Introduction

Introduction

Back

Art and the History of Art

Professors Abiodun, Clark, Courtright (Chair), Kimball‡, Morse, Staller, and Sweeney; Associate Professor Arboleda; Senior Resident Artists Garand and Gloman; Assistant Professors Carey*, Levine, Rice, and Vicario; Visiting Professor Koehler; Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis† ; Visiting Lecturers Chase, Culhane, England, Helander, and Hepler; CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Yu.

The Department of Art and the History of Art offers students a singular means within the College to develop artistic awareness, historical understanding, critical faculties and practice in the visual arts. Students across the College may accomplish these objectives by taking introductory to advanced courses in art history and studio practice. To identify and serve individual interests and goals, the department major is organized into two distinct programs: The History of Art and The Practice of Art:

History of Art Concentration: Professors Abiodun, Courtright, Morse and Staller; Associate Professor Arboleda; Assistant Professors Carey, Rice, and Vicario; Visiting Professor Koehler.

An intensive and structured engagement with the visual heritage of many cultures throughout the centuries, this curriculum requires not only the study of art history as a way to acquire deep and broad visual understanding, but also a self‑conscious focus on the contexts and meanings of art. By encountering the architecture, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and material culture created within a variety of historical frameworks, students will deepen their understanding of political, religious, philosophical, aesthetic, and social currents that defined those times as well. As a consequence, students will face art and issues that challenge preconceptions of our own era.

Course Requirements: The concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project). With the help of a department advisor, each student will devise a program of study and a sequence of courses that must include:

• One introductory course in the history of art

• Two courses in the arts of Africa, Asia, or the Middle East

• One course in European art before 1800

• One course in European or American art after 1800

• Two upper‑level courses or seminars with research papers, one of which may be a course outside the department with a focus on visual arts in the student's research paper

• One Studio elective (preferably before Senior Year)

• One additional Studio or related elective

Many of our courses could count for two of these requirements. For example, an upper‑level course in European art before 1800 with a required research paper will fulfill two of the requirements. An introductory course in the arts of Asia will fulfill two of the requirements as well.

Honors: Candidates for honors in this concentration will, with departmental permission, take ARHA 498-499 during their senior year. Students must apply and be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April.

Comprehensive Exam: Majors in the History of Art must satisfy a comprehensive assessment by participating in an undergraduate student conference in the final semester of the senior year. Each student will be expected to prepare a brief presentation that will demonstrate how a text of their choice could expand and develop one of the research projects completed to satisfy their requirements for the major. It should elucidate the link between their work and future goals. Students seeking department honors will be expected to present on their senior thesis.

Practice of Art Concentration: Professors Clark, Kimball, and Sweeney; Assistant Professor Levine; Senior Resident Artists Garand and Gloman; Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis, Visiting Lecturers Chase, Culhane, England, Helander, and Hepler; CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Yu.

The concentration in the Practice of Art enables students to become fluent in the discipline of the practice of visual arts. Students will develop critical and analytical thinking as well as the discipline's techniques and methods as a means to explore artistic, intellectual and human experience. Students will build towards creating a personal vision beginning with primary studies in drawing and introductory art history, proceeding on to courses using a broad range of media, and culminating in advanced studio studies of a more self directed nature. Working with their advisor, students will be encouraged to nurture the strong interdisciplinary opportunities found both at Amherst and the other institutions in the valley.

Course Requirements: The Practice of Art concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project):

•   Three introductory level studio courses

•   Five additional studio courses, at least 2 of which must be at the intermediate or advanced levels, chosen in close consultation with advisor

•   One course in contemporary Art History

•   One additional course in art history

In consultation with their advisors, students in this concentration will be encouraged to take additional courses both in art history and other disciplines. These courses should be broadly related to their artistic interests outside of the studio concentration, enriching their interdisciplinary understanding and engagement within a liberal arts curriculum. This expectation will be especially high for honors thesis candidates.

Honors: Candidates for honors will, with departmental permission, take ARHA 498-499 during the senior year. Students must apply and be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April. In designing their year‑long projects, students will be encouraged to explore the interdisciplinary implications and opportunities inherent in their artistic directions. Thesis students will also be required to develop a statement that ultimately places their body of work within a historical and cultural artistic discourse. There will be an exhibition of the bodies of work representing the honors theses in the Eli Marsh Gallery, Fayerweather Hall, in May.

Comprehensive Examination: Required of all studio concentration majors, except thesis students. This work should be done in consultation with your advisor. You should meet with them before Thanksgiving break.

Creation in the senior year of an ambitious independent work/s of art. This project is designed and created independently by the student, can be in any medium or combination of mediums, and may also be interdisciplinary in nature. Students will also develop a concise, written statement that addresses their conceptual concerns, process, choice of materials and media. It should cite influences as well as place the work within a historical and artistic context. The written statement and the work/s of art are due on Monday of the 6th week of the student's final semester. On that day students are expected to hang the work for a week‑long group exhibition to be reviewed by the Studio Faculty. A .pdf (Adobe format) or .doc/docx (Word format) of the written component is due as an attachment by email to the Department Coordinator ‑ finearts@amherst.edu on the same Monday.

* On leave 2021-22.
† On leave fall semester 2021-22.
‡ On leave spring semester 2021-22.

101 The Language of Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 101 and ARHA 101) This introductory course focuses on the tools used to communicate and discuss ideas in architectural practice and theory. We study both the practical, from sketching to parallel drawing, to the theoretical, from historical to critical perspectives. Connecting both, we cover the formal analysis elements necessary to “read” and critique built works. Class activities include field trips, guest presentations, sketching and drawing, small design exercises, discussion of readings, and short written responses. Through these activities, at the end of the semester the student will understand in general terms what the dealings and challenges of architecture as a discipline are.

Limited to 20 students. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

102 Practice of Art

An introduction to two- and three-dimensional studio disciplines through hands-on engagement with materials supplemented by lectures, demonstrations and readings. Students will work through a variety of projects exploring drawing, sculpture, painting and hybrid forms. Work will be developed based on direct observation, memory, imagination and improvisation. Formal and conceptual concerns will be an integral aspect of the development of studio work. Historical and contemporary references will be used throughout the course to enhance and increase the student’s understanding of the visual vocabulary of art. Class time will be a balance of lectures, demonstrations, exercises, discussions and critiques. Weekly homework assignments will consist of studio work and critical readings. No prior studio experience needed.

Not open to students who have taken ARHA 111 or 215. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman. Spring semester: Visiting Lecturer Hepler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

105 Space and Design: Introduction to Studio Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 105 and ARHA 105) This hands-on design studio will foster innovation as it guides students through the development of conceptual architecture. Through a series of projects that build on each other, students will develop their own design language and experiment with architecture at several scales - from an interior screen that plays with light, shadow and color, to a dynamic built structure and its integration into a site. We will work through both hand-drafted and computer drawings, as well as physical model-making to understand plan, section, and elevations as well as diagramming and concept models. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.

No prior architecture experience is necessary, but a willingness to experiment and a desire to learn through making are essential.

Admissions with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

110 Color Study

(Offered as ARHA 110 and CHEM 110.)  This interdisciplinary course is focused on exploring color through the lenses of science, culture and art. We will study how we perceive color down to the molecular level and how it impacts us as viewers. The course will seek to develop a broad, shared, set of topics that will allow students to weave together scientific and artistic concepts, rather than isolate them. As it is possible to approach color from many different disciplines, we encourage any interested student, regardless of academic focus, to register. A core goal of the course is to encourage a holistic discussion of the topic. Students will be asked to write about their observations of color through art and will have the opportunity to make their own original pieces. In addition, class activities will include lectures, invited speakers, discussion, and a final project.

Limited to 18 students. Omitted: 2021-2022.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

111 Drawing I

An introductory course in the fundamentals of drawing. This course will be based in experience and observation, exploring various techniques and media in order to understand the basic formal vocabularies and conceptual issues in drawing; subject matter will include still life, landscape, interior, and figure. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, final portfolio. Two three-hour sessions per week.

Limited to 12 students. In the fall semester 4 seats are reserved for first-year students. 

In the Spring semester, there is a limit of 10 students and 4 seats are reserved for first-year students.  

Fall semester: Visiting Lecturer Helander. Spring semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

131 History and Theory of Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 131, ARCH 131 and EUST 131.) Throughout history, buildings have directed human activity, shaping social interactions, symbolizing political power, and influencing multiple kinds of artistic expression. This course is a selected introduction to the history and theory of architecture, from the earliest forms of human habitation to medieval and Renaissance buildings, Enlightenment utopian visions, modern industrial structures and skyscrapers, and contemporary sustainable practices.  Interwoven with a sampling of theoretical texts and architectural treatises, the course covers selected moments in the history and theory of Western architecture, from Vitruvius to Alberti and Corbusier to Koolhaas, from primordial shelters to computer generated designs.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

135 Renaissance to Revolution: Early Modern European Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 135, ARCH 135, and EUST 135) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history, introduces the ways that artists and architects imaginatively invented visual language to interpret the world for contemporary patrons, viewers, and citizens in early modern Europe. Painters, printmakers, sculptors and architects in Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands created new ways of seeing empirical phenomena and interpreting them, by means of both ancient and new principles of art, science and philosophy and through powerful engagement with the senses. They produced godlike illusions of nature, from grand frescoes bursting from the walls of papal residences to spectacular gardens covering noble estates in Baroque France and colonializing England. They fundamentally altered the design of major cities such as Rome and Paris so that the visitor encountered an entirely new urban experience than ever before. Along the way, they learned from one another’s example, but, prizing innovation, sought fiercely to surpass previous generations, and argued at length about values in art. They contributed to fashioning an ideal picture of empire and society and conjured the dazzling wealth and power of those who paid them. But as time passed, some came to ironize the social order mightily, and some elevated beggars, farmers, servants, so-called fools, and bourgeois women leading seemingly mundane domestic lives as much as others praised the prosperous few. Finally, artists actively participated in the overthrow of the monarchy during the French Revolution and yet also passionately critiqued the violence of war it engendered. Throughout, the course will investigate how concepts of progress, civilization, the state, religion, race, gender, and the individual came to be defined through art.

The goals of the course are:
above all, to achieve the skill of close looking to gain visual understanding;
• also, to identify artistic innovations that characterize European art and architecture from the Italian Renaissance to the French Revolution;
• to understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;
• to situate the works of art historically, by examining the intellectual, political, religious, and social currents that contributed to their creation;
• to read texts about the period critically and analytically.
No previous experience with art or art history is necessary. 

Fall semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

138 Visual Arts and Orature in Africa

(Offered as BLST 313 [A] and ARHA 138) In the traditionally non-literate societies of Africa, verbal and visual arts constitute two systems of communication. The performance of verbal art and the display of visual art are governed by social and cultural rules. We will examine the epistemological process of understanding cultural symbols, of visualizing narratives, or proverbs, and of verbalizing sculptures or designs. Focusing on the Yoruba people of West Africa, the course will attempt to interpret the language of their verbal and visual arts and their interrelations in terms of cultural cosmologies, artistic performances, and historical changes in perception and meaning. We will explore new perspectives in the critical analysis of African verbal and visual arts, and their interdependence as they support each other through mutual references and allusions. In addition to visiting the Mead Art Museum to see African works, students will be required to listen to audio-recordings and engage selected visual images to enhance their understanding of the interrelationship of arts in Africa.

Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

145 The Modern World

(Offered as ARHA 145, EUST 145, and SWAG 145)  This course will explore the self-conscious invention of modernism in painting, sculpture and architecture, from the visual clarion calls of the French Revolution to the performance art and earthworks of "art now." As we move from Goya, David, Monet and Picasso to Kahlo, Kiefer and beyond, we will be attentive to changing responses toward a historical past or societal present, the stance toward popular and alien cultures, the radical redefinition of all artistic media, changing representations of nature and gender, as well as the larger problem of mythologies and meaning in the modern period. Study of original objects and a range of primary texts (artists’ letters, diaries, manifestos, contemporary criticism) will be enhanced with readings from recent historical and theoretical secondary sources.

Limited to 50 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Staller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019

147 Arts of China

(Offered as ARHA 147 and ASLC 143) An introduction to the history of Chinese art from its beginnings in neolithic times until the end of the twentieth century. Topics will include the ritual bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the Chinese transformation of the Buddha image, imperial patronage of painting during the Song dynasty and the development of the literati tradition of painting and calligraphy. Particular weight will be given to understanding the cultural context of Chinese art.

Spring semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2022

148 Arts of Japan

(Offered as ARHA 148 and ASLC 123) A survey of the history of Japanese art from neolithic times to the present. Topics will include Buddhist art and its ritual context, the aristocratic arts of the Heian court, monochromatic ink painting and the arts related to the Zen sect, the prints and paintings of the Floating World and contemporary artists and designers such as Ando Tadao and Miyake Issey. The class will focus on the ways Japan adopts and adapts foreign cultural traditions. There will be field trips to look at works in museums and private collections in the region

Fall semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

149 Survey of African Art

(Offered as ARHA 149 and BLST 123 [A]) An introduction to the ancient and traditional arts of Africa. Special attention will be given to the archaeological importance of the rock art paintings found in such disparate areas as the Sahara and South Africa, achievements in the architectural and sculptural art in clay of the early people in the area now called Zimbabwe and the aesthetic qualities of the terracotta and bronze sculptures of the Nok, Igbo-Ukwe, Ife and Benin cultures in West Africa, which date from the second century B.C.E. to the sixteenth century C.E. The study will also pursue a general socio-cultural survey of traditional arts of the major ethnic groups of Africa.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

152 Visual Culture of the Islamic World

(Offered as ARHA 152, ARCH 152 and ASLC 142) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history and architectural studies, introduces the art, architecture, and urban planning of the Islamic world, from the origins of Islam in the seventh century to the contemporary moment. Among the questions we will pose are: When, how, and why was the Qur’an first copied as a written text? Why does the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, completed in 691–2 A.D., closely resemble Christian churches and shrines from the same period? Why did medieval Europeans judge objects from the Islamic world, especially those bearing Arabic script, to be sacred in nature? How did commercial and diplomatic exchanges with China and Viking Scandinavia impact the arts of Central Asia and the Middle East during the premodern period? What can contemporary comic books tell us about the visual logic of fifteenth-century Iranian manuscript painting? And how have nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists used photography and film to address the legacies of colonialism and Orientalism? We will attempt to answer these questions through close and careful analysis of objects in a range of media, from silver and rock crystal to silk textiles and video; cities and architectural sites in Spain and India, and the many places in between; and primary and secondary texts. Films, museum websites, musical recordings, and visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections will supplement readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
No cap on enrollment.

Fall semester. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

153 World Monuments

(Offered as ARHA 153 and ARCH 153) This introductory course engages one of the most discussed typologies in world architecture: the monument. From the Sydney Opera House to the Eiffel Tower, monuments have entered into global consciousness as individuals from tourists to government officials have celebrated their supposed uniqueness. Meanwhile, monuments have drawn the ire of ISIS and the Taliban—two groups which have become famous for destroying venerated structures. Whether the subject in question is a tourist, a religious pilgrim, or a terrorist bent on destruction, humans are often drawn to monuments because of their power to captivate. This course examines the relevance of this psychic power. Over the course of the semester, we will address the architectural, social, cultural, theoretical, and political questions that emerge from an investigation of a range of famous and lesser-known monuments, including but not limited to: the Eiffel Tower; the Taj Mahal; the Great Mosque of Mecca; the Statue of Liberty; the Alhambra; the American Capitol Building; and the Suez Canal. We will also discuss the role of ISIS and the Taliban in shaping contemporary debates concerning the meaning and importance of architectural preservation as it relates to the monuments of the Middle East and South Asia. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will develop their writing skills while gaining knowledge of the issues that guide the study of world monuments, specifically, and architectural history, at large. This course is intended to introduce students to the field of architectural studies.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2020

154 Art and Architecture of South Asia

(Offered as ARHA 154, ARCH 154, and ASLC 154) This introductory course surveys the architecture, painting, sculpture, textiles, and other arts of South Asia—including India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka—from 2300 B.C. to the present. Among the diverse materials we will examine are the archaeological remains from one of the world’s earliest planned cities; Buddhist monastic complexes carved entirely out of living rock; Hindu temples bearing erotic images; manuscript illustrations made for Muslim emperors; colorful printed and painted textiles produced for domestic, European, Indonesian, and Japanese markets; and twentieth-century works of art that anticipate and respond to India’s independence from British colonial rule. We will consider the important roles that South Asian artists, architects, and other makers have played in depicting and housing the divine, establishing political and religious systems, and fueling the exchange of ideas and goods across the globe. Films, musical recordings, museum websites, visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections, and cooking and food-tasting sessions will supplement assigned readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Spring semester. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

155 Introduction to Contemporary Art

This introductory course explores art produced between 1960 and the present. We will take a transnational approach, from the emergence of Pop art as an  international phenomenon in the 1960s to the mushrooming cloud of biennials in the twenty-first century. The course will sometimes look at art’s intersection with architecture, film, and visual culture more broadly. We will keep in mind the following questions: How have new technologies, civil rights movements, emergent subjectivities, new forms of theoretical inquiry, and processes of globalization shaped the work of art? How have artists critiqued both institutions and the art historical canon? How does contemporary art both participate in and stand apart from the world in which and for which it was made?

Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

157 The Postcolonial City

(Offered as ARHA 157, ARCH 157, and BLST 193 [D]) This course engages the buildings, cities, and landscapes of the former colonies of Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. Beginning with the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the non-European territories, which once comprised the lucrative possessions of modern European empires, quickly became independent states charged with developing infrastructure, erecting national monuments, and handling the influx of laborers drawn to the metropolises formed as sleepy colonial towns grew into bustling postcolonial cities. This class will examine the buildings, urban spaces, rural landscapes, and national capitals that emerged in response to these political histories. We will approach a number of issues, such as the architecture of national independence monuments, the preservation of buildings linked to the colonial past, the growth of new urban centers in Africa and India after independence, architecture and regimes of postcolonial oppression, the built environments of tourism in the independent Caribbean, and artists’ responses to all of these events. Some of the places that we will address include: Johannesburg, South Africa; Chandigarh, India; Negril, Jamaica; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; and Lilongwe, Malawi. Our goal will be to determine what, if any, continuities linked the buildings, landscapes, and spaces of post-independence Africa, India, and the Caribbean in the twentieth century. Over the course of the semester, students will gain skills in analyzing buildings, town plans, and other visual materials. Also, this class will aid students in developing their writing skills, particularly, their ability to write about architecture and urban space.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

159 Modernity and the Avant-Gardes, 1890–1945

(Offered as ARHA 159 and ARCH 159) This course is an examination of the emergence, development, and dissolution of European modernist art, architecture and design. The course begins with the innovations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, created in consort with the growth of modern urbanism, colonialist politics, and psychological experimentation. Distinctions between the terms modernity, modernism, and the avant-garde will be explored as we unpack the complex equations between art, politics, and social change in the first half of the twentieth century. Covering selected groups (such as Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, l'Esprit Nouveau, Bauhaus, and Constructivism), this course will consider themes such as mechanical reproduction, nihilism, nationalism, consumerism, and primitivism as they are disclosed in the making and reception of modernist art and architecture.

Fall semester. Visiting Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2021

160 Deconstructing Modernity: 1945–2000

(Offered as ARHA 160 and ARCH 160) This course examines the art, architecture, and design produced in Europe and the United States from the aftermath of World War II to the end of the twentieth century. We will begin with art in relationship to war, the Holocaust, and the expansion of capitalism, consumerism, suburbia, and the skyscraper. Finally, we will conclude by engaging the rejection of modernist strategies in the latter part of the twentieth century. We will survey movements such as COBRA, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, the Situationists, Minimalism, land art, performance art, feminist art, Neo-Expressionism, and the archival turn; architectural groups such as Archigram, CIAM, the post modernists, and deconstructionists; and defining texts by Adorno, Sartre, Arendt, Debord, Foucault, Krauss, Derrida, among others.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

180 Contemporary Native American Art

(Offered as ARHA 180 and AMST 211) This course will examine works of art created by Native American artists, including painting, sculpture, photography, and performance and installation art, from the late nineteenth century to today.  Students will study important movements and consider individual artists who worked primarily as painters, including the Iroquois realists of the late nineteenth century; the Studio School of Southwestern artists, printmakers, and illustrators; the Kiowa Six and their important role in creating modern Native American murals; abstract expressionists like Kay Walkingstick (Cherokee); Pop artists like Fritz Scholder (Luiseno) and Harry Fonseca (Nisenan Maidu); and Conceptual artists such as Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne). Major Native American contemporary photographers include Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke (Crow)), Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole-Diné), and Horace Poolaw (Kiowa). The course will also consider sculptors working in realistic (Alan Houser, Blackbear Bosin) and abstract styles (Rick Bartow, Tammy Garcia); performance artists like James Luna and Rebecca Belmore; important emerging artists like the interdisciplinary activist/arts collective Postcommodity; and Angel de Cora, the first Native American graduate of Smith College, the 150th anniversary of whose birth will be marked in 2021.

This class will be taught in-person, with the option to join by Zoom.

Limited to 34 students. Omitted 2021-2022. Visiting Lecturer Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021

186 Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 186 and LLAS 186) This course provides an introduction to the Pre-Columbian art and architecture of the Americas. It explores major traditions in architecture and city planning, murals, sculpture, painting, masks, and textiles. The first half of the semester concentrates on Preclassic and Classic Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America); the second on Postclassic Mesoamerica, North America, and the Andes.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

187 Native American Art

This course provides an introduction to Native American Indian art and architecture from North and Latin America. It focuses on the modern and contemporary periods (with some attention to archaeological art), exploring traditions in architecture, sculpture, painting, masks, textiles, and ceramics. The first half of the semester concentrates on the Woodlands, Plains, and Southwest; the second on the Northwest Coast, Arctic, Mexico and Guatemala, Central America, the Andes, and Amazonia. The course will be interdisciplinary, and will include readings Indigenous narratives, Native American aesthetics, and contemporary artists including photographers, videographers, and performance artists, as well as alternative curating and exhibition of Indigenous art.

Limited to 35 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021

190 Art.com

This course explores the complex relationship between art and the Internet. How has the Internet seeped into and come to inform the way artists work in the twenty-first century? What is the history of digital imaging? What role do digital renderings play in the design of art and architecture? Why have some artists rejected digital media in favor of pre-digital materials—analog media, artisanal craft, body art and performance? What is the difference between seeing a work of art “in person” versus on social media? Why do people post what they see “in person” on social media? How do artists, galleries, and museums seek to limit the online circulation of works of art? What is the relationship between a unique, original work of art and a multitude of copies? What is Post-Internet art? To what extent has the Internet disrupted the way the art world functions and in what ways has the pandemic played a role in moving art online? How has the recent NFT boom affected the art market and how does it figure in a longer history of thinking about the relationship between art as intellectual property and as taking material form? The course will combine twenty-first century case studies with a wider range of texts on topics such as originality, reproduction, and theories and histories of technology. The class will meet on Zoom and will include brief lectures, discussion (both in breakout rooms and all together), guest speakers, film screenings, short writing assignments, and final presentations. 

Limited to 25 students.  January 2022 semester. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

201 Measuring Histories through Materiality and Multiples

The most quotidian objects possess the power to connect to a broad audience. This course will harness that power to make art that measures and recounts past events in human history. The events might be small or large, little known, personally experienced, or widely recounted. Students will interrogate the context, function, materiality, and symbolism of common objects from as many vantage points as possible. We will explore how objects in multiples can disrupt, engage, challenge, obscure or metaphorically highlight the meaning in materials. The class will explore methods of combining, linking, and connecting common objects both conceptually and physically toward the manifestation of both singular and collaborative artworks. We will work together to select suitable materials and methods to quantify, measure, and actualize diverse histories and narratives. Students should be prepared to share materials, ideas, stories, and ways of working.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019

202 Architectural Anthropology

(Offered as ARCH 202 and ARHA 202) This seminar explores the emerging interdisciplinary field that combines the theory and practice of architecture and anthropology. We compare and contrast these two disciplines’ canonical methods, their ethical stances, and their primary subject matters (i.e., buildings and people). With that, we reflect upon the challenges of ethnoarchitecture as a new discipline, emphasizing the challenges of carrying out architectural research and/or construction work among people from cultural backgrounds different than the architect’s own. In general, this course invites critical thinking about the theory and practice of architecture, especially when it confronts issues of difference, including ethno-cultural and social class differences.

Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone; previous instruction in architectural studies, area or ethnic studies, or social studies can be beneficial but is not mandatory.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

203 Color Meets Object

What happens when a painted image escapes its rectangle and pushes out of illusionistic depth into the literal space of the room? How does it change a viewer’s understanding of sculptural form when the sculpture’s physical volumes have been optically flattened, heightened, or contradicted by the addition of color? In this course we will invite interaction between illusionistic and literal, tactile space to consider unique possibilities where the concerns of painting and sculpture merge. We will explore how each discipline can expand its scope with an amalgam of tactile and chromatic visual elements and experience. The semester will begin with a series of structured studio problems and with research into contemporary art practices that incorporate both color and tactile volume. We will also look into the wealth of historical precedents for these practices. This critical review and first-hand study of artworks, in conjunction with studio experimentation, will help each student determine the shape of an end-of-semester artwork or series of works. Readings, visiting artists, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.

Requisite: One prior studio course in painting or sculpture, or permission of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22 Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

204 Housing, Urbanization, and Development

(Offered as ARCH 204, ARHA 204, and LLAS 204) This course studies the theory, policy, and practice of low-income housing in marginalized communities worldwide. We study central concepts in housing theory, key issues regarding low-income housing, different approaches to address these issues, and political debates around housing the poor. We use a comparative focus, going back and forth between the cases of the United States and the so-called developing world. By doing this, we engage in a “theory from without” exercise: We attempt to understand the housing problem in the United States from the perspective of the developing world, and vice versa. We study our subject through illustrated lectures, seminar discussions, documentary films, visual analysis exercises, and a field trip.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

205 Sustainable Design: Principles, Practice, Critique

(Offered as ARCH 205 and ARHA 205) This theory seminar aims to provide students with a strong basis for a deep engagement with the practice of sustainability in architectural design. The studied material covers both canonical literature on green design and social science-based critical theory. We start by exploring the key tenets of the sustainable design discourse, and how these tenets materialize in practice. Then, we examine sustainable design in relation to issues such as inequality and marginality. As we do this, we locate sustainability within the larger environmental movement, studying in detail some of the main approaches and standards of sustainable design, the attempts to improve this practice over time, and the specific challenges confronting these attempts. In addition to reading discussions, we study our subject through student presentations and written responses, a field trip, and two graphic design exercises.

Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone, but students would benefit from having a previous engagement with a course in architectural design, architectural history and/or theory, introduction to architectural studies, or environmental studies.

Limited to 20 students. Fall Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

206 Failed It!

This course offers an exciting investigation into failure in art during the uniqueness of life and culture in 2020. We will discover and debate the complexities, challenges, and benefits of failure and what it means for making art. Students will experiment with flaws, imperfections, rejects, and errors in their art projects. We will encourage you to think about failure in positive, unexpected, inspirational, and low-fi ways. You will learn about artists who are motivated by errors, uncommon methods, and breaking rules. The course includes presentations, screenings, discussions, collaboration, in-class activities, assignments, and independent work. There will be an emphasis on using and subverting everyday tools and materials.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Artist-in-Resident England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

207 Talking with Beads

This studio art course focused on complex global beading traditions and techniques. We will study how the language of beadwork is used to tell stories, connect with ancestors, provide protection, create community, signify power, and challenge injustice. This course draws on the over 75,000-year usage of beads ranging from umbilical amulets (Native American) to abacuses (Middle East and Asia) to rosaries (Europe) to lukasa (Central Africa) to Zulu love letters (South Africa). Students will learn dozens of beading techniques (many unique to South African cultures where some of the earliest beads were discovered.) We will use beads to communicate, preserve, and encode messages. We will expand the definition of what constitutes a bead; use variation in size, color, shape, and material as metaphor; and design beaded memory devices. No prior beading experience is necessary but curiosity and commitment is required.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

208 Playing with Pictures

This studio course focuses on the archiving, collecting, and appropriation related to contemporary art. Students will learn to "play with pictures" in imaginative, conceptual, exploratory, and intelligent ways. This learning will happen through exercises in-class, readings, journal writing, experimental making, film screenings, group discussions, critiques, and other activities. We will investigate the collection, curation, and juxtaposition of images from a wide range of sources, and consider how new personal, social, and political meanings can be generated from different groupings of images. This will be framed by critically reviewing the work of contemporary visual artists who use archives, collecting, and/or appropriation in their practice. Students will create personalized repositories of images from which to draw for future art and design projects.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Artist-in-residence England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

209 Space and Design: Intermediate Studio Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 209 and ARHA 209) This course will be a design investigation of sustainable architecture. Students will research cutting edge innovations in green technology and present their findings through graphic boards and verbal presentations. They will then design their own systems for water collection, air filtration, energy capture, site strategies, and solar power. A design language will be developed through a series of rigorous design exercises and creative innovation, and will culminate in a building project. Students will further develop sketching, drafting and model-making skills both by hand and with the computer. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.

Requisite: ARCH 105 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students.

Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

212 Storytelling Arts in Mesoamerica

(Offered as ENGL 212 and ARHA 212) [Before 1800] This course will explore the major pictorial narrative traditions of Mesoamerica, focusing on manuscripts of the Aztec, Maya, and Mixtec peoples, as well as other media, including texts and images from murals, ceramics, monuments, and mirrors. These visual and narrative media continue to play important roles in the preservation of Indigenous identity, solidarity, and cultural identity within nation states; the course will examine public, popular, and fine arts reviving, repurposing, and supporting resistance using this imagery.

Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

213 Printmaking I: The Handprinted Image

An introduction to intaglio and relief processes including drypoint, engraving, etching, aquatint, monoprints, woodcut and linocut. The development of imagery incorporating conceptual concerns in conjunction with specific techniques will be a crucial element in the progression of prints. Historical and contemporary references will be discussed to further enhance understanding of various techniques. Critiques will be held regularly with each assignment; critical analysis of prints utilizing correct printmaking terminology is expected. A final project of portfolio making and a portfolio exchange of an editioned print are required.

Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

214 Sculpture I

An exploration of three-dimensional concepts, form, expression and aesthetics. In a series of directed projects students will encounter a range of materials and technical processes including construction, modeling and carving. Projects will include conceptual and critical strategies integrated with material concerns. By the end of the course students will have developed a strong understanding of basic principles of contemporary sculpture and acquired the skills and technical knowledge of materials to create accomplished works of three-dimensional expression. Students will develop an awareness of conceptual and critical issues in current and historical sculptural practice, establishing a foundation for continued training and self-directed work in sculpture and other artistic disciplines.

No prior studio experience is required. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

215 Painting I

An introduction to the fundamentals of the pictorial organization of painting. Form, space, color, and pattern, abstracted from nature, are explored through the discipline of drawing by means of paint manipulation. Slide lectures, demonstrations, individual and group critiques are regular components of the studio sessions. Two three-hour meetings per week.  The course will be taught remotely.

Requisite: ARHA 102 or 111 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 8 students. Spring semester: Professor Sweeney.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

217 Improvising the Space Between: Drawing, Architecture, and Sculpture

This course is an exploration into the shared territories of drawing, architecture, and sculpture, and the hybrid spaces that may be created between those disciplines. An improvisational and responsive approach, in the spirit of experimentation and open inquiry, frames the studio-based course work. We will consider potentials and challenges of space, light, materials, joinery, structural geometries, organic growth, and temporality. After this initial period of information gathering, students will be free to determine the format or combination of formats that will shape an extended semester-end project. Readings, artist talks, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.

Requisite: One prior course in studio arts, architecture, or film production, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-2022. Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2020

218 Photography I

An introduction to black-and-white still photography. The basic elements of photographic technique will be taught as a means to explore both general pictorial structure and photography’s own unique visual language. Emphasis will be centered less on technical concerns and more on investigating how images can become vessels for both ideas and deeply human emotions. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, readings, and slide lectures about the work of artist-photographers, one short paper, and a final portfolio involving an independent project of choice. Two three-hour meetings per week.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Kimball.  Spring semester. Artist in Residence England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

219 Venice, Perfect City (476-1797)

(Offered as HIST 219 [TE/TC/C/P] and ARHA 219) When the Roman Empire imploded in 476, refugees from the Italian mainland settled on a few disconnected islands sheltered from the open Adriatic Sea by a lagoon. Within a few centuries, they created one of the most unlikely, beautiful, and long-lasting European cities ever to have been built. The cooperative spirit with which early medieval Venetians were able to create an urban environment built on seawater found its expression in the political and societal structures they formed to govern their city, republic, and, eventually, empire. In this course, we will discuss key events in the history of this extraordinary city, whose autonomy and self-government lasted until Napoleon invaded it in 1797. Topics include: art, architecture, and urban planning; the formation of an aristocratic but republican constitution; the emergence of civic institutions, poor relief, and neighborhood organizations; the history of the Ghetto and its Sephardic, Ashkenazi, and Italian communities; Venetian sea-trade and the conquest of the Levantine Empire; the Venetian Renaissance; ties with Byzantium, and the Mamluk and Ottoman Empires; convent culture; proto-feminism; and the Enlightenment. These topics will be discussed in the wider context of historical developments in the European and Mediterranean middle ages and early modern period. Two meetings per week. 

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Sperling.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

221 Foundations in Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 221 and FAMS 221) This introductory course is designed for students with no prior experience in video production. The aim is both technical and creative. We will begin with the literal foundation of the moving image—the frame—before moving through shot and scene construction, lighting, sound-image concepts, and final edit. In addition to instruction in production equipment and facilities, the course will also explore cinematic form and structure through weekly readings, screenings and discussion. Each student will work on a series of production exercises and a final video assignment.

Limited to 12 students with instructor's permission. Fall semester: Professor Levine. Spring semester: Visiting Professor Mellis. 
2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

222 Drawing II

A course appropriate for students with prior experience in basic principles of visual organization, who wish to investigate further aspects of pictorial construction abstracting from forms including the figure, landscape and organic still life. There will be weekly drawing assignments and critiques, in addition to a final project of a life size self portrait. 

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Professor R. Sweeney. Spring semester: Professor Gloman. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

224 Translating Nature: Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture

This course explores the visual structures of natural things. The processes and disciplines of drawing, acrylic painting, watercolor and sculpture will be used to examine natural subjects such as plants, animals, landscape and the figure. We will work directly from life. Out-of-class trips will be frequent to access natural subject matter not found in the classroom.

Requisite: One of ARHA 111, ARHA 214, or ARHA 215 (because of the diversity of subject and materials used). Limited to 8 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist David Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

226 Women and War in European History, 1558–1918

(Offered as HIST 226 [EU/TC/P], ARHA 226, EUST 226, and SWAG 225) Although overlooked in military histories until recently, women have long been actively involved in warfare: as combatants, as victims, as workers, and as symbols. This course examines both the changing role of women, and the shifting constructions of “womanhood,” in four major European conflicts: the wars of Elizabeth I in sixteenth-century England, the wars and peace of Marie de Médicis in seventeenth-century France, the French Revolution, and the First World War. Using methodologies drawn from Art History and History, the course seeks to understand the gendered nature of warfare. Why are images of women and the family central to the iconography of war, and how have representations of womanhood shifted according to the aims of particular conflicts? To what extent do women’s experiences of warfare differ from men’s, and can war be considered a source of women’s liberation or oppression? Students will analyze a range of historical images in conjunction with primary source texts from these conflicts and will also develop an original research project related to the course’s themes. Two class meetings per week.

Recommended requisite: A course in Art History or History. Limited to 25 students. Not offered in 2021-22. Professor Boucher.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2019

227 Critiquing the Critique as Studio Art Practice

What is the purpose of the art critique and how can we get the most out of them?  Students who have taken at least two studio art courses will explore the meaning and application of critique as it applies both to their own work and the work of others. We will critique the artwork of established artists and the writing of established art critics to unearth strategies. Together, we will define the purpose of critique, deconstruct critique methodologies, hone written and verbal skills to become better critics, and apply criticism toward the development of new work. Students will bring previous work to the course and remake that work based on feedback. Ultimately, students will practice analyzing and articulating their art practice in relationship to various social, cultural, and historical lenses.

Limited to 18 students.  January 2022 term.  Online only. Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

228 Image & Text

The combination of language with visual information offers a rich range of possibilities. In this course we will investigate strategies of interweaving image and text to create works that draw upon the qualities of each to produce hybrid forms. The class will look at a variety of sources and respond to them in a series of hands-on studio projects. These sources include maps, diagrams, calligraphy, illustrations and manuscripts, as well as work from the history of art and literature. The projects can involve drawing, printing, erasures, book-making, writing, digital media and photography to produce works that deploy image and text to express narrative, poetic, political or informational content. Students from a range of diciplines and interests are encouraged to participate.

No prior studio experience is required. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2022

229 The Virgin Mary: Image, Cult, Syncretism (ca. 400-1700)

(Offered as HIST 229 [TC/P/C], ARHA 229, RELI 229 and SWAG 229) When, in 431, the Council of Ephesus declared the Virgin Mary to be Theotokos or God-Bearer, she had already been venerated in Egypt since the third century as a re-instantiation of Isis. The syncretism of her cult explains her ubiquitous popularity in medieval Byzantium and the Latin West, but also in early Islamic Syria and colonial Latin America. Her frequent depiction on moveable wooden panels (icons) and mosaics accompanied her early rise to liturgical prominence. By 1200, she rivaled Jesus Christ in religious importance, not only through her role as intercessor, but also as dispenser of divine grace in the form of breastmilk. She was the most active miracle-working saint in all of Christianity. Her frequent depiction on icons, altarpieces and devotional panels accompanies – and, in part, explains – the development of figurative art in the West. In colonial America, the introduction of her cult ended prior religious forms of expression, but also helped them to partially survive in a new context. In this seminar, students will produce a 15-page research paper based on a careful analysis of textual and visual sources as well as pertinent scholarship. Two class meetings per week. This course will be conducted in class but also include remote students via zoom.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Sperling.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

232 Cartographic Cultures: Making Maps, Building Worlds

(Offered as ARHA 232 and ARCH 232) This course traces the history of modern cartography from the integration of indigenous map-making techniques into colonial Latin American land surveys in the sixteenth century to the use of GIS software by militaries and corporations to create detailed images of foreign and domestic territories in the twenty-first century. Along the way, we will study the political and economic impetus that drove governments, militaries, municipalities, and private entities to create renderings of the land on which we live. We will also investigate the technological history of map-making as we consider the extent to which innovations in modern science have influenced the production of maps. This course will challenge the presumption that maps are factual portrayals of physical space. It will also question how divergent forms of culturally based knowledge as well as economic constraints and corporate rivalries have historically influenced map-making and subsequently shaped our understanding of territories near and far. We will think through these issues while investigating a number of major topics in the history of modern cartography: map-making and indigenous expertise in the Americas prior to and during European intervention; colonial cartography in the Americas, Asia, and Africa; the explosion of the map-making industry in eighteenth and nineteenth-century England and France; the mapping of oceans and other remote landscapes during this time; the twentieth-century genre of pictorial maps in the United States; cartography and modern warfare; and artists’ responses to these histories. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will build their writing and research skills while gaining knowledge of the methods that scholars employ when reading a wide variety of maps. Moreover, in approaching contemporary debates in the field of cartography, this course will introduce students to landscape studies.
Limited to 34 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020

233 2020: Art Can Help

(Offered as ARHA 233 and FAMS 233) We approach the fall of 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic, a wave of international protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, systemic racism, an escalating climate emergency, and widespread anxiety about the consequences of the upcoming American elections. Our own responses to these crises can vary, often from day to day. We may feel inspired to make change or to further educate ourselves, but we can also feel overwhelmed and unsure of our own place in the world. What are our responsibilities as artists, individuals and as members of the communities that surround us?

In this remote studio course for students working in video and photography, we will explore methods and issues related to politically engaged art practice. Topics to be covered may include: the tension between the personal and the political in art, the role of images within political discourse, documentary, archive, and the relationship between creative practice and activism.

Each student will work independently in photography, video or both to produce a body of work that speaks to their own interests or experience. Students may choose to work in a variety of modes that might include or combine direct observation, diaristic record, archival practices, performance or poetic intervention. The course will include group and individual critiques of the students’ work, research seminars, historical and topical lectures from the histories of film, video and photography, and the examination of art practices that seek to balance or blend politics and aesthetics. We will conclude the semester with a group exhibition of artistic work created by students in the class.

Requisite Course: One 200-level course in film/video or photography, or a portfolio of work which demonstrates relevant experience. Limited to 14 students. Omitted 2021-22 Professor Kimball and Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

235 Integrated Practices: Social Issues and the Interview

(Offered as ARHA 235 and FAMS 410)  This Integrated Practices course blends production components and theories regarding the interview, oral histories, direct address and on camera dialogues, in non-fiction video production, in order to explore and respond to the ways in which social issues such as racism, economic inequality, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, bullying, hate speech and hate crimes, disability, incarceration, to name a few, affect us.

In Social Issues and the Interview, students create, research and analyze the process of producing scripted, interview-based, socially engaged, short non-fiction videos. The course examines elements of performance for the camera, remote internet-based interviews, studio and in the field shooting, The class looks at various interview and editing techniques as well as the form, history, and function of the interview form in the non-fiction genre. 

 

Requisite: A foundations course in Critical Studies of Film and Media (such as “Coming to Terms: Cinema”) and an introductory film/video production workshop. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

237 Curating between the Virtual and the Physical: Liliana Porter

This course introduces students to contemporary art and the history and practice of organizing exhibitions. How do we present and experience art in a fixed location and how can art be curated and engaged with on the Internet? A museum exhibition of work by artist Liliana Porter, on view at the Mead during the run of the course, and the planning of a parallel online exhibition in collaboration with Curator of American Art and Arts of the Americas Lisa Crossman, will provide a case study. Porter’s work, which ranges from video to installation to works on paper, offers a particularly rich opportunity for thinking through the relationship between originality and reproduction, objects and representation. This class presents students with an opportunity to converse with the artist, engage with the exhibition of her work on view, learn from a curator, and participate in the organization of the virtual exhibition. Students will also read, discuss, and write about curating, spatial experience, technological mediation, and artists and curators who have reimagined the forms art and exhibitions take.

Limited to 15 students.  Spring semester: Professor Vicario

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

240 Women in Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 240, ARCH 240 and SWAG 240) This course begins with an examination of gendered, architectural spaces and how and why they were structured for women in the 19th century in both Britain and America. Looking at primary and secondary sources, students will gain insight into societal norms and how they conditioned architecture generally associated with women, such as houses, asylums, and early women’s colleges. This study will serve as a platform from which to understand the pressures upon women and the pioneers who rejected such norms and pursued architecture as a profession. The latter half of the course will look at the work of early women architects, the hurdles they faced and the examples they set. The course will conclude with a critical examination of women architects practicing today and how they navigate the profession. It is open to non-majors and will introduce interested students to issues surrounding the architectural canon, equity, and the history of gendered spaces in architecture. 
Limited to 25 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Lecturer Vickery.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

241 The Age of Michelangelo: Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 241, ARCH 241, and EUST 241)  Michelangelo, a defining genius of the Italian Renaissance, emerged from a rich cultural environment that forever changed how we think of art. Artists of the Renaissance developed an original visual language from the legacy of the ancient world, while also examining nature, their environment, and encounters with other worlds to the East and West. Their art revealed a profound engagement with philosophical attitudes toward the body and the spirit, as well as with ideals of pious devotion and civic virtue. Those concepts changed radically over the period of the Renaissance, however. Artists developed the rhetoric of genius and artistic struggle by vaunting an artist’s godlike role, owing to his imaginative creation of art and his ability to mimic reality illusionistically, yet they also questioned a human’s place in the cosmos. We will analyze in depth the visual language of painting, sculpture, and architecture created for merchants, monks, princes and popes in the urban centers of Florence, Rome and Venice from the 14th through the 16th centuries, and examine the virtuosic processes artists used to achieve their goals. 

Rather than taking the form of a survey, this course, based on lectures but regularly incorporating discussion, will analyze selected works and contemporary attitudes toward the visual through study of the art and its primary sources.

 Learning goals:

  • Gain confidence in the art of close looking to gain visual understanding;
  • Achieve an understanding about how art and its culture are intertwined;
  • Develop the critical skills to analyze points of view from a historical period other than our own;
  • Learn collaboratively with classmates;
  • Develop and argue an original thesis about a single work of art in a research paper.

Meets twice a week, 1 hour and 20 minutes.

One course in ARHA, FAMS, or ARCH recommended.

Uncapped.

 Omitted 2021-22. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

242 Hand-Drawn and Hand-Printed: The Stories of Images

This course will focus on drawing and printmaking as a means of building visual stories through serial description and expression. Studio work will include brush and ink drawings, watercolor, printmaking techniques, and collage, with a range of approaches to subject matter based on each student’s individual interests and choices. These include representational, narrative, abstract, and symbol-based imagery, among others. Relief printing techniques using both wood and synthetic blocks, will be taught, as well as the intaglio technique of trace monotype printing. All prints will be handprinted using spoons, barens, and the palm of the hand. Experimentation around conceptual and technical boundaries will be explored and encouraged. Projects will focus on using a combination of these means to develop a series of related images. A broad cultural range of contemporary and historical references will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects. The semester’s work will culminate in a cohesive body of visual work given the form of a small-scale installation and, for the final project, a hand-made accordion book. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Writing will be required of students in the form of series statements, feedback on other students’ projects, and final semester reflections on their work. No prerequisites required.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

243 Cut, Inked and Hand Pressed: Woodcut Prints

Woodcut is a dynamic form of printmaking. It has been instrumental in communication since the invention of paper in 105 C.E. and is a relief technique with a broad array of possibilities. Students will learn various methods to cut and print wood blocks, and assignments will include multiple block printing, hand-colored prints, collage, and cut paper. All prints will be handprinted using spoons, barens and the palm the hand. Assignments will be critiqued regularly, and critical analysis of prints' conceptual and technical concerns will be discussed. The study of a culturally wide range of historical and contemporary artists will provide inspiration, insight and knowledge into the visual language of woodcut. Students will be encouraged to create imagery that provides personal meaning influenced by political, individualistic, imaginative and emotional experiences. No prerequisites required.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

247 Independent Projects: Sculpture Studio Seminar

This course is an opportunity for students to pursue and shape independent sculpture projects developed through a series of closely related sculptural works. The class will focus on the dynamics and engineering of three-dimensional structures and compositions, sensitivity to materials – what they offer and associations they carry--and use of a tactile language of form as expressive means. The semester will result in the production by each student of a coherent body of works, where every piece has informed and shaped the next as students’ ideas for their series are honed and more fully explored. The class as a whole will start the semester’s work with short exercises and studies, testing a range of approaches to using the language of three-dimensional form, before moving in individual directions. Modeling and construction techniques, as well as mold-making and casting, will be taught as needed in response to student goals, and as is possible within the constraints of COVID-19 precautions. Relevant readings, presentations, and museum visits will inform studio work. Regular group critiques and discussions will be a key part of learning with and from each other.
Requisite: ARHA 214, or permission of the instructor.
Taught on campus, and remotely through group and individual Zoom meetings, and shared on-line materials, if needed.
Omitted 2021-2022. Limited to 8 students. Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

249 Digital Art History

(Offered as ARHA 249 and ARCH 249) This course is an introduction to the latest digital tools that art historians and museum curators use to analyze and display works of art, architecture, and the larger built environment, including, but not limited to, 3D modeling, network graphing, and digital mapping and storytelling. We will begin by asking what actually constitutes art historical data and then turn to consider how the digital collection, organization, interpretation, and presentation of this information can inform our understanding of objects, buildings, cities, and landscapes. Among the other topics we will explore are the digital artworks and exhibitions that artists and curators around the globe are currently creating in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the ethics and practicalities of doing digital art history today. This non-lecture-based course centers hands-on collective learning and is designed for students of all backgrounds. No previous knowledge of the subject is presumed.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

250 Humanitarian Design in Theory and Practice

(Offered as ARCH 250 and ARHA 250) This course explores the challenges and possibilities of humanitarian design, a growing area of interest in architectural practice. The course includes a field trip to Ecuador, to take place over Spring Break. This field component is deeply integrated into the course contents. During the first part of the semester, students become familiar with relevant theoretical and practice-based approaches to disaster reconstruction. With that, they gain an understanding of the complexities of this area, and a good grasp of the tasks and issues to be dealt with in the field. Upon returning from Ecuador, the rest of the semester is devoted to debriefing, producing and analyzing documentation, and drawing general lessons for the theory and practice of humanitarian design. The main case study is that of post-disaster reconstruction following Ecuador’s 2016 Pedernales Earthquake, which killed over 600 people and injured over 16,000. We will study the outcome of diverse reconstruction efforts and approaches four years after the earthquake. In order to compare and contrast approaches, our fieldwork will focus on two settings, an urban and a rural one, both located in the coastal Manabí province.

Limited to 12 Amherst College students. Admission with consent of the instructor. This course is open to Amherst College students only.  There will be an application process before pre-registration. Those students selected will have their travel expenses covered.
Omitted 2021-22. Professor Arboleda. 

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

253 The Modern Metropolis

(Offered as ARHA 253 and ARCH 253) This course traces the social and political history of the modern city from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. In the process, it questions the extent to which contemporary megacities—like São Paulo or Shanghai—reflect a social and urban system of organization that has its roots in earlier experiments in metropolitan design. Over the course of the semester, we will approach a number of genericized architectural spaces that have recurred across modern cities in ways that elucidate the broader template to which such urban zones often conform. These sites include the park, the nightclub, the brothel, the restaurant, the port, the highway, and the hotel, to name only a few. Our examination of these spaces will foreground the role of architecture and urban planning in shaping social interaction in these common locales. We will approach these sites as manifested in several modern metropolises, such as Paris, Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai, Dakar, São Paulo, and New York. In investigating these places, we will ask: What makes a city? What, if any, continuities characterize the organizational structures, social spaces, and living conditions of modern cities in the western and non-western worlds? In encouraging students to explore the relationships between European and non-European urban centers, this course will serve as a point of departure for rethinking the binaries that separate the West and the Non-West. Through written assignments and independent research, students will gain knowledge of the ways in which urban spaces have informed social, political, economic, and cultural histories in America and beyond. This course will also aid students in developing their writing and research skills.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

255 Latin American Art: Strategies and Tactics

(Offered as ARHA 255 and LLAS 255) This course explores art produced since 1920 in Latin America. From the state-sponsored murals of post-revolutionary Mexico to the "Constructive Universalism” of Joaquín Torres-García in Uruguay, how did artists align themselves with and distinguish themselves from movements and ideas circulating in Europe and the United States? When and why did U.S. institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art begin to collect, exhibit, and theorize art from Latin America? At mid-century, how was the proliferation of geometric abstraction in Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Caracas entangled with the modernization projects in those cities? In the wake of the Cuban Revolution, in what ways did the spread of anti-imperialist ideas radicalize artistic practices across the region? When dictatorships commandeered several countries from the 1960s through the 1980s, how did political and cultural repression generate new dangers but also new tactics for artists? Studying more recent practices, we will investigate art projects produced on the U.S.-Mexico border, the interaction between artists from Latin America and an increasingly global art world, and the curatorial trends characterizing the early twenty-first century display of art from the region. Throughout the course, the work of art will be analyzed as the battleground upon and across which political struggles were fought.

Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2021

257 The Colonial City: Architecture, Empire, Resistance

(Offered as ARHA 257, ARCH 257, and BLST 253) Creole dwellings were first erected by enslaved builders working under Diego Colón (the son of Christopher Columbus) on the island of Hispaniola. By the end of the first wave of European expansion in the early nineteenth century, the creole style existed across imperial domains in the Caribbean, North and South America, Africa, the Indian Ocean, and even Asia. We will examine the global diffusion of this architectural typology from its emergence in the Spanish Caribbean to its florescence in British and French India in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In doing so, we will address buildings and towns in former Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonies worldwide. Some of the urban centers that we will engage include: Kingston, Jamaica; Pondicherry, India; Cape Town, South Africa; Cartagena, Colombia; Saint-Louis, Senegal; and Macau, China. In investigating both creole structures and the cities that harbored such forms, we will think through the social and economic factors that caused buildings and urban areas to display marked continuities despite geographical and imperial distinctions.
Limited to 34 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

258 Art, Things, Spaces, and Places

(Offered as ARHA 258, ARCH 258 and EUST 258) The purpose of this course is to introduce students to research on lived environments from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, the architecture that shaped them, and the art and objects that they contained. The goal of each class, through reading and discussion, is to investigate what a researchable question is in the fields of history, art history, architecture, and material culture in Europe, England, and the Americas. Using multi-disciplinary research strategies, we will examine the power of precious and ordinary objects (including furniture, tapestries, devotional paintings, family portraits, and sculpture), the contemporary connotations of their materiality, and consider what objects in a home might signify about a family’s status, political allegiance, spirituality, and place in the world. Further, we will ask how art, objects and décor shape the beholder’s experience of spaces inside and outside a residence, in private and in public. What does the display of objects in collections, including those from far-away cultures other than the patron’s, signify to the owner and the viewer? Visiting lecturers will present their ideas on various topics such as the anthropology of art, the significance of precious materials, and collecting. We will take field trips to museums and meet curators in order to identify a research topic.

This course will give students tools to conduct their own research into past lived environments and their contents, and identify how we in the 21st century might come to understand them. As the culmination of the course students will collaboratively develop a prospectus for a research project with one or two other classmates. Assignments to meet that goal include adding new content to Wikipedia as a record of students’ findings and a contribution to knowledge for a wider public.

Open to sophomores but also motivated first-years interested in research in a variety of fields. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Spring 2022

259 Utopia: Visionary Architecture, Art and Theory

(Offered as ARHA 259 and ARCH 259) This course is an examination of utopian plans in architecture and art. We will consider the philosophical constructs of utopia in architectural drawings, buildings, and plans in relation to film, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. We will consider how different projections about life in the future are also harsh criticisms of the present, which often rely upon imagined concepts of social organizations in times past. The course reflects on utopian art from antiquity to the present, including an examination of selected utopian authors, including Sir Thomas More, Edward Bellamy, and William Morris, with an emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We examine the tensions between theory and practice by studying the successes and failures of actual attempts at realizing utopian communities. We will question the differences between utopia, dystopia, displacement and the home, as we consider whether utopian art and design is viable in the twenty-first century.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

261 Buddhist Art of Asia

(Offered as ARHA 261 and ASLC 260) Visual imagery plays a central role in the Buddhist faith. As the religion developed and spread throughout Asia it took many forms. This course will first examine the appearance of the earliest aniconic traditions in ancient India, the development of the Buddha image, and early monastic centers. It will then trace the dissemination and transformation of Buddhist art as the religion reached South-East Asia, Central Asia, and eventually East Asia. In each region indigenous cultural practices and artistic traditions influenced Buddhist art. Among the topics the course will address are the nature of the Buddha image, the political uses of Buddhist art, the development of illustrated hagiographies, and the importance of pilgrimage, both in the past and the present.

Fall semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

263 The Art Market

This course investigates the relationship between art and commerce in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. What is the network of auctions, galleries, and fairs overseeing the buying and selling of works of art and how is value decided, constructed, and transformed in the process? How do we understand and calculate the value of art in both economic and symbolic terms? How do you buy and sell a work of performance art? What agency do artists possess in determining how their work operates in the market and how have artists played with the market since the 1960s? Finally, in what ways does the making, buying, and selling of works of art conform to and diverge from the operations of the economy at large? Using texts by Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, Eve Chiapello, and Jean-Joseph Goux, among others, as a theoretical foundation, we will explore the relationship between works of art and commodities and the ways in which artists both embrace and critique the commercial side of the art world. We will also study the recent attention paid to the “dirty money” funding arts institutions and trace a longer history of this phenomenon and its contestation by artists, activists, and artist-activists.

Requisite: One course in the history of art or cultural studies or permission of the instructor. Recommended requisite: ARHA 155. Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Niko Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2021, Fall 2021

267 Islamic Arts of the Book

(Offered as ARHA 267 and ASLC 267) The book has played (and continues to play) a central role in the Islamic world. As a technology, it gives physical form to the Qur’an, an orally proclaimed text, allowing Islam’s scripture to be read, touched, held, and easily transported. It is a carrier of divine blessing, but also of wisdom, authority, tradition, and affiliation. The earliest Islamic books were either very fragile, being made of papyrus, or expensive, being made of animal skin (parchment). Knowledge of papermaking, which traveled westward from its place of origin in China, revolutionized the production of manuscripts in royal and intellectual hubs like Samarqand, Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordoba. Books on geography, history, poetry, and science soon proliferated, many of them filled with fantastic paintings made of gold leaf, ground minerals, and carbon-based inks. We will study the history of the Islamic book, from manuscripts of the Qur’an, which often bear calligraphy but almost never include illustrations, to historical, astrological, and poetic works—like the famous Shahnama (Book of Kings)—that contain images of various types and sizes. We will pay special attention to who produced, collected, and circulated these books, and ask how and according to which criteria they were conceived, used, and evaluated. We will bring to our objects of study a close-viewing lens, but also explore the use of computational tools drawn from the Digital Humanities. Visits to view book materials in local collections will supplement classroom discussion and assigned readings. No previous knowledge of the topic is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2019

269 Baroque Art

(Offered as ARHA 269, ARCH 269, EUST 269) At the beginning of the seventeenth century, religious and social upheavals in Europe led to a renewed proliferation of exciting, innovative art. In this century of remarkably varied artistic production, paradoxes abounded. Artists sought the illusion of reality by imitating unimproved, even base or monstrous nature through close observation of the human body, landscape, and ordinary, humble objects of daily use. They imbued art meant to inspire religious devotion with unbounded eroticism or with the gory details of painful suffering and hideous death. Artists and architects made the visionary appear real and sensual. They adored the past but re-cast it in modern terms. Others continued to quest for perfection in a return to the lofty principles implicit in ancient artistic canons of ideality. More than ever before, artists explored the expression of passion through dramatic narratives and sharply revealing portraiture. They depicted dominating political leaders as flawed mortals—even satirized them through the new art of caricature—at the same time that they developed a potent and persuasive vocabulary in art, architecture, and gardens for the expression of the rulers’ absolutist political power.

This class will examine issues in Baroque art in depth through selected works of painting, sculpture, and architecture produced by artists in the Catholic countries of the seventeenth century, e.g. Caravaggio, Bernini, Poussin, Velázquez, and Rubens in Italy, France, Spain, the Spanish Netherlands, and parts of the Americas. It also engages the cultural, social, and intellectual framework for their accomplishments. 

Intermediate level, one other course in art history preferred but not required. Uncapped.

Spring Semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2016, Spring 2022

270 African Art and the Diaspora

(Offered as ARHA 270 and BLST 293 [D]) The course of study will examine those African cultures and their arts that have survived and shaped the aesthetic, philosophic and religious patterns of African descendants in Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and urban centers in North America. We shall explore the modes of transmission of African artistry to the West and examine the significance of the preservation and transformation of artistic forms from the period of slavery to our own day. Through the use of films, slides and objects, we shall explore the depth and diversity of this vital artistic heritage of Afro-Americans. 

Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

284 Women and Art in Early Modern Europe

(Offered as ARHA 284, EUST 284, and SWAG 206)  This introductory discussion-based course will examine how prevailing ideas about women and gender shaped visual imagery in Europe from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and how these images, in turn, presented surprisingly varied pictures of women and their domains. Artists vividly expressed the paradoxical power that women possessed even more than language could. Both admired and feared in their societies, aristocrats, queens, mistresses, saints, witches, heroines, and housewives were all depicted in art in elevated and debased manners, sometimes as eroticized subjects and at other times as powerful, idealized actors—occasionally both at the same time. We will analyze the art and material goods that women paid for and what it communicated about them; women’s homes and the objects they held; the portrayal of women from merchant societies in Italian city-states to aristocratic women in India, of female saints, heroes and rulers, including Elizabeth I of England and Maria de' Medici of France; and the troubling imagery of rape. These different types of art raise questions about biological theories about women; feminine ideals of beauty; what marriage meant in different societies; the relationship between the exercise of political power and gender; women’s expression of transcendent spirituality; and what the portrayal of indigenous and enslaved women in Dutch and Spanish colonies conveyed about race.

 GOALS FOR LEARNING

  • Understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;
  • Gain an understanding of how historical attitudes about women and by women affect art made about and by women;
  • Develop an analytical ability to examine points of view expressed in texts and art of a historical period other than our own and to distinguish them from another;
  • Learn collaboratively with classmates;
  • Learn how to perform 2 kinds of research:

1) find materials to contribute publicly useful scholarship, by creating or revising Wikipedia entries, which greatly lack material on women;

2) Develop and argue an original thesis in a 10-page research paper.

 No prerequisites. Uncapped.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Spring 2021

304 Documentary Photography

In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore the practice of documentary photography. This course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class visual exercises. We will examine the history, theory and ideological questions and complications of working with those outside of or within one’s own circle of experience. This will be complemented by a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary photographers, and slide lectures that consider the multitude of ways artists use photography within the documentary tradition.

Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2020

308 Doing What You Don’t Know How to Do

Under what conditions can we make our best work? What does our best work look like and how is that assessment made? And how can we access our best selves to do so?  This course interrogates the dynamics of the visual arts studio: the opportunities, conditions, and pressures that shape our behavior there. By creating a supportive community via online conferencing with both synchronous and asynchronous elements, and photographic sharing of projects/assignments — perhaps a new kind of studio? — we encourage risk and reach towards a studio practice that is yet unknown to us. We will teach each other, think big and then bigger, try new materials and processes, and treat each decision as an experiment. This course will introduce both historical and contemporary examples of artists in whose work we can readily observe risk-taking and problem solving. Setting the stage for a life in the studio driven by exploration and fearlessness, we will ask the question, “What do we have to lose?”

Requisite: Nomination by the art departments of each of the Five Colleges. Limited to 15 students, with spaces reserved for 3 students from each of the Five Colleges. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Lecturer Hepler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

313 Still/Moving: The Documentary Project

(Offered as ARHA 313 and FAMS 313) In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore creative documentary practice in both photography and video production. The course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design, and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class exercises, both visual and technical. Shared topics between the two mediums may include: ethnography, narrative, sequencing/editing, staging/scripting, place and space, and working with archival materials. We will examine the shared history, theory, and ideological questions of these mediums, and focus on issues that inform contemporary documentary practice and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The course will include a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary artists, and presentations that consider the many ways artists use photography and film/video within the documentary tradition.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience in photography or film/video (to be approved by the instructor(s) in advance of the first class.) Limited to 14 students. Fall semester. Assistant Professor Levine and Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

319 Working in Series: The Interdisciplinary Connection Between Drawing and the Hand-Printed Image

An investigation of ideas into the development of visual imagery focusing on series of works utilizing drawing and printmaking. Contemporary and historical references of artists' series of works will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects, culminating in a final project consisting of a cohesive, visual body of work. Experimentation of conceptual and technical boundaries will be encouraged and explored. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Visual work will include a wide variety of drawing media, including, but not limited to traditional methods. The techniques of intaglio and relief printmaking will be used in combination with and concurrent to the drawn images.

Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

323 Advanced Studio Seminar

A studio course that will emphasize compositional development by working from memory, imagination, literature and abstractions derived from nature and other works of visual art. The Students will be encouraged to explore a wide variety of media including, but not limited to, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and collage. Students will be required to create an independent body of work over the course of the semester which explores their individual direction in pictorial construction. 

Requisite: ARHA 222, 326 or 327 or permission of the instructor. Limited to 5 students. Fall and Spring semester. Professor R. Sweeney.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

324 Sculpture II Miniatures and Monuments 

In this course we will be exploring the role of scale in sculpture. Through a series of studio projects, in a variety of materials, we will create sculptures in a range of sizes to understand how scale affects the creation and perception of a work of three-dimensional art. Using wood, welded steel, clay, and plaster, we will examine forms including the miniature, the maquette, and the monument. Students will have opportunities for collaboration and installation and be encouraged to explore new territory while refining and developing their critical and technical skills. Contemporary critical approaches will be introduced through readings and visual presentations.

Requisite: ARHA 214 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

 

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2022

325 Images and Icons—Exploring Devotional Art

(Offered as ARHA 325 and ASLC 325) An examination of the construction, use, and interpretation of images and icons. The primary focus will be on images and icons in the Buddhist and Hindu faiths; however, the class will also make comparisons with those in Christianity and the religions of Africa and New Guinea. Some of the topics to be covered will include the relationship between icons and deities, the authentication and animation of images, the connections between icons and political authority, the ritual use of images, and aniconism and iconoclasm. The class is designed to focus on art historical writing.

Limited to 18 students to facilitate class discussion. Omitted 2021-22. Prof. Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

326 Painting II

This course offers students knowledgeable in the basic principles and skills of painting and drawing an opportunity to investigate personal directions in painting. Assignments will be collectively as well as individually directed. Discussions of the course work will assume the form of group as well as individual critiques. Two three-hour class meetings per week.

Requisite: ARHA 215 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2021-22. Senior Resident Artist Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

328 Photography II

(Offered as ARHA 328) This course is a continuing investigation of the skills and questions introduced in ARHA 218. An emphasis will be placed on defining, locating and pursuing independent work; this will be accomplished through a series of weekly demonstrations, assignments and a final independent project. Student work will be discussed and evaluated in group and individual critiques. This is complemented by slide presentations and topical readings of contemporary and historical photography.This course will be taught virtually using digital cameras and and software. Students will be supplied with cameras for the semester. Two two-hour meetings per week. 

Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021

330 Fictional Narrative Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 330 and FAMS 443) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore fictional narrative filmmaking through a rigorous script-to-screen process. Students will write, shoot and edit a short (8-minute) fictional narrative film either in small groups or individually. In addition to weekly online screenings of short and feature narrative films, the class will consist of weekly Zoom sessions led by the professor, including lectures on advanced narrative filmmaking techniques, film discussions, script readings, and critiques of footage and various cuts.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Instructor to be determined.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020

335 Experiments in 16mm Film

(Offered as ARHA 335 and FAMS 335) This intermediate production course surveys the outer limits of cinematic expression and provides an overview of creative 16mm film production. We will begin by making cameraless projects through drawing, painting and scratching directly onto the film strip before further exploring the fundamentals of 16mm technology, including cameras, editing and hand-processing. While remaining aware of our creative choices, we will invite chance into our process and risk failure, as every experiment inevitably must.

Through screenings of original film prints, assigned readings and discussion, the course will consider a number of experimental filmmakers and then conclude with a review of exhibition and distribution strategies for moving image art. All students will complete a number of short assignments on film and one final project on either film or video, each of which is to be presented for class critique. One three-hour class and one film screening per week.

Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

350 Practice and Theory of Art History

What is art history? What is its history? What are its premises and where does it come from? This seminar will explore the historical foundations, formulations, and applications of current art historical methods, the foundations of the art historical discipline as it emerged from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as attitudes towards and theories on art practice in their diverse global contexts from before the modern period. Both practice and theory will be considered through discussion of select texts and objects drawn from a variety of traditions. Topics may include: style and periodization; iconography, narratology, and phenomenology; semiotics; the social functions of images and the social history of art; the cultural foundations of representation, aesthetics, and vision; art and the material world; art, gender, and sexuality; collecting and commodification of art; and post-colonialism and post-modernism.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

353 Myth, Ritual and Iconography in West Africa

(Offered as BLST 315 [A] and ARHA 353) Through a contrastive analysis of the religious and artistic modes of expression in three West African societies—the Asanti of the Guinea Coast, and the Yoruba and Igbo peoples of Nigeria—the course will explore the nature and logic of symbols in an African cultural context. We shall address the problem of cultural symbols in terms of African conceptions of performance and the creative play of the imagination in ritual acts, masked festivals, music, dance, oral histories, and the visual arts as they provide the means through which cultural heritage and identity are transmitted and preserved, while, at the same time, being the means for innovative responses to changing social circumstances.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

357 The Persian Book of Kings

(Offered as ASLC 357, ARHA 357, and HIST 357 [TC, TE, ME, P]) The Shahnameh (Book of Kings), completed by Abu’l Qasim Ferdowsi around 1010, is one of the world's greatest epics, and also one of the most enigmatic. The Shahnameh tells the history of pre-Islamic Iran from the beginnings of civilization until the Arab conquest in the seventh century A.D. Its tales of battles, romance, heroism, and betrayal have been appreciated as literature for centuries. At the same time, it’s been deployed for political and cultural ends. Many of the communities who have most enthusiastically embraced its stories and themes have been of non-Iranian origin. Indeed, Ferdowsi’s patron, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, was himself of Turkic background. Since the nineteenth century, it has been touted as the cultural cornerstone of an emphatically non-Muslim modern Iranian national identity, and yet the author and his patron were Muslim. Some have even interpreted the Shahnameh as encouraging conversion to Islam.

This course will explore the Shahnameh as literature, history, and material culture—including illustrated manuscripts, printed books, ceramics, metalwork, and photography—from its original tenth-century context to the contemporary moment. We will focus in particular on a heavily illustrated mid-nineteenth-century copy of the Shahnameh in Amherst College’s Archives and Special Collections, and consider how this work expressed a non-Islamic cultural foundation of modernity. We will follow this story to explore how the Shahnameh figures in debates over the pre-Islamic past today. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professors Rice and Ringer.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

383 The Tea Ceremony and Japanese Culture

(Offered as ARHA 383 and ASLC 319) An examination of the history of chanoyu, the tea ceremony, from its origins in the fifteenth century to the practice of tea today. The class will explore the various elements that comprise the tea environment-the garden setting, the architecture of the tea room, the forms of tea utensils, and the elements of the kaiseki meal. Through a study of the careers of influential tea masters and texts that examine the historical, religious, and cultural background of tea culture, the course will also trace how the tea ceremony has become a metaphor for Japanese culture and Japanese aesthetics both in Japan and in the West. There will be field trips to visit tea ware collections, potters and tea masters. Two class meetings per week.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

384 The Replicated Image in Japanese Art: Woodblock Prints, Postcards, and Photographs

(Offered as ARHA 384 and ASLC 384) An image that can be replicated serves a very different function from a single unique work of art; it addresses new audiences and elicits a wider range of responses. This course will explore three different types of replicated images in Japan—woodblock prints, lithographs, and photographs. With the unprecedented achievement of literacy among urban populations during the early seventeenth century, Japan developed highly inventive woodblock texts and images. The course will begin with an investigation of the Japanese print in the Edo period (1615–1868) through the works of artists such as Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige. It will subsequently examine the early history of the photograph in the nineteenth century and then how the postcard replaced the print as the favored format for the dissemination of images during the early twentieth century, becoming the primary visual means for communicating Japan’s modernity before the advent of World War II. The course will conclude with a study of photography from the 1920s to the present day. Photography also documented Japan’s modern era, the social tensions that appeared in the high-grown era after WWII, and today often transcends national boundaries.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

385 Witches, Vampires and Other Monsters

(Offered as ARHA 385, EUST 385, and SWAG 310) Our course will explore how evil was imagined, over cultures, centuries and disciplines. With the greatest possible historical and cultural specificity, we will investigate an array of monstrous creatures and plagues -- their terrifying powers, the explanations for why they came to be, and the strategies for how they could be purged -- as we attempt to articulate the kindred qualities they shared. We will study centuries-old witch burning manuals, and note the striking degree to which dangerous tropes -- about women, about pestilence, about dangerous sexuality, and about differences of all kinds -- have continued to our day. Among the artists to be considered are Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Dalí, Buñuel, Dreyer, Wilder, Almodóvar, and the community who made the AIDS Quilt.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

388 Approaches to Chinese Painting

(Offered as ARHA 388 and ASLC 383) This course will survey the Chinese pictorial and calligraphic traditions from the Neolithic era to the present day. Particular emphasis will be placed on the period from the Northern Song to the Qing dynasties and the development of the landscape idiom, but the course will also address the figure, bird and flower, and narrative traditions as well. It will conclude with an exploration of the ways contemporary artists engage the legacy of China’s cultural heritage. Special attention will be given to the differences between Western methodological approaches to Chinese painting and the theories of painting developed by the Chinese themselves.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

412 The Sixties

We will investigate a series of historical events (such as the Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis, Stonewall, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King) as well as the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of identity politics (Feminism, Black Power, the Brown Berets) and the counterculture. We will study the myriad art forms and their attendant ideologies invented during the decade (such as Pop, Op, Color Field, Minimalism, Land Art, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Fluxus), as well as some crucial critics, dealers and art journals, in an effort to understand the ways in which artists rejected or appropriated, then transformed, certain themes and conceptual models of their time. This course will include class trips.

Requisite: One course in modern art or consent of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 11 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Staller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2019

441 Documentary Production

(Offered as ARHA 441 and FAMS 441) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore creative documentary practice through readings, weekly screenings and production assignments. Each student will complete a series of projects working both as a single maker and in collaboration with other members of the class. Topics may include: shooting the interview; scripting, performance and reenactment; history and narrativity; place and space; ethnography and the “embedded” filmmaker. We will also host visiting filmmakers and, where possible, visit a cultural institution which supports and screens cutting-edge documentary work.

The course will be taught annually but will focus on a set of revolving themes and issues that inform contemporary documentary filmmaking and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The theme for Fall 2019 will be “Place and Space". One 3-hour class (some of which will include field shooting and research trips) and one evening screening each week.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Fall 2019

444 Films That Try: Essay Film Production

(Offered as ARHA 444 and FAMS 412) Essay filmmaking is a dynamic form with many commonly cited attributes—the presence of an authorial voice, an emphasis on broad themes, an eclectic approach to genre, and the tendency to digress or draw unexpected connections. Yet, true to its nature, the precise definition of the essay film is in constant flux. It can be both personal and political, individual and collective, noble and mischievous. Essay filmmakers themselves are equally diverse, ranging from established film auteurs to Third Cinema activists and contemporary video artists.

If we entertain the notion that the processes of cinema closely resemble the mechanics of human thought, then the essay film may be the medium’s purest expression. To watch or make such a film, we must give ourselves over to a compulsive, restless energy that delights in chasing a subject down any number of rabbit holes and blind alleys, often stopping to admire the scenery on the way. As with thought, there is no end product, no clear boundaries, no goal but the activity itself.

The term "essay" finds its origins in the French essayer, meaning “to attempt” or to try.” In this advanced production workshop, we will read, screen and discuss examples of the essayistic mode in literature and cinema while making several such attempts of our own. Students will complete a series of writing assignments and video projects informed by class materials and group discussion.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.

Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

445 Advanced Projects in Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 445 and FAMS 445) In this course, we will take the skills and insights gained in introductory production courses and develop them over the length of the semester through the creation of one short project, ten minutes long. Students may work individually or in pairs. We will learn by making work as well as by researching, reading, and watching films related to our projects. We may take this opportunity to delve into and learn the conventions of our chosen form, or we may decide that our content demands formal experimentation and risk-taking. The course will be structured by the projects each student brings to it. We will begin the semester with brainstorming, research, script/documentary proposal writing, and pre-production. Each student will develop a script or in-depth proposal to begin with. As we move into production, we will review and deepen our knowledge of camera, lighting (available & set), sound (location & studio), and editing principles and techniques. We will move between production and post-production in the second half of the semester, first developing sequences, then rough assemblies, rough cuts, and fine cuts, before ultimately completing our final cut.

Requisite: Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have completed at least one previous course in video production and preferably two previous courses, one at the 200-level and one at the 300-level. Limited to 10 students. Admission with consent of the instructor. Omitted 2021-22. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

481 Conversations with Experimental Filmmakers

(Offered as ENGL 481, ARHA 481, and FAMS 481) Experimental film is a vital area of contemporary media culture where artists engage the moving image from a wide range of creative approaches, exploring film as an aesthetic, poetic, or political medium, rather than a commercial enterprise. By departing from the conventions of mainstream film, experimental filmmakers present their audience with a stimulating challenge, asking viewers to develop new critical frameworks through which to assess films that often resist classification and traditional interpretive approaches.

In this seminar, students will take up this challenge by exploring different ways of entering into conversation with the work of experimental filmmakers. Through weekly screenings, in-class visits by contemporary filmmakers, and group discussions of course readings (such as artists’ writings, interviews, and related theoretical material), we will develop critical and creative vocabularies that help us to analyze and respond to an array of experimental films and videos. Along with completing writing assignments and in-class presentations, students will plan and execute a final project that can assume a number of critical or creative forms, such as an interview with a filmmaker, a short video, or an analytical essay.

Requisite: At least one foundational course in FAMS, ARHA, or ENGL. Open to juniors and seniors, and to sophomores with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Guilford.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2019

490 Special Topics

Independent reading course. A full course.

Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

Preparation of a thesis or completion of a studio project which may be submitted to the Department for consideration for Honors.

Open to seniors with consent of the Department. Fall semester. The Department.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

About Amherst College

About Amherst College

Back

Art and the History of Art

Professors Abiodun, Clark, Courtright (Chair), Kimball‡, Morse, Staller, and Sweeney; Associate Professor Arboleda; Senior Resident Artists Garand and Gloman; Assistant Professors Carey*, Levine, Rice, and Vicario; Visiting Professor Koehler; Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis† ; Visiting Lecturers Chase, Culhane, England, Helander, and Hepler; CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Yu.

The Department of Art and the History of Art offers students a singular means within the College to develop artistic awareness, historical understanding, critical faculties and practice in the visual arts. Students across the College may accomplish these objectives by taking introductory to advanced courses in art history and studio practice. To identify and serve individual interests and goals, the department major is organized into two distinct programs: The History of Art and The Practice of Art:

History of Art Concentration: Professors Abiodun, Courtright, Morse and Staller; Associate Professor Arboleda; Assistant Professors Carey, Rice, and Vicario; Visiting Professor Koehler.

An intensive and structured engagement with the visual heritage of many cultures throughout the centuries, this curriculum requires not only the study of art history as a way to acquire deep and broad visual understanding, but also a self‑conscious focus on the contexts and meanings of art. By encountering the architecture, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and material culture created within a variety of historical frameworks, students will deepen their understanding of political, religious, philosophical, aesthetic, and social currents that defined those times as well. As a consequence, students will face art and issues that challenge preconceptions of our own era.

Course Requirements: The concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project). With the help of a department advisor, each student will devise a program of study and a sequence of courses that must include:

• One introductory course in the history of art

• Two courses in the arts of Africa, Asia, or the Middle East

• One course in European art before 1800

• One course in European or American art after 1800

• Two upper‑level courses or seminars with research papers, one of which may be a course outside the department with a focus on visual arts in the student's research paper

• One Studio elective (preferably before Senior Year)

• One additional Studio or related elective

Many of our courses could count for two of these requirements. For example, an upper‑level course in European art before 1800 with a required research paper will fulfill two of the requirements. An introductory course in the arts of Asia will fulfill two of the requirements as well.

Honors: Candidates for honors in this concentration will, with departmental permission, take ARHA 498-499 during their senior year. Students must apply and be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April.

Comprehensive Exam: Majors in the History of Art must satisfy a comprehensive assessment by participating in an undergraduate student conference in the final semester of the senior year. Each student will be expected to prepare a brief presentation that will demonstrate how a text of their choice could expand and develop one of the research projects completed to satisfy their requirements for the major. It should elucidate the link between their work and future goals. Students seeking department honors will be expected to present on their senior thesis.

Practice of Art Concentration: Professors Clark, Kimball, and Sweeney; Assistant Professor Levine; Senior Resident Artists Garand and Gloman; Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis, Visiting Lecturers Chase, Culhane, England, Helander, and Hepler; CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Yu.

The concentration in the Practice of Art enables students to become fluent in the discipline of the practice of visual arts. Students will develop critical and analytical thinking as well as the discipline's techniques and methods as a means to explore artistic, intellectual and human experience. Students will build towards creating a personal vision beginning with primary studies in drawing and introductory art history, proceeding on to courses using a broad range of media, and culminating in advanced studio studies of a more self directed nature. Working with their advisor, students will be encouraged to nurture the strong interdisciplinary opportunities found both at Amherst and the other institutions in the valley.

Course Requirements: The Practice of Art concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project):

•   Three introductory level studio courses

•   Five additional studio courses, at least 2 of which must be at the intermediate or advanced levels, chosen in close consultation with advisor

•   One course in contemporary Art History

•   One additional course in art history

In consultation with their advisors, students in this concentration will be encouraged to take additional courses both in art history and other disciplines. These courses should be broadly related to their artistic interests outside of the studio concentration, enriching their interdisciplinary understanding and engagement within a liberal arts curriculum. This expectation will be especially high for honors thesis candidates.

Honors: Candidates for honors will, with departmental permission, take ARHA 498-499 during the senior year. Students must apply and be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April. In designing their year‑long projects, students will be encouraged to explore the interdisciplinary implications and opportunities inherent in their artistic directions. Thesis students will also be required to develop a statement that ultimately places their body of work within a historical and cultural artistic discourse. There will be an exhibition of the bodies of work representing the honors theses in the Eli Marsh Gallery, Fayerweather Hall, in May.

Comprehensive Examination: Required of all studio concentration majors, except thesis students. This work should be done in consultation with your advisor. You should meet with them before Thanksgiving break.

Creation in the senior year of an ambitious independent work/s of art. This project is designed and created independently by the student, can be in any medium or combination of mediums, and may also be interdisciplinary in nature. Students will also develop a concise, written statement that addresses their conceptual concerns, process, choice of materials and media. It should cite influences as well as place the work within a historical and artistic context. The written statement and the work/s of art are due on Monday of the 6th week of the student's final semester. On that day students are expected to hang the work for a week‑long group exhibition to be reviewed by the Studio Faculty. A .pdf (Adobe format) or .doc/docx (Word format) of the written component is due as an attachment by email to the Department Coordinator ‑ finearts@amherst.edu on the same Monday.

* On leave 2021-22.
† On leave fall semester 2021-22.
‡ On leave spring semester 2021-22.

101 The Language of Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 101 and ARHA 101) This introductory course focuses on the tools used to communicate and discuss ideas in architectural practice and theory. We study both the practical, from sketching to parallel drawing, to the theoretical, from historical to critical perspectives. Connecting both, we cover the formal analysis elements necessary to “read” and critique built works. Class activities include field trips, guest presentations, sketching and drawing, small design exercises, discussion of readings, and short written responses. Through these activities, at the end of the semester the student will understand in general terms what the dealings and challenges of architecture as a discipline are.

Limited to 20 students. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

102 Practice of Art

An introduction to two- and three-dimensional studio disciplines through hands-on engagement with materials supplemented by lectures, demonstrations and readings. Students will work through a variety of projects exploring drawing, sculpture, painting and hybrid forms. Work will be developed based on direct observation, memory, imagination and improvisation. Formal and conceptual concerns will be an integral aspect of the development of studio work. Historical and contemporary references will be used throughout the course to enhance and increase the student’s understanding of the visual vocabulary of art. Class time will be a balance of lectures, demonstrations, exercises, discussions and critiques. Weekly homework assignments will consist of studio work and critical readings. No prior studio experience needed.

Not open to students who have taken ARHA 111 or 215. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman. Spring semester: Visiting Lecturer Hepler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

105 Space and Design: Introduction to Studio Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 105 and ARHA 105) This hands-on design studio will foster innovation as it guides students through the development of conceptual architecture. Through a series of projects that build on each other, students will develop their own design language and experiment with architecture at several scales - from an interior screen that plays with light, shadow and color, to a dynamic built structure and its integration into a site. We will work through both hand-drafted and computer drawings, as well as physical model-making to understand plan, section, and elevations as well as diagramming and concept models. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.

No prior architecture experience is necessary, but a willingness to experiment and a desire to learn through making are essential.

Admissions with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

110 Color Study

(Offered as ARHA 110 and CHEM 110.)  This interdisciplinary course is focused on exploring color through the lenses of science, culture and art. We will study how we perceive color down to the molecular level and how it impacts us as viewers. The course will seek to develop a broad, shared, set of topics that will allow students to weave together scientific and artistic concepts, rather than isolate them. As it is possible to approach color from many different disciplines, we encourage any interested student, regardless of academic focus, to register. A core goal of the course is to encourage a holistic discussion of the topic. Students will be asked to write about their observations of color through art and will have the opportunity to make their own original pieces. In addition, class activities will include lectures, invited speakers, discussion, and a final project.

Limited to 18 students. Omitted: 2021-2022.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

111 Drawing I

An introductory course in the fundamentals of drawing. This course will be based in experience and observation, exploring various techniques and media in order to understand the basic formal vocabularies and conceptual issues in drawing; subject matter will include still life, landscape, interior, and figure. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, final portfolio. Two three-hour sessions per week.

Limited to 12 students. In the fall semester 4 seats are reserved for first-year students. 

In the Spring semester, there is a limit of 10 students and 4 seats are reserved for first-year students.  

Fall semester: Visiting Lecturer Helander. Spring semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

131 History and Theory of Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 131, ARCH 131 and EUST 131.) Throughout history, buildings have directed human activity, shaping social interactions, symbolizing political power, and influencing multiple kinds of artistic expression. This course is a selected introduction to the history and theory of architecture, from the earliest forms of human habitation to medieval and Renaissance buildings, Enlightenment utopian visions, modern industrial structures and skyscrapers, and contemporary sustainable practices.  Interwoven with a sampling of theoretical texts and architectural treatises, the course covers selected moments in the history and theory of Western architecture, from Vitruvius to Alberti and Corbusier to Koolhaas, from primordial shelters to computer generated designs.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

135 Renaissance to Revolution: Early Modern European Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 135, ARCH 135, and EUST 135) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history, introduces the ways that artists and architects imaginatively invented visual language to interpret the world for contemporary patrons, viewers, and citizens in early modern Europe. Painters, printmakers, sculptors and architects in Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands created new ways of seeing empirical phenomena and interpreting them, by means of both ancient and new principles of art, science and philosophy and through powerful engagement with the senses. They produced godlike illusions of nature, from grand frescoes bursting from the walls of papal residences to spectacular gardens covering noble estates in Baroque France and colonializing England. They fundamentally altered the design of major cities such as Rome and Paris so that the visitor encountered an entirely new urban experience than ever before. Along the way, they learned from one another’s example, but, prizing innovation, sought fiercely to surpass previous generations, and argued at length about values in art. They contributed to fashioning an ideal picture of empire and society and conjured the dazzling wealth and power of those who paid them. But as time passed, some came to ironize the social order mightily, and some elevated beggars, farmers, servants, so-called fools, and bourgeois women leading seemingly mundane domestic lives as much as others praised the prosperous few. Finally, artists actively participated in the overthrow of the monarchy during the French Revolution and yet also passionately critiqued the violence of war it engendered. Throughout, the course will investigate how concepts of progress, civilization, the state, religion, race, gender, and the individual came to be defined through art.

The goals of the course are:
above all, to achieve the skill of close looking to gain visual understanding;
• also, to identify artistic innovations that characterize European art and architecture from the Italian Renaissance to the French Revolution;
• to understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;
• to situate the works of art historically, by examining the intellectual, political, religious, and social currents that contributed to their creation;
• to read texts about the period critically and analytically.
No previous experience with art or art history is necessary. 

Fall semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

138 Visual Arts and Orature in Africa

(Offered as BLST 313 [A] and ARHA 138) In the traditionally non-literate societies of Africa, verbal and visual arts constitute two systems of communication. The performance of verbal art and the display of visual art are governed by social and cultural rules. We will examine the epistemological process of understanding cultural symbols, of visualizing narratives, or proverbs, and of verbalizing sculptures or designs. Focusing on the Yoruba people of West Africa, the course will attempt to interpret the language of their verbal and visual arts and their interrelations in terms of cultural cosmologies, artistic performances, and historical changes in perception and meaning. We will explore new perspectives in the critical analysis of African verbal and visual arts, and their interdependence as they support each other through mutual references and allusions. In addition to visiting the Mead Art Museum to see African works, students will be required to listen to audio-recordings and engage selected visual images to enhance their understanding of the interrelationship of arts in Africa.

Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

145 The Modern World

(Offered as ARHA 145, EUST 145, and SWAG 145)  This course will explore the self-conscious invention of modernism in painting, sculpture and architecture, from the visual clarion calls of the French Revolution to the performance art and earthworks of "art now." As we move from Goya, David, Monet and Picasso to Kahlo, Kiefer and beyond, we will be attentive to changing responses toward a historical past or societal present, the stance toward popular and alien cultures, the radical redefinition of all artistic media, changing representations of nature and gender, as well as the larger problem of mythologies and meaning in the modern period. Study of original objects and a range of primary texts (artists’ letters, diaries, manifestos, contemporary criticism) will be enhanced with readings from recent historical and theoretical secondary sources.

Limited to 50 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Staller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019

147 Arts of China

(Offered as ARHA 147 and ASLC 143) An introduction to the history of Chinese art from its beginnings in neolithic times until the end of the twentieth century. Topics will include the ritual bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the Chinese transformation of the Buddha image, imperial patronage of painting during the Song dynasty and the development of the literati tradition of painting and calligraphy. Particular weight will be given to understanding the cultural context of Chinese art.

Spring semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2022

148 Arts of Japan

(Offered as ARHA 148 and ASLC 123) A survey of the history of Japanese art from neolithic times to the present. Topics will include Buddhist art and its ritual context, the aristocratic arts of the Heian court, monochromatic ink painting and the arts related to the Zen sect, the prints and paintings of the Floating World and contemporary artists and designers such as Ando Tadao and Miyake Issey. The class will focus on the ways Japan adopts and adapts foreign cultural traditions. There will be field trips to look at works in museums and private collections in the region

Fall semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

149 Survey of African Art

(Offered as ARHA 149 and BLST 123 [A]) An introduction to the ancient and traditional arts of Africa. Special attention will be given to the archaeological importance of the rock art paintings found in such disparate areas as the Sahara and South Africa, achievements in the architectural and sculptural art in clay of the early people in the area now called Zimbabwe and the aesthetic qualities of the terracotta and bronze sculptures of the Nok, Igbo-Ukwe, Ife and Benin cultures in West Africa, which date from the second century B.C.E. to the sixteenth century C.E. The study will also pursue a general socio-cultural survey of traditional arts of the major ethnic groups of Africa.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

152 Visual Culture of the Islamic World

(Offered as ARHA 152, ARCH 152 and ASLC 142) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history and architectural studies, introduces the art, architecture, and urban planning of the Islamic world, from the origins of Islam in the seventh century to the contemporary moment. Among the questions we will pose are: When, how, and why was the Qur’an first copied as a written text? Why does the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, completed in 691–2 A.D., closely resemble Christian churches and shrines from the same period? Why did medieval Europeans judge objects from the Islamic world, especially those bearing Arabic script, to be sacred in nature? How did commercial and diplomatic exchanges with China and Viking Scandinavia impact the arts of Central Asia and the Middle East during the premodern period? What can contemporary comic books tell us about the visual logic of fifteenth-century Iranian manuscript painting? And how have nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists used photography and film to address the legacies of colonialism and Orientalism? We will attempt to answer these questions through close and careful analysis of objects in a range of media, from silver and rock crystal to silk textiles and video; cities and architectural sites in Spain and India, and the many places in between; and primary and secondary texts. Films, museum websites, musical recordings, and visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections will supplement readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
No cap on enrollment.

Fall semester. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

153 World Monuments

(Offered as ARHA 153 and ARCH 153) This introductory course engages one of the most discussed typologies in world architecture: the monument. From the Sydney Opera House to the Eiffel Tower, monuments have entered into global consciousness as individuals from tourists to government officials have celebrated their supposed uniqueness. Meanwhile, monuments have drawn the ire of ISIS and the Taliban—two groups which have become famous for destroying venerated structures. Whether the subject in question is a tourist, a religious pilgrim, or a terrorist bent on destruction, humans are often drawn to monuments because of their power to captivate. This course examines the relevance of this psychic power. Over the course of the semester, we will address the architectural, social, cultural, theoretical, and political questions that emerge from an investigation of a range of famous and lesser-known monuments, including but not limited to: the Eiffel Tower; the Taj Mahal; the Great Mosque of Mecca; the Statue of Liberty; the Alhambra; the American Capitol Building; and the Suez Canal. We will also discuss the role of ISIS and the Taliban in shaping contemporary debates concerning the meaning and importance of architectural preservation as it relates to the monuments of the Middle East and South Asia. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will develop their writing skills while gaining knowledge of the issues that guide the study of world monuments, specifically, and architectural history, at large. This course is intended to introduce students to the field of architectural studies.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2020

154 Art and Architecture of South Asia

(Offered as ARHA 154, ARCH 154, and ASLC 154) This introductory course surveys the architecture, painting, sculpture, textiles, and other arts of South Asia—including India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka—from 2300 B.C. to the present. Among the diverse materials we will examine are the archaeological remains from one of the world’s earliest planned cities; Buddhist monastic complexes carved entirely out of living rock; Hindu temples bearing erotic images; manuscript illustrations made for Muslim emperors; colorful printed and painted textiles produced for domestic, European, Indonesian, and Japanese markets; and twentieth-century works of art that anticipate and respond to India’s independence from British colonial rule. We will consider the important roles that South Asian artists, architects, and other makers have played in depicting and housing the divine, establishing political and religious systems, and fueling the exchange of ideas and goods across the globe. Films, musical recordings, museum websites, visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections, and cooking and food-tasting sessions will supplement assigned readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Spring semester. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

155 Introduction to Contemporary Art

This introductory course explores art produced between 1960 and the present. We will take a transnational approach, from the emergence of Pop art as an  international phenomenon in the 1960s to the mushrooming cloud of biennials in the twenty-first century. The course will sometimes look at art’s intersection with architecture, film, and visual culture more broadly. We will keep in mind the following questions: How have new technologies, civil rights movements, emergent subjectivities, new forms of theoretical inquiry, and processes of globalization shaped the work of art? How have artists critiqued both institutions and the art historical canon? How does contemporary art both participate in and stand apart from the world in which and for which it was made?

Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

157 The Postcolonial City

(Offered as ARHA 157, ARCH 157, and BLST 193 [D]) This course engages the buildings, cities, and landscapes of the former colonies of Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. Beginning with the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the non-European territories, which once comprised the lucrative possessions of modern European empires, quickly became independent states charged with developing infrastructure, erecting national monuments, and handling the influx of laborers drawn to the metropolises formed as sleepy colonial towns grew into bustling postcolonial cities. This class will examine the buildings, urban spaces, rural landscapes, and national capitals that emerged in response to these political histories. We will approach a number of issues, such as the architecture of national independence monuments, the preservation of buildings linked to the colonial past, the growth of new urban centers in Africa and India after independence, architecture and regimes of postcolonial oppression, the built environments of tourism in the independent Caribbean, and artists’ responses to all of these events. Some of the places that we will address include: Johannesburg, South Africa; Chandigarh, India; Negril, Jamaica; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; and Lilongwe, Malawi. Our goal will be to determine what, if any, continuities linked the buildings, landscapes, and spaces of post-independence Africa, India, and the Caribbean in the twentieth century. Over the course of the semester, students will gain skills in analyzing buildings, town plans, and other visual materials. Also, this class will aid students in developing their writing skills, particularly, their ability to write about architecture and urban space.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

159 Modernity and the Avant-Gardes, 1890–1945

(Offered as ARHA 159 and ARCH 159) This course is an examination of the emergence, development, and dissolution of European modernist art, architecture and design. The course begins with the innovations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, created in consort with the growth of modern urbanism, colonialist politics, and psychological experimentation. Distinctions between the terms modernity, modernism, and the avant-garde will be explored as we unpack the complex equations between art, politics, and social change in the first half of the twentieth century. Covering selected groups (such as Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, l'Esprit Nouveau, Bauhaus, and Constructivism), this course will consider themes such as mechanical reproduction, nihilism, nationalism, consumerism, and primitivism as they are disclosed in the making and reception of modernist art and architecture.

Fall semester. Visiting Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2021

160 Deconstructing Modernity: 1945–2000

(Offered as ARHA 160 and ARCH 160) This course examines the art, architecture, and design produced in Europe and the United States from the aftermath of World War II to the end of the twentieth century. We will begin with art in relationship to war, the Holocaust, and the expansion of capitalism, consumerism, suburbia, and the skyscraper. Finally, we will conclude by engaging the rejection of modernist strategies in the latter part of the twentieth century. We will survey movements such as COBRA, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, the Situationists, Minimalism, land art, performance art, feminist art, Neo-Expressionism, and the archival turn; architectural groups such as Archigram, CIAM, the post modernists, and deconstructionists; and defining texts by Adorno, Sartre, Arendt, Debord, Foucault, Krauss, Derrida, among others.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

180 Contemporary Native American Art

(Offered as ARHA 180 and AMST 211) This course will examine works of art created by Native American artists, including painting, sculpture, photography, and performance and installation art, from the late nineteenth century to today.  Students will study important movements and consider individual artists who worked primarily as painters, including the Iroquois realists of the late nineteenth century; the Studio School of Southwestern artists, printmakers, and illustrators; the Kiowa Six and their important role in creating modern Native American murals; abstract expressionists like Kay Walkingstick (Cherokee); Pop artists like Fritz Scholder (Luiseno) and Harry Fonseca (Nisenan Maidu); and Conceptual artists such as Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne). Major Native American contemporary photographers include Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke (Crow)), Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole-Diné), and Horace Poolaw (Kiowa). The course will also consider sculptors working in realistic (Alan Houser, Blackbear Bosin) and abstract styles (Rick Bartow, Tammy Garcia); performance artists like James Luna and Rebecca Belmore; important emerging artists like the interdisciplinary activist/arts collective Postcommodity; and Angel de Cora, the first Native American graduate of Smith College, the 150th anniversary of whose birth will be marked in 2021.

This class will be taught in-person, with the option to join by Zoom.

Limited to 34 students. Omitted 2021-2022. Visiting Lecturer Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021

186 Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 186 and LLAS 186) This course provides an introduction to the Pre-Columbian art and architecture of the Americas. It explores major traditions in architecture and city planning, murals, sculpture, painting, masks, and textiles. The first half of the semester concentrates on Preclassic and Classic Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America); the second on Postclassic Mesoamerica, North America, and the Andes.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

187 Native American Art

This course provides an introduction to Native American Indian art and architecture from North and Latin America. It focuses on the modern and contemporary periods (with some attention to archaeological art), exploring traditions in architecture, sculpture, painting, masks, textiles, and ceramics. The first half of the semester concentrates on the Woodlands, Plains, and Southwest; the second on the Northwest Coast, Arctic, Mexico and Guatemala, Central America, the Andes, and Amazonia. The course will be interdisciplinary, and will include readings Indigenous narratives, Native American aesthetics, and contemporary artists including photographers, videographers, and performance artists, as well as alternative curating and exhibition of Indigenous art.

Limited to 35 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021

190 Art.com

This course explores the complex relationship between art and the Internet. How has the Internet seeped into and come to inform the way artists work in the twenty-first century? What is the history of digital imaging? What role do digital renderings play in the design of art and architecture? Why have some artists rejected digital media in favor of pre-digital materials—analog media, artisanal craft, body art and performance? What is the difference between seeing a work of art “in person” versus on social media? Why do people post what they see “in person” on social media? How do artists, galleries, and museums seek to limit the online circulation of works of art? What is the relationship between a unique, original work of art and a multitude of copies? What is Post-Internet art? To what extent has the Internet disrupted the way the art world functions and in what ways has the pandemic played a role in moving art online? How has the recent NFT boom affected the art market and how does it figure in a longer history of thinking about the relationship between art as intellectual property and as taking material form? The course will combine twenty-first century case studies with a wider range of texts on topics such as originality, reproduction, and theories and histories of technology. The class will meet on Zoom and will include brief lectures, discussion (both in breakout rooms and all together), guest speakers, film screenings, short writing assignments, and final presentations. 

Limited to 25 students.  January 2022 semester. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

201 Measuring Histories through Materiality and Multiples

The most quotidian objects possess the power to connect to a broad audience. This course will harness that power to make art that measures and recounts past events in human history. The events might be small or large, little known, personally experienced, or widely recounted. Students will interrogate the context, function, materiality, and symbolism of common objects from as many vantage points as possible. We will explore how objects in multiples can disrupt, engage, challenge, obscure or metaphorically highlight the meaning in materials. The class will explore methods of combining, linking, and connecting common objects both conceptually and physically toward the manifestation of both singular and collaborative artworks. We will work together to select suitable materials and methods to quantify, measure, and actualize diverse histories and narratives. Students should be prepared to share materials, ideas, stories, and ways of working.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019

202 Architectural Anthropology

(Offered as ARCH 202 and ARHA 202) This seminar explores the emerging interdisciplinary field that combines the theory and practice of architecture and anthropology. We compare and contrast these two disciplines’ canonical methods, their ethical stances, and their primary subject matters (i.e., buildings and people). With that, we reflect upon the challenges of ethnoarchitecture as a new discipline, emphasizing the challenges of carrying out architectural research and/or construction work among people from cultural backgrounds different than the architect’s own. In general, this course invites critical thinking about the theory and practice of architecture, especially when it confronts issues of difference, including ethno-cultural and social class differences.

Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone; previous instruction in architectural studies, area or ethnic studies, or social studies can be beneficial but is not mandatory.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

203 Color Meets Object

What happens when a painted image escapes its rectangle and pushes out of illusionistic depth into the literal space of the room? How does it change a viewer’s understanding of sculptural form when the sculpture’s physical volumes have been optically flattened, heightened, or contradicted by the addition of color? In this course we will invite interaction between illusionistic and literal, tactile space to consider unique possibilities where the concerns of painting and sculpture merge. We will explore how each discipline can expand its scope with an amalgam of tactile and chromatic visual elements and experience. The semester will begin with a series of structured studio problems and with research into contemporary art practices that incorporate both color and tactile volume. We will also look into the wealth of historical precedents for these practices. This critical review and first-hand study of artworks, in conjunction with studio experimentation, will help each student determine the shape of an end-of-semester artwork or series of works. Readings, visiting artists, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.

Requisite: One prior studio course in painting or sculpture, or permission of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22 Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

204 Housing, Urbanization, and Development

(Offered as ARCH 204, ARHA 204, and LLAS 204) This course studies the theory, policy, and practice of low-income housing in marginalized communities worldwide. We study central concepts in housing theory, key issues regarding low-income housing, different approaches to address these issues, and political debates around housing the poor. We use a comparative focus, going back and forth between the cases of the United States and the so-called developing world. By doing this, we engage in a “theory from without” exercise: We attempt to understand the housing problem in the United States from the perspective of the developing world, and vice versa. We study our subject through illustrated lectures, seminar discussions, documentary films, visual analysis exercises, and a field trip.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

205 Sustainable Design: Principles, Practice, Critique

(Offered as ARCH 205 and ARHA 205) This theory seminar aims to provide students with a strong basis for a deep engagement with the practice of sustainability in architectural design. The studied material covers both canonical literature on green design and social science-based critical theory. We start by exploring the key tenets of the sustainable design discourse, and how these tenets materialize in practice. Then, we examine sustainable design in relation to issues such as inequality and marginality. As we do this, we locate sustainability within the larger environmental movement, studying in detail some of the main approaches and standards of sustainable design, the attempts to improve this practice over time, and the specific challenges confronting these attempts. In addition to reading discussions, we study our subject through student presentations and written responses, a field trip, and two graphic design exercises.

Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone, but students would benefit from having a previous engagement with a course in architectural design, architectural history and/or theory, introduction to architectural studies, or environmental studies.

Limited to 20 students. Fall Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

206 Failed It!

This course offers an exciting investigation into failure in art during the uniqueness of life and culture in 2020. We will discover and debate the complexities, challenges, and benefits of failure and what it means for making art. Students will experiment with flaws, imperfections, rejects, and errors in their art projects. We will encourage you to think about failure in positive, unexpected, inspirational, and low-fi ways. You will learn about artists who are motivated by errors, uncommon methods, and breaking rules. The course includes presentations, screenings, discussions, collaboration, in-class activities, assignments, and independent work. There will be an emphasis on using and subverting everyday tools and materials.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Artist-in-Resident England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

207 Talking with Beads

This studio art course focused on complex global beading traditions and techniques. We will study how the language of beadwork is used to tell stories, connect with ancestors, provide protection, create community, signify power, and challenge injustice. This course draws on the over 75,000-year usage of beads ranging from umbilical amulets (Native American) to abacuses (Middle East and Asia) to rosaries (Europe) to lukasa (Central Africa) to Zulu love letters (South Africa). Students will learn dozens of beading techniques (many unique to South African cultures where some of the earliest beads were discovered.) We will use beads to communicate, preserve, and encode messages. We will expand the definition of what constitutes a bead; use variation in size, color, shape, and material as metaphor; and design beaded memory devices. No prior beading experience is necessary but curiosity and commitment is required.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

208 Playing with Pictures

This studio course focuses on the archiving, collecting, and appropriation related to contemporary art. Students will learn to "play with pictures" in imaginative, conceptual, exploratory, and intelligent ways. This learning will happen through exercises in-class, readings, journal writing, experimental making, film screenings, group discussions, critiques, and other activities. We will investigate the collection, curation, and juxtaposition of images from a wide range of sources, and consider how new personal, social, and political meanings can be generated from different groupings of images. This will be framed by critically reviewing the work of contemporary visual artists who use archives, collecting, and/or appropriation in their practice. Students will create personalized repositories of images from which to draw for future art and design projects.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Artist-in-residence England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

209 Space and Design: Intermediate Studio Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 209 and ARHA 209) This course will be a design investigation of sustainable architecture. Students will research cutting edge innovations in green technology and present their findings through graphic boards and verbal presentations. They will then design their own systems for water collection, air filtration, energy capture, site strategies, and solar power. A design language will be developed through a series of rigorous design exercises and creative innovation, and will culminate in a building project. Students will further develop sketching, drafting and model-making skills both by hand and with the computer. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.

Requisite: ARCH 105 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students.

Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

212 Storytelling Arts in Mesoamerica

(Offered as ENGL 212 and ARHA 212) [Before 1800] This course will explore the major pictorial narrative traditions of Mesoamerica, focusing on manuscripts of the Aztec, Maya, and Mixtec peoples, as well as other media, including texts and images from murals, ceramics, monuments, and mirrors. These visual and narrative media continue to play important roles in the preservation of Indigenous identity, solidarity, and cultural identity within nation states; the course will examine public, popular, and fine arts reviving, repurposing, and supporting resistance using this imagery.

Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

213 Printmaking I: The Handprinted Image

An introduction to intaglio and relief processes including drypoint, engraving, etching, aquatint, monoprints, woodcut and linocut. The development of imagery incorporating conceptual concerns in conjunction with specific techniques will be a crucial element in the progression of prints. Historical and contemporary references will be discussed to further enhance understanding of various techniques. Critiques will be held regularly with each assignment; critical analysis of prints utilizing correct printmaking terminology is expected. A final project of portfolio making and a portfolio exchange of an editioned print are required.

Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

214 Sculpture I

An exploration of three-dimensional concepts, form, expression and aesthetics. In a series of directed projects students will encounter a range of materials and technical processes including construction, modeling and carving. Projects will include conceptual and critical strategies integrated with material concerns. By the end of the course students will have developed a strong understanding of basic principles of contemporary sculpture and acquired the skills and technical knowledge of materials to create accomplished works of three-dimensional expression. Students will develop an awareness of conceptual and critical issues in current and historical sculptural practice, establishing a foundation for continued training and self-directed work in sculpture and other artistic disciplines.

No prior studio experience is required. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

215 Painting I

An introduction to the fundamentals of the pictorial organization of painting. Form, space, color, and pattern, abstracted from nature, are explored through the discipline of drawing by means of paint manipulation. Slide lectures, demonstrations, individual and group critiques are regular components of the studio sessions. Two three-hour meetings per week.  The course will be taught remotely.

Requisite: ARHA 102 or 111 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 8 students. Spring semester: Professor Sweeney.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

217 Improvising the Space Between: Drawing, Architecture, and Sculpture

This course is an exploration into the shared territories of drawing, architecture, and sculpture, and the hybrid spaces that may be created between those disciplines. An improvisational and responsive approach, in the spirit of experimentation and open inquiry, frames the studio-based course work. We will consider potentials and challenges of space, light, materials, joinery, structural geometries, organic growth, and temporality. After this initial period of information gathering, students will be free to determine the format or combination of formats that will shape an extended semester-end project. Readings, artist talks, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.

Requisite: One prior course in studio arts, architecture, or film production, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-2022. Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2020

218 Photography I

An introduction to black-and-white still photography. The basic elements of photographic technique will be taught as a means to explore both general pictorial structure and photography’s own unique visual language. Emphasis will be centered less on technical concerns and more on investigating how images can become vessels for both ideas and deeply human emotions. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, readings, and slide lectures about the work of artist-photographers, one short paper, and a final portfolio involving an independent project of choice. Two three-hour meetings per week.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Kimball.  Spring semester. Artist in Residence England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

219 Venice, Perfect City (476-1797)

(Offered as HIST 219 [TE/TC/C/P] and ARHA 219) When the Roman Empire imploded in 476, refugees from the Italian mainland settled on a few disconnected islands sheltered from the open Adriatic Sea by a lagoon. Within a few centuries, they created one of the most unlikely, beautiful, and long-lasting European cities ever to have been built. The cooperative spirit with which early medieval Venetians were able to create an urban environment built on seawater found its expression in the political and societal structures they formed to govern their city, republic, and, eventually, empire. In this course, we will discuss key events in the history of this extraordinary city, whose autonomy and self-government lasted until Napoleon invaded it in 1797. Topics include: art, architecture, and urban planning; the formation of an aristocratic but republican constitution; the emergence of civic institutions, poor relief, and neighborhood organizations; the history of the Ghetto and its Sephardic, Ashkenazi, and Italian communities; Venetian sea-trade and the conquest of the Levantine Empire; the Venetian Renaissance; ties with Byzantium, and the Mamluk and Ottoman Empires; convent culture; proto-feminism; and the Enlightenment. These topics will be discussed in the wider context of historical developments in the European and Mediterranean middle ages and early modern period. Two meetings per week. 

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Sperling.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

221 Foundations in Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 221 and FAMS 221) This introductory course is designed for students with no prior experience in video production. The aim is both technical and creative. We will begin with the literal foundation of the moving image—the frame—before moving through shot and scene construction, lighting, sound-image concepts, and final edit. In addition to instruction in production equipment and facilities, the course will also explore cinematic form and structure through weekly readings, screenings and discussion. Each student will work on a series of production exercises and a final video assignment.

Limited to 12 students with instructor's permission. Fall semester: Professor Levine. Spring semester: Visiting Professor Mellis. 
2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

222 Drawing II

A course appropriate for students with prior experience in basic principles of visual organization, who wish to investigate further aspects of pictorial construction abstracting from forms including the figure, landscape and organic still life. There will be weekly drawing assignments and critiques, in addition to a final project of a life size self portrait. 

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Professor R. Sweeney. Spring semester: Professor Gloman. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

224 Translating Nature: Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture

This course explores the visual structures of natural things. The processes and disciplines of drawing, acrylic painting, watercolor and sculpture will be used to examine natural subjects such as plants, animals, landscape and the figure. We will work directly from life. Out-of-class trips will be frequent to access natural subject matter not found in the classroom.

Requisite: One of ARHA 111, ARHA 214, or ARHA 215 (because of the diversity of subject and materials used). Limited to 8 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist David Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

226 Women and War in European History, 1558–1918

(Offered as HIST 226 [EU/TC/P], ARHA 226, EUST 226, and SWAG 225) Although overlooked in military histories until recently, women have long been actively involved in warfare: as combatants, as victims, as workers, and as symbols. This course examines both the changing role of women, and the shifting constructions of “womanhood,” in four major European conflicts: the wars of Elizabeth I in sixteenth-century England, the wars and peace of Marie de Médicis in seventeenth-century France, the French Revolution, and the First World War. Using methodologies drawn from Art History and History, the course seeks to understand the gendered nature of warfare. Why are images of women and the family central to the iconography of war, and how have representations of womanhood shifted according to the aims of particular conflicts? To what extent do women’s experiences of warfare differ from men’s, and can war be considered a source of women’s liberation or oppression? Students will analyze a range of historical images in conjunction with primary source texts from these conflicts and will also develop an original research project related to the course’s themes. Two class meetings per week.

Recommended requisite: A course in Art History or History. Limited to 25 students. Not offered in 2021-22. Professor Boucher.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2019

227 Critiquing the Critique as Studio Art Practice

What is the purpose of the art critique and how can we get the most out of them?  Students who have taken at least two studio art courses will explore the meaning and application of critique as it applies both to their own work and the work of others. We will critique the artwork of established artists and the writing of established art critics to unearth strategies. Together, we will define the purpose of critique, deconstruct critique methodologies, hone written and verbal skills to become better critics, and apply criticism toward the development of new work. Students will bring previous work to the course and remake that work based on feedback. Ultimately, students will practice analyzing and articulating their art practice in relationship to various social, cultural, and historical lenses.

Limited to 18 students.  January 2022 term.  Online only. Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

228 Image & Text

The combination of language with visual information offers a rich range of possibilities. In this course we will investigate strategies of interweaving image and text to create works that draw upon the qualities of each to produce hybrid forms. The class will look at a variety of sources and respond to them in a series of hands-on studio projects. These sources include maps, diagrams, calligraphy, illustrations and manuscripts, as well as work from the history of art and literature. The projects can involve drawing, printing, erasures, book-making, writing, digital media and photography to produce works that deploy image and text to express narrative, poetic, political or informational content. Students from a range of diciplines and interests are encouraged to participate.

No prior studio experience is required. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2022

229 The Virgin Mary: Image, Cult, Syncretism (ca. 400-1700)

(Offered as HIST 229 [TC/P/C], ARHA 229, RELI 229 and SWAG 229) When, in 431, the Council of Ephesus declared the Virgin Mary to be Theotokos or God-Bearer, she had already been venerated in Egypt since the third century as a re-instantiation of Isis. The syncretism of her cult explains her ubiquitous popularity in medieval Byzantium and the Latin West, but also in early Islamic Syria and colonial Latin America. Her frequent depiction on moveable wooden panels (icons) and mosaics accompanied her early rise to liturgical prominence. By 1200, she rivaled Jesus Christ in religious importance, not only through her role as intercessor, but also as dispenser of divine grace in the form of breastmilk. She was the most active miracle-working saint in all of Christianity. Her frequent depiction on icons, altarpieces and devotional panels accompanies – and, in part, explains – the development of figurative art in the West. In colonial America, the introduction of her cult ended prior religious forms of expression, but also helped them to partially survive in a new context. In this seminar, students will produce a 15-page research paper based on a careful analysis of textual and visual sources as well as pertinent scholarship. Two class meetings per week. This course will be conducted in class but also include remote students via zoom.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Sperling.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

232 Cartographic Cultures: Making Maps, Building Worlds

(Offered as ARHA 232 and ARCH 232) This course traces the history of modern cartography from the integration of indigenous map-making techniques into colonial Latin American land surveys in the sixteenth century to the use of GIS software by militaries and corporations to create detailed images of foreign and domestic territories in the twenty-first century. Along the way, we will study the political and economic impetus that drove governments, militaries, municipalities, and private entities to create renderings of the land on which we live. We will also investigate the technological history of map-making as we consider the extent to which innovations in modern science have influenced the production of maps. This course will challenge the presumption that maps are factual portrayals of physical space. It will also question how divergent forms of culturally based knowledge as well as economic constraints and corporate rivalries have historically influenced map-making and subsequently shaped our understanding of territories near and far. We will think through these issues while investigating a number of major topics in the history of modern cartography: map-making and indigenous expertise in the Americas prior to and during European intervention; colonial cartography in the Americas, Asia, and Africa; the explosion of the map-making industry in eighteenth and nineteenth-century England and France; the mapping of oceans and other remote landscapes during this time; the twentieth-century genre of pictorial maps in the United States; cartography and modern warfare; and artists’ responses to these histories. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will build their writing and research skills while gaining knowledge of the methods that scholars employ when reading a wide variety of maps. Moreover, in approaching contemporary debates in the field of cartography, this course will introduce students to landscape studies.
Limited to 34 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020

233 2020: Art Can Help

(Offered as ARHA 233 and FAMS 233) We approach the fall of 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic, a wave of international protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, systemic racism, an escalating climate emergency, and widespread anxiety about the consequences of the upcoming American elections. Our own responses to these crises can vary, often from day to day. We may feel inspired to make change or to further educate ourselves, but we can also feel overwhelmed and unsure of our own place in the world. What are our responsibilities as artists, individuals and as members of the communities that surround us?

In this remote studio course for students working in video and photography, we will explore methods and issues related to politically engaged art practice. Topics to be covered may include: the tension between the personal and the political in art, the role of images within political discourse, documentary, archive, and the relationship between creative practice and activism.

Each student will work independently in photography, video or both to produce a body of work that speaks to their own interests or experience. Students may choose to work in a variety of modes that might include or combine direct observation, diaristic record, archival practices, performance or poetic intervention. The course will include group and individual critiques of the students’ work, research seminars, historical and topical lectures from the histories of film, video and photography, and the examination of art practices that seek to balance or blend politics and aesthetics. We will conclude the semester with a group exhibition of artistic work created by students in the class.

Requisite Course: One 200-level course in film/video or photography, or a portfolio of work which demonstrates relevant experience. Limited to 14 students. Omitted 2021-22 Professor Kimball and Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

235 Integrated Practices: Social Issues and the Interview

(Offered as ARHA 235 and FAMS 410)  This Integrated Practices course blends production components and theories regarding the interview, oral histories, direct address and on camera dialogues, in non-fiction video production, in order to explore and respond to the ways in which social issues such as racism, economic inequality, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, bullying, hate speech and hate crimes, disability, incarceration, to name a few, affect us.

In Social Issues and the Interview, students create, research and analyze the process of producing scripted, interview-based, socially engaged, short non-fiction videos. The course examines elements of performance for the camera, remote internet-based interviews, studio and in the field shooting, The class looks at various interview and editing techniques as well as the form, history, and function of the interview form in the non-fiction genre. 

 

Requisite: A foundations course in Critical Studies of Film and Media (such as “Coming to Terms: Cinema”) and an introductory film/video production workshop. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

237 Curating between the Virtual and the Physical: Liliana Porter

This course introduces students to contemporary art and the history and practice of organizing exhibitions. How do we present and experience art in a fixed location and how can art be curated and engaged with on the Internet? A museum exhibition of work by artist Liliana Porter, on view at the Mead during the run of the course, and the planning of a parallel online exhibition in collaboration with Curator of American Art and Arts of the Americas Lisa Crossman, will provide a case study. Porter’s work, which ranges from video to installation to works on paper, offers a particularly rich opportunity for thinking through the relationship between originality and reproduction, objects and representation. This class presents students with an opportunity to converse with the artist, engage with the exhibition of her work on view, learn from a curator, and participate in the organization of the virtual exhibition. Students will also read, discuss, and write about curating, spatial experience, technological mediation, and artists and curators who have reimagined the forms art and exhibitions take.

Limited to 15 students.  Spring semester: Professor Vicario

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

240 Women in Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 240, ARCH 240 and SWAG 240) This course begins with an examination of gendered, architectural spaces and how and why they were structured for women in the 19th century in both Britain and America. Looking at primary and secondary sources, students will gain insight into societal norms and how they conditioned architecture generally associated with women, such as houses, asylums, and early women’s colleges. This study will serve as a platform from which to understand the pressures upon women and the pioneers who rejected such norms and pursued architecture as a profession. The latter half of the course will look at the work of early women architects, the hurdles they faced and the examples they set. The course will conclude with a critical examination of women architects practicing today and how they navigate the profession. It is open to non-majors and will introduce interested students to issues surrounding the architectural canon, equity, and the history of gendered spaces in architecture. 
Limited to 25 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Lecturer Vickery.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

241 The Age of Michelangelo: Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 241, ARCH 241, and EUST 241)  Michelangelo, a defining genius of the Italian Renaissance, emerged from a rich cultural environment that forever changed how we think of art. Artists of the Renaissance developed an original visual language from the legacy of the ancient world, while also examining nature, their environment, and encounters with other worlds to the East and West. Their art revealed a profound engagement with philosophical attitudes toward the body and the spirit, as well as with ideals of pious devotion and civic virtue. Those concepts changed radically over the period of the Renaissance, however. Artists developed the rhetoric of genius and artistic struggle by vaunting an artist’s godlike role, owing to his imaginative creation of art and his ability to mimic reality illusionistically, yet they also questioned a human’s place in the cosmos. We will analyze in depth the visual language of painting, sculpture, and architecture created for merchants, monks, princes and popes in the urban centers of Florence, Rome and Venice from the 14th through the 16th centuries, and examine the virtuosic processes artists used to achieve their goals. 

Rather than taking the form of a survey, this course, based on lectures but regularly incorporating discussion, will analyze selected works and contemporary attitudes toward the visual through study of the art and its primary sources.

 Learning goals:

  • Gain confidence in the art of close looking to gain visual understanding;
  • Achieve an understanding about how art and its culture are intertwined;
  • Develop the critical skills to analyze points of view from a historical period other than our own;
  • Learn collaboratively with classmates;
  • Develop and argue an original thesis about a single work of art in a research paper.

Meets twice a week, 1 hour and 20 minutes.

One course in ARHA, FAMS, or ARCH recommended.

Uncapped.

 Omitted 2021-22. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

242 Hand-Drawn and Hand-Printed: The Stories of Images

This course will focus on drawing and printmaking as a means of building visual stories through serial description and expression. Studio work will include brush and ink drawings, watercolor, printmaking techniques, and collage, with a range of approaches to subject matter based on each student’s individual interests and choices. These include representational, narrative, abstract, and symbol-based imagery, among others. Relief printing techniques using both wood and synthetic blocks, will be taught, as well as the intaglio technique of trace monotype printing. All prints will be handprinted using spoons, barens, and the palm of the hand. Experimentation around conceptual and technical boundaries will be explored and encouraged. Projects will focus on using a combination of these means to develop a series of related images. A broad cultural range of contemporary and historical references will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects. The semester’s work will culminate in a cohesive body of visual work given the form of a small-scale installation and, for the final project, a hand-made accordion book. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Writing will be required of students in the form of series statements, feedback on other students’ projects, and final semester reflections on their work. No prerequisites required.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

243 Cut, Inked and Hand Pressed: Woodcut Prints

Woodcut is a dynamic form of printmaking. It has been instrumental in communication since the invention of paper in 105 C.E. and is a relief technique with a broad array of possibilities. Students will learn various methods to cut and print wood blocks, and assignments will include multiple block printing, hand-colored prints, collage, and cut paper. All prints will be handprinted using spoons, barens and the palm the hand. Assignments will be critiqued regularly, and critical analysis of prints' conceptual and technical concerns will be discussed. The study of a culturally wide range of historical and contemporary artists will provide inspiration, insight and knowledge into the visual language of woodcut. Students will be encouraged to create imagery that provides personal meaning influenced by political, individualistic, imaginative and emotional experiences. No prerequisites required.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

247 Independent Projects: Sculpture Studio Seminar

This course is an opportunity for students to pursue and shape independent sculpture projects developed through a series of closely related sculptural works. The class will focus on the dynamics and engineering of three-dimensional structures and compositions, sensitivity to materials – what they offer and associations they carry--and use of a tactile language of form as expressive means. The semester will result in the production by each student of a coherent body of works, where every piece has informed and shaped the next as students’ ideas for their series are honed and more fully explored. The class as a whole will start the semester’s work with short exercises and studies, testing a range of approaches to using the language of three-dimensional form, before moving in individual directions. Modeling and construction techniques, as well as mold-making and casting, will be taught as needed in response to student goals, and as is possible within the constraints of COVID-19 precautions. Relevant readings, presentations, and museum visits will inform studio work. Regular group critiques and discussions will be a key part of learning with and from each other.
Requisite: ARHA 214, or permission of the instructor.
Taught on campus, and remotely through group and individual Zoom meetings, and shared on-line materials, if needed.
Omitted 2021-2022. Limited to 8 students. Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

249 Digital Art History

(Offered as ARHA 249 and ARCH 249) This course is an introduction to the latest digital tools that art historians and museum curators use to analyze and display works of art, architecture, and the larger built environment, including, but not limited to, 3D modeling, network graphing, and digital mapping and storytelling. We will begin by asking what actually constitutes art historical data and then turn to consider how the digital collection, organization, interpretation, and presentation of this information can inform our understanding of objects, buildings, cities, and landscapes. Among the other topics we will explore are the digital artworks and exhibitions that artists and curators around the globe are currently creating in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the ethics and practicalities of doing digital art history today. This non-lecture-based course centers hands-on collective learning and is designed for students of all backgrounds. No previous knowledge of the subject is presumed.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

250 Humanitarian Design in Theory and Practice

(Offered as ARCH 250 and ARHA 250) This course explores the challenges and possibilities of humanitarian design, a growing area of interest in architectural practice. The course includes a field trip to Ecuador, to take place over Spring Break. This field component is deeply integrated into the course contents. During the first part of the semester, students become familiar with relevant theoretical and practice-based approaches to disaster reconstruction. With that, they gain an understanding of the complexities of this area, and a good grasp of the tasks and issues to be dealt with in the field. Upon returning from Ecuador, the rest of the semester is devoted to debriefing, producing and analyzing documentation, and drawing general lessons for the theory and practice of humanitarian design. The main case study is that of post-disaster reconstruction following Ecuador’s 2016 Pedernales Earthquake, which killed over 600 people and injured over 16,000. We will study the outcome of diverse reconstruction efforts and approaches four years after the earthquake. In order to compare and contrast approaches, our fieldwork will focus on two settings, an urban and a rural one, both located in the coastal Manabí province.

Limited to 12 Amherst College students. Admission with consent of the instructor. This course is open to Amherst College students only.  There will be an application process before pre-registration. Those students selected will have their travel expenses covered.
Omitted 2021-22. Professor Arboleda. 

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

253 The Modern Metropolis

(Offered as ARHA 253 and ARCH 253) This course traces the social and political history of the modern city from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. In the process, it questions the extent to which contemporary megacities—like São Paulo or Shanghai—reflect a social and urban system of organization that has its roots in earlier experiments in metropolitan design. Over the course of the semester, we will approach a number of genericized architectural spaces that have recurred across modern cities in ways that elucidate the broader template to which such urban zones often conform. These sites include the park, the nightclub, the brothel, the restaurant, the port, the highway, and the hotel, to name only a few. Our examination of these spaces will foreground the role of architecture and urban planning in shaping social interaction in these common locales. We will approach these sites as manifested in several modern metropolises, such as Paris, Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai, Dakar, São Paulo, and New York. In investigating these places, we will ask: What makes a city? What, if any, continuities characterize the organizational structures, social spaces, and living conditions of modern cities in the western and non-western worlds? In encouraging students to explore the relationships between European and non-European urban centers, this course will serve as a point of departure for rethinking the binaries that separate the West and the Non-West. Through written assignments and independent research, students will gain knowledge of the ways in which urban spaces have informed social, political, economic, and cultural histories in America and beyond. This course will also aid students in developing their writing and research skills.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

255 Latin American Art: Strategies and Tactics

(Offered as ARHA 255 and LLAS 255) This course explores art produced since 1920 in Latin America. From the state-sponsored murals of post-revolutionary Mexico to the "Constructive Universalism” of Joaquín Torres-García in Uruguay, how did artists align themselves with and distinguish themselves from movements and ideas circulating in Europe and the United States? When and why did U.S. institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art begin to collect, exhibit, and theorize art from Latin America? At mid-century, how was the proliferation of geometric abstraction in Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Caracas entangled with the modernization projects in those cities? In the wake of the Cuban Revolution, in what ways did the spread of anti-imperialist ideas radicalize artistic practices across the region? When dictatorships commandeered several countries from the 1960s through the 1980s, how did political and cultural repression generate new dangers but also new tactics for artists? Studying more recent practices, we will investigate art projects produced on the U.S.-Mexico border, the interaction between artists from Latin America and an increasingly global art world, and the curatorial trends characterizing the early twenty-first century display of art from the region. Throughout the course, the work of art will be analyzed as the battleground upon and across which political struggles were fought.

Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2021

257 The Colonial City: Architecture, Empire, Resistance

(Offered as ARHA 257, ARCH 257, and BLST 253) Creole dwellings were first erected by enslaved builders working under Diego Colón (the son of Christopher Columbus) on the island of Hispaniola. By the end of the first wave of European expansion in the early nineteenth century, the creole style existed across imperial domains in the Caribbean, North and South America, Africa, the Indian Ocean, and even Asia. We will examine the global diffusion of this architectural typology from its emergence in the Spanish Caribbean to its florescence in British and French India in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In doing so, we will address buildings and towns in former Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonies worldwide. Some of the urban centers that we will engage include: Kingston, Jamaica; Pondicherry, India; Cape Town, South Africa; Cartagena, Colombia; Saint-Louis, Senegal; and Macau, China. In investigating both creole structures and the cities that harbored such forms, we will think through the social and economic factors that caused buildings and urban areas to display marked continuities despite geographical and imperial distinctions.
Limited to 34 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

258 Art, Things, Spaces, and Places

(Offered as ARHA 258, ARCH 258 and EUST 258) The purpose of this course is to introduce students to research on lived environments from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, the architecture that shaped them, and the art and objects that they contained. The goal of each class, through reading and discussion, is to investigate what a researchable question is in the fields of history, art history, architecture, and material culture in Europe, England, and the Americas. Using multi-disciplinary research strategies, we will examine the power of precious and ordinary objects (including furniture, tapestries, devotional paintings, family portraits, and sculpture), the contemporary connotations of their materiality, and consider what objects in a home might signify about a family’s status, political allegiance, spirituality, and place in the world. Further, we will ask how art, objects and décor shape the beholder’s experience of spaces inside and outside a residence, in private and in public. What does the display of objects in collections, including those from far-away cultures other than the patron’s, signify to the owner and the viewer? Visiting lecturers will present their ideas on various topics such as the anthropology of art, the significance of precious materials, and collecting. We will take field trips to museums and meet curators in order to identify a research topic.

This course will give students tools to conduct their own research into past lived environments and their contents, and identify how we in the 21st century might come to understand them. As the culmination of the course students will collaboratively develop a prospectus for a research project with one or two other classmates. Assignments to meet that goal include adding new content to Wikipedia as a record of students’ findings and a contribution to knowledge for a wider public.

Open to sophomores but also motivated first-years interested in research in a variety of fields. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Spring 2022

259 Utopia: Visionary Architecture, Art and Theory

(Offered as ARHA 259 and ARCH 259) This course is an examination of utopian plans in architecture and art. We will consider the philosophical constructs of utopia in architectural drawings, buildings, and plans in relation to film, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. We will consider how different projections about life in the future are also harsh criticisms of the present, which often rely upon imagined concepts of social organizations in times past. The course reflects on utopian art from antiquity to the present, including an examination of selected utopian authors, including Sir Thomas More, Edward Bellamy, and William Morris, with an emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We examine the tensions between theory and practice by studying the successes and failures of actual attempts at realizing utopian communities. We will question the differences between utopia, dystopia, displacement and the home, as we consider whether utopian art and design is viable in the twenty-first century.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

261 Buddhist Art of Asia

(Offered as ARHA 261 and ASLC 260) Visual imagery plays a central role in the Buddhist faith. As the religion developed and spread throughout Asia it took many forms. This course will first examine the appearance of the earliest aniconic traditions in ancient India, the development of the Buddha image, and early monastic centers. It will then trace the dissemination and transformation of Buddhist art as the religion reached South-East Asia, Central Asia, and eventually East Asia. In each region indigenous cultural practices and artistic traditions influenced Buddhist art. Among the topics the course will address are the nature of the Buddha image, the political uses of Buddhist art, the development of illustrated hagiographies, and the importance of pilgrimage, both in the past and the present.

Fall semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

263 The Art Market

This course investigates the relationship between art and commerce in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. What is the network of auctions, galleries, and fairs overseeing the buying and selling of works of art and how is value decided, constructed, and transformed in the process? How do we understand and calculate the value of art in both economic and symbolic terms? How do you buy and sell a work of performance art? What agency do artists possess in determining how their work operates in the market and how have artists played with the market since the 1960s? Finally, in what ways does the making, buying, and selling of works of art conform to and diverge from the operations of the economy at large? Using texts by Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, Eve Chiapello, and Jean-Joseph Goux, among others, as a theoretical foundation, we will explore the relationship between works of art and commodities and the ways in which artists both embrace and critique the commercial side of the art world. We will also study the recent attention paid to the “dirty money” funding arts institutions and trace a longer history of this phenomenon and its contestation by artists, activists, and artist-activists.

Requisite: One course in the history of art or cultural studies or permission of the instructor. Recommended requisite: ARHA 155. Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Niko Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2021, Fall 2021

267 Islamic Arts of the Book

(Offered as ARHA 267 and ASLC 267) The book has played (and continues to play) a central role in the Islamic world. As a technology, it gives physical form to the Qur’an, an orally proclaimed text, allowing Islam’s scripture to be read, touched, held, and easily transported. It is a carrier of divine blessing, but also of wisdom, authority, tradition, and affiliation. The earliest Islamic books were either very fragile, being made of papyrus, or expensive, being made of animal skin (parchment). Knowledge of papermaking, which traveled westward from its place of origin in China, revolutionized the production of manuscripts in royal and intellectual hubs like Samarqand, Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordoba. Books on geography, history, poetry, and science soon proliferated, many of them filled with fantastic paintings made of gold leaf, ground minerals, and carbon-based inks. We will study the history of the Islamic book, from manuscripts of the Qur’an, which often bear calligraphy but almost never include illustrations, to historical, astrological, and poetic works—like the famous Shahnama (Book of Kings)—that contain images of various types and sizes. We will pay special attention to who produced, collected, and circulated these books, and ask how and according to which criteria they were conceived, used, and evaluated. We will bring to our objects of study a close-viewing lens, but also explore the use of computational tools drawn from the Digital Humanities. Visits to view book materials in local collections will supplement classroom discussion and assigned readings. No previous knowledge of the topic is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2019

269 Baroque Art

(Offered as ARHA 269, ARCH 269, EUST 269) At the beginning of the seventeenth century, religious and social upheavals in Europe led to a renewed proliferation of exciting, innovative art. In this century of remarkably varied artistic production, paradoxes abounded. Artists sought the illusion of reality by imitating unimproved, even base or monstrous nature through close observation of the human body, landscape, and ordinary, humble objects of daily use. They imbued art meant to inspire religious devotion with unbounded eroticism or with the gory details of painful suffering and hideous death. Artists and architects made the visionary appear real and sensual. They adored the past but re-cast it in modern terms. Others continued to quest for perfection in a return to the lofty principles implicit in ancient artistic canons of ideality. More than ever before, artists explored the expression of passion through dramatic narratives and sharply revealing portraiture. They depicted dominating political leaders as flawed mortals—even satirized them through the new art of caricature—at the same time that they developed a potent and persuasive vocabulary in art, architecture, and gardens for the expression of the rulers’ absolutist political power.

This class will examine issues in Baroque art in depth through selected works of painting, sculpture, and architecture produced by artists in the Catholic countries of the seventeenth century, e.g. Caravaggio, Bernini, Poussin, Velázquez, and Rubens in Italy, France, Spain, the Spanish Netherlands, and parts of the Americas. It also engages the cultural, social, and intellectual framework for their accomplishments. 

Intermediate level, one other course in art history preferred but not required. Uncapped.

Spring Semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2016, Spring 2022

270 African Art and the Diaspora

(Offered as ARHA 270 and BLST 293 [D]) The course of study will examine those African cultures and their arts that have survived and shaped the aesthetic, philosophic and religious patterns of African descendants in Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and urban centers in North America. We shall explore the modes of transmission of African artistry to the West and examine the significance of the preservation and transformation of artistic forms from the period of slavery to our own day. Through the use of films, slides and objects, we shall explore the depth and diversity of this vital artistic heritage of Afro-Americans. 

Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

284 Women and Art in Early Modern Europe

(Offered as ARHA 284, EUST 284, and SWAG 206)  This introductory discussion-based course will examine how prevailing ideas about women and gender shaped visual imagery in Europe from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and how these images, in turn, presented surprisingly varied pictures of women and their domains. Artists vividly expressed the paradoxical power that women possessed even more than language could. Both admired and feared in their societies, aristocrats, queens, mistresses, saints, witches, heroines, and housewives were all depicted in art in elevated and debased manners, sometimes as eroticized subjects and at other times as powerful, idealized actors—occasionally both at the same time. We will analyze the art and material goods that women paid for and what it communicated about them; women’s homes and the objects they held; the portrayal of women from merchant societies in Italian city-states to aristocratic women in India, of female saints, heroes and rulers, including Elizabeth I of England and Maria de' Medici of France; and the troubling imagery of rape. These different types of art raise questions about biological theories about women; feminine ideals of beauty; what marriage meant in different societies; the relationship between the exercise of political power and gender; women’s expression of transcendent spirituality; and what the portrayal of indigenous and enslaved women in Dutch and Spanish colonies conveyed about race.

 GOALS FOR LEARNING

  • Understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;
  • Gain an understanding of how historical attitudes about women and by women affect art made about and by women;
  • Develop an analytical ability to examine points of view expressed in texts and art of a historical period other than our own and to distinguish them from another;
  • Learn collaboratively with classmates;
  • Learn how to perform 2 kinds of research:

1) find materials to contribute publicly useful scholarship, by creating or revising Wikipedia entries, which greatly lack material on women;

2) Develop and argue an original thesis in a 10-page research paper.

 No prerequisites. Uncapped.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Spring 2021

304 Documentary Photography

In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore the practice of documentary photography. This course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class visual exercises. We will examine the history, theory and ideological questions and complications of working with those outside of or within one’s own circle of experience. This will be complemented by a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary photographers, and slide lectures that consider the multitude of ways artists use photography within the documentary tradition.

Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2020

308 Doing What You Don’t Know How to Do

Under what conditions can we make our best work? What does our best work look like and how is that assessment made? And how can we access our best selves to do so?  This course interrogates the dynamics of the visual arts studio: the opportunities, conditions, and pressures that shape our behavior there. By creating a supportive community via online conferencing with both synchronous and asynchronous elements, and photographic sharing of projects/assignments — perhaps a new kind of studio? — we encourage risk and reach towards a studio practice that is yet unknown to us. We will teach each other, think big and then bigger, try new materials and processes, and treat each decision as an experiment. This course will introduce both historical and contemporary examples of artists in whose work we can readily observe risk-taking and problem solving. Setting the stage for a life in the studio driven by exploration and fearlessness, we will ask the question, “What do we have to lose?”

Requisite: Nomination by the art departments of each of the Five Colleges. Limited to 15 students, with spaces reserved for 3 students from each of the Five Colleges. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Lecturer Hepler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

313 Still/Moving: The Documentary Project

(Offered as ARHA 313 and FAMS 313) In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore creative documentary practice in both photography and video production. The course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design, and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class exercises, both visual and technical. Shared topics between the two mediums may include: ethnography, narrative, sequencing/editing, staging/scripting, place and space, and working with archival materials. We will examine the shared history, theory, and ideological questions of these mediums, and focus on issues that inform contemporary documentary practice and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The course will include a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary artists, and presentations that consider the many ways artists use photography and film/video within the documentary tradition.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience in photography or film/video (to be approved by the instructor(s) in advance of the first class.) Limited to 14 students. Fall semester. Assistant Professor Levine and Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

319 Working in Series: The Interdisciplinary Connection Between Drawing and the Hand-Printed Image

An investigation of ideas into the development of visual imagery focusing on series of works utilizing drawing and printmaking. Contemporary and historical references of artists' series of works will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects, culminating in a final project consisting of a cohesive, visual body of work. Experimentation of conceptual and technical boundaries will be encouraged and explored. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Visual work will include a wide variety of drawing media, including, but not limited to traditional methods. The techniques of intaglio and relief printmaking will be used in combination with and concurrent to the drawn images.

Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

323 Advanced Studio Seminar

A studio course that will emphasize compositional development by working from memory, imagination, literature and abstractions derived from nature and other works of visual art. The Students will be encouraged to explore a wide variety of media including, but not limited to, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and collage. Students will be required to create an independent body of work over the course of the semester which explores their individual direction in pictorial construction. 

Requisite: ARHA 222, 326 or 327 or permission of the instructor. Limited to 5 students. Fall and Spring semester. Professor R. Sweeney.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

324 Sculpture II Miniatures and Monuments 

In this course we will be exploring the role of scale in sculpture. Through a series of studio projects, in a variety of materials, we will create sculptures in a range of sizes to understand how scale affects the creation and perception of a work of three-dimensional art. Using wood, welded steel, clay, and plaster, we will examine forms including the miniature, the maquette, and the monument. Students will have opportunities for collaboration and installation and be encouraged to explore new territory while refining and developing their critical and technical skills. Contemporary critical approaches will be introduced through readings and visual presentations.

Requisite: ARHA 214 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

 

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2022

325 Images and Icons—Exploring Devotional Art

(Offered as ARHA 325 and ASLC 325) An examination of the construction, use, and interpretation of images and icons. The primary focus will be on images and icons in the Buddhist and Hindu faiths; however, the class will also make comparisons with those in Christianity and the religions of Africa and New Guinea. Some of the topics to be covered will include the relationship between icons and deities, the authentication and animation of images, the connections between icons and political authority, the ritual use of images, and aniconism and iconoclasm. The class is designed to focus on art historical writing.

Limited to 18 students to facilitate class discussion. Omitted 2021-22. Prof. Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

326 Painting II

This course offers students knowledgeable in the basic principles and skills of painting and drawing an opportunity to investigate personal directions in painting. Assignments will be collectively as well as individually directed. Discussions of the course work will assume the form of group as well as individual critiques. Two three-hour class meetings per week.

Requisite: ARHA 215 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2021-22. Senior Resident Artist Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

328 Photography II

(Offered as ARHA 328) This course is a continuing investigation of the skills and questions introduced in ARHA 218. An emphasis will be placed on defining, locating and pursuing independent work; this will be accomplished through a series of weekly demonstrations, assignments and a final independent project. Student work will be discussed and evaluated in group and individual critiques. This is complemented by slide presentations and topical readings of contemporary and historical photography.This course will be taught virtually using digital cameras and and software. Students will be supplied with cameras for the semester. Two two-hour meetings per week. 

Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021

330 Fictional Narrative Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 330 and FAMS 443) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore fictional narrative filmmaking through a rigorous script-to-screen process. Students will write, shoot and edit a short (8-minute) fictional narrative film either in small groups or individually. In addition to weekly online screenings of short and feature narrative films, the class will consist of weekly Zoom sessions led by the professor, including lectures on advanced narrative filmmaking techniques, film discussions, script readings, and critiques of footage and various cuts.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Instructor to be determined.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020

335 Experiments in 16mm Film

(Offered as ARHA 335 and FAMS 335) This intermediate production course surveys the outer limits of cinematic expression and provides an overview of creative 16mm film production. We will begin by making cameraless projects through drawing, painting and scratching directly onto the film strip before further exploring the fundamentals of 16mm technology, including cameras, editing and hand-processing. While remaining aware of our creative choices, we will invite chance into our process and risk failure, as every experiment inevitably must.

Through screenings of original film prints, assigned readings and discussion, the course will consider a number of experimental filmmakers and then conclude with a review of exhibition and distribution strategies for moving image art. All students will complete a number of short assignments on film and one final project on either film or video, each of which is to be presented for class critique. One three-hour class and one film screening per week.

Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

350 Practice and Theory of Art History

What is art history? What is its history? What are its premises and where does it come from? This seminar will explore the historical foundations, formulations, and applications of current art historical methods, the foundations of the art historical discipline as it emerged from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as attitudes towards and theories on art practice in their diverse global contexts from before the modern period. Both practice and theory will be considered through discussion of select texts and objects drawn from a variety of traditions. Topics may include: style and periodization; iconography, narratology, and phenomenology; semiotics; the social functions of images and the social history of art; the cultural foundations of representation, aesthetics, and vision; art and the material world; art, gender, and sexuality; collecting and commodification of art; and post-colonialism and post-modernism.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

353 Myth, Ritual and Iconography in West Africa

(Offered as BLST 315 [A] and ARHA 353) Through a contrastive analysis of the religious and artistic modes of expression in three West African societies—the Asanti of the Guinea Coast, and the Yoruba and Igbo peoples of Nigeria—the course will explore the nature and logic of symbols in an African cultural context. We shall address the problem of cultural symbols in terms of African conceptions of performance and the creative play of the imagination in ritual acts, masked festivals, music, dance, oral histories, and the visual arts as they provide the means through which cultural heritage and identity are transmitted and preserved, while, at the same time, being the means for innovative responses to changing social circumstances.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

357 The Persian Book of Kings

(Offered as ASLC 357, ARHA 357, and HIST 357 [TC, TE, ME, P]) The Shahnameh (Book of Kings), completed by Abu’l Qasim Ferdowsi around 1010, is one of the world's greatest epics, and also one of the most enigmatic. The Shahnameh tells the history of pre-Islamic Iran from the beginnings of civilization until the Arab conquest in the seventh century A.D. Its tales of battles, romance, heroism, and betrayal have been appreciated as literature for centuries. At the same time, it’s been deployed for political and cultural ends. Many of the communities who have most enthusiastically embraced its stories and themes have been of non-Iranian origin. Indeed, Ferdowsi’s patron, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, was himself of Turkic background. Since the nineteenth century, it has been touted as the cultural cornerstone of an emphatically non-Muslim modern Iranian national identity, and yet the author and his patron were Muslim. Some have even interpreted the Shahnameh as encouraging conversion to Islam.

This course will explore the Shahnameh as literature, history, and material culture—including illustrated manuscripts, printed books, ceramics, metalwork, and photography—from its original tenth-century context to the contemporary moment. We will focus in particular on a heavily illustrated mid-nineteenth-century copy of the Shahnameh in Amherst College’s Archives and Special Collections, and consider how this work expressed a non-Islamic cultural foundation of modernity. We will follow this story to explore how the Shahnameh figures in debates over the pre-Islamic past today. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professors Rice and Ringer.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

383 The Tea Ceremony and Japanese Culture

(Offered as ARHA 383 and ASLC 319) An examination of the history of chanoyu, the tea ceremony, from its origins in the fifteenth century to the practice of tea today. The class will explore the various elements that comprise the tea environment-the garden setting, the architecture of the tea room, the forms of tea utensils, and the elements of the kaiseki meal. Through a study of the careers of influential tea masters and texts that examine the historical, religious, and cultural background of tea culture, the course will also trace how the tea ceremony has become a metaphor for Japanese culture and Japanese aesthetics both in Japan and in the West. There will be field trips to visit tea ware collections, potters and tea masters. Two class meetings per week.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

384 The Replicated Image in Japanese Art: Woodblock Prints, Postcards, and Photographs

(Offered as ARHA 384 and ASLC 384) An image that can be replicated serves a very different function from a single unique work of art; it addresses new audiences and elicits a wider range of responses. This course will explore three different types of replicated images in Japan—woodblock prints, lithographs, and photographs. With the unprecedented achievement of literacy among urban populations during the early seventeenth century, Japan developed highly inventive woodblock texts and images. The course will begin with an investigation of the Japanese print in the Edo period (1615–1868) through the works of artists such as Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige. It will subsequently examine the early history of the photograph in the nineteenth century and then how the postcard replaced the print as the favored format for the dissemination of images during the early twentieth century, becoming the primary visual means for communicating Japan’s modernity before the advent of World War II. The course will conclude with a study of photography from the 1920s to the present day. Photography also documented Japan’s modern era, the social tensions that appeared in the high-grown era after WWII, and today often transcends national boundaries.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

385 Witches, Vampires and Other Monsters

(Offered as ARHA 385, EUST 385, and SWAG 310) Our course will explore how evil was imagined, over cultures, centuries and disciplines. With the greatest possible historical and cultural specificity, we will investigate an array of monstrous creatures and plagues -- their terrifying powers, the explanations for why they came to be, and the strategies for how they could be purged -- as we attempt to articulate the kindred qualities they shared. We will study centuries-old witch burning manuals, and note the striking degree to which dangerous tropes -- about women, about pestilence, about dangerous sexuality, and about differences of all kinds -- have continued to our day. Among the artists to be considered are Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Dalí, Buñuel, Dreyer, Wilder, Almodóvar, and the community who made the AIDS Quilt.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

388 Approaches to Chinese Painting

(Offered as ARHA 388 and ASLC 383) This course will survey the Chinese pictorial and calligraphic traditions from the Neolithic era to the present day. Particular emphasis will be placed on the period from the Northern Song to the Qing dynasties and the development of the landscape idiom, but the course will also address the figure, bird and flower, and narrative traditions as well. It will conclude with an exploration of the ways contemporary artists engage the legacy of China’s cultural heritage. Special attention will be given to the differences between Western methodological approaches to Chinese painting and the theories of painting developed by the Chinese themselves.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

412 The Sixties

We will investigate a series of historical events (such as the Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis, Stonewall, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King) as well as the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of identity politics (Feminism, Black Power, the Brown Berets) and the counterculture. We will study the myriad art forms and their attendant ideologies invented during the decade (such as Pop, Op, Color Field, Minimalism, Land Art, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Fluxus), as well as some crucial critics, dealers and art journals, in an effort to understand the ways in which artists rejected or appropriated, then transformed, certain themes and conceptual models of their time. This course will include class trips.

Requisite: One course in modern art or consent of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 11 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Staller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2019

441 Documentary Production

(Offered as ARHA 441 and FAMS 441) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore creative documentary practice through readings, weekly screenings and production assignments. Each student will complete a series of projects working both as a single maker and in collaboration with other members of the class. Topics may include: shooting the interview; scripting, performance and reenactment; history and narrativity; place and space; ethnography and the “embedded” filmmaker. We will also host visiting filmmakers and, where possible, visit a cultural institution which supports and screens cutting-edge documentary work.

The course will be taught annually but will focus on a set of revolving themes and issues that inform contemporary documentary filmmaking and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The theme for Fall 2019 will be “Place and Space". One 3-hour class (some of which will include field shooting and research trips) and one evening screening each week.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Fall 2019

444 Films That Try: Essay Film Production

(Offered as ARHA 444 and FAMS 412) Essay filmmaking is a dynamic form with many commonly cited attributes—the presence of an authorial voice, an emphasis on broad themes, an eclectic approach to genre, and the tendency to digress or draw unexpected connections. Yet, true to its nature, the precise definition of the essay film is in constant flux. It can be both personal and political, individual and collective, noble and mischievous. Essay filmmakers themselves are equally diverse, ranging from established film auteurs to Third Cinema activists and contemporary video artists.

