in France, this course will also look at iterations of and reactions to the Rococo in Germany, Italy, and England.
|ART HIST 359/MENA 390-6-1||Special Topics in 19Th Century Art: Art & Revolution, 1789-1917||Dowad||TR |
ART HIST 359/MENA 390-6-1 Special Topics in 19Th Century Art: Art & Revolution, 1789-1917
The nineteenth century was an age of revolutions—not only in Europe but across the globe. As the Industrial Revolution rapidly reshaped the world’s material and social relations, popular revolutions erupted to overthrow corrupt ruling classes and experiment with new forms of political and social organization. Some of these revolutions are well-known, such as the French Revolution (1789) and the Russian Revolution (1917); others deserve more attention, such as the Ottoman Constitutional Revolution (1908). At the same time, the nineteenth century witnessed the massive expansion of European imperialism in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, igniting numerous anti-colonial revolutions, including the Haitian Revolution (1791) and the Indian Rebellion (1857). These revolutions posed a direct challenge to “modern” Europe and its supposedly liberal values.
Moving between these diverse political and cultural contexts, this course investigates art’s role in representing revolutionary ideals and producing new kinds of political subjects in the nineteenth century. This course takes a global frame that centers capitalism, interimperial competition, race, and gender as the primary forces that drove revolutionary art-making throughout the world. Instead of a broad survey, this course closely analyzes individual artworks in a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, prints, photography, and political cartoons.
|ART HIST 369||Special Topics in 20th & 21st Century Art: Media Archeologies of Art and Science (Block Exhibition)||Metzger||W |
ART HIST 369 Special Topics in 20th & 21st Century Art: Media Archeologies of Art and Science (Block Exhibition)
At key moments throughout the intertwined histories of art and science, the emergence of new technologies transformed the possibilities of perception, representation, and knowledge alike. The field of media archaeology seeks to reconstruct the social contexts, cultural impacts, and imaginary horizons of these moments by investigating obsolete media technologies like the X-ray or the hologram.
Grounded in the Block Museum’s exhibition, The Heart’s Knowledge: Science and Empathy in the Art of Dario Robleto, the course positions Robleto’s creative practice as an entry point into the field of media archaeology. Robleto’s inquiries into the histories of medical visualization, sound recording, and 19th-century visual culture will dovetail with readings and course materials that showcase various critical and artistic approaches to scientific media. Combining lectures, discussions, and student presentations, each week will examine a different set of objects and topics, such as maps, magic lantern projectors, silent films, early computer animation, planetariums, and virtual reality. Through film viewings, archival/study room visits, and guest lectures, students will enjoy the opportunity to materially engage with analog media technologies, and to interface with artists and scholars practicing diverse forms of media archaeology.
Course requirements include short written assignments, an in-class presentation, and a final paper (with option for creative component). Students will be asked to individually attend at least one exhibit, archive, or screening outside of class.
|ART HIST 390||Undergraduate Seminar: Whose Renaissance?||Escobar||TR |
ART HIST 390 Undergraduate Seminar: Whose Renaissance?
This seminar will explore the topic of Renaissance art and its prominent place in the study of art history. We will examine art produced in the sixteenth century across the globe, both in relation to European developments as well as independent of them. Students interested in the seminar should have some prior knowledge of early modern art history and be ready to address questions such as the following: How far away from Michelangelo could an artist live and still be part of a tradition labeled Renaissance? What if a sixteenth-century artist residing in Peru or the Kongo never set foot in Europe and yet produced works that could be considered European? Whose Renaissance is art history speaking of when it uses the term?
Active participation in seminar, including writing weekly responses to readings, will count for 40% of the course grade. The remaining 60% will be determined by a multi-part research paper project and an oral presentation of work in progress. Participants should plan on two Friday afternoon meetings (dates TBD) in Chicago, one at the Newberry Library and another at the Art Institute of Chicago.
|ART HIST 390/HUM 370-6-25||Undergraduate Seminar: Care, Community, Collaboration||Hough||MW |
ART HIST 390/HUM 370-6-25 Undergraduate Seminar: Care, Community, Collaboration
How do we make community through care and collaboration? When does collective action become art? Taking art’s recent “social turn” as a starting point, this class will explore how public performance, community organizing, forms of communal care, and mutual aid constitute creative interventions. Put differently, this is a course about creative forms of relationality and relationality as a creative form. Together, we will examine projects at the intersection of artistic practice and political activism, ranging from Fluxus and Womanhouse, to the Black Arts Movement in Chicago, feminist video collectives in Mexico City, and radical pedagogies of teaching artists in Chicago public schools, to contemporary tactical media interventions and large-scale international exhibitions. We will seek to understand how the less visible relationships behind artworks, exhibitions, or community projects themselves might constitute creative practices, while taking seriously the artistic value of interventions that may not look like “art.” In doing so, we will collectively investigate art historical theories of social practice and relationality. Accessible readings from interdisciplinary scholars will address themes of artistic collaboration and community action in relation to race, gender, queerness, and indigeneity. Along with participation, evaluation will be based on a short paper, a presentation, and a final project in the form of either a research paper, creative project, or community intervention, designed in discussion with the instructor. Depending on scheduling availability, we will also incorporate artist visits and/or a gallery tour.