If we entertain the notion that the processes of cinema closely resemble the mechanics of human thought, then the essay film may be the medium’s purest expression. To watch or make such a film, we must give ourselves over to a compulsive, restless energy that delights in chasing a subject down any number of rabbit holes and blind alleys, often stopping to admire the scenery on the way. As with thought, there is no end product, no clear boundaries, no goal but the activity itself.

The term "essay" finds its origins in the French essayer, meaning “to attempt” or to try.” In this advanced production workshop, we will read, screen and discuss examples of the essayistic mode in literature and cinema while making several such attempts of our own. Students will complete a series of writing assignments and video projects informed by class materials and group discussion.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.

Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

445 Advanced Projects in Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 445 and FAMS 445) In this course, we will take the skills and insights gained in introductory production courses and develop them over the length of the semester through the creation of one short project, ten minutes long. Students may work individually or in pairs. We will learn by making work as well as by researching, reading, and watching films related to our projects. We may take this opportunity to delve into and learn the conventions of our chosen form, or we may decide that our content demands formal experimentation and risk-taking. The course will be structured by the projects each student brings to it. We will begin the semester with brainstorming, research, script/documentary proposal writing, and pre-production. Each student will develop a script or in-depth proposal to begin with. As we move into production, we will review and deepen our knowledge of camera, lighting (available & set), sound (location & studio), and editing principles and techniques. We will move between production and post-production in the second half of the semester, first developing sequences, then rough assemblies, rough cuts, and fine cuts, before ultimately completing our final cut.

Requisite: Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have completed at least one previous course in video production and preferably two previous courses, one at the 200-level and one at the 300-level. Limited to 10 students. Admission with consent of the instructor. Omitted 2021-22. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

481 Conversations with Experimental Filmmakers

(Offered as ENGL 481, ARHA 481, and FAMS 481) Experimental film is a vital area of contemporary media culture where artists engage the moving image from a wide range of creative approaches, exploring film as an aesthetic, poetic, or political medium, rather than a commercial enterprise. By departing from the conventions of mainstream film, experimental filmmakers present their audience with a stimulating challenge, asking viewers to develop new critical frameworks through which to assess films that often resist classification and traditional interpretive approaches.

In this seminar, students will take up this challenge by exploring different ways of entering into conversation with the work of experimental filmmakers. Through weekly screenings, in-class visits by contemporary filmmakers, and group discussions of course readings (such as artists’ writings, interviews, and related theoretical material), we will develop critical and creative vocabularies that help us to analyze and respond to an array of experimental films and videos. Along with completing writing assignments and in-class presentations, students will plan and execute a final project that can assume a number of critical or creative forms, such as an interview with a filmmaker, a short video, or an analytical essay.

Requisite: At least one foundational course in FAMS, ARHA, or ENGL. Open to juniors and seniors, and to sophomores with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Guilford.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2019

490 Special Topics

Independent reading course. A full course.

Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

Preparation of a thesis or completion of a studio project which may be submitted to the Department for consideration for Honors.

Open to seniors with consent of the Department. Fall semester. The Department.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Admission & Financial Aid

Admission & Financial Aid

Back

Art and the History of Art

Professors Abiodun, Clark, Courtright (Chair), Kimball‡, Morse, Staller, and Sweeney; Associate Professor Arboleda; Senior Resident Artists Garand and Gloman; Assistant Professors Carey*, Levine, Rice, and Vicario; Visiting Professor Koehler; Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis† ; Visiting Lecturers Chase, Culhane, England, Helander, and Hepler; CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Yu.

The Department of Art and the History of Art offers students a singular means within the College to develop artistic awareness, historical understanding, critical faculties and practice in the visual arts. Students across the College may accomplish these objectives by taking introductory to advanced courses in art history and studio practice. To identify and serve individual interests and goals, the department major is organized into two distinct programs: The History of Art and The Practice of Art:

History of Art Concentration: Professors Abiodun, Courtright, Morse and Staller; Associate Professor Arboleda; Assistant Professors Carey, Rice, and Vicario; Visiting Professor Koehler.

An intensive and structured engagement with the visual heritage of many cultures throughout the centuries, this curriculum requires not only the study of art history as a way to acquire deep and broad visual understanding, but also a self‑conscious focus on the contexts and meanings of art. By encountering the architecture, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and material culture created within a variety of historical frameworks, students will deepen their understanding of political, religious, philosophical, aesthetic, and social currents that defined those times as well. As a consequence, students will face art and issues that challenge preconceptions of our own era.

Course Requirements: The concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project). With the help of a department advisor, each student will devise a program of study and a sequence of courses that must include:

• One introductory course in the history of art

• Two courses in the arts of Africa, Asia, or the Middle East

• One course in European art before 1800

• One course in European or American art after 1800

• Two upper‑level courses or seminars with research papers, one of which may be a course outside the department with a focus on visual arts in the student's research paper

• One Studio elective (preferably before Senior Year)

• One additional Studio or related elective

Many of our courses could count for two of these requirements. For example, an upper‑level course in European art before 1800 with a required research paper will fulfill two of the requirements. An introductory course in the arts of Asia will fulfill two of the requirements as well.

Honors: Candidates for honors in this concentration will, with departmental permission, take ARHA 498-499 during their senior year. Students must apply and be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April.

Comprehensive Exam: Majors in the History of Art must satisfy a comprehensive assessment by participating in an undergraduate student conference in the final semester of the senior year. Each student will be expected to prepare a brief presentation that will demonstrate how a text of their choice could expand and develop one of the research projects completed to satisfy their requirements for the major. It should elucidate the link between their work and future goals. Students seeking department honors will be expected to present on their senior thesis.

Practice of Art Concentration: Professors Clark, Kimball, and Sweeney; Assistant Professor Levine; Senior Resident Artists Garand and Gloman; Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis, Visiting Lecturers Chase, Culhane, England, Helander, and Hepler; CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Yu.

The concentration in the Practice of Art enables students to become fluent in the discipline of the practice of visual arts. Students will develop critical and analytical thinking as well as the discipline's techniques and methods as a means to explore artistic, intellectual and human experience. Students will build towards creating a personal vision beginning with primary studies in drawing and introductory art history, proceeding on to courses using a broad range of media, and culminating in advanced studio studies of a more self directed nature. Working with their advisor, students will be encouraged to nurture the strong interdisciplinary opportunities found both at Amherst and the other institutions in the valley.

Course Requirements: The Practice of Art concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project):

•   Three introductory level studio courses

•   Five additional studio courses, at least 2 of which must be at the intermediate or advanced levels, chosen in close consultation with advisor

•   One course in contemporary Art History

•   One additional course in art history

In consultation with their advisors, students in this concentration will be encouraged to take additional courses both in art history and other disciplines. These courses should be broadly related to their artistic interests outside of the studio concentration, enriching their interdisciplinary understanding and engagement within a liberal arts curriculum. This expectation will be especially high for honors thesis candidates.

Honors: Candidates for honors will, with departmental permission, take ARHA 498-499 during the senior year. Students must apply and be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April. In designing their year‑long projects, students will be encouraged to explore the interdisciplinary implications and opportunities inherent in their artistic directions. Thesis students will also be required to develop a statement that ultimately places their body of work within a historical and cultural artistic discourse. There will be an exhibition of the bodies of work representing the honors theses in the Eli Marsh Gallery, Fayerweather Hall, in May.

Comprehensive Examination: Required of all studio concentration majors, except thesis students. This work should be done in consultation with your advisor. You should meet with them before Thanksgiving break.

Creation in the senior year of an ambitious independent work/s of art. This project is designed and created independently by the student, can be in any medium or combination of mediums, and may also be interdisciplinary in nature. Students will also develop a concise, written statement that addresses their conceptual concerns, process, choice of materials and media. It should cite influences as well as place the work within a historical and artistic context. The written statement and the work/s of art are due on Monday of the 6th week of the student's final semester. On that day students are expected to hang the work for a week‑long group exhibition to be reviewed by the Studio Faculty. A .pdf (Adobe format) or .doc/docx (Word format) of the written component is due as an attachment by email to the Department Coordinator ‑ finearts@amherst.edu on the same Monday.

* On leave 2021-22.
† On leave fall semester 2021-22.
‡ On leave spring semester 2021-22.

101 The Language of Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 101 and ARHA 101) This introductory course focuses on the tools used to communicate and discuss ideas in architectural practice and theory. We study both the practical, from sketching to parallel drawing, to the theoretical, from historical to critical perspectives. Connecting both, we cover the formal analysis elements necessary to “read” and critique built works. Class activities include field trips, guest presentations, sketching and drawing, small design exercises, discussion of readings, and short written responses. Through these activities, at the end of the semester the student will understand in general terms what the dealings and challenges of architecture as a discipline are.

Limited to 20 students. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

102 Practice of Art

An introduction to two- and three-dimensional studio disciplines through hands-on engagement with materials supplemented by lectures, demonstrations and readings. Students will work through a variety of projects exploring drawing, sculpture, painting and hybrid forms. Work will be developed based on direct observation, memory, imagination and improvisation. Formal and conceptual concerns will be an integral aspect of the development of studio work. Historical and contemporary references will be used throughout the course to enhance and increase the student’s understanding of the visual vocabulary of art. Class time will be a balance of lectures, demonstrations, exercises, discussions and critiques. Weekly homework assignments will consist of studio work and critical readings. No prior studio experience needed.

Not open to students who have taken ARHA 111 or 215. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman. Spring semester: Visiting Lecturer Hepler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

105 Space and Design: Introduction to Studio Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 105 and ARHA 105) This hands-on design studio will foster innovation as it guides students through the development of conceptual architecture. Through a series of projects that build on each other, students will develop their own design language and experiment with architecture at several scales - from an interior screen that plays with light, shadow and color, to a dynamic built structure and its integration into a site. We will work through both hand-drafted and computer drawings, as well as physical model-making to understand plan, section, and elevations as well as diagramming and concept models. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.

No prior architecture experience is necessary, but a willingness to experiment and a desire to learn through making are essential.

Admissions with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

110 Color Study

(Offered as ARHA 110 and CHEM 110.)  This interdisciplinary course is focused on exploring color through the lenses of science, culture and art. We will study how we perceive color down to the molecular level and how it impacts us as viewers. The course will seek to develop a broad, shared, set of topics that will allow students to weave together scientific and artistic concepts, rather than isolate them. As it is possible to approach color from many different disciplines, we encourage any interested student, regardless of academic focus, to register. A core goal of the course is to encourage a holistic discussion of the topic. Students will be asked to write about their observations of color through art and will have the opportunity to make their own original pieces. In addition, class activities will include lectures, invited speakers, discussion, and a final project.

Limited to 18 students. Omitted: 2021-2022.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

111 Drawing I

An introductory course in the fundamentals of drawing. This course will be based in experience and observation, exploring various techniques and media in order to understand the basic formal vocabularies and conceptual issues in drawing; subject matter will include still life, landscape, interior, and figure. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, final portfolio. Two three-hour sessions per week.

Limited to 12 students. In the fall semester 4 seats are reserved for first-year students. 

In the Spring semester, there is a limit of 10 students and 4 seats are reserved for first-year students.  

Fall semester: Visiting Lecturer Helander. Spring semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

131 History and Theory of Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 131, ARCH 131 and EUST 131.) Throughout history, buildings have directed human activity, shaping social interactions, symbolizing political power, and influencing multiple kinds of artistic expression. This course is a selected introduction to the history and theory of architecture, from the earliest forms of human habitation to medieval and Renaissance buildings, Enlightenment utopian visions, modern industrial structures and skyscrapers, and contemporary sustainable practices.  Interwoven with a sampling of theoretical texts and architectural treatises, the course covers selected moments in the history and theory of Western architecture, from Vitruvius to Alberti and Corbusier to Koolhaas, from primordial shelters to computer generated designs.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

135 Renaissance to Revolution: Early Modern European Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 135, ARCH 135, and EUST 135) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history, introduces the ways that artists and architects imaginatively invented visual language to interpret the world for contemporary patrons, viewers, and citizens in early modern Europe. Painters, printmakers, sculptors and architects in Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands created new ways of seeing empirical phenomena and interpreting them, by means of both ancient and new principles of art, science and philosophy and through powerful engagement with the senses. They produced godlike illusions of nature, from grand frescoes bursting from the walls of papal residences to spectacular gardens covering noble estates in Baroque France and colonializing England. They fundamentally altered the design of major cities such as Rome and Paris so that the visitor encountered an entirely new urban experience than ever before. Along the way, they learned from one another’s example, but, prizing innovation, sought fiercely to surpass previous generations, and argued at length about values in art. They contributed to fashioning an ideal picture of empire and society and conjured the dazzling wealth and power of those who paid them. But as time passed, some came to ironize the social order mightily, and some elevated beggars, farmers, servants, so-called fools, and bourgeois women leading seemingly mundane domestic lives as much as others praised the prosperous few. Finally, artists actively participated in the overthrow of the monarchy during the French Revolution and yet also passionately critiqued the violence of war it engendered. Throughout, the course will investigate how concepts of progress, civilization, the state, religion, race, gender, and the individual came to be defined through art.

The goals of the course are:
above all, to achieve the skill of close looking to gain visual understanding;
• also, to identify artistic innovations that characterize European art and architecture from the Italian Renaissance to the French Revolution;
• to understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;
• to situate the works of art historically, by examining the intellectual, political, religious, and social currents that contributed to their creation;
• to read texts about the period critically and analytically.
No previous experience with art or art history is necessary. 

Fall semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

138 Visual Arts and Orature in Africa

(Offered as BLST 313 [A] and ARHA 138) In the traditionally non-literate societies of Africa, verbal and visual arts constitute two systems of communication. The performance of verbal art and the display of visual art are governed by social and cultural rules. We will examine the epistemological process of understanding cultural symbols, of visualizing narratives, or proverbs, and of verbalizing sculptures or designs. Focusing on the Yoruba people of West Africa, the course will attempt to interpret the language of their verbal and visual arts and their interrelations in terms of cultural cosmologies, artistic performances, and historical changes in perception and meaning. We will explore new perspectives in the critical analysis of African verbal and visual arts, and their interdependence as they support each other through mutual references and allusions. In addition to visiting the Mead Art Museum to see African works, students will be required to listen to audio-recordings and engage selected visual images to enhance their understanding of the interrelationship of arts in Africa.

Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

145 The Modern World

(Offered as ARHA 145, EUST 145, and SWAG 145)  This course will explore the self-conscious invention of modernism in painting, sculpture and architecture, from the visual clarion calls of the French Revolution to the performance art and earthworks of "art now." As we move from Goya, David, Monet and Picasso to Kahlo, Kiefer and beyond, we will be attentive to changing responses toward a historical past or societal present, the stance toward popular and alien cultures, the radical redefinition of all artistic media, changing representations of nature and gender, as well as the larger problem of mythologies and meaning in the modern period. Study of original objects and a range of primary texts (artists’ letters, diaries, manifestos, contemporary criticism) will be enhanced with readings from recent historical and theoretical secondary sources.

Limited to 50 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Staller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019

147 Arts of China

(Offered as ARHA 147 and ASLC 143) An introduction to the history of Chinese art from its beginnings in neolithic times until the end of the twentieth century. Topics will include the ritual bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the Chinese transformation of the Buddha image, imperial patronage of painting during the Song dynasty and the development of the literati tradition of painting and calligraphy. Particular weight will be given to understanding the cultural context of Chinese art.

Spring semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2022

148 Arts of Japan

(Offered as ARHA 148 and ASLC 123) A survey of the history of Japanese art from neolithic times to the present. Topics will include Buddhist art and its ritual context, the aristocratic arts of the Heian court, monochromatic ink painting and the arts related to the Zen sect, the prints and paintings of the Floating World and contemporary artists and designers such as Ando Tadao and Miyake Issey. The class will focus on the ways Japan adopts and adapts foreign cultural traditions. There will be field trips to look at works in museums and private collections in the region

Fall semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

149 Survey of African Art

(Offered as ARHA 149 and BLST 123 [A]) An introduction to the ancient and traditional arts of Africa. Special attention will be given to the archaeological importance of the rock art paintings found in such disparate areas as the Sahara and South Africa, achievements in the architectural and sculptural art in clay of the early people in the area now called Zimbabwe and the aesthetic qualities of the terracotta and bronze sculptures of the Nok, Igbo-Ukwe, Ife and Benin cultures in West Africa, which date from the second century B.C.E. to the sixteenth century C.E. The study will also pursue a general socio-cultural survey of traditional arts of the major ethnic groups of Africa.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

152 Visual Culture of the Islamic World

(Offered as ARHA 152, ARCH 152 and ASLC 142) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history and architectural studies, introduces the art, architecture, and urban planning of the Islamic world, from the origins of Islam in the seventh century to the contemporary moment. Among the questions we will pose are: When, how, and why was the Qur’an first copied as a written text? Why does the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, completed in 691–2 A.D., closely resemble Christian churches and shrines from the same period? Why did medieval Europeans judge objects from the Islamic world, especially those bearing Arabic script, to be sacred in nature? How did commercial and diplomatic exchanges with China and Viking Scandinavia impact the arts of Central Asia and the Middle East during the premodern period? What can contemporary comic books tell us about the visual logic of fifteenth-century Iranian manuscript painting? And how have nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists used photography and film to address the legacies of colonialism and Orientalism? We will attempt to answer these questions through close and careful analysis of objects in a range of media, from silver and rock crystal to silk textiles and video; cities and architectural sites in Spain and India, and the many places in between; and primary and secondary texts. Films, museum websites, musical recordings, and visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections will supplement readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
No cap on enrollment.

Fall semester. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

153 World Monuments

(Offered as ARHA 153 and ARCH 153) This introductory course engages one of the most discussed typologies in world architecture: the monument. From the Sydney Opera House to the Eiffel Tower, monuments have entered into global consciousness as individuals from tourists to government officials have celebrated their supposed uniqueness. Meanwhile, monuments have drawn the ire of ISIS and the Taliban—two groups which have become famous for destroying venerated structures. Whether the subject in question is a tourist, a religious pilgrim, or a terrorist bent on destruction, humans are often drawn to monuments because of their power to captivate. This course examines the relevance of this psychic power. Over the course of the semester, we will address the architectural, social, cultural, theoretical, and political questions that emerge from an investigation of a range of famous and lesser-known monuments, including but not limited to: the Eiffel Tower; the Taj Mahal; the Great Mosque of Mecca; the Statue of Liberty; the Alhambra; the American Capitol Building; and the Suez Canal. We will also discuss the role of ISIS and the Taliban in shaping contemporary debates concerning the meaning and importance of architectural preservation as it relates to the monuments of the Middle East and South Asia. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will develop their writing skills while gaining knowledge of the issues that guide the study of world monuments, specifically, and architectural history, at large. This course is intended to introduce students to the field of architectural studies.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2020

154 Art and Architecture of South Asia

(Offered as ARHA 154, ARCH 154, and ASLC 154) This introductory course surveys the architecture, painting, sculpture, textiles, and other arts of South Asia—including India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka—from 2300 B.C. to the present. Among the diverse materials we will examine are the archaeological remains from one of the world’s earliest planned cities; Buddhist monastic complexes carved entirely out of living rock; Hindu temples bearing erotic images; manuscript illustrations made for Muslim emperors; colorful printed and painted textiles produced for domestic, European, Indonesian, and Japanese markets; and twentieth-century works of art that anticipate and respond to India’s independence from British colonial rule. We will consider the important roles that South Asian artists, architects, and other makers have played in depicting and housing the divine, establishing political and religious systems, and fueling the exchange of ideas and goods across the globe. Films, musical recordings, museum websites, visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections, and cooking and food-tasting sessions will supplement assigned readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Spring semester. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

155 Introduction to Contemporary Art

This introductory course explores art produced between 1960 and the present. We will take a transnational approach, from the emergence of Pop art as an  international phenomenon in the 1960s to the mushrooming cloud of biennials in the twenty-first century. The course will sometimes look at art’s intersection with architecture, film, and visual culture more broadly. We will keep in mind the following questions: How have new technologies, civil rights movements, emergent subjectivities, new forms of theoretical inquiry, and processes of globalization shaped the work of art? How have artists critiqued both institutions and the art historical canon? How does contemporary art both participate in and stand apart from the world in which and for which it was made?

Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

157 The Postcolonial City

(Offered as ARHA 157, ARCH 157, and BLST 193 [D]) This course engages the buildings, cities, and landscapes of the former colonies of Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. Beginning with the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the non-European territories, which once comprised the lucrative possessions of modern European empires, quickly became independent states charged with developing infrastructure, erecting national monuments, and handling the influx of laborers drawn to the metropolises formed as sleepy colonial towns grew into bustling postcolonial cities. This class will examine the buildings, urban spaces, rural landscapes, and national capitals that emerged in response to these political histories. We will approach a number of issues, such as the architecture of national independence monuments, the preservation of buildings linked to the colonial past, the growth of new urban centers in Africa and India after independence, architecture and regimes of postcolonial oppression, the built environments of tourism in the independent Caribbean, and artists’ responses to all of these events. Some of the places that we will address include: Johannesburg, South Africa; Chandigarh, India; Negril, Jamaica; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; and Lilongwe, Malawi. Our goal will be to determine what, if any, continuities linked the buildings, landscapes, and spaces of post-independence Africa, India, and the Caribbean in the twentieth century. Over the course of the semester, students will gain skills in analyzing buildings, town plans, and other visual materials. Also, this class will aid students in developing their writing skills, particularly, their ability to write about architecture and urban space.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

159 Modernity and the Avant-Gardes, 1890–1945

(Offered as ARHA 159 and ARCH 159) This course is an examination of the emergence, development, and dissolution of European modernist art, architecture and design. The course begins with the innovations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, created in consort with the growth of modern urbanism, colonialist politics, and psychological experimentation. Distinctions between the terms modernity, modernism, and the avant-garde will be explored as we unpack the complex equations between art, politics, and social change in the first half of the twentieth century. Covering selected groups (such as Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, l'Esprit Nouveau, Bauhaus, and Constructivism), this course will consider themes such as mechanical reproduction, nihilism, nationalism, consumerism, and primitivism as they are disclosed in the making and reception of modernist art and architecture.

Fall semester. Visiting Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2021

160 Deconstructing Modernity: 1945–2000

(Offered as ARHA 160 and ARCH 160) This course examines the art, architecture, and design produced in Europe and the United States from the aftermath of World War II to the end of the twentieth century. We will begin with art in relationship to war, the Holocaust, and the expansion of capitalism, consumerism, suburbia, and the skyscraper. Finally, we will conclude by engaging the rejection of modernist strategies in the latter part of the twentieth century. We will survey movements such as COBRA, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, the Situationists, Minimalism, land art, performance art, feminist art, Neo-Expressionism, and the archival turn; architectural groups such as Archigram, CIAM, the post modernists, and deconstructionists; and defining texts by Adorno, Sartre, Arendt, Debord, Foucault, Krauss, Derrida, among others.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

180 Contemporary Native American Art

(Offered as ARHA 180 and AMST 211) This course will examine works of art created by Native American artists, including painting, sculpture, photography, and performance and installation art, from the late nineteenth century to today.  Students will study important movements and consider individual artists who worked primarily as painters, including the Iroquois realists of the late nineteenth century; the Studio School of Southwestern artists, printmakers, and illustrators; the Kiowa Six and their important role in creating modern Native American murals; abstract expressionists like Kay Walkingstick (Cherokee); Pop artists like Fritz Scholder (Luiseno) and Harry Fonseca (Nisenan Maidu); and Conceptual artists such as Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne). Major Native American contemporary photographers include Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke (Crow)), Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole-Diné), and Horace Poolaw (Kiowa). The course will also consider sculptors working in realistic (Alan Houser, Blackbear Bosin) and abstract styles (Rick Bartow, Tammy Garcia); performance artists like James Luna and Rebecca Belmore; important emerging artists like the interdisciplinary activist/arts collective Postcommodity; and Angel de Cora, the first Native American graduate of Smith College, the 150th anniversary of whose birth will be marked in 2021.

This class will be taught in-person, with the option to join by Zoom.

Limited to 34 students. Omitted 2021-2022. Visiting Lecturer Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021

186 Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 186 and LLAS 186) This course provides an introduction to the Pre-Columbian art and architecture of the Americas. It explores major traditions in architecture and city planning, murals, sculpture, painting, masks, and textiles. The first half of the semester concentrates on Preclassic and Classic Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America); the second on Postclassic Mesoamerica, North America, and the Andes.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

187 Native American Art

This course provides an introduction to Native American Indian art and architecture from North and Latin America. It focuses on the modern and contemporary periods (with some attention to archaeological art), exploring traditions in architecture, sculpture, painting, masks, textiles, and ceramics. The first half of the semester concentrates on the Woodlands, Plains, and Southwest; the second on the Northwest Coast, Arctic, Mexico and Guatemala, Central America, the Andes, and Amazonia. The course will be interdisciplinary, and will include readings Indigenous narratives, Native American aesthetics, and contemporary artists including photographers, videographers, and performance artists, as well as alternative curating and exhibition of Indigenous art.

Limited to 35 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021

190 Art.com

This course explores the complex relationship between art and the Internet. How has the Internet seeped into and come to inform the way artists work in the twenty-first century? What is the history of digital imaging? What role do digital renderings play in the design of art and architecture? Why have some artists rejected digital media in favor of pre-digital materials—analog media, artisanal craft, body art and performance? What is the difference between seeing a work of art “in person” versus on social media? Why do people post what they see “in person” on social media? How do artists, galleries, and museums seek to limit the online circulation of works of art? What is the relationship between a unique, original work of art and a multitude of copies? What is Post-Internet art? To what extent has the Internet disrupted the way the art world functions and in what ways has the pandemic played a role in moving art online? How has the recent NFT boom affected the art market and how does it figure in a longer history of thinking about the relationship between art as intellectual property and as taking material form? The course will combine twenty-first century case studies with a wider range of texts on topics such as originality, reproduction, and theories and histories of technology. The class will meet on Zoom and will include brief lectures, discussion (both in breakout rooms and all together), guest speakers, film screenings, short writing assignments, and final presentations. 

Limited to 25 students.  January 2022 semester. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

201 Measuring Histories through Materiality and Multiples

The most quotidian objects possess the power to connect to a broad audience. This course will harness that power to make art that measures and recounts past events in human history. The events might be small or large, little known, personally experienced, or widely recounted. Students will interrogate the context, function, materiality, and symbolism of common objects from as many vantage points as possible. We will explore how objects in multiples can disrupt, engage, challenge, obscure or metaphorically highlight the meaning in materials. The class will explore methods of combining, linking, and connecting common objects both conceptually and physically toward the manifestation of both singular and collaborative artworks. We will work together to select suitable materials and methods to quantify, measure, and actualize diverse histories and narratives. Students should be prepared to share materials, ideas, stories, and ways of working.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019

202 Architectural Anthropology

(Offered as ARCH 202 and ARHA 202) This seminar explores the emerging interdisciplinary field that combines the theory and practice of architecture and anthropology. We compare and contrast these two disciplines’ canonical methods, their ethical stances, and their primary subject matters (i.e., buildings and people). With that, we reflect upon the challenges of ethnoarchitecture as a new discipline, emphasizing the challenges of carrying out architectural research and/or construction work among people from cultural backgrounds different than the architect’s own. In general, this course invites critical thinking about the theory and practice of architecture, especially when it confronts issues of difference, including ethno-cultural and social class differences.

Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone; previous instruction in architectural studies, area or ethnic studies, or social studies can be beneficial but is not mandatory.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

203 Color Meets Object

What happens when a painted image escapes its rectangle and pushes out of illusionistic depth into the literal space of the room? How does it change a viewer’s understanding of sculptural form when the sculpture’s physical volumes have been optically flattened, heightened, or contradicted by the addition of color? In this course we will invite interaction between illusionistic and literal, tactile space to consider unique possibilities where the concerns of painting and sculpture merge. We will explore how each discipline can expand its scope with an amalgam of tactile and chromatic visual elements and experience. The semester will begin with a series of structured studio problems and with research into contemporary art practices that incorporate both color and tactile volume. We will also look into the wealth of historical precedents for these practices. This critical review and first-hand study of artworks, in conjunction with studio experimentation, will help each student determine the shape of an end-of-semester artwork or series of works. Readings, visiting artists, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.

Requisite: One prior studio course in painting or sculpture, or permission of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22 Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

204 Housing, Urbanization, and Development

(Offered as ARCH 204, ARHA 204, and LLAS 204) This course studies the theory, policy, and practice of low-income housing in marginalized communities worldwide. We study central concepts in housing theory, key issues regarding low-income housing, different approaches to address these issues, and political debates around housing the poor. We use a comparative focus, going back and forth between the cases of the United States and the so-called developing world. By doing this, we engage in a “theory from without” exercise: We attempt to understand the housing problem in the United States from the perspective of the developing world, and vice versa. We study our subject through illustrated lectures, seminar discussions, documentary films, visual analysis exercises, and a field trip.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

205 Sustainable Design: Principles, Practice, Critique

(Offered as ARCH 205 and ARHA 205) This theory seminar aims to provide students with a strong basis for a deep engagement with the practice of sustainability in architectural design. The studied material covers both canonical literature on green design and social science-based critical theory. We start by exploring the key tenets of the sustainable design discourse, and how these tenets materialize in practice. Then, we examine sustainable design in relation to issues such as inequality and marginality. As we do this, we locate sustainability within the larger environmental movement, studying in detail some of the main approaches and standards of sustainable design, the attempts to improve this practice over time, and the specific challenges confronting these attempts. In addition to reading discussions, we study our subject through student presentations and written responses, a field trip, and two graphic design exercises.

Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone, but students would benefit from having a previous engagement with a course in architectural design, architectural history and/or theory, introduction to architectural studies, or environmental studies.

Limited to 20 students. Fall Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

206 Failed It!

This course offers an exciting investigation into failure in art during the uniqueness of life and culture in 2020. We will discover and debate the complexities, challenges, and benefits of failure and what it means for making art. Students will experiment with flaws, imperfections, rejects, and errors in their art projects. We will encourage you to think about failure in positive, unexpected, inspirational, and low-fi ways. You will learn about artists who are motivated by errors, uncommon methods, and breaking rules. The course includes presentations, screenings, discussions, collaboration, in-class activities, assignments, and independent work. There will be an emphasis on using and subverting everyday tools and materials.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Artist-in-Resident England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

207 Talking with Beads

This studio art course focused on complex global beading traditions and techniques. We will study how the language of beadwork is used to tell stories, connect with ancestors, provide protection, create community, signify power, and challenge injustice. This course draws on the over 75,000-year usage of beads ranging from umbilical amulets (Native American) to abacuses (Middle East and Asia) to rosaries (Europe) to lukasa (Central Africa) to Zulu love letters (South Africa). Students will learn dozens of beading techniques (many unique to South African cultures where some of the earliest beads were discovered.) We will use beads to communicate, preserve, and encode messages. We will expand the definition of what constitutes a bead; use variation in size, color, shape, and material as metaphor; and design beaded memory devices. No prior beading experience is necessary but curiosity and commitment is required.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

208 Playing with Pictures

This studio course focuses on the archiving, collecting, and appropriation related to contemporary art. Students will learn to "play with pictures" in imaginative, conceptual, exploratory, and intelligent ways. This learning will happen through exercises in-class, readings, journal writing, experimental making, film screenings, group discussions, critiques, and other activities. We will investigate the collection, curation, and juxtaposition of images from a wide range of sources, and consider how new personal, social, and political meanings can be generated from different groupings of images. This will be framed by critically reviewing the work of contemporary visual artists who use archives, collecting, and/or appropriation in their practice. Students will create personalized repositories of images from which to draw for future art and design projects.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Artist-in-residence England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

209 Space and Design: Intermediate Studio Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 209 and ARHA 209) This course will be a design investigation of sustainable architecture. Students will research cutting edge innovations in green technology and present their findings through graphic boards and verbal presentations. They will then design their own systems for water collection, air filtration, energy capture, site strategies, and solar power. A design language will be developed through a series of rigorous design exercises and creative innovation, and will culminate in a building project. Students will further develop sketching, drafting and model-making skills both by hand and with the computer. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.

Requisite: ARCH 105 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students.

Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

212 Storytelling Arts in Mesoamerica

(Offered as ENGL 212 and ARHA 212) [Before 1800] This course will explore the major pictorial narrative traditions of Mesoamerica, focusing on manuscripts of the Aztec, Maya, and Mixtec peoples, as well as other media, including texts and images from murals, ceramics, monuments, and mirrors. These visual and narrative media continue to play important roles in the preservation of Indigenous identity, solidarity, and cultural identity within nation states; the course will examine public, popular, and fine arts reviving, repurposing, and supporting resistance using this imagery.

Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

213 Printmaking I: The Handprinted Image

An introduction to intaglio and relief processes including drypoint, engraving, etching, aquatint, monoprints, woodcut and linocut. The development of imagery incorporating conceptual concerns in conjunction with specific techniques will be a crucial element in the progression of prints. Historical and contemporary references will be discussed to further enhance understanding of various techniques. Critiques will be held regularly with each assignment; critical analysis of prints utilizing correct printmaking terminology is expected. A final project of portfolio making and a portfolio exchange of an editioned print are required.

Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

214 Sculpture I

An exploration of three-dimensional concepts, form, expression and aesthetics. In a series of directed projects students will encounter a range of materials and technical processes including construction, modeling and carving. Projects will include conceptual and critical strategies integrated with material concerns. By the end of the course students will have developed a strong understanding of basic principles of contemporary sculpture and acquired the skills and technical knowledge of materials to create accomplished works of three-dimensional expression. Students will develop an awareness of conceptual and critical issues in current and historical sculptural practice, establishing a foundation for continued training and self-directed work in sculpture and other artistic disciplines.

No prior studio experience is required. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

215 Painting I

An introduction to the fundamentals of the pictorial organization of painting. Form, space, color, and pattern, abstracted from nature, are explored through the discipline of drawing by means of paint manipulation. Slide lectures, demonstrations, individual and group critiques are regular components of the studio sessions. Two three-hour meetings per week.  The course will be taught remotely.

Requisite: ARHA 102 or 111 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 8 students. Spring semester: Professor Sweeney.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

217 Improvising the Space Between: Drawing, Architecture, and Sculpture

This course is an exploration into the shared territories of drawing, architecture, and sculpture, and the hybrid spaces that may be created between those disciplines. An improvisational and responsive approach, in the spirit of experimentation and open inquiry, frames the studio-based course work. We will consider potentials and challenges of space, light, materials, joinery, structural geometries, organic growth, and temporality. After this initial period of information gathering, students will be free to determine the format or combination of formats that will shape an extended semester-end project. Readings, artist talks, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.

Requisite: One prior course in studio arts, architecture, or film production, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-2022. Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2020

218 Photography I

An introduction to black-and-white still photography. The basic elements of photographic technique will be taught as a means to explore both general pictorial structure and photography’s own unique visual language. Emphasis will be centered less on technical concerns and more on investigating how images can become vessels for both ideas and deeply human emotions. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, readings, and slide lectures about the work of artist-photographers, one short paper, and a final portfolio involving an independent project of choice. Two three-hour meetings per week.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Kimball.  Spring semester. Artist in Residence England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

219 Venice, Perfect City (476-1797)

(Offered as HIST 219 [TE/TC/C/P] and ARHA 219) When the Roman Empire imploded in 476, refugees from the Italian mainland settled on a few disconnected islands sheltered from the open Adriatic Sea by a lagoon. Within a few centuries, they created one of the most unlikely, beautiful, and long-lasting European cities ever to have been built. The cooperative spirit with which early medieval Venetians were able to create an urban environment built on seawater found its expression in the political and societal structures they formed to govern their city, republic, and, eventually, empire. In this course, we will discuss key events in the history of this extraordinary city, whose autonomy and self-government lasted until Napoleon invaded it in 1797. Topics include: art, architecture, and urban planning; the formation of an aristocratic but republican constitution; the emergence of civic institutions, poor relief, and neighborhood organizations; the history of the Ghetto and its Sephardic, Ashkenazi, and Italian communities; Venetian sea-trade and the conquest of the Levantine Empire; the Venetian Renaissance; ties with Byzantium, and the Mamluk and Ottoman Empires; convent culture; proto-feminism; and the Enlightenment. These topics will be discussed in the wider context of historical developments in the European and Mediterranean middle ages and early modern period. Two meetings per week. 

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Sperling.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

221 Foundations in Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 221 and FAMS 221) This introductory course is designed for students with no prior experience in video production. The aim is both technical and creative. We will begin with the literal foundation of the moving image—the frame—before moving through shot and scene construction, lighting, sound-image concepts, and final edit. In addition to instruction in production equipment and facilities, the course will also explore cinematic form and structure through weekly readings, screenings and discussion. Each student will work on a series of production exercises and a final video assignment.

Limited to 12 students with instructor's permission. Fall semester: Professor Levine. Spring semester: Visiting Professor Mellis. 
2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

222 Drawing II

A course appropriate for students with prior experience in basic principles of visual organization, who wish to investigate further aspects of pictorial construction abstracting from forms including the figure, landscape and organic still life. There will be weekly drawing assignments and critiques, in addition to a final project of a life size self portrait. 

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Professor R. Sweeney. Spring semester: Professor Gloman. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

224 Translating Nature: Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture

This course explores the visual structures of natural things. The processes and disciplines of drawing, acrylic painting, watercolor and sculpture will be used to examine natural subjects such as plants, animals, landscape and the figure. We will work directly from life. Out-of-class trips will be frequent to access natural subject matter not found in the classroom.

Requisite: One of ARHA 111, ARHA 214, or ARHA 215 (because of the diversity of subject and materials used). Limited to 8 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist David Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

226 Women and War in European History, 1558–1918

(Offered as HIST 226 [EU/TC/P], ARHA 226, EUST 226, and SWAG 225) Although overlooked in military histories until recently, women have long been actively involved in warfare: as combatants, as victims, as workers, and as symbols. This course examines both the changing role of women, and the shifting constructions of “womanhood,” in four major European conflicts: the wars of Elizabeth I in sixteenth-century England, the wars and peace of Marie de Médicis in seventeenth-century France, the French Revolution, and the First World War. Using methodologies drawn from Art History and History, the course seeks to understand the gendered nature of warfare. Why are images of women and the family central to the iconography of war, and how have representations of womanhood shifted according to the aims of particular conflicts? To what extent do women’s experiences of warfare differ from men’s, and can war be considered a source of women’s liberation or oppression? Students will analyze a range of historical images in conjunction with primary source texts from these conflicts and will also develop an original research project related to the course’s themes. Two class meetings per week.

Recommended requisite: A course in Art History or History. Limited to 25 students. Not offered in 2021-22. Professor Boucher.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2019

227 Critiquing the Critique as Studio Art Practice

What is the purpose of the art critique and how can we get the most out of them?  Students who have taken at least two studio art courses will explore the meaning and application of critique as it applies both to their own work and the work of others. We will critique the artwork of established artists and the writing of established art critics to unearth strategies. Together, we will define the purpose of critique, deconstruct critique methodologies, hone written and verbal skills to become better critics, and apply criticism toward the development of new work. Students will bring previous work to the course and remake that work based on feedback. Ultimately, students will practice analyzing and articulating their art practice in relationship to various social, cultural, and historical lenses.

Limited to 18 students.  January 2022 term.  Online only. Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

228 Image & Text

The combination of language with visual information offers a rich range of possibilities. In this course we will investigate strategies of interweaving image and text to create works that draw upon the qualities of each to produce hybrid forms. The class will look at a variety of sources and respond to them in a series of hands-on studio projects. These sources include maps, diagrams, calligraphy, illustrations and manuscripts, as well as work from the history of art and literature. The projects can involve drawing, printing, erasures, book-making, writing, digital media and photography to produce works that deploy image and text to express narrative, poetic, political or informational content. Students from a range of diciplines and interests are encouraged to participate.

No prior studio experience is required. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2022

229 The Virgin Mary: Image, Cult, Syncretism (ca. 400-1700)

(Offered as HIST 229 [TC/P/C], ARHA 229, RELI 229 and SWAG 229) When, in 431, the Council of Ephesus declared the Virgin Mary to be Theotokos or God-Bearer, she had already been venerated in Egypt since the third century as a re-instantiation of Isis. The syncretism of her cult explains her ubiquitous popularity in medieval Byzantium and the Latin West, but also in early Islamic Syria and colonial Latin America. Her frequent depiction on moveable wooden panels (icons) and mosaics accompanied her early rise to liturgical prominence. By 1200, she rivaled Jesus Christ in religious importance, not only through her role as intercessor, but also as dispenser of divine grace in the form of breastmilk. She was the most active miracle-working saint in all of Christianity. Her frequent depiction on icons, altarpieces and devotional panels accompanies – and, in part, explains – the development of figurative art in the West. In colonial America, the introduction of her cult ended prior religious forms of expression, but also helped them to partially survive in a new context. In this seminar, students will produce a 15-page research paper based on a careful analysis of textual and visual sources as well as pertinent scholarship. Two class meetings per week. This course will be conducted in class but also include remote students via zoom.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Sperling.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

232 Cartographic Cultures: Making Maps, Building Worlds

(Offered as ARHA 232 and ARCH 232) This course traces the history of modern cartography from the integration of indigenous map-making techniques into colonial Latin American land surveys in the sixteenth century to the use of GIS software by militaries and corporations to create detailed images of foreign and domestic territories in the twenty-first century. Along the way, we will study the political and economic impetus that drove governments, militaries, municipalities, and private entities to create renderings of the land on which we live. We will also investigate the technological history of map-making as we consider the extent to which innovations in modern science have influenced the production of maps. This course will challenge the presumption that maps are factual portrayals of physical space. It will also question how divergent forms of culturally based knowledge as well as economic constraints and corporate rivalries have historically influenced map-making and subsequently shaped our understanding of territories near and far. We will think through these issues while investigating a number of major topics in the history of modern cartography: map-making and indigenous expertise in the Americas prior to and during European intervention; colonial cartography in the Americas, Asia, and Africa; the explosion of the map-making industry in eighteenth and nineteenth-century England and France; the mapping of oceans and other remote landscapes during this time; the twentieth-century genre of pictorial maps in the United States; cartography and modern warfare; and artists’ responses to these histories. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will build their writing and research skills while gaining knowledge of the methods that scholars employ when reading a wide variety of maps. Moreover, in approaching contemporary debates in the field of cartography, this course will introduce students to landscape studies.
Limited to 34 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020

233 2020: Art Can Help

(Offered as ARHA 233 and FAMS 233) We approach the fall of 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic, a wave of international protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, systemic racism, an escalating climate emergency, and widespread anxiety about the consequences of the upcoming American elections. Our own responses to these crises can vary, often from day to day. We may feel inspired to make change or to further educate ourselves, but we can also feel overwhelmed and unsure of our own place in the world. What are our responsibilities as artists, individuals and as members of the communities that surround us?

In this remote studio course for students working in video and photography, we will explore methods and issues related to politically engaged art practice. Topics to be covered may include: the tension between the personal and the political in art, the role of images within political discourse, documentary, archive, and the relationship between creative practice and activism.

Each student will work independently in photography, video or both to produce a body of work that speaks to their own interests or experience. Students may choose to work in a variety of modes that might include or combine direct observation, diaristic record, archival practices, performance or poetic intervention. The course will include group and individual critiques of the students’ work, research seminars, historical and topical lectures from the histories of film, video and photography, and the examination of art practices that seek to balance or blend politics and aesthetics. We will conclude the semester with a group exhibition of artistic work created by students in the class.

Requisite Course: One 200-level course in film/video or photography, or a portfolio of work which demonstrates relevant experience. Limited to 14 students. Omitted 2021-22 Professor Kimball and Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

235 Integrated Practices: Social Issues and the Interview

(Offered as ARHA 235 and FAMS 410)  This Integrated Practices course blends production components and theories regarding the interview, oral histories, direct address and on camera dialogues, in non-fiction video production, in order to explore and respond to the ways in which social issues such as racism, economic inequality, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, bullying, hate speech and hate crimes, disability, incarceration, to name a few, affect us.

In Social Issues and the Interview, students create, research and analyze the process of producing scripted, interview-based, socially engaged, short non-fiction videos. The course examines elements of performance for the camera, remote internet-based interviews, studio and in the field shooting, The class looks at various interview and editing techniques as well as the form, history, and function of the interview form in the non-fiction genre. 

 

Requisite: A foundations course in Critical Studies of Film and Media (such as “Coming to Terms: Cinema”) and an introductory film/video production workshop. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

237 Curating between the Virtual and the Physical: Liliana Porter

This course introduces students to contemporary art and the history and practice of organizing exhibitions. How do we present and experience art in a fixed location and how can art be curated and engaged with on the Internet? A museum exhibition of work by artist Liliana Porter, on view at the Mead during the run of the course, and the planning of a parallel online exhibition in collaboration with Curator of American Art and Arts of the Americas Lisa Crossman, will provide a case study. Porter’s work, which ranges from video to installation to works on paper, offers a particularly rich opportunity for thinking through the relationship between originality and reproduction, objects and representation. This class presents students with an opportunity to converse with the artist, engage with the exhibition of her work on view, learn from a curator, and participate in the organization of the virtual exhibition. Students will also read, discuss, and write about curating, spatial experience, technological mediation, and artists and curators who have reimagined the forms art and exhibitions take.

Limited to 15 students.  Spring semester: Professor Vicario

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

240 Women in Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 240, ARCH 240 and SWAG 240) This course begins with an examination of gendered, architectural spaces and how and why they were structured for women in the 19th century in both Britain and America. Looking at primary and secondary sources, students will gain insight into societal norms and how they conditioned architecture generally associated with women, such as houses, asylums, and early women’s colleges. This study will serve as a platform from which to understand the pressures upon women and the pioneers who rejected such norms and pursued architecture as a profession. The latter half of the course will look at the work of early women architects, the hurdles they faced and the examples they set. The course will conclude with a critical examination of women architects practicing today and how they navigate the profession. It is open to non-majors and will introduce interested students to issues surrounding the architectural canon, equity, and the history of gendered spaces in architecture. 
Limited to 25 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Lecturer Vickery.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

241 The Age of Michelangelo: Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 241, ARCH 241, and EUST 241)  Michelangelo, a defining genius of the Italian Renaissance, emerged from a rich cultural environment that forever changed how we think of art. Artists of the Renaissance developed an original visual language from the legacy of the ancient world, while also examining nature, their environment, and encounters with other worlds to the East and West. Their art revealed a profound engagement with philosophical attitudes toward the body and the spirit, as well as with ideals of pious devotion and civic virtue. Those concepts changed radically over the period of the Renaissance, however. Artists developed the rhetoric of genius and artistic struggle by vaunting an artist’s godlike role, owing to his imaginative creation of art and his ability to mimic reality illusionistically, yet they also questioned a human’s place in the cosmos. We will analyze in depth the visual language of painting, sculpture, and architecture created for merchants, monks, princes and popes in the urban centers of Florence, Rome and Venice from the 14th through the 16th centuries, and examine the virtuosic processes artists used to achieve their goals. 

Rather than taking the form of a survey, this course, based on lectures but regularly incorporating discussion, will analyze selected works and contemporary attitudes toward the visual through study of the art and its primary sources.

 Learning goals:

  • Gain confidence in the art of close looking to gain visual understanding;
  • Achieve an understanding about how art and its culture are intertwined;
  • Develop the critical skills to analyze points of view from a historical period other than our own;
  • Learn collaboratively with classmates;
  • Develop and argue an original thesis about a single work of art in a research paper.

Meets twice a week, 1 hour and 20 minutes.

One course in ARHA, FAMS, or ARCH recommended.

Uncapped.

 Omitted 2021-22. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

242 Hand-Drawn and Hand-Printed: The Stories of Images

This course will focus on drawing and printmaking as a means of building visual stories through serial description and expression. Studio work will include brush and ink drawings, watercolor, printmaking techniques, and collage, with a range of approaches to subject matter based on each student’s individual interests and choices. These include representational, narrative, abstract, and symbol-based imagery, among others. Relief printing techniques using both wood and synthetic blocks, will be taught, as well as the intaglio technique of trace monotype printing. All prints will be handprinted using spoons, barens, and the palm of the hand. Experimentation around conceptual and technical boundaries will be explored and encouraged. Projects will focus on using a combination of these means to develop a series of related images. A broad cultural range of contemporary and historical references will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects. The semester’s work will culminate in a cohesive body of visual work given the form of a small-scale installation and, for the final project, a hand-made accordion book. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Writing will be required of students in the form of series statements, feedback on other students’ projects, and final semester reflections on their work. No prerequisites required.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

243 Cut, Inked and Hand Pressed: Woodcut Prints

Woodcut is a dynamic form of printmaking. It has been instrumental in communication since the invention of paper in 105 C.E. and is a relief technique with a broad array of possibilities. Students will learn various methods to cut and print wood blocks, and assignments will include multiple block printing, hand-colored prints, collage, and cut paper. All prints will be handprinted using spoons, barens and the palm the hand. Assignments will be critiqued regularly, and critical analysis of prints' conceptual and technical concerns will be discussed. The study of a culturally wide range of historical and contemporary artists will provide inspiration, insight and knowledge into the visual language of woodcut. Students will be encouraged to create imagery that provides personal meaning influenced by political, individualistic, imaginative and emotional experiences. No prerequisites required.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

247 Independent Projects: Sculpture Studio Seminar

This course is an opportunity for students to pursue and shape independent sculpture projects developed through a series of closely related sculptural works. The class will focus on the dynamics and engineering of three-dimensional structures and compositions, sensitivity to materials – what they offer and associations they carry--and use of a tactile language of form as expressive means. The semester will result in the production by each student of a coherent body of works, where every piece has informed and shaped the next as students’ ideas for their series are honed and more fully explored. The class as a whole will start the semester’s work with short exercises and studies, testing a range of approaches to using the language of three-dimensional form, before moving in individual directions. Modeling and construction techniques, as well as mold-making and casting, will be taught as needed in response to student goals, and as is possible within the constraints of COVID-19 precautions. Relevant readings, presentations, and museum visits will inform studio work. Regular group critiques and discussions will be a key part of learning with and from each other.
Requisite: ARHA 214, or permission of the instructor.
Taught on campus, and remotely through group and individual Zoom meetings, and shared on-line materials, if needed.
Omitted 2021-2022. Limited to 8 students. Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

249 Digital Art History

(Offered as ARHA 249 and ARCH 249) This course is an introduction to the latest digital tools that art historians and museum curators use to analyze and display works of art, architecture, and the larger built environment, including, but not limited to, 3D modeling, network graphing, and digital mapping and storytelling. We will begin by asking what actually constitutes art historical data and then turn to consider how the digital collection, organization, interpretation, and presentation of this information can inform our understanding of objects, buildings, cities, and landscapes. Among the other topics we will explore are the digital artworks and exhibitions that artists and curators around the globe are currently creating in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the ethics and practicalities of doing digital art history today. This non-lecture-based course centers hands-on collective learning and is designed for students of all backgrounds. No previous knowledge of the subject is presumed.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

250 Humanitarian Design in Theory and Practice

(Offered as ARCH 250 and ARHA 250) This course explores the challenges and possibilities of humanitarian design, a growing area of interest in architectural practice. The course includes a field trip to Ecuador, to take place over Spring Break. This field component is deeply integrated into the course contents. During the first part of the semester, students become familiar with relevant theoretical and practice-based approaches to disaster reconstruction. With that, they gain an understanding of the complexities of this area, and a good grasp of the tasks and issues to be dealt with in the field. Upon returning from Ecuador, the rest of the semester is devoted to debriefing, producing and analyzing documentation, and drawing general lessons for the theory and practice of humanitarian design. The main case study is that of post-disaster reconstruction following Ecuador’s 2016 Pedernales Earthquake, which killed over 600 people and injured over 16,000. We will study the outcome of diverse reconstruction efforts and approaches four years after the earthquake. In order to compare and contrast approaches, our fieldwork will focus on two settings, an urban and a rural one, both located in the coastal Manabí province.

Limited to 12 Amherst College students. Admission with consent of the instructor. This course is open to Amherst College students only.  There will be an application process before pre-registration. Those students selected will have their travel expenses covered.
Omitted 2021-22. Professor Arboleda. 

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

253 The Modern Metropolis

(Offered as ARHA 253 and ARCH 253) This course traces the social and political history of the modern city from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. In the process, it questions the extent to which contemporary megacities—like São Paulo or Shanghai—reflect a social and urban system of organization that has its roots in earlier experiments in metropolitan design. Over the course of the semester, we will approach a number of genericized architectural spaces that have recurred across modern cities in ways that elucidate the broader template to which such urban zones often conform. These sites include the park, the nightclub, the brothel, the restaurant, the port, the highway, and the hotel, to name only a few. Our examination of these spaces will foreground the role of architecture and urban planning in shaping social interaction in these common locales. We will approach these sites as manifested in several modern metropolises, such as Paris, Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai, Dakar, São Paulo, and New York. In investigating these places, we will ask: What makes a city? What, if any, continuities characterize the organizational structures, social spaces, and living conditions of modern cities in the western and non-western worlds? In encouraging students to explore the relationships between European and non-European urban centers, this course will serve as a point of departure for rethinking the binaries that separate the West and the Non-West. Through written assignments and independent research, students will gain knowledge of the ways in which urban spaces have informed social, political, economic, and cultural histories in America and beyond. This course will also aid students in developing their writing and research skills.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

255 Latin American Art: Strategies and Tactics

(Offered as ARHA 255 and LLAS 255) This course explores art produced since 1920 in Latin America. From the state-sponsored murals of post-revolutionary Mexico to the "Constructive Universalism” of Joaquín Torres-García in Uruguay, how did artists align themselves with and distinguish themselves from movements and ideas circulating in Europe and the United States? When and why did U.S. institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art begin to collect, exhibit, and theorize art from Latin America? At mid-century, how was the proliferation of geometric abstraction in Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Caracas entangled with the modernization projects in those cities? In the wake of the Cuban Revolution, in what ways did the spread of anti-imperialist ideas radicalize artistic practices across the region? When dictatorships commandeered several countries from the 1960s through the 1980s, how did political and cultural repression generate new dangers but also new tactics for artists? Studying more recent practices, we will investigate art projects produced on the U.S.-Mexico border, the interaction between artists from Latin America and an increasingly global art world, and the curatorial trends characterizing the early twenty-first century display of art from the region. Throughout the course, the work of art will be analyzed as the battleground upon and across which political struggles were fought.

Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2021

257 The Colonial City: Architecture, Empire, Resistance

(Offered as ARHA 257, ARCH 257, and BLST 253) Creole dwellings were first erected by enslaved builders working under Diego Colón (the son of Christopher Columbus) on the island of Hispaniola. By the end of the first wave of European expansion in the early nineteenth century, the creole style existed across imperial domains in the Caribbean, North and South America, Africa, the Indian Ocean, and even Asia. We will examine the global diffusion of this architectural typology from its emergence in the Spanish Caribbean to its florescence in British and French India in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In doing so, we will address buildings and towns in former Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonies worldwide. Some of the urban centers that we will engage include: Kingston, Jamaica; Pondicherry, India; Cape Town, South Africa; Cartagena, Colombia; Saint-Louis, Senegal; and Macau, China. In investigating both creole structures and the cities that harbored such forms, we will think through the social and economic factors that caused buildings and urban areas to display marked continuities despite geographical and imperial distinctions.
Limited to 34 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

258 Art, Things, Spaces, and Places

(Offered as ARHA 258, ARCH 258 and EUST 258) The purpose of this course is to introduce students to research on lived environments from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, the architecture that shaped them, and the art and objects that they contained. The goal of each class, through reading and discussion, is to investigate what a researchable question is in the fields of history, art history, architecture, and material culture in Europe, England, and the Americas. Using multi-disciplinary research strategies, we will examine the power of precious and ordinary objects (including furniture, tapestries, devotional paintings, family portraits, and sculpture), the contemporary connotations of their materiality, and consider what objects in a home might signify about a family’s status, political allegiance, spirituality, and place in the world. Further, we will ask how art, objects and décor shape the beholder’s experience of spaces inside and outside a residence, in private and in public. What does the display of objects in collections, including those from far-away cultures other than the patron’s, signify to the owner and the viewer? Visiting lecturers will present their ideas on various topics such as the anthropology of art, the significance of precious materials, and collecting. We will take field trips to museums and meet curators in order to identify a research topic.

This course will give students tools to conduct their own research into past lived environments and their contents, and identify how we in the 21st century might come to understand them. As the culmination of the course students will collaboratively develop a prospectus for a research project with one or two other classmates. Assignments to meet that goal include adding new content to Wikipedia as a record of students’ findings and a contribution to knowledge for a wider public.

Open to sophomores but also motivated first-years interested in research in a variety of fields. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Spring 2022

259 Utopia: Visionary Architecture, Art and Theory

(Offered as ARHA 259 and ARCH 259) This course is an examination of utopian plans in architecture and art. We will consider the philosophical constructs of utopia in architectural drawings, buildings, and plans in relation to film, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. We will consider how different projections about life in the future are also harsh criticisms of the present, which often rely upon imagined concepts of social organizations in times past. The course reflects on utopian art from antiquity to the present, including an examination of selected utopian authors, including Sir Thomas More, Edward Bellamy, and William Morris, with an emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We examine the tensions between theory and practice by studying the successes and failures of actual attempts at realizing utopian communities. We will question the differences between utopia, dystopia, displacement and the home, as we consider whether utopian art and design is viable in the twenty-first century.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

261 Buddhist Art of Asia

(Offered as ARHA 261 and ASLC 260) Visual imagery plays a central role in the Buddhist faith. As the religion developed and spread throughout Asia it took many forms. This course will first examine the appearance of the earliest aniconic traditions in ancient India, the development of the Buddha image, and early monastic centers. It will then trace the dissemination and transformation of Buddhist art as the religion reached South-East Asia, Central Asia, and eventually East Asia. In each region indigenous cultural practices and artistic traditions influenced Buddhist art. Among the topics the course will address are the nature of the Buddha image, the political uses of Buddhist art, the development of illustrated hagiographies, and the importance of pilgrimage, both in the past and the present.

Fall semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

263 The Art Market

This course investigates the relationship between art and commerce in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. What is the network of auctions, galleries, and fairs overseeing the buying and selling of works of art and how is value decided, constructed, and transformed in the process? How do we understand and calculate the value of art in both economic and symbolic terms? How do you buy and sell a work of performance art? What agency do artists possess in determining how their work operates in the market and how have artists played with the market since the 1960s? Finally, in what ways does the making, buying, and selling of works of art conform to and diverge from the operations of the economy at large? Using texts by Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, Eve Chiapello, and Jean-Joseph Goux, among others, as a theoretical foundation, we will explore the relationship between works of art and commodities and the ways in which artists both embrace and critique the commercial side of the art world. We will also study the recent attention paid to the “dirty money” funding arts institutions and trace a longer history of this phenomenon and its contestation by artists, activists, and artist-activists.

Requisite: One course in the history of art or cultural studies or permission of the instructor. Recommended requisite: ARHA 155. Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Niko Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2021, Fall 2021

267 Islamic Arts of the Book

(Offered as ARHA 267 and ASLC 267) The book has played (and continues to play) a central role in the Islamic world. As a technology, it gives physical form to the Qur’an, an orally proclaimed text, allowing Islam’s scripture to be read, touched, held, and easily transported. It is a carrier of divine blessing, but also of wisdom, authority, tradition, and affiliation. The earliest Islamic books were either very fragile, being made of papyrus, or expensive, being made of animal skin (parchment). Knowledge of papermaking, which traveled westward from its place of origin in China, revolutionized the production of manuscripts in royal and intellectual hubs like Samarqand, Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordoba. Books on geography, history, poetry, and science soon proliferated, many of them filled with fantastic paintings made of gold leaf, ground minerals, and carbon-based inks. We will study the history of the Islamic book, from manuscripts of the Qur’an, which often bear calligraphy but almost never include illustrations, to historical, astrological, and poetic works—like the famous Shahnama (Book of Kings)—that contain images of various types and sizes. We will pay special attention to who produced, collected, and circulated these books, and ask how and according to which criteria they were conceived, used, and evaluated. We will bring to our objects of study a close-viewing lens, but also explore the use of computational tools drawn from the Digital Humanities. Visits to view book materials in local collections will supplement classroom discussion and assigned readings. No previous knowledge of the topic is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2019

269 Baroque Art

(Offered as ARHA 269, ARCH 269, EUST 269) At the beginning of the seventeenth century, religious and social upheavals in Europe led to a renewed proliferation of exciting, innovative art. In this century of remarkably varied artistic production, paradoxes abounded. Artists sought the illusion of reality by imitating unimproved, even base or monstrous nature through close observation of the human body, landscape, and ordinary, humble objects of daily use. They imbued art meant to inspire religious devotion with unbounded eroticism or with the gory details of painful suffering and hideous death. Artists and architects made the visionary appear real and sensual. They adored the past but re-cast it in modern terms. Others continued to quest for perfection in a return to the lofty principles implicit in ancient artistic canons of ideality. More than ever before, artists explored the expression of passion through dramatic narratives and sharply revealing portraiture. They depicted dominating political leaders as flawed mortals—even satirized them through the new art of caricature—at the same time that they developed a potent and persuasive vocabulary in art, architecture, and gardens for the expression of the rulers’ absolutist political power.

This class will examine issues in Baroque art in depth through selected works of painting, sculpture, and architecture produced by artists in the Catholic countries of the seventeenth century, e.g. Caravaggio, Bernini, Poussin, Velázquez, and Rubens in Italy, France, Spain, the Spanish Netherlands, and parts of the Americas. It also engages the cultural, social, and intellectual framework for their accomplishments. 

Intermediate level, one other course in art history preferred but not required. Uncapped.

Spring Semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2016, Spring 2022

270 African Art and the Diaspora

(Offered as ARHA 270 and BLST 293 [D]) The course of study will examine those African cultures and their arts that have survived and shaped the aesthetic, philosophic and religious patterns of African descendants in Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and urban centers in North America. We shall explore the modes of transmission of African artistry to the West and examine the significance of the preservation and transformation of artistic forms from the period of slavery to our own day. Through the use of films, slides and objects, we shall explore the depth and diversity of this vital artistic heritage of Afro-Americans. 

Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

284 Women and Art in Early Modern Europe

(Offered as ARHA 284, EUST 284, and SWAG 206)  This introductory discussion-based course will examine how prevailing ideas about women and gender shaped visual imagery in Europe from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and how these images, in turn, presented surprisingly varied pictures of women and their domains. Artists vividly expressed the paradoxical power that women possessed even more than language could. Both admired and feared in their societies, aristocrats, queens, mistresses, saints, witches, heroines, and housewives were all depicted in art in elevated and debased manners, sometimes as eroticized subjects and at other times as powerful, idealized actors—occasionally both at the same time. We will analyze the art and material goods that women paid for and what it communicated about them; women’s homes and the objects they held; the portrayal of women from merchant societies in Italian city-states to aristocratic women in India, of female saints, heroes and rulers, including Elizabeth I of England and Maria de' Medici of France; and the troubling imagery of rape. These different types of art raise questions about biological theories about women; feminine ideals of beauty; what marriage meant in different societies; the relationship between the exercise of political power and gender; women’s expression of transcendent spirituality; and what the portrayal of indigenous and enslaved women in Dutch and Spanish colonies conveyed about race.

 GOALS FOR LEARNING

  • Understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;
  • Gain an understanding of how historical attitudes about women and by women affect art made about and by women;
  • Develop an analytical ability to examine points of view expressed in texts and art of a historical period other than our own and to distinguish them from another;
  • Learn collaboratively with classmates;
  • Learn how to perform 2 kinds of research:

1) find materials to contribute publicly useful scholarship, by creating or revising Wikipedia entries, which greatly lack material on women;

2) Develop and argue an original thesis in a 10-page research paper.

 No prerequisites. Uncapped.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Spring 2021

304 Documentary Photography

In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore the practice of documentary photography. This course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class visual exercises. We will examine the history, theory and ideological questions and complications of working with those outside of or within one’s own circle of experience. This will be complemented by a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary photographers, and slide lectures that consider the multitude of ways artists use photography within the documentary tradition.

Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2020

308 Doing What You Don’t Know How to Do

Under what conditions can we make our best work? What does our best work look like and how is that assessment made? And how can we access our best selves to do so?  This course interrogates the dynamics of the visual arts studio: the opportunities, conditions, and pressures that shape our behavior there. By creating a supportive community via online conferencing with both synchronous and asynchronous elements, and photographic sharing of projects/assignments — perhaps a new kind of studio? — we encourage risk and reach towards a studio practice that is yet unknown to us. We will teach each other, think big and then bigger, try new materials and processes, and treat each decision as an experiment. This course will introduce both historical and contemporary examples of artists in whose work we can readily observe risk-taking and problem solving. Setting the stage for a life in the studio driven by exploration and fearlessness, we will ask the question, “What do we have to lose?”

Requisite: Nomination by the art departments of each of the Five Colleges. Limited to 15 students, with spaces reserved for 3 students from each of the Five Colleges. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Lecturer Hepler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

313 Still/Moving: The Documentary Project

(Offered as ARHA 313 and FAMS 313) In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore creative documentary practice in both photography and video production. The course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design, and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class exercises, both visual and technical. Shared topics between the two mediums may include: ethnography, narrative, sequencing/editing, staging/scripting, place and space, and working with archival materials. We will examine the shared history, theory, and ideological questions of these mediums, and focus on issues that inform contemporary documentary practice and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The course will include a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary artists, and presentations that consider the many ways artists use photography and film/video within the documentary tradition.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience in photography or film/video (to be approved by the instructor(s) in advance of the first class.) Limited to 14 students. Fall semester. Assistant Professor Levine and Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

319 Working in Series: The Interdisciplinary Connection Between Drawing and the Hand-Printed Image

An investigation of ideas into the development of visual imagery focusing on series of works utilizing drawing and printmaking. Contemporary and historical references of artists' series of works will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects, culminating in a final project consisting of a cohesive, visual body of work. Experimentation of conceptual and technical boundaries will be encouraged and explored. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Visual work will include a wide variety of drawing media, including, but not limited to traditional methods. The techniques of intaglio and relief printmaking will be used in combination with and concurrent to the drawn images.

Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

323 Advanced Studio Seminar

A studio course that will emphasize compositional development by working from memory, imagination, literature and abstractions derived from nature and other works of visual art. The Students will be encouraged to explore a wide variety of media including, but not limited to, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and collage. Students will be required to create an independent body of work over the course of the semester which explores their individual direction in pictorial construction. 

Requisite: ARHA 222, 326 or 327 or permission of the instructor. Limited to 5 students. Fall and Spring semester. Professor R. Sweeney.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

324 Sculpture II Miniatures and Monuments 

In this course we will be exploring the role of scale in sculpture. Through a series of studio projects, in a variety of materials, we will create sculptures in a range of sizes to understand how scale affects the creation and perception of a work of three-dimensional art. Using wood, welded steel, clay, and plaster, we will examine forms including the miniature, the maquette, and the monument. Students will have opportunities for collaboration and installation and be encouraged to explore new territory while refining and developing their critical and technical skills. Contemporary critical approaches will be introduced through readings and visual presentations.

Requisite: ARHA 214 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

 

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2022

325 Images and Icons—Exploring Devotional Art

(Offered as ARHA 325 and ASLC 325) An examination of the construction, use, and interpretation of images and icons. The primary focus will be on images and icons in the Buddhist and Hindu faiths; however, the class will also make comparisons with those in Christianity and the religions of Africa and New Guinea. Some of the topics to be covered will include the relationship between icons and deities, the authentication and animation of images, the connections between icons and political authority, the ritual use of images, and aniconism and iconoclasm. The class is designed to focus on art historical writing.

Limited to 18 students to facilitate class discussion. Omitted 2021-22. Prof. Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

326 Painting II

This course offers students knowledgeable in the basic principles and skills of painting and drawing an opportunity to investigate personal directions in painting. Assignments will be collectively as well as individually directed. Discussions of the course work will assume the form of group as well as individual critiques. Two three-hour class meetings per week.

Requisite: ARHA 215 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2021-22. Senior Resident Artist Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

328 Photography II

(Offered as ARHA 328) This course is a continuing investigation of the skills and questions introduced in ARHA 218. An emphasis will be placed on defining, locating and pursuing independent work; this will be accomplished through a series of weekly demonstrations, assignments and a final independent project. Student work will be discussed and evaluated in group and individual critiques. This is complemented by slide presentations and topical readings of contemporary and historical photography.This course will be taught virtually using digital cameras and and software. Students will be supplied with cameras for the semester. Two two-hour meetings per week. 

Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021

330 Fictional Narrative Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 330 and FAMS 443) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore fictional narrative filmmaking through a rigorous script-to-screen process. Students will write, shoot and edit a short (8-minute) fictional narrative film either in small groups or individually. In addition to weekly online screenings of short and feature narrative films, the class will consist of weekly Zoom sessions led by the professor, including lectures on advanced narrative filmmaking techniques, film discussions, script readings, and critiques of footage and various cuts.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Instructor to be determined.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020

335 Experiments in 16mm Film

(Offered as ARHA 335 and FAMS 335) This intermediate production course surveys the outer limits of cinematic expression and provides an overview of creative 16mm film production. We will begin by making cameraless projects through drawing, painting and scratching directly onto the film strip before further exploring the fundamentals of 16mm technology, including cameras, editing and hand-processing. While remaining aware of our creative choices, we will invite chance into our process and risk failure, as every experiment inevitably must.

Through screenings of original film prints, assigned readings and discussion, the course will consider a number of experimental filmmakers and then conclude with a review of exhibition and distribution strategies for moving image art. All students will complete a number of short assignments on film and one final project on either film or video, each of which is to be presented for class critique. One three-hour class and one film screening per week.

Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

350 Practice and Theory of Art History

What is art history? What is its history? What are its premises and where does it come from? This seminar will explore the historical foundations, formulations, and applications of current art historical methods, the foundations of the art historical discipline as it emerged from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as attitudes towards and theories on art practice in their diverse global contexts from before the modern period. Both practice and theory will be considered through discussion of select texts and objects drawn from a variety of traditions. Topics may include: style and periodization; iconography, narratology, and phenomenology; semiotics; the social functions of images and the social history of art; the cultural foundations of representation, aesthetics, and vision; art and the material world; art, gender, and sexuality; collecting and commodification of art; and post-colonialism and post-modernism.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

353 Myth, Ritual and Iconography in West Africa

(Offered as BLST 315 [A] and ARHA 353) Through a contrastive analysis of the religious and artistic modes of expression in three West African societies—the Asanti of the Guinea Coast, and the Yoruba and Igbo peoples of Nigeria—the course will explore the nature and logic of symbols in an African cultural context. We shall address the problem of cultural symbols in terms of African conceptions of performance and the creative play of the imagination in ritual acts, masked festivals, music, dance, oral histories, and the visual arts as they provide the means through which cultural heritage and identity are transmitted and preserved, while, at the same time, being the means for innovative responses to changing social circumstances.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

357 The Persian Book of Kings

(Offered as ASLC 357, ARHA 357, and HIST 357 [TC, TE, ME, P]) The Shahnameh (Book of Kings), completed by Abu’l Qasim Ferdowsi around 1010, is one of the world's greatest epics, and also one of the most enigmatic. The Shahnameh tells the history of pre-Islamic Iran from the beginnings of civilization until the Arab conquest in the seventh century A.D. Its tales of battles, romance, heroism, and betrayal have been appreciated as literature for centuries. At the same time, it’s been deployed for political and cultural ends. Many of the communities who have most enthusiastically embraced its stories and themes have been of non-Iranian origin. Indeed, Ferdowsi’s patron, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, was himself of Turkic background. Since the nineteenth century, it has been touted as the cultural cornerstone of an emphatically non-Muslim modern Iranian national identity, and yet the author and his patron were Muslim. Some have even interpreted the Shahnameh as encouraging conversion to Islam.

This course will explore the Shahnameh as literature, history, and material culture—including illustrated manuscripts, printed books, ceramics, metalwork, and photography—from its original tenth-century context to the contemporary moment. We will focus in particular on a heavily illustrated mid-nineteenth-century copy of the Shahnameh in Amherst College’s Archives and Special Collections, and consider how this work expressed a non-Islamic cultural foundation of modernity. We will follow this story to explore how the Shahnameh figures in debates over the pre-Islamic past today. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professors Rice and Ringer.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

383 The Tea Ceremony and Japanese Culture

(Offered as ARHA 383 and ASLC 319) An examination of the history of chanoyu, the tea ceremony, from its origins in the fifteenth century to the practice of tea today. The class will explore the various elements that comprise the tea environment-the garden setting, the architecture of the tea room, the forms of tea utensils, and the elements of the kaiseki meal. Through a study of the careers of influential tea masters and texts that examine the historical, religious, and cultural background of tea culture, the course will also trace how the tea ceremony has become a metaphor for Japanese culture and Japanese aesthetics both in Japan and in the West. There will be field trips to visit tea ware collections, potters and tea masters. Two class meetings per week.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

384 The Replicated Image in Japanese Art: Woodblock Prints, Postcards, and Photographs

(Offered as ARHA 384 and ASLC 384) An image that can be replicated serves a very different function from a single unique work of art; it addresses new audiences and elicits a wider range of responses. This course will explore three different types of replicated images in Japan—woodblock prints, lithographs, and photographs. With the unprecedented achievement of literacy among urban populations during the early seventeenth century, Japan developed highly inventive woodblock texts and images. The course will begin with an investigation of the Japanese print in the Edo period (1615–1868) through the works of artists such as Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige. It will subsequently examine the early history of the photograph in the nineteenth century and then how the postcard replaced the print as the favored format for the dissemination of images during the early twentieth century, becoming the primary visual means for communicating Japan’s modernity before the advent of World War II. The course will conclude with a study of photography from the 1920s to the present day. Photography also documented Japan’s modern era, the social tensions that appeared in the high-grown era after WWII, and today often transcends national boundaries.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

385 Witches, Vampires and Other Monsters

(Offered as ARHA 385, EUST 385, and SWAG 310) Our course will explore how evil was imagined, over cultures, centuries and disciplines. With the greatest possible historical and cultural specificity, we will investigate an array of monstrous creatures and plagues -- their terrifying powers, the explanations for why they came to be, and the strategies for how they could be purged -- as we attempt to articulate the kindred qualities they shared. We will study centuries-old witch burning manuals, and note the striking degree to which dangerous tropes -- about women, about pestilence, about dangerous sexuality, and about differences of all kinds -- have continued to our day. Among the artists to be considered are Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Dalí, Buñuel, Dreyer, Wilder, Almodóvar, and the community who made the AIDS Quilt.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

388 Approaches to Chinese Painting

(Offered as ARHA 388 and ASLC 383) This course will survey the Chinese pictorial and calligraphic traditions from the Neolithic era to the present day. Particular emphasis will be placed on the period from the Northern Song to the Qing dynasties and the development of the landscape idiom, but the course will also address the figure, bird and flower, and narrative traditions as well. It will conclude with an exploration of the ways contemporary artists engage the legacy of China’s cultural heritage. Special attention will be given to the differences between Western methodological approaches to Chinese painting and the theories of painting developed by the Chinese themselves.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

412 The Sixties

We will investigate a series of historical events (such as the Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis, Stonewall, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King) as well as the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of identity politics (Feminism, Black Power, the Brown Berets) and the counterculture. We will study the myriad art forms and their attendant ideologies invented during the decade (such as Pop, Op, Color Field, Minimalism, Land Art, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Fluxus), as well as some crucial critics, dealers and art journals, in an effort to understand the ways in which artists rejected or appropriated, then transformed, certain themes and conceptual models of their time. This course will include class trips.

Requisite: One course in modern art or consent of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 11 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Staller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2019

441 Documentary Production

(Offered as ARHA 441 and FAMS 441) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore creative documentary practice through readings, weekly screenings and production assignments. Each student will complete a series of projects working both as a single maker and in collaboration with other members of the class. Topics may include: shooting the interview; scripting, performance and reenactment; history and narrativity; place and space; ethnography and the “embedded” filmmaker. We will also host visiting filmmakers and, where possible, visit a cultural institution which supports and screens cutting-edge documentary work.

The course will be taught annually but will focus on a set of revolving themes and issues that inform contemporary documentary filmmaking and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The theme for Fall 2019 will be “Place and Space". One 3-hour class (some of which will include field shooting and research trips) and one evening screening each week.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Fall 2019

444 Films That Try: Essay Film Production

(Offered as ARHA 444 and FAMS 412) Essay filmmaking is a dynamic form with many commonly cited attributes—the presence of an authorial voice, an emphasis on broad themes, an eclectic approach to genre, and the tendency to digress or draw unexpected connections. Yet, true to its nature, the precise definition of the essay film is in constant flux. It can be both personal and political, individual and collective, noble and mischievous. Essay filmmakers themselves are equally diverse, ranging from established film auteurs to Third Cinema activists and contemporary video artists.

If we entertain the notion that the processes of cinema closely resemble the mechanics of human thought, then the essay film may be the medium’s purest expression. To watch or make such a film, we must give ourselves over to a compulsive, restless energy that delights in chasing a subject down any number of rabbit holes and blind alleys, often stopping to admire the scenery on the way. As with thought, there is no end product, no clear boundaries, no goal but the activity itself.

The term "essay" finds its origins in the French essayer, meaning “to attempt” or to try.” In this advanced production workshop, we will read, screen and discuss examples of the essayistic mode in literature and cinema while making several such attempts of our own. Students will complete a series of writing assignments and video projects informed by class materials and group discussion.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.

Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

445 Advanced Projects in Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 445 and FAMS 445) In this course, we will take the skills and insights gained in introductory production courses and develop them over the length of the semester through the creation of one short project, ten minutes long. Students may work individually or in pairs. We will learn by making work as well as by researching, reading, and watching films related to our projects. We may take this opportunity to delve into and learn the conventions of our chosen form, or we may decide that our content demands formal experimentation and risk-taking. The course will be structured by the projects each student brings to it. We will begin the semester with brainstorming, research, script/documentary proposal writing, and pre-production. Each student will develop a script or in-depth proposal to begin with. As we move into production, we will review and deepen our knowledge of camera, lighting (available & set), sound (location & studio), and editing principles and techniques. We will move between production and post-production in the second half of the semester, first developing sequences, then rough assemblies, rough cuts, and fine cuts, before ultimately completing our final cut.

Requisite: Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have completed at least one previous course in video production and preferably two previous courses, one at the 200-level and one at the 300-level. Limited to 10 students. Admission with consent of the instructor. Omitted 2021-22. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

481 Conversations with Experimental Filmmakers

(Offered as ENGL 481, ARHA 481, and FAMS 481) Experimental film is a vital area of contemporary media culture where artists engage the moving image from a wide range of creative approaches, exploring film as an aesthetic, poetic, or political medium, rather than a commercial enterprise. By departing from the conventions of mainstream film, experimental filmmakers present their audience with a stimulating challenge, asking viewers to develop new critical frameworks through which to assess films that often resist classification and traditional interpretive approaches.

In this seminar, students will take up this challenge by exploring different ways of entering into conversation with the work of experimental filmmakers. Through weekly screenings, in-class visits by contemporary filmmakers, and group discussions of course readings (such as artists’ writings, interviews, and related theoretical material), we will develop critical and creative vocabularies that help us to analyze and respond to an array of experimental films and videos. Along with completing writing assignments and in-class presentations, students will plan and execute a final project that can assume a number of critical or creative forms, such as an interview with a filmmaker, a short video, or an analytical essay.

Requisite: At least one foundational course in FAMS, ARHA, or ENGL. Open to juniors and seniors, and to sophomores with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Guilford.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2019

490 Special Topics

Independent reading course. A full course.

Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

Preparation of a thesis or completion of a studio project which may be submitted to the Department for consideration for Honors.

Open to seniors with consent of the Department. Fall semester. The Department.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Regulations & Requirements

Regulations & Requirements

Back

Art and the History of Art

Professors Abiodun, Clark, Courtright (Chair), Kimball‡, Morse, Staller, and Sweeney; Associate Professor Arboleda; Senior Resident Artists Garand and Gloman; Assistant Professors Carey*, Levine, Rice, and Vicario; Visiting Professor Koehler; Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis† ; Visiting Lecturers Chase, Culhane, England, Helander, and Hepler; CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Yu.

The Department of Art and the History of Art offers students a singular means within the College to develop artistic awareness, historical understanding, critical faculties and practice in the visual arts. Students across the College may accomplish these objectives by taking introductory to advanced courses in art history and studio practice. To identify and serve individual interests and goals, the department major is organized into two distinct programs: The History of Art and The Practice of Art:

History of Art Concentration: Professors Abiodun, Courtright, Morse and Staller; Associate Professor Arboleda; Assistant Professors Carey, Rice, and Vicario; Visiting Professor Koehler.

An intensive and structured engagement with the visual heritage of many cultures throughout the centuries, this curriculum requires not only the study of art history as a way to acquire deep and broad visual understanding, but also a self‑conscious focus on the contexts and meanings of art. By encountering the architecture, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and material culture created within a variety of historical frameworks, students will deepen their understanding of political, religious, philosophical, aesthetic, and social currents that defined those times as well. As a consequence, students will face art and issues that challenge preconceptions of our own era.

Course Requirements: The concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project). With the help of a department advisor, each student will devise a program of study and a sequence of courses that must include:

• One introductory course in the history of art

• Two courses in the arts of Africa, Asia, or the Middle East

• One course in European art before 1800

• One course in European or American art after 1800

• Two upper‑level courses or seminars with research papers, one of which may be a course outside the department with a focus on visual arts in the student's research paper

• One Studio elective (preferably before Senior Year)

• One additional Studio or related elective

Many of our courses could count for two of these requirements. For example, an upper‑level course in European art before 1800 with a required research paper will fulfill two of the requirements. An introductory course in the arts of Asia will fulfill two of the requirements as well.

Honors: Candidates for honors in this concentration will, with departmental permission, take ARHA 498-499 during their senior year. Students must apply and be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April.

Comprehensive Exam: Majors in the History of Art must satisfy a comprehensive assessment by participating in an undergraduate student conference in the final semester of the senior year. Each student will be expected to prepare a brief presentation that will demonstrate how a text of their choice could expand and develop one of the research projects completed to satisfy their requirements for the major. It should elucidate the link between their work and future goals. Students seeking department honors will be expected to present on their senior thesis.

Practice of Art Concentration: Professors Clark, Kimball, and Sweeney; Assistant Professor Levine; Senior Resident Artists Garand and Gloman; Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis, Visiting Lecturers Chase, Culhane, England, Helander, and Hepler; CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Yu.

The concentration in the Practice of Art enables students to become fluent in the discipline of the practice of visual arts. Students will develop critical and analytical thinking as well as the discipline's techniques and methods as a means to explore artistic, intellectual and human experience. Students will build towards creating a personal vision beginning with primary studies in drawing and introductory art history, proceeding on to courses using a broad range of media, and culminating in advanced studio studies of a more self directed nature. Working with their advisor, students will be encouraged to nurture the strong interdisciplinary opportunities found both at Amherst and the other institutions in the valley.

Course Requirements: The Practice of Art concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project):

•   Three introductory level studio courses

•   Five additional studio courses, at least 2 of which must be at the intermediate or advanced levels, chosen in close consultation with advisor

•   One course in contemporary Art History

•   One additional course in art history

In consultation with their advisors, students in this concentration will be encouraged to take additional courses both in art history and other disciplines. These courses should be broadly related to their artistic interests outside of the studio concentration, enriching their interdisciplinary understanding and engagement within a liberal arts curriculum. This expectation will be especially high for honors thesis candidates.

Honors: Candidates for honors will, with departmental permission, take ARHA 498-499 during the senior year. Students must apply and be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April. In designing their year‑long projects, students will be encouraged to explore the interdisciplinary implications and opportunities inherent in their artistic directions. Thesis students will also be required to develop a statement that ultimately places their body of work within a historical and cultural artistic discourse. There will be an exhibition of the bodies of work representing the honors theses in the Eli Marsh Gallery, Fayerweather Hall, in May.

Comprehensive Examination: Required of all studio concentration majors, except thesis students. This work should be done in consultation with your advisor. You should meet with them before Thanksgiving break.

Creation in the senior year of an ambitious independent work/s of art. This project is designed and created independently by the student, can be in any medium or combination of mediums, and may also be interdisciplinary in nature. Students will also develop a concise, written statement that addresses their conceptual concerns, process, choice of materials and media. It should cite influences as well as place the work within a historical and artistic context. The written statement and the work/s of art are due on Monday of the 6th week of the student's final semester. On that day students are expected to hang the work for a week‑long group exhibition to be reviewed by the Studio Faculty. A .pdf (Adobe format) or .doc/docx (Word format) of the written component is due as an attachment by email to the Department Coordinator ‑ finearts@amherst.edu on the same Monday.

* On leave 2021-22.
† On leave fall semester 2021-22.
‡ On leave spring semester 2021-22.

101 The Language of Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 101 and ARHA 101) This introductory course focuses on the tools used to communicate and discuss ideas in architectural practice and theory. We study both the practical, from sketching to parallel drawing, to the theoretical, from historical to critical perspectives. Connecting both, we cover the formal analysis elements necessary to “read” and critique built works. Class activities include field trips, guest presentations, sketching and drawing, small design exercises, discussion of readings, and short written responses. Through these activities, at the end of the semester the student will understand in general terms what the dealings and challenges of architecture as a discipline are.

Limited to 20 students. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

102 Practice of Art

An introduction to two- and three-dimensional studio disciplines through hands-on engagement with materials supplemented by lectures, demonstrations and readings. Students will work through a variety of projects exploring drawing, sculpture, painting and hybrid forms. Work will be developed based on direct observation, memory, imagination and improvisation. Formal and conceptual concerns will be an integral aspect of the development of studio work. Historical and contemporary references will be used throughout the course to enhance and increase the student’s understanding of the visual vocabulary of art. Class time will be a balance of lectures, demonstrations, exercises, discussions and critiques. Weekly homework assignments will consist of studio work and critical readings. No prior studio experience needed.

Not open to students who have taken ARHA 111 or 215. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman. Spring semester: Visiting Lecturer Hepler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

105 Space and Design: Introduction to Studio Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 105 and ARHA 105) This hands-on design studio will foster innovation as it guides students through the development of conceptual architecture. Through a series of projects that build on each other, students will develop their own design language and experiment with architecture at several scales - from an interior screen that plays with light, shadow and color, to a dynamic built structure and its integration into a site. We will work through both hand-drafted and computer drawings, as well as physical model-making to understand plan, section, and elevations as well as diagramming and concept models. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.

No prior architecture experience is necessary, but a willingness to experiment and a desire to learn through making are essential.

Admissions with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

110 Color Study

(Offered as ARHA 110 and CHEM 110.)  This interdisciplinary course is focused on exploring color through the lenses of science, culture and art. We will study how we perceive color down to the molecular level and how it impacts us as viewers. The course will seek to develop a broad, shared, set of topics that will allow students to weave together scientific and artistic concepts, rather than isolate them. As it is possible to approach color from many different disciplines, we encourage any interested student, regardless of academic focus, to register. A core goal of the course is to encourage a holistic discussion of the topic. Students will be asked to write about their observations of color through art and will have the opportunity to make their own original pieces. In addition, class activities will include lectures, invited speakers, discussion, and a final project.

Limited to 18 students. Omitted: 2021-2022.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

111 Drawing I

An introductory course in the fundamentals of drawing. This course will be based in experience and observation, exploring various techniques and media in order to understand the basic formal vocabularies and conceptual issues in drawing; subject matter will include still life, landscape, interior, and figure. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, final portfolio. Two three-hour sessions per week.

Limited to 12 students. In the fall semester 4 seats are reserved for first-year students. 

In the Spring semester, there is a limit of 10 students and 4 seats are reserved for first-year students.  

Fall semester: Visiting Lecturer Helander. Spring semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

131 History and Theory of Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 131, ARCH 131 and EUST 131.) Throughout history, buildings have directed human activity, shaping social interactions, symbolizing political power, and influencing multiple kinds of artistic expression. This course is a selected introduction to the history and theory of architecture, from the earliest forms of human habitation to medieval and Renaissance buildings, Enlightenment utopian visions, modern industrial structures and skyscrapers, and contemporary sustainable practices.  Interwoven with a sampling of theoretical texts and architectural treatises, the course covers selected moments in the history and theory of Western architecture, from Vitruvius to Alberti and Corbusier to Koolhaas, from primordial shelters to computer generated designs.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

135 Renaissance to Revolution: Early Modern European Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 135, ARCH 135, and EUST 135) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history, introduces the ways that artists and architects imaginatively invented visual language to interpret the world for contemporary patrons, viewers, and citizens in early modern Europe. Painters, printmakers, sculptors and architects in Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands created new ways of seeing empirical phenomena and interpreting them, by means of both ancient and new principles of art, science and philosophy and through powerful engagement with the senses. They produced godlike illusions of nature, from grand frescoes bursting from the walls of papal residences to spectacular gardens covering noble estates in Baroque France and colonializing England. They fundamentally altered the design of major cities such as Rome and Paris so that the visitor encountered an entirely new urban experience than ever before. Along the way, they learned from one another’s example, but, prizing innovation, sought fiercely to surpass previous generations, and argued at length about values in art. They contributed to fashioning an ideal picture of empire and society and conjured the dazzling wealth and power of those who paid them. But as time passed, some came to ironize the social order mightily, and some elevated beggars, farmers, servants, so-called fools, and bourgeois women leading seemingly mundane domestic lives as much as others praised the prosperous few. Finally, artists actively participated in the overthrow of the monarchy during the French Revolution and yet also passionately critiqued the violence of war it engendered. Throughout, the course will investigate how concepts of progress, civilization, the state, religion, race, gender, and the individual came to be defined through art.

The goals of the course are:
above all, to achieve the skill of close looking to gain visual understanding;
• also, to identify artistic innovations that characterize European art and architecture from the Italian Renaissance to the French Revolution;
• to understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;
• to situate the works of art historically, by examining the intellectual, political, religious, and social currents that contributed to their creation;
• to read texts about the period critically and analytically.
No previous experience with art or art history is necessary. 

Fall semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

138 Visual Arts and Orature in Africa

(Offered as BLST 313 [A] and ARHA 138) In the traditionally non-literate societies of Africa, verbal and visual arts constitute two systems of communication. The performance of verbal art and the display of visual art are governed by social and cultural rules. We will examine the epistemological process of understanding cultural symbols, of visualizing narratives, or proverbs, and of verbalizing sculptures or designs. Focusing on the Yoruba people of West Africa, the course will attempt to interpret the language of their verbal and visual arts and their interrelations in terms of cultural cosmologies, artistic performances, and historical changes in perception and meaning. We will explore new perspectives in the critical analysis of African verbal and visual arts, and their interdependence as they support each other through mutual references and allusions. In addition to visiting the Mead Art Museum to see African works, students will be required to listen to audio-recordings and engage selected visual images to enhance their understanding of the interrelationship of arts in Africa.

Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

145 The Modern World

(Offered as ARHA 145, EUST 145, and SWAG 145)  This course will explore the self-conscious invention of modernism in painting, sculpture and architecture, from the visual clarion calls of the French Revolution to the performance art and earthworks of "art now." As we move from Goya, David, Monet and Picasso to Kahlo, Kiefer and beyond, we will be attentive to changing responses toward a historical past or societal present, the stance toward popular and alien cultures, the radical redefinition of all artistic media, changing representations of nature and gender, as well as the larger problem of mythologies and meaning in the modern period. Study of original objects and a range of primary texts (artists’ letters, diaries, manifestos, contemporary criticism) will be enhanced with readings from recent historical and theoretical secondary sources.

Limited to 50 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Staller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019

147 Arts of China

(Offered as ARHA 147 and ASLC 143) An introduction to the history of Chinese art from its beginnings in neolithic times until the end of the twentieth century. Topics will include the ritual bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the Chinese transformation of the Buddha image, imperial patronage of painting during the Song dynasty and the development of the literati tradition of painting and calligraphy. Particular weight will be given to understanding the cultural context of Chinese art.

Spring semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2022

148 Arts of Japan

(Offered as ARHA 148 and ASLC 123) A survey of the history of Japanese art from neolithic times to the present. Topics will include Buddhist art and its ritual context, the aristocratic arts of the Heian court, monochromatic ink painting and the arts related to the Zen sect, the prints and paintings of the Floating World and contemporary artists and designers such as Ando Tadao and Miyake Issey. The class will focus on the ways Japan adopts and adapts foreign cultural traditions. There will be field trips to look at works in museums and private collections in the region

Fall semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

149 Survey of African Art

(Offered as ARHA 149 and BLST 123 [A]) An introduction to the ancient and traditional arts of Africa. Special attention will be given to the archaeological importance of the rock art paintings found in such disparate areas as the Sahara and South Africa, achievements in the architectural and sculptural art in clay of the early people in the area now called Zimbabwe and the aesthetic qualities of the terracotta and bronze sculptures of the Nok, Igbo-Ukwe, Ife and Benin cultures in West Africa, which date from the second century B.C.E. to the sixteenth century C.E. The study will also pursue a general socio-cultural survey of traditional arts of the major ethnic groups of Africa.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

152 Visual Culture of the Islamic World

(Offered as ARHA 152, ARCH 152 and ASLC 142) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history and architectural studies, introduces the art, architecture, and urban planning of the Islamic world, from the origins of Islam in the seventh century to the contemporary moment. Among the questions we will pose are: When, how, and why was the Qur’an first copied as a written text? Why does the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, completed in 691–2 A.D., closely resemble Christian churches and shrines from the same period? Why did medieval Europeans judge objects from the Islamic world, especially those bearing Arabic script, to be sacred in nature? How did commercial and diplomatic exchanges with China and Viking Scandinavia impact the arts of Central Asia and the Middle East during the premodern period? What can contemporary comic books tell us about the visual logic of fifteenth-century Iranian manuscript painting? And how have nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists used photography and film to address the legacies of colonialism and Orientalism? We will attempt to answer these questions through close and careful analysis of objects in a range of media, from silver and rock crystal to silk textiles and video; cities and architectural sites in Spain and India, and the many places in between; and primary and secondary texts. Films, museum websites, musical recordings, and visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections will supplement readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
No cap on enrollment.

Fall semester. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

153 World Monuments

(Offered as ARHA 153 and ARCH 153) This introductory course engages one of the most discussed typologies in world architecture: the monument. From the Sydney Opera House to the Eiffel Tower, monuments have entered into global consciousness as individuals from tourists to government officials have celebrated their supposed uniqueness. Meanwhile, monuments have drawn the ire of ISIS and the Taliban—two groups which have become famous for destroying venerated structures. Whether the subject in question is a tourist, a religious pilgrim, or a terrorist bent on destruction, humans are often drawn to monuments because of their power to captivate. This course examines the relevance of this psychic power. Over the course of the semester, we will address the architectural, social, cultural, theoretical, and political questions that emerge from an investigation of a range of famous and lesser-known monuments, including but not limited to: the Eiffel Tower; the Taj Mahal; the Great Mosque of Mecca; the Statue of Liberty; the Alhambra; the American Capitol Building; and the Suez Canal. We will also discuss the role of ISIS and the Taliban in shaping contemporary debates concerning the meaning and importance of architectural preservation as it relates to the monuments of the Middle East and South Asia. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will develop their writing skills while gaining knowledge of the issues that guide the study of world monuments, specifically, and architectural history, at large. This course is intended to introduce students to the field of architectural studies.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2020

154 Art and Architecture of South Asia

(Offered as ARHA 154, ARCH 154, and ASLC 154) This introductory course surveys the architecture, painting, sculpture, textiles, and other arts of South Asia—including India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka—from 2300 B.C. to the present. Among the diverse materials we will examine are the archaeological remains from one of the world’s earliest planned cities; Buddhist monastic complexes carved entirely out of living rock; Hindu temples bearing erotic images; manuscript illustrations made for Muslim emperors; colorful printed and painted textiles produced for domestic, European, Indonesian, and Japanese markets; and twentieth-century works of art that anticipate and respond to India’s independence from British colonial rule. We will consider the important roles that South Asian artists, architects, and other makers have played in depicting and housing the divine, establishing political and religious systems, and fueling the exchange of ideas and goods across the globe. Films, musical recordings, museum websites, visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections, and cooking and food-tasting sessions will supplement assigned readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Spring semester. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

155 Introduction to Contemporary Art

This introductory course explores art produced between 1960 and the present. We will take a transnational approach, from the emergence of Pop art as an  international phenomenon in the 1960s to the mushrooming cloud of biennials in the twenty-first century. The course will sometimes look at art’s intersection with architecture, film, and visual culture more broadly. We will keep in mind the following questions: How have new technologies, civil rights movements, emergent subjectivities, new forms of theoretical inquiry, and processes of globalization shaped the work of art? How have artists critiqued both institutions and the art historical canon? How does contemporary art both participate in and stand apart from the world in which and for which it was made?

Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

157 The Postcolonial City

(Offered as ARHA 157, ARCH 157, and BLST 193 [D]) This course engages the buildings, cities, and landscapes of the former colonies of Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. Beginning with the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the non-European territories, which once comprised the lucrative possessions of modern European empires, quickly became independent states charged with developing infrastructure, erecting national monuments, and handling the influx of laborers drawn to the metropolises formed as sleepy colonial towns grew into bustling postcolonial cities. This class will examine the buildings, urban spaces, rural landscapes, and national capitals that emerged in response to these political histories. We will approach a number of issues, such as the architecture of national independence monuments, the preservation of buildings linked to the colonial past, the growth of new urban centers in Africa and India after independence, architecture and regimes of postcolonial oppression, the built environments of tourism in the independent Caribbean, and artists’ responses to all of these events. Some of the places that we will address include: Johannesburg, South Africa; Chandigarh, India; Negril, Jamaica; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; and Lilongwe, Malawi. Our goal will be to determine what, if any, continuities linked the buildings, landscapes, and spaces of post-independence Africa, India, and the Caribbean in the twentieth century. Over the course of the semester, students will gain skills in analyzing buildings, town plans, and other visual materials. Also, this class will aid students in developing their writing skills, particularly, their ability to write about architecture and urban space.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

159 Modernity and the Avant-Gardes, 1890–1945

(Offered as ARHA 159 and ARCH 159) This course is an examination of the emergence, development, and dissolution of European modernist art, architecture and design. The course begins with the innovations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, created in consort with the growth of modern urbanism, colonialist politics, and psychological experimentation. Distinctions between the terms modernity, modernism, and the avant-garde will be explored as we unpack the complex equations between art, politics, and social change in the first half of the twentieth century. Covering selected groups (such as Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, l'Esprit Nouveau, Bauhaus, and Constructivism), this course will consider themes such as mechanical reproduction, nihilism, nationalism, consumerism, and primitivism as they are disclosed in the making and reception of modernist art and architecture.

Fall semester. Visiting Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2021

160 Deconstructing Modernity: 1945–2000

(Offered as ARHA 160 and ARCH 160) This course examines the art, architecture, and design produced in Europe and the United States from the aftermath of World War II to the end of the twentieth century. We will begin with art in relationship to war, the Holocaust, and the expansion of capitalism, consumerism, suburbia, and the skyscraper. Finally, we will conclude by engaging the rejection of modernist strategies in the latter part of the twentieth century. We will survey movements such as COBRA, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, the Situationists, Minimalism, land art, performance art, feminist art, Neo-Expressionism, and the archival turn; architectural groups such as Archigram, CIAM, the post modernists, and deconstructionists; and defining texts by Adorno, Sartre, Arendt, Debord, Foucault, Krauss, Derrida, among others.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

180 Contemporary Native American Art

(Offered as ARHA 180 and AMST 211) This course will examine works of art created by Native American artists, including painting, sculpture, photography, and performance and installation art, from the late nineteenth century to today.  Students will study important movements and consider individual artists who worked primarily as painters, including the Iroquois realists of the late nineteenth century; the Studio School of Southwestern artists, printmakers, and illustrators; the Kiowa Six and their important role in creating modern Native American murals; abstract expressionists like Kay Walkingstick (Cherokee); Pop artists like Fritz Scholder (Luiseno) and Harry Fonseca (Nisenan Maidu); and Conceptual artists such as Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne). Major Native American contemporary photographers include Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke (Crow)), Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole-Diné), and Horace Poolaw (Kiowa). The course will also consider sculptors working in realistic (Alan Houser, Blackbear Bosin) and abstract styles (Rick Bartow, Tammy Garcia); performance artists like James Luna and Rebecca Belmore; important emerging artists like the interdisciplinary activist/arts collective Postcommodity; and Angel de Cora, the first Native American graduate of Smith College, the 150th anniversary of whose birth will be marked in 2021.