|ART HIST 395||Museums Seminar: Contesting Space in Modern and Contemporary Art (onsite at AIC)||Bell||F |
ART HIST 395 Museums Seminar: Contesting Space in Modern and Contemporary Art (onsite at AIC)
Through artistic representations ranging from urban planning materials to video art, this seminar considers how space is produced and contested. Utilizing the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, we will focus on modern and contemporary art from the nineteenth century to today that present and represent political power through spatial dimensions to better understand the role of space in shaping social relations and realities. From French Impressionism’s disclosing of class anxieties through urban development to 1960s photography documenting anti-war demonstrations in the streets, we will look at artistic responses to spatial antagonisms such as gentrification, protests, suburbanization, and colonialism. While most of our objects engage with the uses of and rights to the city, this course also thinks about other contested spaces like the body as a site of transgression and resistance. Each week will revolve around connected themes—public space and belonging, protest and confrontation, imagination and utopias, for example—rather than being chronologically or geographically structured. As the course is conducted at the Art Institute, students will have a unique opportunity to work directly with artworks in the museum’s collections, to develop critical skills for visual analysis first-hand, to draw connections between visual culture and spatial theory, and to gain knowledge about museum practices more broadly. We will therefore also ask questions of the museum itself as an institution that both shapes and facilitates claims to space/place and history. This course demonstrates the connections between spatial production, world-building, and visual culture in order to assess the radical possibilities of contesting space.
|ART HIST 395||Museums Seminar: Pan-Africanism: Art and Culture||Byrd||T |
ART HIST 395 Museums Seminar: Pan-Africanism: Art and Culture
Pan-Africanism, a concept first theorized during the late nineteenth century, has been widely understood as a political movement claiming solidarity and freedom for African and African diasporic peoples around the world. What are the cultural dimensions of Pan-Africanism’s drive for self-determination, civil rights, and political emancipation? What forms and formats have been important vectors for the circulation of Pan-African idea(l)s? How might we differentiate Pan-Africanism from related concepts such as Afrocentrism, Afropolitanism, Black Internationalism, and Worldmaking? In this course, we will analyze histories of art and aesthetic practices from the early 20th century to the present that are informed by or give shape to Pan-Africanist thought, including state-sponsored cultural festivals, paradigmatic artist collectives and art movements, transnational institutions, forms of vernacular and popular culture, as well as individual artistic practices. Students will engage seminal museum exhibitions that have examined the intertwining of African and African diasporic politics and culture and will gain insight into the planning of a forthcoming survey exhibition on Pan-Africanism slated to open at the Art Institute of Chicago in December 2024. This seminar will include visits to Northwestern’s Herskovits Library of African Studies and the Art Institute of Chicago.
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|ART HIST 406||Dissertation Proposal Writing||Caticha||F |
ART HIST 406 Dissertation Proposal Writing
What constitutes a dissertation prospectus? What purpose does the dissertation prospectus serve beyond establishing a student’s field of study? How can the dissertation prospectus become a useful tool to help guide PhD candidates through the dissertation research and writing phases? This quarter-long course, specifically designed for third-year PhD students in the Art History department, will answer these questions, while also providing students time, space, and resources to produce a workable prospectus draft. In addition to reading examples of prospectuses and successful grant applications, we will explore resources by writing coaches Michelle R. Boyd, Wendy Laura Belcher, and Karen Kelsky, with a particular focus on developing a long-term writing practice. Each week, time will be allotted to questions and concerns about dissertation prospectus writing. In addition to this, we will have the opportunity to discuss various topics related to professional development, including CVs, personal statements, conference abstracts, and grant applications.
|ART HIST 460/GAMS 400 /SPAN 450||Studies in 20th & 21st Century Art: History and Theory of the Avant-Garde||Caballero||R |
ART HIST 460/GAMS 400 /SPAN 450 Studies in 20th & 21st Century Art: History and Theory of the Avant-Garde
History and theory of the avant-garde movements around the globe, encompassing literature, visual arts, and performance arts. Conceptual approaches including the process of unmaking sense, the challenging of traditional modes of production and perception, the relationship with the literary/art markets, the relation between art and politics, the paradoxes of destruction and conservation. Guest speaks and museum visits. Collective project of timeline construction and individual research projects.
|ART HIST 480||Studies in Art of Asia: Empire Redux (1739-1857): Mughal Art & Spatiality in the Age of British Colonialism||Sharma||W |
ART HIST 480 Studies in Art of Asia: Empire Redux (1739-1857): Mughal Art & Spatiality in the Age of British Colonialism
Empire Redux charts the rise of a native modernist vision that emerged in negotiation with, and in resistance to, European colonial imperatives of spatial, ethnographic, and material control of the late Mughal empire. At par with Iberian and the Ottoman empires, the Mughal empire had extended over much of Central and South Asia since its inception in the 16th century. However, South Asia’s long 18th century was marked by the rapid decentralization of the late Mughal State, Iranian, and Afghan invasions, and its gradual colonial takeover by the British East India Company in a period seen as a crisis of the Mughal State. In this phase, marked by large-scale migration of artists and literati fleeing the capital Delhi to the regional provinces, only a fledgling group of artists remained who were positioned at the nexus of exchange of power and patronage from the Mughals to the British. The seminar analyzes a new set of politically operative works which sought to recover the spatial, embodied, and performative histories of Mughal rule in a normative colonial sphere. Through themes focusing on cartography, court painting, urbanism, portraiture, ethnography, and souvenirs, this seminar will formulate the preconditions of a paradigmatic ‘spatial and material turn’ in 18th century artistic practice that not only upended the Company’s provincializing and racializing approaches, but also reformulated the Mughal as de rigueur, recalibrating the parameters of colonial taste and consumption in Anglo-Mughal society.
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