This class will be taught in-person, with the option to join by Zoom.

Limited to 34 students. Omitted 2021-2022. Visiting Lecturer Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021

186 Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 186 and LLAS 186) This course provides an introduction to the Pre-Columbian art and architecture of the Americas. It explores major traditions in architecture and city planning, murals, sculpture, painting, masks, and textiles. The first half of the semester concentrates on Preclassic and Classic Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America); the second on Postclassic Mesoamerica, North America, and the Andes.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

187 Native American Art

This course provides an introduction to Native American Indian art and architecture from North and Latin America. It focuses on the modern and contemporary periods (with some attention to archaeological art), exploring traditions in architecture, sculpture, painting, masks, textiles, and ceramics. The first half of the semester concentrates on the Woodlands, Plains, and Southwest; the second on the Northwest Coast, Arctic, Mexico and Guatemala, Central America, the Andes, and Amazonia. The course will be interdisciplinary, and will include readings Indigenous narratives, Native American aesthetics, and contemporary artists including photographers, videographers, and performance artists, as well as alternative curating and exhibition of Indigenous art.

Limited to 35 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021

190 Art.com

This course explores the complex relationship between art and the Internet. How has the Internet seeped into and come to inform the way artists work in the twenty-first century? What is the history of digital imaging? What role do digital renderings play in the design of art and architecture? Why have some artists rejected digital media in favor of pre-digital materials—analog media, artisanal craft, body art and performance? What is the difference between seeing a work of art “in person” versus on social media? Why do people post what they see “in person” on social media? How do artists, galleries, and museums seek to limit the online circulation of works of art? What is the relationship between a unique, original work of art and a multitude of copies? What is Post-Internet art? To what extent has the Internet disrupted the way the art world functions and in what ways has the pandemic played a role in moving art online? How has the recent NFT boom affected the art market and how does it figure in a longer history of thinking about the relationship between art as intellectual property and as taking material form? The course will combine twenty-first century case studies with a wider range of texts on topics such as originality, reproduction, and theories and histories of technology. The class will meet on Zoom and will include brief lectures, discussion (both in breakout rooms and all together), guest speakers, film screenings, short writing assignments, and final presentations. 

Limited to 25 students.  January 2022 semester. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

201 Measuring Histories through Materiality and Multiples

The most quotidian objects possess the power to connect to a broad audience. This course will harness that power to make art that measures and recounts past events in human history. The events might be small or large, little known, personally experienced, or widely recounted. Students will interrogate the context, function, materiality, and symbolism of common objects from as many vantage points as possible. We will explore how objects in multiples can disrupt, engage, challenge, obscure or metaphorically highlight the meaning in materials. The class will explore methods of combining, linking, and connecting common objects both conceptually and physically toward the manifestation of both singular and collaborative artworks. We will work together to select suitable materials and methods to quantify, measure, and actualize diverse histories and narratives. Students should be prepared to share materials, ideas, stories, and ways of working.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019

202 Architectural Anthropology

(Offered as ARCH 202 and ARHA 202) This seminar explores the emerging interdisciplinary field that combines the theory and practice of architecture and anthropology. We compare and contrast these two disciplines’ canonical methods, their ethical stances, and their primary subject matters (i.e., buildings and people). With that, we reflect upon the challenges of ethnoarchitecture as a new discipline, emphasizing the challenges of carrying out architectural research and/or construction work among people from cultural backgrounds different than the architect’s own. In general, this course invites critical thinking about the theory and practice of architecture, especially when it confronts issues of difference, including ethno-cultural and social class differences.

Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone; previous instruction in architectural studies, area or ethnic studies, or social studies can be beneficial but is not mandatory.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

203 Color Meets Object

What happens when a painted image escapes its rectangle and pushes out of illusionistic depth into the literal space of the room? How does it change a viewer’s understanding of sculptural form when the sculpture’s physical volumes have been optically flattened, heightened, or contradicted by the addition of color? In this course we will invite interaction between illusionistic and literal, tactile space to consider unique possibilities where the concerns of painting and sculpture merge. We will explore how each discipline can expand its scope with an amalgam of tactile and chromatic visual elements and experience. The semester will begin with a series of structured studio problems and with research into contemporary art practices that incorporate both color and tactile volume. We will also look into the wealth of historical precedents for these practices. This critical review and first-hand study of artworks, in conjunction with studio experimentation, will help each student determine the shape of an end-of-semester artwork or series of works. Readings, visiting artists, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.

Requisite: One prior studio course in painting or sculpture, or permission of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22 Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

204 Housing, Urbanization, and Development

(Offered as ARCH 204, ARHA 204, and LLAS 204) This course studies the theory, policy, and practice of low-income housing in marginalized communities worldwide. We study central concepts in housing theory, key issues regarding low-income housing, different approaches to address these issues, and political debates around housing the poor. We use a comparative focus, going back and forth between the cases of the United States and the so-called developing world. By doing this, we engage in a “theory from without” exercise: We attempt to understand the housing problem in the United States from the perspective of the developing world, and vice versa. We study our subject through illustrated lectures, seminar discussions, documentary films, visual analysis exercises, and a field trip.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

205 Sustainable Design: Principles, Practice, Critique

(Offered as ARCH 205 and ARHA 205) This theory seminar aims to provide students with a strong basis for a deep engagement with the practice of sustainability in architectural design. The studied material covers both canonical literature on green design and social science-based critical theory. We start by exploring the key tenets of the sustainable design discourse, and how these tenets materialize in practice. Then, we examine sustainable design in relation to issues such as inequality and marginality. As we do this, we locate sustainability within the larger environmental movement, studying in detail some of the main approaches and standards of sustainable design, the attempts to improve this practice over time, and the specific challenges confronting these attempts. In addition to reading discussions, we study our subject through student presentations and written responses, a field trip, and two graphic design exercises.

Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone, but students would benefit from having a previous engagement with a course in architectural design, architectural history and/or theory, introduction to architectural studies, or environmental studies.

Limited to 20 students. Fall Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

206 Failed It!

This course offers an exciting investigation into failure in art during the uniqueness of life and culture in 2020. We will discover and debate the complexities, challenges, and benefits of failure and what it means for making art. Students will experiment with flaws, imperfections, rejects, and errors in their art projects. We will encourage you to think about failure in positive, unexpected, inspirational, and low-fi ways. You will learn about artists who are motivated by errors, uncommon methods, and breaking rules. The course includes presentations, screenings, discussions, collaboration, in-class activities, assignments, and independent work. There will be an emphasis on using and subverting everyday tools and materials.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Artist-in-Resident England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

207 Talking with Beads

This studio art course focused on complex global beading traditions and techniques. We will study how the language of beadwork is used to tell stories, connect with ancestors, provide protection, create community, signify power, and challenge injustice. This course draws on the over 75,000-year usage of beads ranging from umbilical amulets (Native American) to abacuses (Middle East and Asia) to rosaries (Europe) to lukasa (Central Africa) to Zulu love letters (South Africa). Students will learn dozens of beading techniques (many unique to South African cultures where some of the earliest beads were discovered.) We will use beads to communicate, preserve, and encode messages. We will expand the definition of what constitutes a bead; use variation in size, color, shape, and material as metaphor; and design beaded memory devices. No prior beading experience is necessary but curiosity and commitment is required.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

208 Playing with Pictures

This studio course focuses on the archiving, collecting, and appropriation related to contemporary art. Students will learn to "play with pictures" in imaginative, conceptual, exploratory, and intelligent ways. This learning will happen through exercises in-class, readings, journal writing, experimental making, film screenings, group discussions, critiques, and other activities. We will investigate the collection, curation, and juxtaposition of images from a wide range of sources, and consider how new personal, social, and political meanings can be generated from different groupings of images. This will be framed by critically reviewing the work of contemporary visual artists who use archives, collecting, and/or appropriation in their practice. Students will create personalized repositories of images from which to draw for future art and design projects.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Artist-in-residence England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

209 Space and Design: Intermediate Studio Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 209 and ARHA 209) This course will be a design investigation of sustainable architecture. Students will research cutting edge innovations in green technology and present their findings through graphic boards and verbal presentations. They will then design their own systems for water collection, air filtration, energy capture, site strategies, and solar power. A design language will be developed through a series of rigorous design exercises and creative innovation, and will culminate in a building project. Students will further develop sketching, drafting and model-making skills both by hand and with the computer. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.

Requisite: ARCH 105 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students.

Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

212 Storytelling Arts in Mesoamerica

(Offered as ENGL 212 and ARHA 212) [Before 1800] This course will explore the major pictorial narrative traditions of Mesoamerica, focusing on manuscripts of the Aztec, Maya, and Mixtec peoples, as well as other media, including texts and images from murals, ceramics, monuments, and mirrors. These visual and narrative media continue to play important roles in the preservation of Indigenous identity, solidarity, and cultural identity within nation states; the course will examine public, popular, and fine arts reviving, repurposing, and supporting resistance using this imagery.

Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

213 Printmaking I: The Handprinted Image

An introduction to intaglio and relief processes including drypoint, engraving, etching, aquatint, monoprints, woodcut and linocut. The development of imagery incorporating conceptual concerns in conjunction with specific techniques will be a crucial element in the progression of prints. Historical and contemporary references will be discussed to further enhance understanding of various techniques. Critiques will be held regularly with each assignment; critical analysis of prints utilizing correct printmaking terminology is expected. A final project of portfolio making and a portfolio exchange of an editioned print are required.

Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

214 Sculpture I

An exploration of three-dimensional concepts, form, expression and aesthetics. In a series of directed projects students will encounter a range of materials and technical processes including construction, modeling and carving. Projects will include conceptual and critical strategies integrated with material concerns. By the end of the course students will have developed a strong understanding of basic principles of contemporary sculpture and acquired the skills and technical knowledge of materials to create accomplished works of three-dimensional expression. Students will develop an awareness of conceptual and critical issues in current and historical sculptural practice, establishing a foundation for continued training and self-directed work in sculpture and other artistic disciplines.

No prior studio experience is required. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

215 Painting I

An introduction to the fundamentals of the pictorial organization of painting. Form, space, color, and pattern, abstracted from nature, are explored through the discipline of drawing by means of paint manipulation. Slide lectures, demonstrations, individual and group critiques are regular components of the studio sessions. Two three-hour meetings per week.  The course will be taught remotely.

Requisite: ARHA 102 or 111 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 8 students. Spring semester: Professor Sweeney.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

217 Improvising the Space Between: Drawing, Architecture, and Sculpture

This course is an exploration into the shared territories of drawing, architecture, and sculpture, and the hybrid spaces that may be created between those disciplines. An improvisational and responsive approach, in the spirit of experimentation and open inquiry, frames the studio-based course work. We will consider potentials and challenges of space, light, materials, joinery, structural geometries, organic growth, and temporality. After this initial period of information gathering, students will be free to determine the format or combination of formats that will shape an extended semester-end project. Readings, artist talks, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.

Requisite: One prior course in studio arts, architecture, or film production, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-2022. Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2020

218 Photography I

An introduction to black-and-white still photography. The basic elements of photographic technique will be taught as a means to explore both general pictorial structure and photography’s own unique visual language. Emphasis will be centered less on technical concerns and more on investigating how images can become vessels for both ideas and deeply human emotions. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, readings, and slide lectures about the work of artist-photographers, one short paper, and a final portfolio involving an independent project of choice. Two three-hour meetings per week.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Kimball.  Spring semester. Artist in Residence England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

219 Venice, Perfect City (476-1797)

(Offered as HIST 219 [TE/TC/C/P] and ARHA 219) When the Roman Empire imploded in 476, refugees from the Italian mainland settled on a few disconnected islands sheltered from the open Adriatic Sea by a lagoon. Within a few centuries, they created one of the most unlikely, beautiful, and long-lasting European cities ever to have been built. The cooperative spirit with which early medieval Venetians were able to create an urban environment built on seawater found its expression in the political and societal structures they formed to govern their city, republic, and, eventually, empire. In this course, we will discuss key events in the history of this extraordinary city, whose autonomy and self-government lasted until Napoleon invaded it in 1797. Topics include: art, architecture, and urban planning; the formation of an aristocratic but republican constitution; the emergence of civic institutions, poor relief, and neighborhood organizations; the history of the Ghetto and its Sephardic, Ashkenazi, and Italian communities; Venetian sea-trade and the conquest of the Levantine Empire; the Venetian Renaissance; ties with Byzantium, and the Mamluk and Ottoman Empires; convent culture; proto-feminism; and the Enlightenment. These topics will be discussed in the wider context of historical developments in the European and Mediterranean middle ages and early modern period. Two meetings per week. 

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Sperling.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

221 Foundations in Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 221 and FAMS 221) This introductory course is designed for students with no prior experience in video production. The aim is both technical and creative. We will begin with the literal foundation of the moving image—the frame—before moving through shot and scene construction, lighting, sound-image concepts, and final edit. In addition to instruction in production equipment and facilities, the course will also explore cinematic form and structure through weekly readings, screenings and discussion. Each student will work on a series of production exercises and a final video assignment.

Limited to 12 students with instructor's permission. Fall semester: Professor Levine. Spring semester: Visiting Professor Mellis. 
2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

222 Drawing II

A course appropriate for students with prior experience in basic principles of visual organization, who wish to investigate further aspects of pictorial construction abstracting from forms including the figure, landscape and organic still life. There will be weekly drawing assignments and critiques, in addition to a final project of a life size self portrait. 

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Professor R. Sweeney. Spring semester: Professor Gloman. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

224 Translating Nature: Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture

This course explores the visual structures of natural things. The processes and disciplines of drawing, acrylic painting, watercolor and sculpture will be used to examine natural subjects such as plants, animals, landscape and the figure. We will work directly from life. Out-of-class trips will be frequent to access natural subject matter not found in the classroom.

Requisite: One of ARHA 111, ARHA 214, or ARHA 215 (because of the diversity of subject and materials used). Limited to 8 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist David Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

226 Women and War in European History, 1558–1918

(Offered as HIST 226 [EU/TC/P], ARHA 226, EUST 226, and SWAG 225) Although overlooked in military histories until recently, women have long been actively involved in warfare: as combatants, as victims, as workers, and as symbols. This course examines both the changing role of women, and the shifting constructions of “womanhood,” in four major European conflicts: the wars of Elizabeth I in sixteenth-century England, the wars and peace of Marie de Médicis in seventeenth-century France, the French Revolution, and the First World War. Using methodologies drawn from Art History and History, the course seeks to understand the gendered nature of warfare. Why are images of women and the family central to the iconography of war, and how have representations of womanhood shifted according to the aims of particular conflicts? To what extent do women’s experiences of warfare differ from men’s, and can war be considered a source of women’s liberation or oppression? Students will analyze a range of historical images in conjunction with primary source texts from these conflicts and will also develop an original research project related to the course’s themes. Two class meetings per week.

Recommended requisite: A course in Art History or History. Limited to 25 students. Not offered in 2021-22. Professor Boucher.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2019

227 Critiquing the Critique as Studio Art Practice

What is the purpose of the art critique and how can we get the most out of them?  Students who have taken at least two studio art courses will explore the meaning and application of critique as it applies both to their own work and the work of others. We will critique the artwork of established artists and the writing of established art critics to unearth strategies. Together, we will define the purpose of critique, deconstruct critique methodologies, hone written and verbal skills to become better critics, and apply criticism toward the development of new work. Students will bring previous work to the course and remake that work based on feedback. Ultimately, students will practice analyzing and articulating their art practice in relationship to various social, cultural, and historical lenses.

Limited to 18 students.  January 2022 term.  Online only. Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

228 Image & Text

The combination of language with visual information offers a rich range of possibilities. In this course we will investigate strategies of interweaving image and text to create works that draw upon the qualities of each to produce hybrid forms. The class will look at a variety of sources and respond to them in a series of hands-on studio projects. These sources include maps, diagrams, calligraphy, illustrations and manuscripts, as well as work from the history of art and literature. The projects can involve drawing, printing, erasures, book-making, writing, digital media and photography to produce works that deploy image and text to express narrative, poetic, political or informational content. Students from a range of diciplines and interests are encouraged to participate.

No prior studio experience is required. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2022

229 The Virgin Mary: Image, Cult, Syncretism (ca. 400-1700)

(Offered as HIST 229 [TC/P/C], ARHA 229, RELI 229 and SWAG 229) When, in 431, the Council of Ephesus declared the Virgin Mary to be Theotokos or God-Bearer, she had already been venerated in Egypt since the third century as a re-instantiation of Isis. The syncretism of her cult explains her ubiquitous popularity in medieval Byzantium and the Latin West, but also in early Islamic Syria and colonial Latin America. Her frequent depiction on moveable wooden panels (icons) and mosaics accompanied her early rise to liturgical prominence. By 1200, she rivaled Jesus Christ in religious importance, not only through her role as intercessor, but also as dispenser of divine grace in the form of breastmilk. She was the most active miracle-working saint in all of Christianity. Her frequent depiction on icons, altarpieces and devotional panels accompanies – and, in part, explains – the development of figurative art in the West. In colonial America, the introduction of her cult ended prior religious forms of expression, but also helped them to partially survive in a new context. In this seminar, students will produce a 15-page research paper based on a careful analysis of textual and visual sources as well as pertinent scholarship. Two class meetings per week. This course will be conducted in class but also include remote students via zoom.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Sperling.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

232 Cartographic Cultures: Making Maps, Building Worlds

(Offered as ARHA 232 and ARCH 232) This course traces the history of modern cartography from the integration of indigenous map-making techniques into colonial Latin American land surveys in the sixteenth century to the use of GIS software by militaries and corporations to create detailed images of foreign and domestic territories in the twenty-first century. Along the way, we will study the political and economic impetus that drove governments, militaries, municipalities, and private entities to create renderings of the land on which we live. We will also investigate the technological history of map-making as we consider the extent to which innovations in modern science have influenced the production of maps. This course will challenge the presumption that maps are factual portrayals of physical space. It will also question how divergent forms of culturally based knowledge as well as economic constraints and corporate rivalries have historically influenced map-making and subsequently shaped our understanding of territories near and far. We will think through these issues while investigating a number of major topics in the history of modern cartography: map-making and indigenous expertise in the Americas prior to and during European intervention; colonial cartography in the Americas, Asia, and Africa; the explosion of the map-making industry in eighteenth and nineteenth-century England and France; the mapping of oceans and other remote landscapes during this time; the twentieth-century genre of pictorial maps in the United States; cartography and modern warfare; and artists’ responses to these histories. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will build their writing and research skills while gaining knowledge of the methods that scholars employ when reading a wide variety of maps. Moreover, in approaching contemporary debates in the field of cartography, this course will introduce students to landscape studies.
Limited to 34 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020

233 2020: Art Can Help

(Offered as ARHA 233 and FAMS 233) We approach the fall of 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic, a wave of international protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, systemic racism, an escalating climate emergency, and widespread anxiety about the consequences of the upcoming American elections. Our own responses to these crises can vary, often from day to day. We may feel inspired to make change or to further educate ourselves, but we can also feel overwhelmed and unsure of our own place in the world. What are our responsibilities as artists, individuals and as members of the communities that surround us?

In this remote studio course for students working in video and photography, we will explore methods and issues related to politically engaged art practice. Topics to be covered may include: the tension between the personal and the political in art, the role of images within political discourse, documentary, archive, and the relationship between creative practice and activism.

Each student will work independently in photography, video or both to produce a body of work that speaks to their own interests or experience. Students may choose to work in a variety of modes that might include or combine direct observation, diaristic record, archival practices, performance or poetic intervention. The course will include group and individual critiques of the students’ work, research seminars, historical and topical lectures from the histories of film, video and photography, and the examination of art practices that seek to balance or blend politics and aesthetics. We will conclude the semester with a group exhibition of artistic work created by students in the class.

Requisite Course: One 200-level course in film/video or photography, or a portfolio of work which demonstrates relevant experience. Limited to 14 students. Omitted 2021-22 Professor Kimball and Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

235 Integrated Practices: Social Issues and the Interview

(Offered as ARHA 235 and FAMS 410)  This Integrated Practices course blends production components and theories regarding the interview, oral histories, direct address and on camera dialogues, in non-fiction video production, in order to explore and respond to the ways in which social issues such as racism, economic inequality, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, bullying, hate speech and hate crimes, disability, incarceration, to name a few, affect us.

In Social Issues and the Interview, students create, research and analyze the process of producing scripted, interview-based, socially engaged, short non-fiction videos. The course examines elements of performance for the camera, remote internet-based interviews, studio and in the field shooting, The class looks at various interview and editing techniques as well as the form, history, and function of the interview form in the non-fiction genre. 

 

Requisite: A foundations course in Critical Studies of Film and Media (such as “Coming to Terms: Cinema”) and an introductory film/video production workshop. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

237 Curating between the Virtual and the Physical: Liliana Porter

This course introduces students to contemporary art and the history and practice of organizing exhibitions. How do we present and experience art in a fixed location and how can art be curated and engaged with on the Internet? A museum exhibition of work by artist Liliana Porter, on view at the Mead during the run of the course, and the planning of a parallel online exhibition in collaboration with Curator of American Art and Arts of the Americas Lisa Crossman, will provide a case study. Porter’s work, which ranges from video to installation to works on paper, offers a particularly rich opportunity for thinking through the relationship between originality and reproduction, objects and representation. This class presents students with an opportunity to converse with the artist, engage with the exhibition of her work on view, learn from a curator, and participate in the organization of the virtual exhibition. Students will also read, discuss, and write about curating, spatial experience, technological mediation, and artists and curators who have reimagined the forms art and exhibitions take.

Limited to 15 students.  Spring semester: Professor Vicario

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

240 Women in Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 240, ARCH 240 and SWAG 240) This course begins with an examination of gendered, architectural spaces and how and why they were structured for women in the 19th century in both Britain and America. Looking at primary and secondary sources, students will gain insight into societal norms and how they conditioned architecture generally associated with women, such as houses, asylums, and early women’s colleges. This study will serve as a platform from which to understand the pressures upon women and the pioneers who rejected such norms and pursued architecture as a profession. The latter half of the course will look at the work of early women architects, the hurdles they faced and the examples they set. The course will conclude with a critical examination of women architects practicing today and how they navigate the profession. It is open to non-majors and will introduce interested students to issues surrounding the architectural canon, equity, and the history of gendered spaces in architecture. 
Limited to 25 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Lecturer Vickery.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

241 The Age of Michelangelo: Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 241, ARCH 241, and EUST 241)  Michelangelo, a defining genius of the Italian Renaissance, emerged from a rich cultural environment that forever changed how we think of art. Artists of the Renaissance developed an original visual language from the legacy of the ancient world, while also examining nature, their environment, and encounters with other worlds to the East and West. Their art revealed a profound engagement with philosophical attitudes toward the body and the spirit, as well as with ideals of pious devotion and civic virtue. Those concepts changed radically over the period of the Renaissance, however. Artists developed the rhetoric of genius and artistic struggle by vaunting an artist’s godlike role, owing to his imaginative creation of art and his ability to mimic reality illusionistically, yet they also questioned a human’s place in the cosmos. We will analyze in depth the visual language of painting, sculpture, and architecture created for merchants, monks, princes and popes in the urban centers of Florence, Rome and Venice from the 14th through the 16th centuries, and examine the virtuosic processes artists used to achieve their goals. 

Rather than taking the form of a survey, this course, based on lectures but regularly incorporating discussion, will analyze selected works and contemporary attitudes toward the visual through study of the art and its primary sources.

 Learning goals:

  • Gain confidence in the art of close looking to gain visual understanding;
  • Achieve an understanding about how art and its culture are intertwined;
  • Develop the critical skills to analyze points of view from a historical period other than our own;
  • Learn collaboratively with classmates;
  • Develop and argue an original thesis about a single work of art in a research paper.

Meets twice a week, 1 hour and 20 minutes.

One course in ARHA, FAMS, or ARCH recommended.

Uncapped.

 Omitted 2021-22. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

242 Hand-Drawn and Hand-Printed: The Stories of Images

This course will focus on drawing and printmaking as a means of building visual stories through serial description and expression. Studio work will include brush and ink drawings, watercolor, printmaking techniques, and collage, with a range of approaches to subject matter based on each student’s individual interests and choices. These include representational, narrative, abstract, and symbol-based imagery, among others. Relief printing techniques using both wood and synthetic blocks, will be taught, as well as the intaglio technique of trace monotype printing. All prints will be handprinted using spoons, barens, and the palm of the hand. Experimentation around conceptual and technical boundaries will be explored and encouraged. Projects will focus on using a combination of these means to develop a series of related images. A broad cultural range of contemporary and historical references will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects. The semester’s work will culminate in a cohesive body of visual work given the form of a small-scale installation and, for the final project, a hand-made accordion book. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Writing will be required of students in the form of series statements, feedback on other students’ projects, and final semester reflections on their work. No prerequisites required.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

243 Cut, Inked and Hand Pressed: Woodcut Prints

Woodcut is a dynamic form of printmaking. It has been instrumental in communication since the invention of paper in 105 C.E. and is a relief technique with a broad array of possibilities. Students will learn various methods to cut and print wood blocks, and assignments will include multiple block printing, hand-colored prints, collage, and cut paper. All prints will be handprinted using spoons, barens and the palm the hand. Assignments will be critiqued regularly, and critical analysis of prints' conceptual and technical concerns will be discussed. The study of a culturally wide range of historical and contemporary artists will provide inspiration, insight and knowledge into the visual language of woodcut. Students will be encouraged to create imagery that provides personal meaning influenced by political, individualistic, imaginative and emotional experiences. No prerequisites required.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

247 Independent Projects: Sculpture Studio Seminar

This course is an opportunity for students to pursue and shape independent sculpture projects developed through a series of closely related sculptural works. The class will focus on the dynamics and engineering of three-dimensional structures and compositions, sensitivity to materials – what they offer and associations they carry--and use of a tactile language of form as expressive means. The semester will result in the production by each student of a coherent body of works, where every piece has informed and shaped the next as students’ ideas for their series are honed and more fully explored. The class as a whole will start the semester’s work with short exercises and studies, testing a range of approaches to using the language of three-dimensional form, before moving in individual directions. Modeling and construction techniques, as well as mold-making and casting, will be taught as needed in response to student goals, and as is possible within the constraints of COVID-19 precautions. Relevant readings, presentations, and museum visits will inform studio work. Regular group critiques and discussions will be a key part of learning with and from each other.
Requisite: ARHA 214, or permission of the instructor.
Taught on campus, and remotely through group and individual Zoom meetings, and shared on-line materials, if needed.
Omitted 2021-2022. Limited to 8 students. Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

249 Digital Art History

(Offered as ARHA 249 and ARCH 249) This course is an introduction to the latest digital tools that art historians and museum curators use to analyze and display works of art, architecture, and the larger built environment, including, but not limited to, 3D modeling, network graphing, and digital mapping and storytelling. We will begin by asking what actually constitutes art historical data and then turn to consider how the digital collection, organization, interpretation, and presentation of this information can inform our understanding of objects, buildings, cities, and landscapes. Among the other topics we will explore are the digital artworks and exhibitions that artists and curators around the globe are currently creating in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the ethics and practicalities of doing digital art history today. This non-lecture-based course centers hands-on collective learning and is designed for students of all backgrounds. No previous knowledge of the subject is presumed.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

250 Humanitarian Design in Theory and Practice

(Offered as ARCH 250 and ARHA 250) This course explores the challenges and possibilities of humanitarian design, a growing area of interest in architectural practice. The course includes a field trip to Ecuador, to take place over Spring Break. This field component is deeply integrated into the course contents. During the first part of the semester, students become familiar with relevant theoretical and practice-based approaches to disaster reconstruction. With that, they gain an understanding of the complexities of this area, and a good grasp of the tasks and issues to be dealt with in the field. Upon returning from Ecuador, the rest of the semester is devoted to debriefing, producing and analyzing documentation, and drawing general lessons for the theory and practice of humanitarian design. The main case study is that of post-disaster reconstruction following Ecuador’s 2016 Pedernales Earthquake, which killed over 600 people and injured over 16,000. We will study the outcome of diverse reconstruction efforts and approaches four years after the earthquake. In order to compare and contrast approaches, our fieldwork will focus on two settings, an urban and a rural one, both located in the coastal Manabí province.

Limited to 12 Amherst College students. Admission with consent of the instructor. This course is open to Amherst College students only.  There will be an application process before pre-registration. Those students selected will have their travel expenses covered.
Omitted 2021-22. Professor Arboleda. 

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

253 The Modern Metropolis

(Offered as ARHA 253 and ARCH 253) This course traces the social and political history of the modern city from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. In the process, it questions the extent to which contemporary megacities—like São Paulo or Shanghai—reflect a social and urban system of organization that has its roots in earlier experiments in metropolitan design. Over the course of the semester, we will approach a number of genericized architectural spaces that have recurred across modern cities in ways that elucidate the broader template to which such urban zones often conform. These sites include the park, the nightclub, the brothel, the restaurant, the port, the highway, and the hotel, to name only a few. Our examination of these spaces will foreground the role of architecture and urban planning in shaping social interaction in these common locales. We will approach these sites as manifested in several modern metropolises, such as Paris, Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai, Dakar, São Paulo, and New York. In investigating these places, we will ask: What makes a city? What, if any, continuities characterize the organizational structures, social spaces, and living conditions of modern cities in the western and non-western worlds? In encouraging students to explore the relationships between European and non-European urban centers, this course will serve as a point of departure for rethinking the binaries that separate the West and the Non-West. Through written assignments and independent research, students will gain knowledge of the ways in which urban spaces have informed social, political, economic, and cultural histories in America and beyond. This course will also aid students in developing their writing and research skills.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

255 Latin American Art: Strategies and Tactics

(Offered as ARHA 255 and LLAS 255) This course explores art produced since 1920 in Latin America. From the state-sponsored murals of post-revolutionary Mexico to the "Constructive Universalism” of Joaquín Torres-García in Uruguay, how did artists align themselves with and distinguish themselves from movements and ideas circulating in Europe and the United States? When and why did U.S. institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art begin to collect, exhibit, and theorize art from Latin America? At mid-century, how was the proliferation of geometric abstraction in Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Caracas entangled with the modernization projects in those cities? In the wake of the Cuban Revolution, in what ways did the spread of anti-imperialist ideas radicalize artistic practices across the region? When dictatorships commandeered several countries from the 1960s through the 1980s, how did political and cultural repression generate new dangers but also new tactics for artists? Studying more recent practices, we will investigate art projects produced on the U.S.-Mexico border, the interaction between artists from Latin America and an increasingly global art world, and the curatorial trends characterizing the early twenty-first century display of art from the region. Throughout the course, the work of art will be analyzed as the battleground upon and across which political struggles were fought.

Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2021

257 The Colonial City: Architecture, Empire, Resistance

(Offered as ARHA 257, ARCH 257, and BLST 253) Creole dwellings were first erected by enslaved builders working under Diego Colón (the son of Christopher Columbus) on the island of Hispaniola. By the end of the first wave of European expansion in the early nineteenth century, the creole style existed across imperial domains in the Caribbean, North and South America, Africa, the Indian Ocean, and even Asia. We will examine the global diffusion of this architectural typology from its emergence in the Spanish Caribbean to its florescence in British and French India in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In doing so, we will address buildings and towns in former Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonies worldwide. Some of the urban centers that we will engage include: Kingston, Jamaica; Pondicherry, India; Cape Town, South Africa; Cartagena, Colombia; Saint-Louis, Senegal; and Macau, China. In investigating both creole structures and the cities that harbored such forms, we will think through the social and economic factors that caused buildings and urban areas to display marked continuities despite geographical and imperial distinctions.
Limited to 34 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

258 Art, Things, Spaces, and Places

(Offered as ARHA 258, ARCH 258 and EUST 258) The purpose of this course is to introduce students to research on lived environments from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, the architecture that shaped them, and the art and objects that they contained. The goal of each class, through reading and discussion, is to investigate what a researchable question is in the fields of history, art history, architecture, and material culture in Europe, England, and the Americas. Using multi-disciplinary research strategies, we will examine the power of precious and ordinary objects (including furniture, tapestries, devotional paintings, family portraits, and sculpture), the contemporary connotations of their materiality, and consider what objects in a home might signify about a family’s status, political allegiance, spirituality, and place in the world. Further, we will ask how art, objects and décor shape the beholder’s experience of spaces inside and outside a residence, in private and in public. What does the display of objects in collections, including those from far-away cultures other than the patron’s, signify to the owner and the viewer? Visiting lecturers will present their ideas on various topics such as the anthropology of art, the significance of precious materials, and collecting. We will take field trips to museums and meet curators in order to identify a research topic.

This course will give students tools to conduct their own research into past lived environments and their contents, and identify how we in the 21st century might come to understand them. As the culmination of the course students will collaboratively develop a prospectus for a research project with one or two other classmates. Assignments to meet that goal include adding new content to Wikipedia as a record of students’ findings and a contribution to knowledge for a wider public.

Open to sophomores but also motivated first-years interested in research in a variety of fields. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Spring 2022

259 Utopia: Visionary Architecture, Art and Theory

(Offered as ARHA 259 and ARCH 259) This course is an examination of utopian plans in architecture and art. We will consider the philosophical constructs of utopia in architectural drawings, buildings, and plans in relation to film, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. We will consider how different projections about life in the future are also harsh criticisms of the present, which often rely upon imagined concepts of social organizations in times past. The course reflects on utopian art from antiquity to the present, including an examination of selected utopian authors, including Sir Thomas More, Edward Bellamy, and William Morris, with an emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We examine the tensions between theory and practice by studying the successes and failures of actual attempts at realizing utopian communities. We will question the differences between utopia, dystopia, displacement and the home, as we consider whether utopian art and design is viable in the twenty-first century.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

261 Buddhist Art of Asia

(Offered as ARHA 261 and ASLC 260) Visual imagery plays a central role in the Buddhist faith. As the religion developed and spread throughout Asia it took many forms. This course will first examine the appearance of the earliest aniconic traditions in ancient India, the development of the Buddha image, and early monastic centers. It will then trace the dissemination and transformation of Buddhist art as the religion reached South-East Asia, Central Asia, and eventually East Asia. In each region indigenous cultural practices and artistic traditions influenced Buddhist art. Among the topics the course will address are the nature of the Buddha image, the political uses of Buddhist art, the development of illustrated hagiographies, and the importance of pilgrimage, both in the past and the present.

Fall semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

263 The Art Market

This course investigates the relationship between art and commerce in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. What is the network of auctions, galleries, and fairs overseeing the buying and selling of works of art and how is value decided, constructed, and transformed in the process? How do we understand and calculate the value of art in both economic and symbolic terms? How do you buy and sell a work of performance art? What agency do artists possess in determining how their work operates in the market and how have artists played with the market since the 1960s? Finally, in what ways does the making, buying, and selling of works of art conform to and diverge from the operations of the economy at large? Using texts by Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, Eve Chiapello, and Jean-Joseph Goux, among others, as a theoretical foundation, we will explore the relationship between works of art and commodities and the ways in which artists both embrace and critique the commercial side of the art world. We will also study the recent attention paid to the “dirty money” funding arts institutions and trace a longer history of this phenomenon and its contestation by artists, activists, and artist-activists.

Requisite: One course in the history of art or cultural studies or permission of the instructor. Recommended requisite: ARHA 155. Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Niko Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2021, Fall 2021

267 Islamic Arts of the Book

(Offered as ARHA 267 and ASLC 267) The book has played (and continues to play) a central role in the Islamic world. As a technology, it gives physical form to the Qur’an, an orally proclaimed text, allowing Islam’s scripture to be read, touched, held, and easily transported. It is a carrier of divine blessing, but also of wisdom, authority, tradition, and affiliation. The earliest Islamic books were either very fragile, being made of papyrus, or expensive, being made of animal skin (parchment). Knowledge of papermaking, which traveled westward from its place of origin in China, revolutionized the production of manuscripts in royal and intellectual hubs like Samarqand, Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordoba. Books on geography, history, poetry, and science soon proliferated, many of them filled with fantastic paintings made of gold leaf, ground minerals, and carbon-based inks. We will study the history of the Islamic book, from manuscripts of the Qur’an, which often bear calligraphy but almost never include illustrations, to historical, astrological, and poetic works—like the famous Shahnama (Book of Kings)—that contain images of various types and sizes. We will pay special attention to who produced, collected, and circulated these books, and ask how and according to which criteria they were conceived, used, and evaluated. We will bring to our objects of study a close-viewing lens, but also explore the use of computational tools drawn from the Digital Humanities. Visits to view book materials in local collections will supplement classroom discussion and assigned readings. No previous knowledge of the topic is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2019

269 Baroque Art

(Offered as ARHA 269, ARCH 269, EUST 269) At the beginning of the seventeenth century, religious and social upheavals in Europe led to a renewed proliferation of exciting, innovative art. In this century of remarkably varied artistic production, paradoxes abounded. Artists sought the illusion of reality by imitating unimproved, even base or monstrous nature through close observation of the human body, landscape, and ordinary, humble objects of daily use. They imbued art meant to inspire religious devotion with unbounded eroticism or with the gory details of painful suffering and hideous death. Artists and architects made the visionary appear real and sensual. They adored the past but re-cast it in modern terms. Others continued to quest for perfection in a return to the lofty principles implicit in ancient artistic canons of ideality. More than ever before, artists explored the expression of passion through dramatic narratives and sharply revealing portraiture. They depicted dominating political leaders as flawed mortals—even satirized them through the new art of caricature—at the same time that they developed a potent and persuasive vocabulary in art, architecture, and gardens for the expression of the rulers’ absolutist political power.

This class will examine issues in Baroque art in depth through selected works of painting, sculpture, and architecture produced by artists in the Catholic countries of the seventeenth century, e.g. Caravaggio, Bernini, Poussin, Velázquez, and Rubens in Italy, France, Spain, the Spanish Netherlands, and parts of the Americas. It also engages the cultural, social, and intellectual framework for their accomplishments. 

Intermediate level, one other course in art history preferred but not required. Uncapped.

Spring Semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2016, Spring 2022

270 African Art and the Diaspora

(Offered as ARHA 270 and BLST 293 [D]) The course of study will examine those African cultures and their arts that have survived and shaped the aesthetic, philosophic and religious patterns of African descendants in Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and urban centers in North America. We shall explore the modes of transmission of African artistry to the West and examine the significance of the preservation and transformation of artistic forms from the period of slavery to our own day. Through the use of films, slides and objects, we shall explore the depth and diversity of this vital artistic heritage of Afro-Americans. 

Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

284 Women and Art in Early Modern Europe

(Offered as ARHA 284, EUST 284, and SWAG 206)  This introductory discussion-based course will examine how prevailing ideas about women and gender shaped visual imagery in Europe from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and how these images, in turn, presented surprisingly varied pictures of women and their domains. Artists vividly expressed the paradoxical power that women possessed even more than language could. Both admired and feared in their societies, aristocrats, queens, mistresses, saints, witches, heroines, and housewives were all depicted in art in elevated and debased manners, sometimes as eroticized subjects and at other times as powerful, idealized actors—occasionally both at the same time. We will analyze the art and material goods that women paid for and what it communicated about them; women’s homes and the objects they held; the portrayal of women from merchant societies in Italian city-states to aristocratic women in India, of female saints, heroes and rulers, including Elizabeth I of England and Maria de' Medici of France; and the troubling imagery of rape. These different types of art raise questions about biological theories about women; feminine ideals of beauty; what marriage meant in different societies; the relationship between the exercise of political power and gender; women’s expression of transcendent spirituality; and what the portrayal of indigenous and enslaved women in Dutch and Spanish colonies conveyed about race.

 GOALS FOR LEARNING

  • Understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;
  • Gain an understanding of how historical attitudes about women and by women affect art made about and by women;
  • Develop an analytical ability to examine points of view expressed in texts and art of a historical period other than our own and to distinguish them from another;
  • Learn collaboratively with classmates;
  • Learn how to perform 2 kinds of research:

1) find materials to contribute publicly useful scholarship, by creating or revising Wikipedia entries, which greatly lack material on women;

2) Develop and argue an original thesis in a 10-page research paper.

 No prerequisites. Uncapped.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Spring 2021

304 Documentary Photography

In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore the practice of documentary photography. This course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class visual exercises. We will examine the history, theory and ideological questions and complications of working with those outside of or within one’s own circle of experience. This will be complemented by a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary photographers, and slide lectures that consider the multitude of ways artists use photography within the documentary tradition.

Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2020

308 Doing What You Don’t Know How to Do

Under what conditions can we make our best work? What does our best work look like and how is that assessment made? And how can we access our best selves to do so?  This course interrogates the dynamics of the visual arts studio: the opportunities, conditions, and pressures that shape our behavior there. By creating a supportive community via online conferencing with both synchronous and asynchronous elements, and photographic sharing of projects/assignments — perhaps a new kind of studio? — we encourage risk and reach towards a studio practice that is yet unknown to us. We will teach each other, think big and then bigger, try new materials and processes, and treat each decision as an experiment. This course will introduce both historical and contemporary examples of artists in whose work we can readily observe risk-taking and problem solving. Setting the stage for a life in the studio driven by exploration and fearlessness, we will ask the question, “What do we have to lose?”

Requisite: Nomination by the art departments of each of the Five Colleges. Limited to 15 students, with spaces reserved for 3 students from each of the Five Colleges. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Lecturer Hepler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

313 Still/Moving: The Documentary Project

(Offered as ARHA 313 and FAMS 313) In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore creative documentary practice in both photography and video production. The course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design, and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class exercises, both visual and technical. Shared topics between the two mediums may include: ethnography, narrative, sequencing/editing, staging/scripting, place and space, and working with archival materials. We will examine the shared history, theory, and ideological questions of these mediums, and focus on issues that inform contemporary documentary practice and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The course will include a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary artists, and presentations that consider the many ways artists use photography and film/video within the documentary tradition.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience in photography or film/video (to be approved by the instructor(s) in advance of the first class.) Limited to 14 students. Fall semester. Assistant Professor Levine and Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

319 Working in Series: The Interdisciplinary Connection Between Drawing and the Hand-Printed Image

An investigation of ideas into the development of visual imagery focusing on series of works utilizing drawing and printmaking. Contemporary and historical references of artists' series of works will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects, culminating in a final project consisting of a cohesive, visual body of work. Experimentation of conceptual and technical boundaries will be encouraged and explored. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Visual work will include a wide variety of drawing media, including, but not limited to traditional methods. The techniques of intaglio and relief printmaking will be used in combination with and concurrent to the drawn images.

Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

323 Advanced Studio Seminar

A studio course that will emphasize compositional development by working from memory, imagination, literature and abstractions derived from nature and other works of visual art. The Students will be encouraged to explore a wide variety of media including, but not limited to, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and collage. Students will be required to create an independent body of work over the course of the semester which explores their individual direction in pictorial construction. 

Requisite: ARHA 222, 326 or 327 or permission of the instructor. Limited to 5 students. Fall and Spring semester. Professor R. Sweeney.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

324 Sculpture II Miniatures and Monuments 

In this course we will be exploring the role of scale in sculpture. Through a series of studio projects, in a variety of materials, we will create sculptures in a range of sizes to understand how scale affects the creation and perception of a work of three-dimensional art. Using wood, welded steel, clay, and plaster, we will examine forms including the miniature, the maquette, and the monument. Students will have opportunities for collaboration and installation and be encouraged to explore new territory while refining and developing their critical and technical skills. Contemporary critical approaches will be introduced through readings and visual presentations.

Requisite: ARHA 214 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

 

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2022

325 Images and Icons—Exploring Devotional Art

(Offered as ARHA 325 and ASLC 325) An examination of the construction, use, and interpretation of images and icons. The primary focus will be on images and icons in the Buddhist and Hindu faiths; however, the class will also make comparisons with those in Christianity and the religions of Africa and New Guinea. Some of the topics to be covered will include the relationship between icons and deities, the authentication and animation of images, the connections between icons and political authority, the ritual use of images, and aniconism and iconoclasm. The class is designed to focus on art historical writing.

Limited to 18 students to facilitate class discussion. Omitted 2021-22. Prof. Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

326 Painting II

This course offers students knowledgeable in the basic principles and skills of painting and drawing an opportunity to investigate personal directions in painting. Assignments will be collectively as well as individually directed. Discussions of the course work will assume the form of group as well as individual critiques. Two three-hour class meetings per week.

Requisite: ARHA 215 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2021-22. Senior Resident Artist Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

328 Photography II

(Offered as ARHA 328) This course is a continuing investigation of the skills and questions introduced in ARHA 218. An emphasis will be placed on defining, locating and pursuing independent work; this will be accomplished through a series of weekly demonstrations, assignments and a final independent project. Student work will be discussed and evaluated in group and individual critiques. This is complemented by slide presentations and topical readings of contemporary and historical photography.This course will be taught virtually using digital cameras and and software. Students will be supplied with cameras for the semester. Two two-hour meetings per week. 

Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021

330 Fictional Narrative Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 330 and FAMS 443) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore fictional narrative filmmaking through a rigorous script-to-screen process. Students will write, shoot and edit a short (8-minute) fictional narrative film either in small groups or individually. In addition to weekly online screenings of short and feature narrative films, the class will consist of weekly Zoom sessions led by the professor, including lectures on advanced narrative filmmaking techniques, film discussions, script readings, and critiques of footage and various cuts.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Instructor to be determined.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020

335 Experiments in 16mm Film

(Offered as ARHA 335 and FAMS 335) This intermediate production course surveys the outer limits of cinematic expression and provides an overview of creative 16mm film production. We will begin by making cameraless projects through drawing, painting and scratching directly onto the film strip before further exploring the fundamentals of 16mm technology, including cameras, editing and hand-processing. While remaining aware of our creative choices, we will invite chance into our process and risk failure, as every experiment inevitably must.

Through screenings of original film prints, assigned readings and discussion, the course will consider a number of experimental filmmakers and then conclude with a review of exhibition and distribution strategies for moving image art. All students will complete a number of short assignments on film and one final project on either film or video, each of which is to be presented for class critique. One three-hour class and one film screening per week.

Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

350 Practice and Theory of Art History

What is art history? What is its history? What are its premises and where does it come from? This seminar will explore the historical foundations, formulations, and applications of current art historical methods, the foundations of the art historical discipline as it emerged from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as attitudes towards and theories on art practice in their diverse global contexts from before the modern period. Both practice and theory will be considered through discussion of select texts and objects drawn from a variety of traditions. Topics may include: style and periodization; iconography, narratology, and phenomenology; semiotics; the social functions of images and the social history of art; the cultural foundations of representation, aesthetics, and vision; art and the material world; art, gender, and sexuality; collecting and commodification of art; and post-colonialism and post-modernism.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

353 Myth, Ritual and Iconography in West Africa

(Offered as BLST 315 [A] and ARHA 353) Through a contrastive analysis of the religious and artistic modes of expression in three West African societies—the Asanti of the Guinea Coast, and the Yoruba and Igbo peoples of Nigeria—the course will explore the nature and logic of symbols in an African cultural context. We shall address the problem of cultural symbols in terms of African conceptions of performance and the creative play of the imagination in ritual acts, masked festivals, music, dance, oral histories, and the visual arts as they provide the means through which cultural heritage and identity are transmitted and preserved, while, at the same time, being the means for innovative responses to changing social circumstances.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

357 The Persian Book of Kings

(Offered as ASLC 357, ARHA 357, and HIST 357 [TC, TE, ME, P]) The Shahnameh (Book of Kings), completed by Abu’l Qasim Ferdowsi around 1010, is one of the world's greatest epics, and also one of the most enigmatic. The Shahnameh tells the history of pre-Islamic Iran from the beginnings of civilization until the Arab conquest in the seventh century A.D. Its tales of battles, romance, heroism, and betrayal have been appreciated as literature for centuries. At the same time, it’s been deployed for political and cultural ends. Many of the communities who have most enthusiastically embraced its stories and themes have been of non-Iranian origin. Indeed, Ferdowsi’s patron, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, was himself of Turkic background. Since the nineteenth century, it has been touted as the cultural cornerstone of an emphatically non-Muslim modern Iranian national identity, and yet the author and his patron were Muslim. Some have even interpreted the Shahnameh as encouraging conversion to Islam.

This course will explore the Shahnameh as literature, history, and material culture—including illustrated manuscripts, printed books, ceramics, metalwork, and photography—from its original tenth-century context to the contemporary moment. We will focus in particular on a heavily illustrated mid-nineteenth-century copy of the Shahnameh in Amherst College’s Archives and Special Collections, and consider how this work expressed a non-Islamic cultural foundation of modernity. We will follow this story to explore how the Shahnameh figures in debates over the pre-Islamic past today. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professors Rice and Ringer.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

383 The Tea Ceremony and Japanese Culture

(Offered as ARHA 383 and ASLC 319) An examination of the history of chanoyu, the tea ceremony, from its origins in the fifteenth century to the practice of tea today. The class will explore the various elements that comprise the tea environment-the garden setting, the architecture of the tea room, the forms of tea utensils, and the elements of the kaiseki meal. Through a study of the careers of influential tea masters and texts that examine the historical, religious, and cultural background of tea culture, the course will also trace how the tea ceremony has become a metaphor for Japanese culture and Japanese aesthetics both in Japan and in the West. There will be field trips to visit tea ware collections, potters and tea masters. Two class meetings per week.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

384 The Replicated Image in Japanese Art: Woodblock Prints, Postcards, and Photographs

(Offered as ARHA 384 and ASLC 384) An image that can be replicated serves a very different function from a single unique work of art; it addresses new audiences and elicits a wider range of responses. This course will explore three different types of replicated images in Japan—woodblock prints, lithographs, and photographs. With the unprecedented achievement of literacy among urban populations during the early seventeenth century, Japan developed highly inventive woodblock texts and images. The course will begin with an investigation of the Japanese print in the Edo period (1615–1868) through the works of artists such as Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige. It will subsequently examine the early history of the photograph in the nineteenth century and then how the postcard replaced the print as the favored format for the dissemination of images during the early twentieth century, becoming the primary visual means for communicating Japan’s modernity before the advent of World War II. The course will conclude with a study of photography from the 1920s to the present day. Photography also documented Japan’s modern era, the social tensions that appeared in the high-grown era after WWII, and today often transcends national boundaries.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

385 Witches, Vampires and Other Monsters

(Offered as ARHA 385, EUST 385, and SWAG 310) Our course will explore how evil was imagined, over cultures, centuries and disciplines. With the greatest possible historical and cultural specificity, we will investigate an array of monstrous creatures and plagues -- their terrifying powers, the explanations for why they came to be, and the strategies for how they could be purged -- as we attempt to articulate the kindred qualities they shared. We will study centuries-old witch burning manuals, and note the striking degree to which dangerous tropes -- about women, about pestilence, about dangerous sexuality, and about differences of all kinds -- have continued to our day. Among the artists to be considered are Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Dalí, Buñuel, Dreyer, Wilder, Almodóvar, and the community who made the AIDS Quilt.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

388 Approaches to Chinese Painting

(Offered as ARHA 388 and ASLC 383) This course will survey the Chinese pictorial and calligraphic traditions from the Neolithic era to the present day. Particular emphasis will be placed on the period from the Northern Song to the Qing dynasties and the development of the landscape idiom, but the course will also address the figure, bird and flower, and narrative traditions as well. It will conclude with an exploration of the ways contemporary artists engage the legacy of China’s cultural heritage. Special attention will be given to the differences between Western methodological approaches to Chinese painting and the theories of painting developed by the Chinese themselves.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

412 The Sixties

We will investigate a series of historical events (such as the Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis, Stonewall, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King) as well as the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of identity politics (Feminism, Black Power, the Brown Berets) and the counterculture. We will study the myriad art forms and their attendant ideologies invented during the decade (such as Pop, Op, Color Field, Minimalism, Land Art, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Fluxus), as well as some crucial critics, dealers and art journals, in an effort to understand the ways in which artists rejected or appropriated, then transformed, certain themes and conceptual models of their time. This course will include class trips.

Requisite: One course in modern art or consent of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 11 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Staller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2019

441 Documentary Production

(Offered as ARHA 441 and FAMS 441) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore creative documentary practice through readings, weekly screenings and production assignments. Each student will complete a series of projects working both as a single maker and in collaboration with other members of the class. Topics may include: shooting the interview; scripting, performance and reenactment; history and narrativity; place and space; ethnography and the “embedded” filmmaker. We will also host visiting filmmakers and, where possible, visit a cultural institution which supports and screens cutting-edge documentary work.

The course will be taught annually but will focus on a set of revolving themes and issues that inform contemporary documentary filmmaking and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The theme for Fall 2019 will be “Place and Space". One 3-hour class (some of which will include field shooting and research trips) and one evening screening each week.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Fall 2019

444 Films That Try: Essay Film Production

(Offered as ARHA 444 and FAMS 412) Essay filmmaking is a dynamic form with many commonly cited attributes—the presence of an authorial voice, an emphasis on broad themes, an eclectic approach to genre, and the tendency to digress or draw unexpected connections. Yet, true to its nature, the precise definition of the essay film is in constant flux. It can be both personal and political, individual and collective, noble and mischievous. Essay filmmakers themselves are equally diverse, ranging from established film auteurs to Third Cinema activists and contemporary video artists.

If we entertain the notion that the processes of cinema closely resemble the mechanics of human thought, then the essay film may be the medium’s purest expression. To watch or make such a film, we must give ourselves over to a compulsive, restless energy that delights in chasing a subject down any number of rabbit holes and blind alleys, often stopping to admire the scenery on the way. As with thought, there is no end product, no clear boundaries, no goal but the activity itself.

The term "essay" finds its origins in the French essayer, meaning “to attempt” or to try.” In this advanced production workshop, we will read, screen and discuss examples of the essayistic mode in literature and cinema while making several such attempts of our own. Students will complete a series of writing assignments and video projects informed by class materials and group discussion.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.

Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

445 Advanced Projects in Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 445 and FAMS 445) In this course, we will take the skills and insights gained in introductory production courses and develop them over the length of the semester through the creation of one short project, ten minutes long. Students may work individually or in pairs. We will learn by making work as well as by researching, reading, and watching films related to our projects. We may take this opportunity to delve into and learn the conventions of our chosen form, or we may decide that our content demands formal experimentation and risk-taking. The course will be structured by the projects each student brings to it. We will begin the semester with brainstorming, research, script/documentary proposal writing, and pre-production. Each student will develop a script or in-depth proposal to begin with. As we move into production, we will review and deepen our knowledge of camera, lighting (available & set), sound (location & studio), and editing principles and techniques. We will move between production and post-production in the second half of the semester, first developing sequences, then rough assemblies, rough cuts, and fine cuts, before ultimately completing our final cut.

Requisite: Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have completed at least one previous course in video production and preferably two previous courses, one at the 200-level and one at the 300-level. Limited to 10 students. Admission with consent of the instructor. Omitted 2021-22. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

481 Conversations with Experimental Filmmakers

(Offered as ENGL 481, ARHA 481, and FAMS 481) Experimental film is a vital area of contemporary media culture where artists engage the moving image from a wide range of creative approaches, exploring film as an aesthetic, poetic, or political medium, rather than a commercial enterprise. By departing from the conventions of mainstream film, experimental filmmakers present their audience with a stimulating challenge, asking viewers to develop new critical frameworks through which to assess films that often resist classification and traditional interpretive approaches.

In this seminar, students will take up this challenge by exploring different ways of entering into conversation with the work of experimental filmmakers. Through weekly screenings, in-class visits by contemporary filmmakers, and group discussions of course readings (such as artists’ writings, interviews, and related theoretical material), we will develop critical and creative vocabularies that help us to analyze and respond to an array of experimental films and videos. Along with completing writing assignments and in-class presentations, students will plan and execute a final project that can assume a number of critical or creative forms, such as an interview with a filmmaker, a short video, or an analytical essay.

Requisite: At least one foundational course in FAMS, ARHA, or ENGL. Open to juniors and seniors, and to sophomores with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Guilford.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2019

490 Special Topics

Independent reading course. A full course.

Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

Preparation of a thesis or completion of a studio project which may be submitted to the Department for consideration for Honors.

Open to seniors with consent of the Department. Fall semester. The Department.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Amherst College Courses

Amherst College Courses

Back

Art and the History of Art

Professors Abiodun, Clark, Courtright (Chair), Kimball‡, Morse, Staller, and Sweeney; Associate Professor Arboleda; Senior Resident Artists Garand and Gloman; Assistant Professors Carey*, Levine, Rice, and Vicario; Visiting Professor Koehler; Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis† ; Visiting Lecturers Chase, Culhane, England, Helander, and Hepler; CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Yu.

The Department of Art and the History of Art offers students a singular means within the College to develop artistic awareness, historical understanding, critical faculties and practice in the visual arts. Students across the College may accomplish these objectives by taking introductory to advanced courses in art history and studio practice. To identify and serve individual interests and goals, the department major is organized into two distinct programs: The History of Art and The Practice of Art:

History of Art Concentration: Professors Abiodun, Courtright, Morse and Staller; Associate Professor Arboleda; Assistant Professors Carey, Rice, and Vicario; Visiting Professor Koehler.

An intensive and structured engagement with the visual heritage of many cultures throughout the centuries, this curriculum requires not only the study of art history as a way to acquire deep and broad visual understanding, but also a self‑conscious focus on the contexts and meanings of art. By encountering the architecture, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and material culture created within a variety of historical frameworks, students will deepen their understanding of political, religious, philosophical, aesthetic, and social currents that defined those times as well. As a consequence, students will face art and issues that challenge preconceptions of our own era.

Course Requirements: The concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project). With the help of a department advisor, each student will devise a program of study and a sequence of courses that must include:

• One introductory course in the history of art

• Two courses in the arts of Africa, Asia, or the Middle East

• One course in European art before 1800

• One course in European or American art after 1800

• Two upper‑level courses or seminars with research papers, one of which may be a course outside the department with a focus on visual arts in the student's research paper

• One Studio elective (preferably before Senior Year)

• One additional Studio or related elective

Many of our courses could count for two of these requirements. For example, an upper‑level course in European art before 1800 with a required research paper will fulfill two of the requirements. An introductory course in the arts of Asia will fulfill two of the requirements as well.

Honors: Candidates for honors in this concentration will, with departmental permission, take ARHA 498-499 during their senior year. Students must apply and be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April.

Comprehensive Exam: Majors in the History of Art must satisfy a comprehensive assessment by participating in an undergraduate student conference in the final semester of the senior year. Each student will be expected to prepare a brief presentation that will demonstrate how a text of their choice could expand and develop one of the research projects completed to satisfy their requirements for the major. It should elucidate the link between their work and future goals. Students seeking department honors will be expected to present on their senior thesis.

Practice of Art Concentration: Professors Clark, Kimball, and Sweeney; Assistant Professor Levine; Senior Resident Artists Garand and Gloman; Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis, Visiting Lecturers Chase, Culhane, England, Helander, and Hepler; CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Yu.

The concentration in the Practice of Art enables students to become fluent in the discipline of the practice of visual arts. Students will develop critical and analytical thinking as well as the discipline's techniques and methods as a means to explore artistic, intellectual and human experience. Students will build towards creating a personal vision beginning with primary studies in drawing and introductory art history, proceeding on to courses using a broad range of media, and culminating in advanced studio studies of a more self directed nature. Working with their advisor, students will be encouraged to nurture the strong interdisciplinary opportunities found both at Amherst and the other institutions in the valley.

Course Requirements: The Practice of Art concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project):

•   Three introductory level studio courses

•   Five additional studio courses, at least 2 of which must be at the intermediate or advanced levels, chosen in close consultation with advisor

•   One course in contemporary Art History

•   One additional course in art history

In consultation with their advisors, students in this concentration will be encouraged to take additional courses both in art history and other disciplines. These courses should be broadly related to their artistic interests outside of the studio concentration, enriching their interdisciplinary understanding and engagement within a liberal arts curriculum. This expectation will be especially high for honors thesis candidates.

Honors: Candidates for honors will, with departmental permission, take ARHA 498-499 during the senior year. Students must apply and be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April. In designing their year‑long projects, students will be encouraged to explore the interdisciplinary implications and opportunities inherent in their artistic directions. Thesis students will also be required to develop a statement that ultimately places their body of work within a historical and cultural artistic discourse. There will be an exhibition of the bodies of work representing the honors theses in the Eli Marsh Gallery, Fayerweather Hall, in May.

Comprehensive Examination: Required of all studio concentration majors, except thesis students. This work should be done in consultation with your advisor. You should meet with them before Thanksgiving break.

Creation in the senior year of an ambitious independent work/s of art. This project is designed and created independently by the student, can be in any medium or combination of mediums, and may also be interdisciplinary in nature. Students will also develop a concise, written statement that addresses their conceptual concerns, process, choice of materials and media. It should cite influences as well as place the work within a historical and artistic context. The written statement and the work/s of art are due on Monday of the 6th week of the student's final semester. On that day students are expected to hang the work for a week‑long group exhibition to be reviewed by the Studio Faculty. A .pdf (Adobe format) or .doc/docx (Word format) of the written component is due as an attachment by email to the Department Coordinator ‑ finearts@amherst.edu on the same Monday.

* On leave 2021-22.
† On leave fall semester 2021-22.
‡ On leave spring semester 2021-22.

101 The Language of Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 101 and ARHA 101) This introductory course focuses on the tools used to communicate and discuss ideas in architectural practice and theory. We study both the practical, from sketching to parallel drawing, to the theoretical, from historical to critical perspectives. Connecting both, we cover the formal analysis elements necessary to “read” and critique built works. Class activities include field trips, guest presentations, sketching and drawing, small design exercises, discussion of readings, and short written responses. Through these activities, at the end of the semester the student will understand in general terms what the dealings and challenges of architecture as a discipline are.

Limited to 20 students. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

102 Practice of Art

An introduction to two- and three-dimensional studio disciplines through hands-on engagement with materials supplemented by lectures, demonstrations and readings. Students will work through a variety of projects exploring drawing, sculpture, painting and hybrid forms. Work will be developed based on direct observation, memory, imagination and improvisation. Formal and conceptual concerns will be an integral aspect of the development of studio work. Historical and contemporary references will be used throughout the course to enhance and increase the student’s understanding of the visual vocabulary of art. Class time will be a balance of lectures, demonstrations, exercises, discussions and critiques. Weekly homework assignments will consist of studio work and critical readings. No prior studio experience needed.

Not open to students who have taken ARHA 111 or 215. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman. Spring semester: Visiting Lecturer Hepler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

105 Space and Design: Introduction to Studio Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 105 and ARHA 105) This hands-on design studio will foster innovation as it guides students through the development of conceptual architecture. Through a series of projects that build on each other, students will develop their own design language and experiment with architecture at several scales - from an interior screen that plays with light, shadow and color, to a dynamic built structure and its integration into a site. We will work through both hand-drafted and computer drawings, as well as physical model-making to understand plan, section, and elevations as well as diagramming and concept models. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.

No prior architecture experience is necessary, but a willingness to experiment and a desire to learn through making are essential.

Admissions with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

110 Color Study

(Offered as ARHA 110 and CHEM 110.)  This interdisciplinary course is focused on exploring color through the lenses of science, culture and art. We will study how we perceive color down to the molecular level and how it impacts us as viewers. The course will seek to develop a broad, shared, set of topics that will allow students to weave together scientific and artistic concepts, rather than isolate them. As it is possible to approach color from many different disciplines, we encourage any interested student, regardless of academic focus, to register. A core goal of the course is to encourage a holistic discussion of the topic. Students will be asked to write about their observations of color through art and will have the opportunity to make their own original pieces. In addition, class activities will include lectures, invited speakers, discussion, and a final project.

Limited to 18 students. Omitted: 2021-2022.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

111 Drawing I

An introductory course in the fundamentals of drawing. This course will be based in experience and observation, exploring various techniques and media in order to understand the basic formal vocabularies and conceptual issues in drawing; subject matter will include still life, landscape, interior, and figure. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, final portfolio. Two three-hour sessions per week.

Limited to 12 students. In the fall semester 4 seats are reserved for first-year students. 

In the Spring semester, there is a limit of 10 students and 4 seats are reserved for first-year students.  

Fall semester: Visiting Lecturer Helander. Spring semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

131 History and Theory of Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 131, ARCH 131 and EUST 131.) Throughout history, buildings have directed human activity, shaping social interactions, symbolizing political power, and influencing multiple kinds of artistic expression. This course is a selected introduction to the history and theory of architecture, from the earliest forms of human habitation to medieval and Renaissance buildings, Enlightenment utopian visions, modern industrial structures and skyscrapers, and contemporary sustainable practices.  Interwoven with a sampling of theoretical texts and architectural treatises, the course covers selected moments in the history and theory of Western architecture, from Vitruvius to Alberti and Corbusier to Koolhaas, from primordial shelters to computer generated designs.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

135 Renaissance to Revolution: Early Modern European Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 135, ARCH 135, and EUST 135) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history, introduces the ways that artists and architects imaginatively invented visual language to interpret the world for contemporary patrons, viewers, and citizens in early modern Europe. Painters, printmakers, sculptors and architects in Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands created new ways of seeing empirical phenomena and interpreting them, by means of both ancient and new principles of art, science and philosophy and through powerful engagement with the senses. They produced godlike illusions of nature, from grand frescoes bursting from the walls of papal residences to spectacular gardens covering noble estates in Baroque France and colonializing England. They fundamentally altered the design of major cities such as Rome and Paris so that the visitor encountered an entirely new urban experience than ever before. Along the way, they learned from one another’s example, but, prizing innovation, sought fiercely to surpass previous generations, and argued at length about values in art. They contributed to fashioning an ideal picture of empire and society and conjured the dazzling wealth and power of those who paid them. But as time passed, some came to ironize the social order mightily, and some elevated beggars, farmers, servants, so-called fools, and bourgeois women leading seemingly mundane domestic lives as much as others praised the prosperous few. Finally, artists actively participated in the overthrow of the monarchy during the French Revolution and yet also passionately critiqued the violence of war it engendered. Throughout, the course will investigate how concepts of progress, civilization, the state, religion, race, gender, and the individual came to be defined through art.

The goals of the course are:
above all, to achieve the skill of close looking to gain visual understanding;
• also, to identify artistic innovations that characterize European art and architecture from the Italian Renaissance to the French Revolution;
• to understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;
• to situate the works of art historically, by examining the intellectual, political, religious, and social currents that contributed to their creation;
• to read texts about the period critically and analytically.
No previous experience with art or art history is necessary. 

Fall semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

138 Visual Arts and Orature in Africa

(Offered as BLST 313 [A] and ARHA 138) In the traditionally non-literate societies of Africa, verbal and visual arts constitute two systems of communication. The performance of verbal art and the display of visual art are governed by social and cultural rules. We will examine the epistemological process of understanding cultural symbols, of visualizing narratives, or proverbs, and of verbalizing sculptures or designs. Focusing on the Yoruba people of West Africa, the course will attempt to interpret the language of their verbal and visual arts and their interrelations in terms of cultural cosmologies, artistic performances, and historical changes in perception and meaning. We will explore new perspectives in the critical analysis of African verbal and visual arts, and their interdependence as they support each other through mutual references and allusions. In addition to visiting the Mead Art Museum to see African works, students will be required to listen to audio-recordings and engage selected visual images to enhance their understanding of the interrelationship of arts in Africa.

Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

145 The Modern World

(Offered as ARHA 145, EUST 145, and SWAG 145)  This course will explore the self-conscious invention of modernism in painting, sculpture and architecture, from the visual clarion calls of the French Revolution to the performance art and earthworks of "art now." As we move from Goya, David, Monet and Picasso to Kahlo, Kiefer and beyond, we will be attentive to changing responses toward a historical past or societal present, the stance toward popular and alien cultures, the radical redefinition of all artistic media, changing representations of nature and gender, as well as the larger problem of mythologies and meaning in the modern period. Study of original objects and a range of primary texts (artists’ letters, diaries, manifestos, contemporary criticism) will be enhanced with readings from recent historical and theoretical secondary sources.

Limited to 50 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Staller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019

147 Arts of China

(Offered as ARHA 147 and ASLC 143) An introduction to the history of Chinese art from its beginnings in neolithic times until the end of the twentieth century. Topics will include the ritual bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the Chinese transformation of the Buddha image, imperial patronage of painting during the Song dynasty and the development of the literati tradition of painting and calligraphy. Particular weight will be given to understanding the cultural context of Chinese art.

Spring semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2022

148 Arts of Japan

(Offered as ARHA 148 and ASLC 123) A survey of the history of Japanese art from neolithic times to the present. Topics will include Buddhist art and its ritual context, the aristocratic arts of the Heian court, monochromatic ink painting and the arts related to the Zen sect, the prints and paintings of the Floating World and contemporary artists and designers such as Ando Tadao and Miyake Issey. The class will focus on the ways Japan adopts and adapts foreign cultural traditions. There will be field trips to look at works in museums and private collections in the region

Fall semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

149 Survey of African Art

(Offered as ARHA 149 and BLST 123 [A]) An introduction to the ancient and traditional arts of Africa. Special attention will be given to the archaeological importance of the rock art paintings found in such disparate areas as the Sahara and South Africa, achievements in the architectural and sculptural art in clay of the early people in the area now called Zimbabwe and the aesthetic qualities of the terracotta and bronze sculptures of the Nok, Igbo-Ukwe, Ife and Benin cultures in West Africa, which date from the second century B.C.E. to the sixteenth century C.E. The study will also pursue a general socio-cultural survey of traditional arts of the major ethnic groups of Africa.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

152 Visual Culture of the Islamic World

(Offered as ARHA 152, ARCH 152 and ASLC 142) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history and architectural studies, introduces the art, architecture, and urban planning of the Islamic world, from the origins of Islam in the seventh century to the contemporary moment. Among the questions we will pose are: When, how, and why was the Qur’an first copied as a written text? Why does the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, completed in 691–2 A.D., closely resemble Christian churches and shrines from the same period? Why did medieval Europeans judge objects from the Islamic world, especially those bearing Arabic script, to be sacred in nature? How did commercial and diplomatic exchanges with China and Viking Scandinavia impact the arts of Central Asia and the Middle East during the premodern period? What can contemporary comic books tell us about the visual logic of fifteenth-century Iranian manuscript painting? And how have nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists used photography and film to address the legacies of colonialism and Orientalism? We will attempt to answer these questions through close and careful analysis of objects in a range of media, from silver and rock crystal to silk textiles and video; cities and architectural sites in Spain and India, and the many places in between; and primary and secondary texts. Films, museum websites, musical recordings, and visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections will supplement readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
No cap on enrollment.

Fall semester. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

153 World Monuments

(Offered as ARHA 153 and ARCH 153) This introductory course engages one of the most discussed typologies in world architecture: the monument. From the Sydney Opera House to the Eiffel Tower, monuments have entered into global consciousness as individuals from tourists to government officials have celebrated their supposed uniqueness. Meanwhile, monuments have drawn the ire of ISIS and the Taliban—two groups which have become famous for destroying venerated structures. Whether the subject in question is a tourist, a religious pilgrim, or a terrorist bent on destruction, humans are often drawn to monuments because of their power to captivate. This course examines the relevance of this psychic power. Over the course of the semester, we will address the architectural, social, cultural, theoretical, and political questions that emerge from an investigation of a range of famous and lesser-known monuments, including but not limited to: the Eiffel Tower; the Taj Mahal; the Great Mosque of Mecca; the Statue of Liberty; the Alhambra; the American Capitol Building; and the Suez Canal. We will also discuss the role of ISIS and the Taliban in shaping contemporary debates concerning the meaning and importance of architectural preservation as it relates to the monuments of the Middle East and South Asia. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will develop their writing skills while gaining knowledge of the issues that guide the study of world monuments, specifically, and architectural history, at large. This course is intended to introduce students to the field of architectural studies.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2020

154 Art and Architecture of South Asia

(Offered as ARHA 154, ARCH 154, and ASLC 154) This introductory course surveys the architecture, painting, sculpture, textiles, and other arts of South Asia—including India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka—from 2300 B.C. to the present. Among the diverse materials we will examine are the archaeological remains from one of the world’s earliest planned cities; Buddhist monastic complexes carved entirely out of living rock; Hindu temples bearing erotic images; manuscript illustrations made for Muslim emperors; colorful printed and painted textiles produced for domestic, European, Indonesian, and Japanese markets; and twentieth-century works of art that anticipate and respond to India’s independence from British colonial rule. We will consider the important roles that South Asian artists, architects, and other makers have played in depicting and housing the divine, establishing political and religious systems, and fueling the exchange of ideas and goods across the globe. Films, musical recordings, museum websites, visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections, and cooking and food-tasting sessions will supplement assigned readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Spring semester. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

155 Introduction to Contemporary Art

This introductory course explores art produced between 1960 and the present. We will take a transnational approach, from the emergence of Pop art as an  international phenomenon in the 1960s to the mushrooming cloud of biennials in the twenty-first century. The course will sometimes look at art’s intersection with architecture, film, and visual culture more broadly. We will keep in mind the following questions: How have new technologies, civil rights movements, emergent subjectivities, new forms of theoretical inquiry, and processes of globalization shaped the work of art? How have artists critiqued both institutions and the art historical canon? How does contemporary art both participate in and stand apart from the world in which and for which it was made?

Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

157 The Postcolonial City

(Offered as ARHA 157, ARCH 157, and BLST 193 [D]) This course engages the buildings, cities, and landscapes of the former colonies of Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. Beginning with the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the non-European territories, which once comprised the lucrative possessions of modern European empires, quickly became independent states charged with developing infrastructure, erecting national monuments, and handling the influx of laborers drawn to the metropolises formed as sleepy colonial towns grew into bustling postcolonial cities. This class will examine the buildings, urban spaces, rural landscapes, and national capitals that emerged in response to these political histories. We will approach a number of issues, such as the architecture of national independence monuments, the preservation of buildings linked to the colonial past, the growth of new urban centers in Africa and India after independence, architecture and regimes of postcolonial oppression, the built environments of tourism in the independent Caribbean, and artists’ responses to all of these events. Some of the places that we will address include: Johannesburg, South Africa; Chandigarh, India; Negril, Jamaica; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; and Lilongwe, Malawi. Our goal will be to determine what, if any, continuities linked the buildings, landscapes, and spaces of post-independence Africa, India, and the Caribbean in the twentieth century. Over the course of the semester, students will gain skills in analyzing buildings, town plans, and other visual materials. Also, this class will aid students in developing their writing skills, particularly, their ability to write about architecture and urban space.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

159 Modernity and the Avant-Gardes, 1890–1945

(Offered as ARHA 159 and ARCH 159) This course is an examination of the emergence, development, and dissolution of European modernist art, architecture and design. The course begins with the innovations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, created in consort with the growth of modern urbanism, colonialist politics, and psychological experimentation. Distinctions between the terms modernity, modernism, and the avant-garde will be explored as we unpack the complex equations between art, politics, and social change in the first half of the twentieth century. Covering selected groups (such as Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, l'Esprit Nouveau, Bauhaus, and Constructivism), this course will consider themes such as mechanical reproduction, nihilism, nationalism, consumerism, and primitivism as they are disclosed in the making and reception of modernist art and architecture.

Fall semester. Visiting Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2021

160 Deconstructing Modernity: 1945–2000

(Offered as ARHA 160 and ARCH 160) This course examines the art, architecture, and design produced in Europe and the United States from the aftermath of World War II to the end of the twentieth century. We will begin with art in relationship to war, the Holocaust, and the expansion of capitalism, consumerism, suburbia, and the skyscraper. Finally, we will conclude by engaging the rejection of modernist strategies in the latter part of the twentieth century. We will survey movements such as COBRA, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, the Situationists, Minimalism, land art, performance art, feminist art, Neo-Expressionism, and the archival turn; architectural groups such as Archigram, CIAM, the post modernists, and deconstructionists; and defining texts by Adorno, Sartre, Arendt, Debord, Foucault, Krauss, Derrida, among others.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

180 Contemporary Native American Art

(Offered as ARHA 180 and AMST 211) This course will examine works of art created by Native American artists, including painting, sculpture, photography, and performance and installation art, from the late nineteenth century to today.  Students will study important movements and consider individual artists who worked primarily as painters, including the Iroquois realists of the late nineteenth century; the Studio School of Southwestern artists, printmakers, and illustrators; the Kiowa Six and their important role in creating modern Native American murals; abstract expressionists like Kay Walkingstick (Cherokee); Pop artists like Fritz Scholder (Luiseno) and Harry Fonseca (Nisenan Maidu); and Conceptual artists such as Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne). Major Native American contemporary photographers include Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke (Crow)), Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole-Diné), and Horace Poolaw (Kiowa). The course will also consider sculptors working in realistic (Alan Houser, Blackbear Bosin) and abstract styles (Rick Bartow, Tammy Garcia); performance artists like James Luna and Rebecca Belmore; important emerging artists like the interdisciplinary activist/arts collective Postcommodity; and Angel de Cora, the first Native American graduate of Smith College, the 150th anniversary of whose birth will be marked in 2021.

This class will be taught in-person, with the option to join by Zoom.

Limited to 34 students. Omitted 2021-2022. Visiting Lecturer Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021

186 Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 186 and LLAS 186) This course provides an introduction to the Pre-Columbian art and architecture of the Americas. It explores major traditions in architecture and city planning, murals, sculpture, painting, masks, and textiles. The first half of the semester concentrates on Preclassic and Classic Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America); the second on Postclassic Mesoamerica, North America, and the Andes.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

187 Native American Art

This course provides an introduction to Native American Indian art and architecture from North and Latin America. It focuses on the modern and contemporary periods (with some attention to archaeological art), exploring traditions in architecture, sculpture, painting, masks, textiles, and ceramics. The first half of the semester concentrates on the Woodlands, Plains, and Southwest; the second on the Northwest Coast, Arctic, Mexico and Guatemala, Central America, the Andes, and Amazonia. The course will be interdisciplinary, and will include readings Indigenous narratives, Native American aesthetics, and contemporary artists including photographers, videographers, and performance artists, as well as alternative curating and exhibition of Indigenous art.

Limited to 35 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021

190 Art.com

This course explores the complex relationship between art and the Internet. How has the Internet seeped into and come to inform the way artists work in the twenty-first century? What is the history of digital imaging? What role do digital renderings play in the design of art and architecture? Why have some artists rejected digital media in favor of pre-digital materials—analog media, artisanal craft, body art and performance? What is the difference between seeing a work of art “in person” versus on social media? Why do people post what they see “in person” on social media? How do artists, galleries, and museums seek to limit the online circulation of works of art? What is the relationship between a unique, original work of art and a multitude of copies? What is Post-Internet art? To what extent has the Internet disrupted the way the art world functions and in what ways has the pandemic played a role in moving art online? How has the recent NFT boom affected the art market and how does it figure in a longer history of thinking about the relationship between art as intellectual property and as taking material form? The course will combine twenty-first century case studies with a wider range of texts on topics such as originality, reproduction, and theories and histories of technology. The class will meet on Zoom and will include brief lectures, discussion (both in breakout rooms and all together), guest speakers, film screenings, short writing assignments, and final presentations. 

Limited to 25 students.  January 2022 semester. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

201 Measuring Histories through Materiality and Multiples

The most quotidian objects possess the power to connect to a broad audience. This course will harness that power to make art that measures and recounts past events in human history. The events might be small or large, little known, personally experienced, or widely recounted. Students will interrogate the context, function, materiality, and symbolism of common objects from as many vantage points as possible. We will explore how objects in multiples can disrupt, engage, challenge, obscure or metaphorically highlight the meaning in materials. The class will explore methods of combining, linking, and connecting common objects both conceptually and physically toward the manifestation of both singular and collaborative artworks. We will work together to select suitable materials and methods to quantify, measure, and actualize diverse histories and narratives. Students should be prepared to share materials, ideas, stories, and ways of working.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019

202 Architectural Anthropology

(Offered as ARCH 202 and ARHA 202) This seminar explores the emerging interdisciplinary field that combines the theory and practice of architecture and anthropology. We compare and contrast these two disciplines’ canonical methods, their ethical stances, and their primary subject matters (i.e., buildings and people). With that, we reflect upon the challenges of ethnoarchitecture as a new discipline, emphasizing the challenges of carrying out architectural research and/or construction work among people from cultural backgrounds different than the architect’s own. In general, this course invites critical thinking about the theory and practice of architecture, especially when it confronts issues of difference, including ethno-cultural and social class differences.

Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone; previous instruction in architectural studies, area or ethnic studies, or social studies can be beneficial but is not mandatory.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

203 Color Meets Object

What happens when a painted image escapes its rectangle and pushes out of illusionistic depth into the literal space of the room? How does it change a viewer’s understanding of sculptural form when the sculpture’s physical volumes have been optically flattened, heightened, or contradicted by the addition of color? In this course we will invite interaction between illusionistic and literal, tactile space to consider unique possibilities where the concerns of painting and sculpture merge. We will explore how each discipline can expand its scope with an amalgam of tactile and chromatic visual elements and experience. The semester will begin with a series of structured studio problems and with research into contemporary art practices that incorporate both color and tactile volume. We will also look into the wealth of historical precedents for these practices. This critical review and first-hand study of artworks, in conjunction with studio experimentation, will help each student determine the shape of an end-of-semester artwork or series of works. Readings, visiting artists, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.

Requisite: One prior studio course in painting or sculpture, or permission of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22 Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

204 Housing, Urbanization, and Development

(Offered as ARCH 204, ARHA 204, and LLAS 204) This course studies the theory, policy, and practice of low-income housing in marginalized communities worldwide. We study central concepts in housing theory, key issues regarding low-income housing, different approaches to address these issues, and political debates around housing the poor. We use a comparative focus, going back and forth between the cases of the United States and the so-called developing world. By doing this, we engage in a “theory from without” exercise: We attempt to understand the housing problem in the United States from the perspective of the developing world, and vice versa. We study our subject through illustrated lectures, seminar discussions, documentary films, visual analysis exercises, and a field trip.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

205 Sustainable Design: Principles, Practice, Critique

(Offered as ARCH 205 and ARHA 205) This theory seminar aims to provide students with a strong basis for a deep engagement with the practice of sustainability in architectural design. The studied material covers both canonical literature on green design and social science-based critical theory. We start by exploring the key tenets of the sustainable design discourse, and how these tenets materialize in practice. Then, we examine sustainable design in relation to issues such as inequality and marginality. As we do this, we locate sustainability within the larger environmental movement, studying in detail some of the main approaches and standards of sustainable design, the attempts to improve this practice over time, and the specific challenges confronting these attempts. In addition to reading discussions, we study our subject through student presentations and written responses, a field trip, and two graphic design exercises.

Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone, but students would benefit from having a previous engagement with a course in architectural design, architectural history and/or theory, introduction to architectural studies, or environmental studies.

Limited to 20 students. Fall Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

206 Failed It!

This course offers an exciting investigation into failure in art during the uniqueness of life and culture in 2020. We will discover and debate the complexities, challenges, and benefits of failure and what it means for making art. Students will experiment with flaws, imperfections, rejects, and errors in their art projects. We will encourage you to think about failure in positive, unexpected, inspirational, and low-fi ways. You will learn about artists who are motivated by errors, uncommon methods, and breaking rules. The course includes presentations, screenings, discussions, collaboration, in-class activities, assignments, and independent work. There will be an emphasis on using and subverting everyday tools and materials.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Artist-in-Resident England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

207 Talking with Beads

This studio art course focused on complex global beading traditions and techniques. We will study how the language of beadwork is used to tell stories, connect with ancestors, provide protection, create community, signify power, and challenge injustice. This course draws on the over 75,000-year usage of beads ranging from umbilical amulets (Native American) to abacuses (Middle East and Asia) to rosaries (Europe) to lukasa (Central Africa) to Zulu love letters (South Africa). Students will learn dozens of beading techniques (many unique to South African cultures where some of the earliest beads were discovered.) We will use beads to communicate, preserve, and encode messages. We will expand the definition of what constitutes a bead; use variation in size, color, shape, and material as metaphor; and design beaded memory devices. No prior beading experience is necessary but curiosity and commitment is required.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

208 Playing with Pictures

This studio course focuses on the archiving, collecting, and appropriation related to contemporary art. Students will learn to "play with pictures" in imaginative, conceptual, exploratory, and intelligent ways. This learning will happen through exercises in-class, readings, journal writing, experimental making, film screenings, group discussions, critiques, and other activities. We will investigate the collection, curation, and juxtaposition of images from a wide range of sources, and consider how new personal, social, and political meanings can be generated from different groupings of images. This will be framed by critically reviewing the work of contemporary visual artists who use archives, collecting, and/or appropriation in their practice. Students will create personalized repositories of images from which to draw for future art and design projects.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Artist-in-residence England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

209 Space and Design: Intermediate Studio Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 209 and ARHA 209) This course will be a design investigation of sustainable architecture. Students will research cutting edge innovations in green technology and present their findings through graphic boards and verbal presentations. They will then design their own systems for water collection, air filtration, energy capture, site strategies, and solar power. A design language will be developed through a series of rigorous design exercises and creative innovation, and will culminate in a building project. Students will further develop sketching, drafting and model-making skills both by hand and with the computer. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.

Requisite: ARCH 105 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students.

Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

212 Storytelling Arts in Mesoamerica

(Offered as ENGL 212 and ARHA 212) [Before 1800] This course will explore the major pictorial narrative traditions of Mesoamerica, focusing on manuscripts of the Aztec, Maya, and Mixtec peoples, as well as other media, including texts and images from murals, ceramics, monuments, and mirrors. These visual and narrative media continue to play important roles in the preservation of Indigenous identity, solidarity, and cultural identity within nation states; the course will examine public, popular, and fine arts reviving, repurposing, and supporting resistance using this imagery.

Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

213 Printmaking I: The Handprinted Image

An introduction to intaglio and relief processes including drypoint, engraving, etching, aquatint, monoprints, woodcut and linocut. The development of imagery incorporating conceptual concerns in conjunction with specific techniques will be a crucial element in the progression of prints. Historical and contemporary references will be discussed to further enhance understanding of various techniques. Critiques will be held regularly with each assignment; critical analysis of prints utilizing correct printmaking terminology is expected. A final project of portfolio making and a portfolio exchange of an editioned print are required.

Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

214 Sculpture I

An exploration of three-dimensional concepts, form, expression and aesthetics. In a series of directed projects students will encounter a range of materials and technical processes including construction, modeling and carving. Projects will include conceptual and critical strategies integrated with material concerns. By the end of the course students will have developed a strong understanding of basic principles of contemporary sculpture and acquired the skills and technical knowledge of materials to create accomplished works of three-dimensional expression. Students will develop an awareness of conceptual and critical issues in current and historical sculptural practice, establishing a foundation for continued training and self-directed work in sculpture and other artistic disciplines.

No prior studio experience is required. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

215 Painting I

An introduction to the fundamentals of the pictorial organization of painting. Form, space, color, and pattern, abstracted from nature, are explored through the discipline of drawing by means of paint manipulation. Slide lectures, demonstrations, individual and group critiques are regular components of the studio sessions. Two three-hour meetings per week.  The course will be taught remotely.

Requisite: ARHA 102 or 111 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 8 students. Spring semester: Professor Sweeney.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

217 Improvising the Space Between: Drawing, Architecture, and Sculpture

This course is an exploration into the shared territories of drawing, architecture, and sculpture, and the hybrid spaces that may be created between those disciplines. An improvisational and responsive approach, in the spirit of experimentation and open inquiry, frames the studio-based course work. We will consider potentials and challenges of space, light, materials, joinery, structural geometries, organic growth, and temporality. After this initial period of information gathering, students will be free to determine the format or combination of formats that will shape an extended semester-end project. Readings, artist talks, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.

Requisite: One prior course in studio arts, architecture, or film production, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-2022. Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2020

218 Photography I

An introduction to black-and-white still photography. The basic elements of photographic technique will be taught as a means to explore both general pictorial structure and photography’s own unique visual language. Emphasis will be centered less on technical concerns and more on investigating how images can become vessels for both ideas and deeply human emotions. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, readings, and slide lectures about the work of artist-photographers, one short paper, and a final portfolio involving an independent project of choice. Two three-hour meetings per week.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Kimball.  Spring semester. Artist in Residence England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

219 Venice, Perfect City (476-1797)

(Offered as HIST 219 [TE/TC/C/P] and ARHA 219) When the Roman Empire imploded in 476, refugees from the Italian mainland settled on a few disconnected islands sheltered from the open Adriatic Sea by a lagoon. Within a few centuries, they created one of the most unlikely, beautiful, and long-lasting European cities ever to have been built. The cooperative spirit with which early medieval Venetians were able to create an urban environment built on seawater found its expression in the political and societal structures they formed to govern their city, republic, and, eventually, empire. In this course, we will discuss key events in the history of this extraordinary city, whose autonomy and self-government lasted until Napoleon invaded it in 1797. Topics include: art, architecture, and urban planning; the formation of an aristocratic but republican constitution; the emergence of civic institutions, poor relief, and neighborhood organizations; the history of the Ghetto and its Sephardic, Ashkenazi, and Italian communities; Venetian sea-trade and the conquest of the Levantine Empire; the Venetian Renaissance; ties with Byzantium, and the Mamluk and Ottoman Empires; convent culture; proto-feminism; and the Enlightenment. These topics will be discussed in the wider context of historical developments in the European and Mediterranean middle ages and early modern period. Two meetings per week. 

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Sperling.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

221 Foundations in Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 221 and FAMS 221) This introductory course is designed for students with no prior experience in video production. The aim is both technical and creative. We will begin with the literal foundation of the moving image—the frame—before moving through shot and scene construction, lighting, sound-image concepts, and final edit. In addition to instruction in production equipment and facilities, the course will also explore cinematic form and structure through weekly readings, screenings and discussion. Each student will work on a series of production exercises and a final video assignment.

Limited to 12 students with instructor's permission. Fall semester: Professor Levine. Spring semester: Visiting Professor Mellis. 
2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

222 Drawing II

A course appropriate for students with prior experience in basic principles of visual organization, who wish to investigate further aspects of pictorial construction abstracting from forms including the figure, landscape and organic still life. There will be weekly drawing assignments and critiques, in addition to a final project of a life size self portrait. 

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Professor R. Sweeney. Spring semester: Professor Gloman. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

224 Translating Nature: Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture

This course explores the visual structures of natural things. The processes and disciplines of drawing, acrylic painting, watercolor and sculpture will be used to examine natural subjects such as plants, animals, landscape and the figure. We will work directly from life. Out-of-class trips will be frequent to access natural subject matter not found in the classroom.

Requisite: One of ARHA 111, ARHA 214, or ARHA 215 (because of the diversity of subject and materials used). Limited to 8 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist David Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

226 Women and War in European History, 1558–1918

(Offered as HIST 226 [EU/TC/P], ARHA 226, EUST 226, and SWAG 225) Although overlooked in military histories until recently, women have long been actively involved in warfare: as combatants, as victims, as workers, and as symbols. This course examines both the changing role of women, and the shifting constructions of “womanhood,” in four major European conflicts: the wars of Elizabeth I in sixteenth-century England, the wars and peace of Marie de Médicis in seventeenth-century France, the French Revolution, and the First World War. Using methodologies drawn from Art History and History, the course seeks to understand the gendered nature of warfare. Why are images of women and the family central to the iconography of war, and how have representations of womanhood shifted according to the aims of particular conflicts? To what extent do women’s experiences of warfare differ from men’s, and can war be considered a source of women’s liberation or oppression? Students will analyze a range of historical images in conjunction with primary source texts from these conflicts and will also develop an original research project related to the course’s themes. Two class meetings per week.

Recommended requisite: A course in Art History or History. Limited to 25 students. Not offered in 2021-22. Professor Boucher.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2019

227 Critiquing the Critique as Studio Art Practice

What is the purpose of the art critique and how can we get the most out of them?  Students who have taken at least two studio art courses will explore the meaning and application of critique as it applies both to their own work and the work of others. We will critique the artwork of established artists and the writing of established art critics to unearth strategies. Together, we will define the purpose of critique, deconstruct critique methodologies, hone written and verbal skills to become better critics, and apply criticism toward the development of new work. Students will bring previous work to the course and remake that work based on feedback. Ultimately, students will practice analyzing and articulating their art practice in relationship to various social, cultural, and historical lenses.

Limited to 18 students.  January 2022 term.  Online only. Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

228 Image & Text

The combination of language with visual information offers a rich range of possibilities. In this course we will investigate strategies of interweaving image and text to create works that draw upon the qualities of each to produce hybrid forms. The class will look at a variety of sources and respond to them in a series of hands-on studio projects. These sources include maps, diagrams, calligraphy, illustrations and manuscripts, as well as work from the history of art and literature. The projects can involve drawing, printing, erasures, book-making, writing, digital media and photography to produce works that deploy image and text to express narrative, poetic, political or informational content. Students from a range of diciplines and interests are encouraged to participate.

No prior studio experience is required. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2022

229 The Virgin Mary: Image, Cult, Syncretism (ca. 400-1700)

(Offered as HIST 229 [TC/P/C], ARHA 229, RELI 229 and SWAG 229) When, in 431, the Council of Ephesus declared the Virgin Mary to be Theotokos or God-Bearer, she had already been venerated in Egypt since the third century as a re-instantiation of Isis. The syncretism of her cult explains her ubiquitous popularity in medieval Byzantium and the Latin West, but also in early Islamic Syria and colonial Latin America. Her frequent depiction on moveable wooden panels (icons) and mosaics accompanied her early rise to liturgical prominence. By 1200, she rivaled Jesus Christ in religious importance, not only through her role as intercessor, but also as dispenser of divine grace in the form of breastmilk. She was the most active miracle-working saint in all of Christianity. Her frequent depiction on icons, altarpieces and devotional panels accompanies – and, in part, explains – the development of figurative art in the West. In colonial America, the introduction of her cult ended prior religious forms of expression, but also helped them to partially survive in a new context. In this seminar, students will produce a 15-page research paper based on a careful analysis of textual and visual sources as well as pertinent scholarship. Two class meetings per week. This course will be conducted in class but also include remote students via zoom.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Sperling.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

232 Cartographic Cultures: Making Maps, Building Worlds

(Offered as ARHA 232 and ARCH 232) This course traces the history of modern cartography from the integration of indigenous map-making techniques into colonial Latin American land surveys in the sixteenth century to the use of GIS software by militaries and corporations to create detailed images of foreign and domestic territories in the twenty-first century. Along the way, we will study the political and economic impetus that drove governments, militaries, municipalities, and private entities to create renderings of the land on which we live. We will also investigate the technological history of map-making as we consider the extent to which innovations in modern science have influenced the production of maps. This course will challenge the presumption that maps are factual portrayals of physical space. It will also question how divergent forms of culturally based knowledge as well as economic constraints and corporate rivalries have historically influenced map-making and subsequently shaped our understanding of territories near and far. We will think through these issues while investigating a number of major topics in the history of modern cartography: map-making and indigenous expertise in the Americas prior to and during European intervention; colonial cartography in the Americas, Asia, and Africa; the explosion of the map-making industry in eighteenth and nineteenth-century England and France; the mapping of oceans and other remote landscapes during this time; the twentieth-century genre of pictorial maps in the United States; cartography and modern warfare; and artists’ responses to these histories. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will build their writing and research skills while gaining knowledge of the methods that scholars employ when reading a wide variety of maps. Moreover, in approaching contemporary debates in the field of cartography, this course will introduce students to landscape studies.
Limited to 34 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020

233 2020: Art Can Help

(Offered as ARHA 233 and FAMS 233) We approach the fall of 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic, a wave of international protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, systemic racism, an escalating climate emergency, and widespread anxiety about the consequences of the upcoming American elections. Our own responses to these crises can vary, often from day to day. We may feel inspired to make change or to further educate ourselves, but we can also feel overwhelmed and unsure of our own place in the world. What are our responsibilities as artists, individuals and as members of the communities that surround us?

In this remote studio course for students working in video and photography, we will explore methods and issues related to politically engaged art practice. Topics to be covered may include: the tension between the personal and the political in art, the role of images within political discourse, documentary, archive, and the relationship between creative practice and activism.

Each student will work independently in photography, video or both to produce a body of work that speaks to their own interests or experience. Students may choose to work in a variety of modes that might include or combine direct observation, diaristic record, archival practices, performance or poetic intervention. The course will include group and individual critiques of the students’ work, research seminars, historical and topical lectures from the histories of film, video and photography, and the examination of art practices that seek to balance or blend politics and aesthetics. We will conclude the semester with a group exhibition of artistic work created by students in the class.

Requisite Course: One 200-level course in film/video or photography, or a portfolio of work which demonstrates relevant experience. Limited to 14 students. Omitted 2021-22 Professor Kimball and Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

235 Integrated Practices: Social Issues and the Interview

(Offered as ARHA 235 and FAMS 410)  This Integrated Practices course blends production components and theories regarding the interview, oral histories, direct address and on camera dialogues, in non-fiction video production, in order to explore and respond to the ways in which social issues such as racism, economic inequality, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, bullying, hate speech and hate crimes, disability, incarceration, to name a few, affect us.

In Social Issues and the Interview, students create, research and analyze the process of producing scripted, interview-based, socially engaged, short non-fiction videos. The course examines elements of performance for the camera, remote internet-based interviews, studio and in the field shooting, The class looks at various interview and editing techniques as well as the form, history, and function of the interview form in the non-fiction genre. 

 

Requisite: A foundations course in Critical Studies of Film and Media (such as “Coming to Terms: Cinema”) and an introductory film/video production workshop. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

237 Curating between the Virtual and the Physical: Liliana Porter

This course introduces students to contemporary art and the history and practice of organizing exhibitions. How do we present and experience art in a fixed location and how can art be curated and engaged with on the Internet? A museum exhibition of work by artist Liliana Porter, on view at the Mead during the run of the course, and the planning of a parallel online exhibition in collaboration with Curator of American Art and Arts of the Americas Lisa Crossman, will provide a case study. Porter’s work, which ranges from video to installation to works on paper, offers a particularly rich opportunity for thinking through the relationship between originality and reproduction, objects and representation. This class presents students with an opportunity to converse with the artist, engage with the exhibition of her work on view, learn from a curator, and participate in the organization of the virtual exhibition. Students will also read, discuss, and write about curating, spatial experience, technological mediation, and artists and curators who have reimagined the forms art and exhibitions take.

Limited to 15 students.  Spring semester: Professor Vicario

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

240 Women in Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 240, ARCH 240 and SWAG 240) This course begins with an examination of gendered, architectural spaces and how and why they were structured for women in the 19th century in both Britain and America. Looking at primary and secondary sources, students will gain insight into societal norms and how they conditioned architecture generally associated with women, such as houses, asylums, and early women’s colleges. This study will serve as a platform from which to understand the pressures upon women and the pioneers who rejected such norms and pursued architecture as a profession. The latter half of the course will look at the work of early women architects, the hurdles they faced and the examples they set. The course will conclude with a critical examination of women architects practicing today and how they navigate the profession. It is open to non-majors and will introduce interested students to issues surrounding the architectural canon, equity, and the history of gendered spaces in architecture. 
Limited to 25 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Lecturer Vickery.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

241 The Age of Michelangelo: Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 241, ARCH 241, and EUST 241)  Michelangelo, a defining genius of the Italian Renaissance, emerged from a rich cultural environment that forever changed how we think of art. Artists of the Renaissance developed an original visual language from the legacy of the ancient world, while also examining nature, their environment, and encounters with other worlds to the East and West. Their art revealed a profound engagement with philosophical attitudes toward the body and the spirit, as well as with ideals of pious devotion and civic virtue. Those concepts changed radically over the period of the Renaissance, however. Artists developed the rhetoric of genius and artistic struggle by vaunting an artist’s godlike role, owing to his imaginative creation of art and his ability to mimic reality illusionistically, yet they also questioned a human’s place in the cosmos. We will analyze in depth the visual language of painting, sculpture, and architecture created for merchants, monks, princes and popes in the urban centers of Florence, Rome and Venice from the 14th through the 16th centuries, and examine the virtuosic processes artists used to achieve their goals. 

Rather than taking the form of a survey, this course, based on lectures but regularly incorporating discussion, will analyze selected works and contemporary attitudes toward the visual through study of the art and its primary sources.

 Learning goals:

  • Gain confidence in the art of close looking to gain visual understanding;
  • Achieve an understanding about how art and its culture are intertwined;
  • Develop the critical skills to analyze points of view from a historical period other than our own;
  • Learn collaboratively with classmates;
  • Develop and argue an original thesis about a single work of art in a research paper.

Meets twice a week, 1 hour and 20 minutes.

One course in ARHA, FAMS, or ARCH recommended.

Uncapped.

 Omitted 2021-22. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

242 Hand-Drawn and Hand-Printed: The Stories of Images

This course will focus on drawing and printmaking as a means of building visual stories through serial description and expression. Studio work will include brush and ink drawings, watercolor, printmaking techniques, and collage, with a range of approaches to subject matter based on each student’s individual interests and choices. These include representational, narrative, abstract, and symbol-based imagery, among others. Relief printing techniques using both wood and synthetic blocks, will be taught, as well as the intaglio technique of trace monotype printing. All prints will be handprinted using spoons, barens, and the palm of the hand. Experimentation around conceptual and technical boundaries will be explored and encouraged. Projects will focus on using a combination of these means to develop a series of related images. A broad cultural range of contemporary and historical references will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects. The semester’s work will culminate in a cohesive body of visual work given the form of a small-scale installation and, for the final project, a hand-made accordion book. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Writing will be required of students in the form of series statements, feedback on other students’ projects, and final semester reflections on their work. No prerequisites required.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

243 Cut, Inked and Hand Pressed: Woodcut Prints

Woodcut is a dynamic form of printmaking. It has been instrumental in communication since the invention of paper in 105 C.E. and is a relief technique with a broad array of possibilities. Students will learn various methods to cut and print wood blocks, and assignments will include multiple block printing, hand-colored prints, collage, and cut paper. All prints will be handprinted using spoons, barens and the palm the hand. Assignments will be critiqued regularly, and critical analysis of prints' conceptual and technical concerns will be discussed. The study of a culturally wide range of historical and contemporary artists will provide inspiration, insight and knowledge into the visual language of woodcut. Students will be encouraged to create imagery that provides personal meaning influenced by political, individualistic, imaginative and emotional experiences. No prerequisites required.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

247 Independent Projects: Sculpture Studio Seminar

This course is an opportunity for students to pursue and shape independent sculpture projects developed through a series of closely related sculptural works. The class will focus on the dynamics and engineering of three-dimensional structures and compositions, sensitivity to materials – what they offer and associations they carry--and use of a tactile language of form as expressive means. The semester will result in the production by each student of a coherent body of works, where every piece has informed and shaped the next as students’ ideas for their series are honed and more fully explored. The class as a whole will start the semester’s work with short exercises and studies, testing a range of approaches to using the language of three-dimensional form, before moving in individual directions. Modeling and construction techniques, as well as mold-making and casting, will be taught as needed in response to student goals, and as is possible within the constraints of COVID-19 precautions. Relevant readings, presentations, and museum visits will inform studio work. Regular group critiques and discussions will be a key part of learning with and from each other.
Requisite: ARHA 214, or permission of the instructor.
Taught on campus, and remotely through group and individual Zoom meetings, and shared on-line materials, if needed.
Omitted 2021-2022. Limited to 8 students. Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

249 Digital Art History

(Offered as ARHA 249 and ARCH 249) This course is an introduction to the latest digital tools that art historians and museum curators use to analyze and display works of art, architecture, and the larger built environment, including, but not limited to, 3D modeling, network graphing, and digital mapping and storytelling. We will begin by asking what actually constitutes art historical data and then turn to consider how the digital collection, organization, interpretation, and presentation of this information can inform our understanding of objects, buildings, cities, and landscapes. Among the other topics we will explore are the digital artworks and exhibitions that artists and curators around the globe are currently creating in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the ethics and practicalities of doing digital art history today. This non-lecture-based course centers hands-on collective learning and is designed for students of all backgrounds. No previous knowledge of the subject is presumed.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

250 Humanitarian Design in Theory and Practice

(Offered as ARCH 250 and ARHA 250) This course explores the challenges and possibilities of humanitarian design, a growing area of interest in architectural practice. The course includes a field trip to Ecuador, to take place over Spring Break. This field component is deeply integrated into the course contents. During the first part of the semester, students become familiar with relevant theoretical and practice-based approaches to disaster reconstruction. With that, they gain an understanding of the complexities of this area, and a good grasp of the tasks and issues to be dealt with in the field. Upon returning from Ecuador, the rest of the semester is devoted to debriefing, producing and analyzing documentation, and drawing general lessons for the theory and practice of humanitarian design. The main case study is that of post-disaster reconstruction following Ecuador’s 2016 Pedernales Earthquake, which killed over 600 people and injured over 16,000. We will study the outcome of diverse reconstruction efforts and approaches four years after the earthquake. In order to compare and contrast approaches, our fieldwork will focus on two settings, an urban and a rural one, both located in the coastal Manabí province.

Limited to 12 Amherst College students. Admission with consent of the instructor. This course is open to Amherst College students only.  There will be an application process before pre-registration. Those students selected will have their travel expenses covered.
Omitted 2021-22. Professor Arboleda. 

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

253 The Modern Metropolis

(Offered as ARHA 253 and ARCH 253) This course traces the social and political history of the modern city from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. In the process, it questions the extent to which contemporary megacities—like São Paulo or Shanghai—reflect a social and urban system of organization that has its roots in earlier experiments in metropolitan design. Over the course of the semester, we will approach a number of genericized architectural spaces that have recurred across modern cities in ways that elucidate the broader template to which such urban zones often conform. These sites include the park, the nightclub, the brothel, the restaurant, the port, the highway, and the hotel, to name only a few. Our examination of these spaces will foreground the role of architecture and urban planning in shaping social interaction in these common locales. We will approach these sites as manifested in several modern metropolises, such as Paris, Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai, Dakar, São Paulo, and New York. In investigating these places, we will ask: What makes a city? What, if any, continuities characterize the organizational structures, social spaces, and living conditions of modern cities in the western and non-western worlds? In encouraging students to explore the relationships between European and non-European urban centers, this course will serve as a point of departure for rethinking the binaries that separate the West and the Non-West. Through written assignments and independent research, students will gain knowledge of the ways in which urban spaces have informed social, political, economic, and cultural histories in America and beyond. This course will also aid students in developing their writing and research skills.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

255 Latin American Art: Strategies and Tactics

(Offered as ARHA 255 and LLAS 255) This course explores art produced since 1920 in Latin America. From the state-sponsored murals of post-revolutionary Mexico to the "Constructive Universalism” of Joaquín Torres-García in Uruguay, how did artists align themselves with and distinguish themselves from movements and ideas circulating in Europe and the United States? When and why did U.S. institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art begin to collect, exhibit, and theorize art from Latin America? At mid-century, how was the proliferation of geometric abstraction in Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Caracas entangled with the modernization projects in those cities? In the wake of the Cuban Revolution, in what ways did the spread of anti-imperialist ideas radicalize artistic practices across the region? When dictatorships commandeered several countries from the 1960s through the 1980s, how did political and cultural repression generate new dangers but also new tactics for artists? Studying more recent practices, we will investigate art projects produced on the U.S.-Mexico border, the interaction between artists from Latin America and an increasingly global art world, and the curatorial trends characterizing the early twenty-first century display of art from the region. Throughout the course, the work of art will be analyzed as the battleground upon and across which political struggles were fought.

Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2021

257 The Colonial City: Architecture, Empire, Resistance

(Offered as ARHA 257, ARCH 257, and BLST 253) Creole dwellings were first erected by enslaved builders working under Diego Colón (the son of Christopher Columbus) on the island of Hispaniola. By the end of the first wave of European expansion in the early nineteenth century, the creole style existed across imperial domains in the Caribbean, North and South America, Africa, the Indian Ocean, and even Asia. We will examine the global diffusion of this architectural typology from its emergence in the Spanish Caribbean to its florescence in British and French India in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In doing so, we will address buildings and towns in former Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonies worldwide. Some of the urban centers that we will engage include: Kingston, Jamaica; Pondicherry, India; Cape Town, South Africa; Cartagena, Colombia; Saint-Louis, Senegal; and Macau, China. In investigating both creole structures and the cities that harbored such forms, we will think through the social and economic factors that caused buildings and urban areas to display marked continuities despite geographical and imperial distinctions.
Limited to 34 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

258 Art, Things, Spaces, and Places

(Offered as ARHA 258, ARCH 258 and EUST 258) The purpose of this course is to introduce students to research on lived environments from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, the architecture that shaped them, and the art and objects that they contained. The goal of each class, through reading and discussion, is to investigate what a researchable question is in the fields of history, art history, architecture, and material culture in Europe, England, and the Americas. Using multi-disciplinary research strategies, we will examine the power of precious and ordinary objects (including furniture, tapestries, devotional paintings, family portraits, and sculpture), the contemporary connotations of their materiality, and consider what objects in a home might signify about a family’s status, political allegiance, spirituality, and place in the world. Further, we will ask how art, objects and décor shape the beholder’s experience of spaces inside and outside a residence, in private and in public. What does the display of objects in collections, including those from far-away cultures other than the patron’s, signify to the owner and the viewer? Visiting lecturers will present their ideas on various topics such as the anthropology of art, the significance of precious materials, and collecting. We will take field trips to museums and meet curators in order to identify a research topic.

This course will give students tools to conduct their own research into past lived environments and their contents, and identify how we in the 21st century might come to understand them. As the culmination of the course students will collaboratively develop a prospectus for a research project with one or two other classmates. Assignments to meet that goal include adding new content to Wikipedia as a record of students’ findings and a contribution to knowledge for a wider public.

Open to sophomores but also motivated first-years interested in research in a variety of fields. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Spring 2022

259 Utopia: Visionary Architecture, Art and Theory

(Offered as ARHA 259 and ARCH 259) This course is an examination of utopian plans in architecture and art. We will consider the philosophical constructs of utopia in architectural drawings, buildings, and plans in relation to film, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. We will consider how different projections about life in the future are also harsh criticisms of the present, which often rely upon imagined concepts of social organizations in times past. The course reflects on utopian art from antiquity to the present, including an examination of selected utopian authors, including Sir Thomas More, Edward Bellamy, and William Morris, with an emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We examine the tensions between theory and practice by studying the successes and failures of actual attempts at realizing utopian communities. We will question the differences between utopia, dystopia, displacement and the home, as we consider whether utopian art and design is viable in the twenty-first century.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

261 Buddhist Art of Asia

(Offered as ARHA 261 and ASLC 260) Visual imagery plays a central role in the Buddhist faith. As the religion developed and spread throughout Asia it took many forms. This course will first examine the appearance of the earliest aniconic traditions in ancient India, the development of the Buddha image, and early monastic centers. It will then trace the dissemination and transformation of Buddhist art as the religion reached South-East Asia, Central Asia, and eventually East Asia. In each region indigenous cultural practices and artistic traditions influenced Buddhist art. Among the topics the course will address are the nature of the Buddha image, the political uses of Buddhist art, the development of illustrated hagiographies, and the importance of pilgrimage, both in the past and the present.

Fall semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

263 The Art Market

This course investigates the relationship between art and commerce in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. What is the network of auctions, galleries, and fairs overseeing the buying and selling of works of art and how is value decided, constructed, and transformed in the process? How do we understand and calculate the value of art in both economic and symbolic terms? How do you buy and sell a work of performance art? What agency do artists possess in determining how their work operates in the market and how have artists played with the market since the 1960s? Finally, in what ways does the making, buying, and selling of works of art conform to and diverge from the operations of the economy at large? Using texts by Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, Eve Chiapello, and Jean-Joseph Goux, among others, as a theoretical foundation, we will explore the relationship between works of art and commodities and the ways in which artists both embrace and critique the commercial side of the art world. We will also study the recent attention paid to the “dirty money” funding arts institutions and trace a longer history of this phenomenon and its contestation by artists, activists, and artist-activists.

Requisite: One course in the history of art or cultural studies or permission of the instructor. Recommended requisite: ARHA 155. Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Niko Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2021, Fall 2021

267 Islamic Arts of the Book

(Offered as ARHA 267 and ASLC 267) The book has played (and continues to play) a central role in the Islamic world. As a technology, it gives physical form to the Qur’an, an orally proclaimed text, allowing Islam’s scripture to be read, touched, held, and easily transported. It is a carrier of divine blessing, but also of wisdom, authority, tradition, and affiliation. The earliest Islamic books were either very fragile, being made of papyrus, or expensive, being made of animal skin (parchment). Knowledge of papermaking, which traveled westward from its place of origin in China, revolutionized the production of manuscripts in royal and intellectual hubs like Samarqand, Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordoba. Books on geography, history, poetry, and science soon proliferated, many of them filled with fantastic paintings made of gold leaf, ground minerals, and carbon-based inks. We will study the history of the Islamic book, from manuscripts of the Qur’an, which often bear calligraphy but almost never include illustrations, to historical, astrological, and poetic works—like the famous Shahnama (Book of Kings)—that contain images of various types and sizes. We will pay special attention to who produced, collected, and circulated these books, and ask how and according to which criteria they were conceived, used, and evaluated. We will bring to our objects of study a close-viewing lens, but also explore the use of computational tools drawn from the Digital Humanities. Visits to view book materials in local collections will supplement classroom discussion and assigned readings. No previous knowledge of the topic is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2019

269 Baroque Art

(Offered as ARHA 269, ARCH 269, EUST 269) At the beginning of the seventeenth century, religious and social upheavals in Europe led to a renewed proliferation of exciting, innovative art. In this century of remarkably varied artistic production, paradoxes abounded. Artists sought the illusion of reality by imitating unimproved, even base or monstrous nature through close observation of the human body, landscape, and ordinary, humble objects of daily use. They imbued art meant to inspire religious devotion with unbounded eroticism or with the gory details of painful suffering and hideous death. Artists and architects made the visionary appear real and sensual. They adored the past but re-cast it in modern terms. Others continued to quest for perfection in a return to the lofty principles implicit in ancient artistic canons of ideality. More than ever before, artists explored the expression of passion through dramatic narratives and sharply revealing portraiture. They depicted dominating political leaders as flawed mortals—even satirized them through the new art of caricature—at the same time that they developed a potent and persuasive vocabulary in art, architecture, and gardens for the expression of the rulers’ absolutist political power.

This class will examine issues in Baroque art in depth through selected works of painting, sculpture, and architecture produced by artists in the Catholic countries of the seventeenth century, e.g. Caravaggio, Bernini, Poussin, Velázquez, and Rubens in Italy, France, Spain, the Spanish Netherlands, and parts of the Americas. It also engages the cultural, social, and intellectual framework for their accomplishments. 

Intermediate level, one other course in art history preferred but not required. Uncapped.

Spring Semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2016, Spring 2022

270 African Art and the Diaspora

(Offered as ARHA 270 and BLST 293 [D]) The course of study will examine those African cultures and their arts that have survived and shaped the aesthetic, philosophic and religious patterns of African descendants in Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and urban centers in North America. We shall explore the modes of transmission of African artistry to the West and examine the significance of the preservation and transformation of artistic forms from the period of slavery to our own day. Through the use of films, slides and objects, we shall explore the depth and diversity of this vital artistic heritage of Afro-Americans. 

Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

284 Women and Art in Early Modern Europe

(Offered as ARHA 284, EUST 284, and SWAG 206)  This introductory discussion-based course will examine how prevailing ideas about women and gender shaped visual imagery in Europe from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and how these images, in turn, presented surprisingly varied pictures of women and their domains. Artists vividly expressed the paradoxical power that women possessed even more than language could. Both admired and feared in their societies, aristocrats, queens, mistresses, saints, witches, heroines, and housewives were all depicted in art in elevated and debased manners, sometimes as eroticized subjects and at other times as powerful, idealized actors—occasionally both at the same time. We will analyze the art and material goods that women paid for and what it communicated about them; women’s homes and the objects they held; the portrayal of women from merchant societies in Italian city-states to aristocratic women in India, of female saints, heroes and rulers, including Elizabeth I of England and Maria de' Medici of France; and the troubling imagery of rape. These different types of art raise questions about biological theories about women; feminine ideals of beauty; what marriage meant in different societies; the relationship between the exercise of political power and gender; women’s expression of transcendent spirituality; and what the portrayal of indigenous and enslaved women in Dutch and Spanish colonies conveyed about race.

 GOALS FOR LEARNING

  • Understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;
  • Gain an understanding of how historical attitudes about women and by women affect art made about and by women;
  • Develop an analytical ability to examine points of view expressed in texts and art of a historical period other than our own and to distinguish them from another;
  • Learn collaboratively with classmates;
  • Learn how to perform 2 kinds of research:

1) find materials to contribute publicly useful scholarship, by creating or revising Wikipedia entries, which greatly lack material on women;

2) Develop and argue an original thesis in a 10-page research paper.

 No prerequisites. Uncapped.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Spring 2021

304 Documentary Photography

In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore the practice of documentary photography. This course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class visual exercises. We will examine the history, theory and ideological questions and complications of working with those outside of or within one’s own circle of experience. This will be complemented by a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary photographers, and slide lectures that consider the multitude of ways artists use photography within the documentary tradition.

Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2020

308 Doing What You Don’t Know How to Do

Under what conditions can we make our best work? What does our best work look like and how is that assessment made? And how can we access our best selves to do so?  This course interrogates the dynamics of the visual arts studio: the opportunities, conditions, and pressures that shape our behavior there. By creating a supportive community via online conferencing with both synchronous and asynchronous elements, and photographic sharing of projects/assignments — perhaps a new kind of studio? — we encourage risk and reach towards a studio practice that is yet unknown to us. We will teach each other, think big and then bigger, try new materials and processes, and treat each decision as an experiment. This course will introduce both historical and contemporary examples of artists in whose work we can readily observe risk-taking and problem solving. Setting the stage for a life in the studio driven by exploration and fearlessness, we will ask the question, “What do we have to lose?”

Requisite: Nomination by the art departments of each of the Five Colleges. Limited to 15 students, with spaces reserved for 3 students from each of the Five Colleges. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Lecturer Hepler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

313 Still/Moving: The Documentary Project

(Offered as ARHA 313 and FAMS 313) In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore creative documentary practice in both photography and video production. The course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design, and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class exercises, both visual and technical. Shared topics between the two mediums may include: ethnography, narrative, sequencing/editing, staging/scripting, place and space, and working with archival materials. We will examine the shared history, theory, and ideological questions of these mediums, and focus on issues that inform contemporary documentary practice and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The course will include a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary artists, and presentations that consider the many ways artists use photography and film/video within the documentary tradition.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience in photography or film/video (to be approved by the instructor(s) in advance of the first class.) Limited to 14 students. Fall semester. Assistant Professor Levine and Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

319 Working in Series: The Interdisciplinary Connection Between Drawing and the Hand-Printed Image

An investigation of ideas into the development of visual imagery focusing on series of works utilizing drawing and printmaking. Contemporary and historical references of artists' series of works will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects, culminating in a final project consisting of a cohesive, visual body of work. Experimentation of conceptual and technical boundaries will be encouraged and explored. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Visual work will include a wide variety of drawing media, including, but not limited to traditional methods. The techniques of intaglio and relief printmaking will be used in combination with and concurrent to the drawn images.

Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

323 Advanced Studio Seminar

A studio course that will emphasize compositional development by working from memory, imagination, literature and abstractions derived from nature and other works of visual art. The Students will be encouraged to explore a wide variety of media including, but not limited to, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and collage. Students will be required to create an independent body of work over the course of the semester which explores their individual direction in pictorial construction. 

Requisite: ARHA 222, 326 or 327 or permission of the instructor. Limited to 5 students. Fall and Spring semester. Professor R. Sweeney.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

324 Sculpture II Miniatures and Monuments 

In this course we will be exploring the role of scale in sculpture. Through a series of studio projects, in a variety of materials, we will create sculptures in a range of sizes to understand how scale affects the creation and perception of a work of three-dimensional art. Using wood, welded steel, clay, and plaster, we will examine forms including the miniature, the maquette, and the monument. Students will have opportunities for collaboration and installation and be encouraged to explore new territory while refining and developing their critical and technical skills. Contemporary critical approaches will be introduced through readings and visual presentations.

Requisite: ARHA 214 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

 

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2022

325 Images and Icons—Exploring Devotional Art

(Offered as ARHA 325 and ASLC 325) An examination of the construction, use, and interpretation of images and icons. The primary focus will be on images and icons in the Buddhist and Hindu faiths; however, the class will also make comparisons with those in Christianity and the religions of Africa and New Guinea. Some of the topics to be covered will include the relationship between icons and deities, the authentication and animation of images, the connections between icons and political authority, the ritual use of images, and aniconism and iconoclasm. The class is designed to focus on art historical writing.

Limited to 18 students to facilitate class discussion. Omitted 2021-22. Prof. Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

326 Painting II

This course offers students knowledgeable in the basic principles and skills of painting and drawing an opportunity to investigate personal directions in painting. Assignments will be collectively as well as individually directed. Discussions of the course work will assume the form of group as well as individual critiques. Two three-hour class meetings per week.

Requisite: ARHA 215 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2021-22. Senior Resident Artist Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

328 Photography II

(Offered as ARHA 328) This course is a continuing investigation of the skills and questions introduced in ARHA 218. An emphasis will be placed on defining, locating and pursuing independent work; this will be accomplished through a series of weekly demonstrations, assignments and a final independent project. Student work will be discussed and evaluated in group and individual critiques. This is complemented by slide presentations and topical readings of contemporary and historical photography.This course will be taught virtually using digital cameras and and software. Students will be supplied with cameras for the semester. Two two-hour meetings per week. 

Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021

330 Fictional Narrative Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 330 and FAMS 443) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore fictional narrative filmmaking through a rigorous script-to-screen process. Students will write, shoot and edit a short (8-minute) fictional narrative film either in small groups or individually. In addition to weekly online screenings of short and feature narrative films, the class will consist of weekly Zoom sessions led by the professor, including lectures on advanced narrative filmmaking techniques, film discussions, script readings, and critiques of footage and various cuts.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Instructor to be determined.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020

335 Experiments in 16mm Film

(Offered as ARHA 335 and FAMS 335) This intermediate production course surveys the outer limits of cinematic expression and provides an overview of creative 16mm film production. We will begin by making cameraless projects through drawing, painting and scratching directly onto the film strip before further exploring the fundamentals of 16mm technology, including cameras, editing and hand-processing. While remaining aware of our creative choices, we will invite chance into our process and risk failure, as every experiment inevitably must.

Through screenings of original film prints, assigned readings and discussion, the course will consider a number of experimental filmmakers and then conclude with a review of exhibition and distribution strategies for moving image art. All students will complete a number of short assignments on film and one final project on either film or video, each of which is to be presented for class critique. One three-hour class and one film screening per week.

Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

350 Practice and Theory of Art History

What is art history? What is its history? What are its premises and where does it come from? This seminar will explore the historical foundations, formulations, and applications of current art historical methods, the foundations of the art historical discipline as it emerged from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as attitudes towards and theories on art practice in their diverse global contexts from before the modern period. Both practice and theory will be considered through discussion of select texts and objects drawn from a variety of traditions. Topics may include: style and periodization; iconography, narratology, and phenomenology; semiotics; the social functions of images and the social history of art; the cultural foundations of representation, aesthetics, and vision; art and the material world; art, gender, and sexuality; collecting and commodification of art; and post-colonialism and post-modernism.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

353 Myth, Ritual and Iconography in West Africa

(Offered as BLST 315 [A] and ARHA 353) Through a contrastive analysis of the religious and artistic modes of expression in three West African societies—the Asanti of the Guinea Coast, and the Yoruba and Igbo peoples of Nigeria—the course will explore the nature and logic of symbols in an African cultural context. We shall address the problem of cultural symbols in terms of African conceptions of performance and the creative play of the imagination in ritual acts, masked festivals, music, dance, oral histories, and the visual arts as they provide the means through which cultural heritage and identity are transmitted and preserved, while, at the same time, being the means for innovative responses to changing social circumstances.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

357 The Persian Book of Kings

(Offered as ASLC 357, ARHA 357, and HIST 357 [TC, TE, ME, P]) The Shahnameh (Book of Kings), completed by Abu’l Qasim Ferdowsi around 1010, is one of the world's greatest epics, and also one of the most enigmatic. The Shahnameh tells the history of pre-Islamic Iran from the beginnings of civilization until the Arab conquest in the seventh century A.D. Its tales of battles, romance, heroism, and betrayal have been appreciated as literature for centuries. At the same time, it’s been deployed for political and cultural ends. Many of the communities who have most enthusiastically embraced its stories and themes have been of non-Iranian origin. Indeed, Ferdowsi’s patron, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, was himself of Turkic background. Since the nineteenth century, it has been touted as the cultural cornerstone of an emphatically non-Muslim modern Iranian national identity, and yet the author and his patron were Muslim. Some have even interpreted the Shahnameh as encouraging conversion to Islam.

This course will explore the Shahnameh as literature, history, and material culture—including illustrated manuscripts, printed books, ceramics, metalwork, and photography—from its original tenth-century context to the contemporary moment. We will focus in particular on a heavily illustrated mid-nineteenth-century copy of the Shahnameh in Amherst College’s Archives and Special Collections, and consider how this work expressed a non-Islamic cultural foundation of modernity. We will follow this story to explore how the Shahnameh figures in debates over the pre-Islamic past today. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professors Rice and Ringer.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

383 The Tea Ceremony and Japanese Culture

(Offered as ARHA 383 and ASLC 319) An examination of the history of chanoyu, the tea ceremony, from its origins in the fifteenth century to the practice of tea today. The class will explore the various elements that comprise the tea environment-the garden setting, the architecture of the tea room, the forms of tea utensils, and the elements of the kaiseki meal. Through a study of the careers of influential tea masters and texts that examine the historical, religious, and cultural background of tea culture, the course will also trace how the tea ceremony has become a metaphor for Japanese culture and Japanese aesthetics both in Japan and in the West. There will be field trips to visit tea ware collections, potters and tea masters. Two class meetings per week.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

384 The Replicated Image in Japanese Art: Woodblock Prints, Postcards, and Photographs

(Offered as ARHA 384 and ASLC 384) An image that can be replicated serves a very different function from a single unique work of art; it addresses new audiences and elicits a wider range of responses. This course will explore three different types of replicated images in Japan—woodblock prints, lithographs, and photographs. With the unprecedented achievement of literacy among urban populations during the early seventeenth century, Japan developed highly inventive woodblock texts and images. The course will begin with an investigation of the Japanese print in the Edo period (1615–1868) through the works of artists such as Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige. It will subsequently examine the early history of the photograph in the nineteenth century and then how the postcard replaced the print as the favored format for the dissemination of images during the early twentieth century, becoming the primary visual means for communicating Japan’s modernity before the advent of World War II. The course will conclude with a study of photography from the 1920s to the present day. Photography also documented Japan’s modern era, the social tensions that appeared in the high-grown era after WWII, and today often transcends national boundaries.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

385 Witches, Vampires and Other Monsters

(Offered as ARHA 385, EUST 385, and SWAG 310) Our course will explore how evil was imagined, over cultures, centuries and disciplines. With the greatest possible historical and cultural specificity, we will investigate an array of monstrous creatures and plagues -- their terrifying powers, the explanations for why they came to be, and the strategies for how they could be purged -- as we attempt to articulate the kindred qualities they shared. We will study centuries-old witch burning manuals, and note the striking degree to which dangerous tropes -- about women, about pestilence, about dangerous sexuality, and about differences of all kinds -- have continued to our day. Among the artists to be considered are Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Dalí, Buñuel, Dreyer, Wilder, Almodóvar, and the community who made the AIDS Quilt.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

388 Approaches to Chinese Painting

(Offered as ARHA 388 and ASLC 383) This course will survey the Chinese pictorial and calligraphic traditions from the Neolithic era to the present day. Particular emphasis will be placed on the period from the Northern Song to the Qing dynasties and the development of the landscape idiom, but the course will also address the figure, bird and flower, and narrative traditions as well. It will conclude with an exploration of the ways contemporary artists engage the legacy of China’s cultural heritage. Special attention will be given to the differences between Western methodological approaches to Chinese painting and the theories of painting developed by the Chinese themselves.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

412 The Sixties

We will investigate a series of historical events (such as the Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis, Stonewall, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King) as well as the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of identity politics (Feminism, Black Power, the Brown Berets) and the counterculture. We will study the myriad art forms and their attendant ideologies invented during the decade (such as Pop, Op, Color Field, Minimalism, Land Art, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Fluxus), as well as some crucial critics, dealers and art journals, in an effort to understand the ways in which artists rejected or appropriated, then transformed, certain themes and conceptual models of their time. This course will include class trips.

Requisite: One course in modern art or consent of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 11 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Staller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2019

441 Documentary Production

(Offered as ARHA 441 and FAMS 441) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore creative documentary practice through readings, weekly screenings and production assignments. Each student will complete a series of projects working both as a single maker and in collaboration with other members of the class. Topics may include: shooting the interview; scripting, performance and reenactment; history and narrativity; place and space; ethnography and the “embedded” filmmaker. We will also host visiting filmmakers and, where possible, visit a cultural institution which supports and screens cutting-edge documentary work.

The course will be taught annually but will focus on a set of revolving themes and issues that inform contemporary documentary filmmaking and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The theme for Fall 2019 will be “Place and Space". One 3-hour class (some of which will include field shooting and research trips) and one evening screening each week.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Fall 2019

444 Films That Try: Essay Film Production

(Offered as ARHA 444 and FAMS 412) Essay filmmaking is a dynamic form with many commonly cited attributes—the presence of an authorial voice, an emphasis on broad themes, an eclectic approach to genre, and the tendency to digress or draw unexpected connections. Yet, true to its nature, the precise definition of the essay film is in constant flux. It can be both personal and political, individual and collective, noble and mischievous. Essay filmmakers themselves are equally diverse, ranging from established film auteurs to Third Cinema activists and contemporary video artists.

If we entertain the notion that the processes of cinema closely resemble the mechanics of human thought, then the essay film may be the medium’s purest expression. To watch or make such a film, we must give ourselves over to a compulsive, restless energy that delights in chasing a subject down any number of rabbit holes and blind alleys, often stopping to admire the scenery on the way. As with thought, there is no end product, no clear boundaries, no goal but the activity itself.

The term "essay" finds its origins in the French essayer, meaning “to attempt” or to try.” In this advanced production workshop, we will read, screen and discuss examples of the essayistic mode in literature and cinema while making several such attempts of our own. Students will complete a series of writing assignments and video projects informed by class materials and group discussion.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.

Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

445 Advanced Projects in Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 445 and FAMS 445) In this course, we will take the skills and insights gained in introductory production courses and develop them over the length of the semester through the creation of one short project, ten minutes long. Students may work individually or in pairs. We will learn by making work as well as by researching, reading, and watching films related to our projects. We may take this opportunity to delve into and learn the conventions of our chosen form, or we may decide that our content demands formal experimentation and risk-taking. The course will be structured by the projects each student brings to it. We will begin the semester with brainstorming, research, script/documentary proposal writing, and pre-production. Each student will develop a script or in-depth proposal to begin with. As we move into production, we will review and deepen our knowledge of camera, lighting (available & set), sound (location & studio), and editing principles and techniques. We will move between production and post-production in the second half of the semester, first developing sequences, then rough assemblies, rough cuts, and fine cuts, before ultimately completing our final cut.

Requisite: Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have completed at least one previous course in video production and preferably two previous courses, one at the 200-level and one at the 300-level. Limited to 10 students. Admission with consent of the instructor. Omitted 2021-22. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

481 Conversations with Experimental Filmmakers

(Offered as ENGL 481, ARHA 481, and FAMS 481) Experimental film is a vital area of contemporary media culture where artists engage the moving image from a wide range of creative approaches, exploring film as an aesthetic, poetic, or political medium, rather than a commercial enterprise. By departing from the conventions of mainstream film, experimental filmmakers present their audience with a stimulating challenge, asking viewers to develop new critical frameworks through which to assess films that often resist classification and traditional interpretive approaches.

In this seminar, students will take up this challenge by exploring different ways of entering into conversation with the work of experimental filmmakers. Through weekly screenings, in-class visits by contemporary filmmakers, and group discussions of course readings (such as artists’ writings, interviews, and related theoretical material), we will develop critical and creative vocabularies that help us to analyze and respond to an array of experimental films and videos. Along with completing writing assignments and in-class presentations, students will plan and execute a final project that can assume a number of critical or creative forms, such as an interview with a filmmaker, a short video, or an analytical essay.

Requisite: At least one foundational course in FAMS, ARHA, or ENGL. Open to juniors and seniors, and to sophomores with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Guilford.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2019

490 Special Topics

Independent reading course. A full course.

Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

Preparation of a thesis or completion of a studio project which may be submitted to the Department for consideration for Honors.

Open to seniors with consent of the Department. Fall semester. The Department.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Five College Programs & Certificates

Five College Programs & Certificates

Back

Art and the History of Art

Professors Abiodun, Clark, Courtright (Chair), Kimball‡, Morse, Staller, and Sweeney; Associate Professor Arboleda; Senior Resident Artists Garand and Gloman; Assistant Professors Carey*, Levine, Rice, and Vicario; Visiting Professor Koehler; Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis† ; Visiting Lecturers Chase, Culhane, England, Helander, and Hepler; CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Yu.

The Department of Art and the History of Art offers students a singular means within the College to develop artistic awareness, historical understanding, critical faculties and practice in the visual arts. Students across the College may accomplish these objectives by taking introductory to advanced courses in art history and studio practice. To identify and serve individual interests and goals, the department major is organized into two distinct programs: The History of Art and The Practice of Art:

History of Art Concentration: Professors Abiodun, Courtright, Morse and Staller; Associate Professor Arboleda; Assistant Professors Carey, Rice, and Vicario; Visiting Professor Koehler.

An intensive and structured engagement with the visual heritage of many cultures throughout the centuries, this curriculum requires not only the study of art history as a way to acquire deep and broad visual understanding, but also a self‑conscious focus on the contexts and meanings of art. By encountering the architecture, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and material culture created within a variety of historical frameworks, students will deepen their understanding of political, religious, philosophical, aesthetic, and social currents that defined those times as well. As a consequence, students will face art and issues that challenge preconceptions of our own era.

Course Requirements: The concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project). With the help of a department advisor, each student will devise a program of study and a sequence of courses that must include:

• One introductory course in the history of art

• Two courses in the arts of Africa, Asia, or the Middle East

• One course in European art before 1800

• One course in European or American art after 1800

• Two upper‑level courses or seminars with research papers, one of which may be a course outside the department with a focus on visual arts in the student's research paper

• One Studio elective (preferably before Senior Year)

• One additional Studio or related elective

Many of our courses could count for two of these requirements. For example, an upper‑level course in European art before 1800 with a required research paper will fulfill two of the requirements. An introductory course in the arts of Asia will fulfill two of the requirements as well.

Honors: Candidates for honors in this concentration will, with departmental permission, take ARHA 498-499 during their senior year. Students must apply and be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April.

Comprehensive Exam: Majors in the History of Art must satisfy a comprehensive assessment by participating in an undergraduate student conference in the final semester of the senior year. Each student will be expected to prepare a brief presentation that will demonstrate how a text of their choice could expand and develop one of the research projects completed to satisfy their requirements for the major. It should elucidate the link between their work and future goals. Students seeking department honors will be expected to present on their senior thesis.

Practice of Art Concentration: Professors Clark, Kimball, and Sweeney; Assistant Professor Levine; Senior Resident Artists Garand and Gloman; Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis, Visiting Lecturers Chase, Culhane, England, Helander, and Hepler; CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer Yu.

The concentration in the Practice of Art enables students to become fluent in the discipline of the practice of visual arts. Students will develop critical and analytical thinking as well as the discipline's techniques and methods as a means to explore artistic, intellectual and human experience. Students will build towards creating a personal vision beginning with primary studies in drawing and introductory art history, proceeding on to courses using a broad range of media, and culminating in advanced studio studies of a more self directed nature. Working with their advisor, students will be encouraged to nurture the strong interdisciplinary opportunities found both at Amherst and the other institutions in the valley.

Course Requirements: The Practice of Art concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project):

•   Three introductory level studio courses

•   Five additional studio courses, at least 2 of which must be at the intermediate or advanced levels, chosen in close consultation with advisor

•   One course in contemporary Art History

•   One additional course in art history

In consultation with their advisors, students in this concentration will be encouraged to take additional courses both in art history and other disciplines. These courses should be broadly related to their artistic interests outside of the studio concentration, enriching their interdisciplinary understanding and engagement within a liberal arts curriculum. This expectation will be especially high for honors thesis candidates.

Honors: Candidates for honors will, with departmental permission, take ARHA 498-499 during the senior year. Students must apply and be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April. In designing their year‑long projects, students will be encouraged to explore the interdisciplinary implications and opportunities inherent in their artistic directions. Thesis students will also be required to develop a statement that ultimately places their body of work within a historical and cultural artistic discourse. There will be an exhibition of the bodies of work representing the honors theses in the Eli Marsh Gallery, Fayerweather Hall, in May.

Comprehensive Examination: Required of all studio concentration majors, except thesis students. This work should be done in consultation with your advisor. You should meet with them before Thanksgiving break.

Creation in the senior year of an ambitious independent work/s of art. This project is designed and created independently by the student, can be in any medium or combination of mediums, and may also be interdisciplinary in nature. Students will also develop a concise, written statement that addresses their conceptual concerns, process, choice of materials and media. It should cite influences as well as place the work within a historical and artistic context. The written statement and the work/s of art are due on Monday of the 6th week of the student's final semester. On that day students are expected to hang the work for a week‑long group exhibition to be reviewed by the Studio Faculty. A .pdf (Adobe format) or .doc/docx (Word format) of the written component is due as an attachment by email to the Department Coordinator ‑ finearts@amherst.edu on the same Monday.

* On leave 2021-22.
† On leave fall semester 2021-22.
‡ On leave spring semester 2021-22.

101 The Language of Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 101 and ARHA 101) This introductory course focuses on the tools used to communicate and discuss ideas in architectural practice and theory. We study both the practical, from sketching to parallel drawing, to the theoretical, from historical to critical perspectives. Connecting both, we cover the formal analysis elements necessary to “read” and critique built works. Class activities include field trips, guest presentations, sketching and drawing, small design exercises, discussion of readings, and short written responses. Through these activities, at the end of the semester the student will understand in general terms what the dealings and challenges of architecture as a discipline are.

Limited to 20 students. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

102 Practice of Art

An introduction to two- and three-dimensional studio disciplines through hands-on engagement with materials supplemented by lectures, demonstrations and readings. Students will work through a variety of projects exploring drawing, sculpture, painting and hybrid forms. Work will be developed based on direct observation, memory, imagination and improvisation. Formal and conceptual concerns will be an integral aspect of the development of studio work. Historical and contemporary references will be used throughout the course to enhance and increase the student’s understanding of the visual vocabulary of art. Class time will be a balance of lectures, demonstrations, exercises, discussions and critiques. Weekly homework assignments will consist of studio work and critical readings. No prior studio experience needed.

Not open to students who have taken ARHA 111 or 215. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman. Spring semester: Visiting Lecturer Hepler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

105 Space and Design: Introduction to Studio Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 105 and ARHA 105) This hands-on design studio will foster innovation as it guides students through the development of conceptual architecture. Through a series of projects that build on each other, students will develop their own design language and experiment with architecture at several scales - from an interior screen that plays with light, shadow and color, to a dynamic built structure and its integration into a site. We will work through both hand-drafted and computer drawings, as well as physical model-making to understand plan, section, and elevations as well as diagramming and concept models. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.

No prior architecture experience is necessary, but a willingness to experiment and a desire to learn through making are essential.

Admissions with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

110 Color Study

(Offered as ARHA 110 and CHEM 110.)  This interdisciplinary course is focused on exploring color through the lenses of science, culture and art. We will study how we perceive color down to the molecular level and how it impacts us as viewers. The course will seek to develop a broad, shared, set of topics that will allow students to weave together scientific and artistic concepts, rather than isolate them. As it is possible to approach color from many different disciplines, we encourage any interested student, regardless of academic focus, to register. A core goal of the course is to encourage a holistic discussion of the topic. Students will be asked to write about their observations of color through art and will have the opportunity to make their own original pieces. In addition, class activities will include lectures, invited speakers, discussion, and a final project.

Limited to 18 students. Omitted: 2021-2022.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

111 Drawing I

An introductory course in the fundamentals of drawing. This course will be based in experience and observation, exploring various techniques and media in order to understand the basic formal vocabularies and conceptual issues in drawing; subject matter will include still life, landscape, interior, and figure. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, final portfolio. Two three-hour sessions per week.

Limited to 12 students. In the fall semester 4 seats are reserved for first-year students. 

In the Spring semester, there is a limit of 10 students and 4 seats are reserved for first-year students.  

Fall semester: Visiting Lecturer Helander. Spring semester: Senior Resident Artist Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

131 History and Theory of Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 131, ARCH 131 and EUST 131.) Throughout history, buildings have directed human activity, shaping social interactions, symbolizing political power, and influencing multiple kinds of artistic expression. This course is a selected introduction to the history and theory of architecture, from the earliest forms of human habitation to medieval and Renaissance buildings, Enlightenment utopian visions, modern industrial structures and skyscrapers, and contemporary sustainable practices.  Interwoven with a sampling of theoretical texts and architectural treatises, the course covers selected moments in the history and theory of Western architecture, from Vitruvius to Alberti and Corbusier to Koolhaas, from primordial shelters to computer generated designs.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

135 Renaissance to Revolution: Early Modern European Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 135, ARCH 135, and EUST 135) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history, introduces the ways that artists and architects imaginatively invented visual language to interpret the world for contemporary patrons, viewers, and citizens in early modern Europe. Painters, printmakers, sculptors and architects in Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands created new ways of seeing empirical phenomena and interpreting them, by means of both ancient and new principles of art, science and philosophy and through powerful engagement with the senses. They produced godlike illusions of nature, from grand frescoes bursting from the walls of papal residences to spectacular gardens covering noble estates in Baroque France and colonializing England. They fundamentally altered the design of major cities such as Rome and Paris so that the visitor encountered an entirely new urban experience than ever before. Along the way, they learned from one another’s example, but, prizing innovation, sought fiercely to surpass previous generations, and argued at length about values in art. They contributed to fashioning an ideal picture of empire and society and conjured the dazzling wealth and power of those who paid them. But as time passed, some came to ironize the social order mightily, and some elevated beggars, farmers, servants, so-called fools, and bourgeois women leading seemingly mundane domestic lives as much as others praised the prosperous few. Finally, artists actively participated in the overthrow of the monarchy during the French Revolution and yet also passionately critiqued the violence of war it engendered. Throughout, the course will investigate how concepts of progress, civilization, the state, religion, race, gender, and the individual came to be defined through art.

The goals of the course are:
above all, to achieve the skill of close looking to gain visual understanding;
• also, to identify artistic innovations that characterize European art and architecture from the Italian Renaissance to the French Revolution;
• to understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;
• to situate the works of art historically, by examining the intellectual, political, religious, and social currents that contributed to their creation;
• to read texts about the period critically and analytically.
No previous experience with art or art history is necessary. 

Fall semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

138 Visual Arts and Orature in Africa

(Offered as BLST 313 [A] and ARHA 138) In the traditionally non-literate societies of Africa, verbal and visual arts constitute two systems of communication. The performance of verbal art and the display of visual art are governed by social and cultural rules. We will examine the epistemological process of understanding cultural symbols, of visualizing narratives, or proverbs, and of verbalizing sculptures or designs. Focusing on the Yoruba people of West Africa, the course will attempt to interpret the language of their verbal and visual arts and their interrelations in terms of cultural cosmologies, artistic performances, and historical changes in perception and meaning. We will explore new perspectives in the critical analysis of African verbal and visual arts, and their interdependence as they support each other through mutual references and allusions. In addition to visiting the Mead Art Museum to see African works, students will be required to listen to audio-recordings and engage selected visual images to enhance their understanding of the interrelationship of arts in Africa.

Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

145 The Modern World

(Offered as ARHA 145, EUST 145, and SWAG 145)  This course will explore the self-conscious invention of modernism in painting, sculpture and architecture, from the visual clarion calls of the French Revolution to the performance art and earthworks of "art now." As we move from Goya, David, Monet and Picasso to Kahlo, Kiefer and beyond, we will be attentive to changing responses toward a historical past or societal present, the stance toward popular and alien cultures, the radical redefinition of all artistic media, changing representations of nature and gender, as well as the larger problem of mythologies and meaning in the modern period. Study of original objects and a range of primary texts (artists’ letters, diaries, manifestos, contemporary criticism) will be enhanced with readings from recent historical and theoretical secondary sources.

Limited to 50 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Staller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019

147 Arts of China

(Offered as ARHA 147 and ASLC 143) An introduction to the history of Chinese art from its beginnings in neolithic times until the end of the twentieth century. Topics will include the ritual bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the Chinese transformation of the Buddha image, imperial patronage of painting during the Song dynasty and the development of the literati tradition of painting and calligraphy. Particular weight will be given to understanding the cultural context of Chinese art.

Spring semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2022

148 Arts of Japan

(Offered as ARHA 148 and ASLC 123) A survey of the history of Japanese art from neolithic times to the present. Topics will include Buddhist art and its ritual context, the aristocratic arts of the Heian court, monochromatic ink painting and the arts related to the Zen sect, the prints and paintings of the Floating World and contemporary artists and designers such as Ando Tadao and Miyake Issey. The class will focus on the ways Japan adopts and adapts foreign cultural traditions. There will be field trips to look at works in museums and private collections in the region

Fall semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

149 Survey of African Art

(Offered as ARHA 149 and BLST 123 [A]) An introduction to the ancient and traditional arts of Africa. Special attention will be given to the archaeological importance of the rock art paintings found in such disparate areas as the Sahara and South Africa, achievements in the architectural and sculptural art in clay of the early people in the area now called Zimbabwe and the aesthetic qualities of the terracotta and bronze sculptures of the Nok, Igbo-Ukwe, Ife and Benin cultures in West Africa, which date from the second century B.C.E. to the sixteenth century C.E. The study will also pursue a general socio-cultural survey of traditional arts of the major ethnic groups of Africa.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

152 Visual Culture of the Islamic World

(Offered as ARHA 152, ARCH 152 and ASLC 142) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history and architectural studies, introduces the art, architecture, and urban planning of the Islamic world, from the origins of Islam in the seventh century to the contemporary moment. Among the questions we will pose are: When, how, and why was the Qur’an first copied as a written text? Why does the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, completed in 691–2 A.D., closely resemble Christian churches and shrines from the same period? Why did medieval Europeans judge objects from the Islamic world, especially those bearing Arabic script, to be sacred in nature? How did commercial and diplomatic exchanges with China and Viking Scandinavia impact the arts of Central Asia and the Middle East during the premodern period? What can contemporary comic books tell us about the visual logic of fifteenth-century Iranian manuscript painting? And how have nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists used photography and film to address the legacies of colonialism and Orientalism? We will attempt to answer these questions through close and careful analysis of objects in a range of media, from silver and rock crystal to silk textiles and video; cities and architectural sites in Spain and India, and the many places in between; and primary and secondary texts. Films, museum websites, musical recordings, and visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections will supplement readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
No cap on enrollment.

Fall semester. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

153 World Monuments

(Offered as ARHA 153 and ARCH 153) This introductory course engages one of the most discussed typologies in world architecture: the monument. From the Sydney Opera House to the Eiffel Tower, monuments have entered into global consciousness as individuals from tourists to government officials have celebrated their supposed uniqueness. Meanwhile, monuments have drawn the ire of ISIS and the Taliban—two groups which have become famous for destroying venerated structures. Whether the subject in question is a tourist, a religious pilgrim, or a terrorist bent on destruction, humans are often drawn to monuments because of their power to captivate. This course examines the relevance of this psychic power. Over the course of the semester, we will address the architectural, social, cultural, theoretical, and political questions that emerge from an investigation of a range of famous and lesser-known monuments, including but not limited to: the Eiffel Tower; the Taj Mahal; the Great Mosque of Mecca; the Statue of Liberty; the Alhambra; the American Capitol Building; and the Suez Canal. We will also discuss the role of ISIS and the Taliban in shaping contemporary debates concerning the meaning and importance of architectural preservation as it relates to the monuments of the Middle East and South Asia. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will develop their writing skills while gaining knowledge of the issues that guide the study of world monuments, specifically, and architectural history, at large. This course is intended to introduce students to the field of architectural studies.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2020

154 Art and Architecture of South Asia

(Offered as ARHA 154, ARCH 154, and ASLC 154) This introductory course surveys the architecture, painting, sculpture, textiles, and other arts of South Asia—including India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka—from 2300 B.C. to the present. Among the diverse materials we will examine are the archaeological remains from one of the world’s earliest planned cities; Buddhist monastic complexes carved entirely out of living rock; Hindu temples bearing erotic images; manuscript illustrations made for Muslim emperors; colorful printed and painted textiles produced for domestic, European, Indonesian, and Japanese markets; and twentieth-century works of art that anticipate and respond to India’s independence from British colonial rule. We will consider the important roles that South Asian artists, architects, and other makers have played in depicting and housing the divine, establishing political and religious systems, and fueling the exchange of ideas and goods across the globe. Films, musical recordings, museum websites, visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections, and cooking and food-tasting sessions will supplement assigned readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Spring semester. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

155 Introduction to Contemporary Art

This introductory course explores art produced between 1960 and the present. We will take a transnational approach, from the emergence of Pop art as an  international phenomenon in the 1960s to the mushrooming cloud of biennials in the twenty-first century. The course will sometimes look at art’s intersection with architecture, film, and visual culture more broadly. We will keep in mind the following questions: How have new technologies, civil rights movements, emergent subjectivities, new forms of theoretical inquiry, and processes of globalization shaped the work of art? How have artists critiqued both institutions and the art historical canon? How does contemporary art both participate in and stand apart from the world in which and for which it was made?

Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

157 The Postcolonial City

(Offered as ARHA 157, ARCH 157, and BLST 193 [D]) This course engages the buildings, cities, and landscapes of the former colonies of Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. Beginning with the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the non-European territories, which once comprised the lucrative possessions of modern European empires, quickly became independent states charged with developing infrastructure, erecting national monuments, and handling the influx of laborers drawn to the metropolises formed as sleepy colonial towns grew into bustling postcolonial cities. This class will examine the buildings, urban spaces, rural landscapes, and national capitals that emerged in response to these political histories. We will approach a number of issues, such as the architecture of national independence monuments, the preservation of buildings linked to the colonial past, the growth of new urban centers in Africa and India after independence, architecture and regimes of postcolonial oppression, the built environments of tourism in the independent Caribbean, and artists’ responses to all of these events. Some of the places that we will address include: Johannesburg, South Africa; Chandigarh, India; Negril, Jamaica; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; and Lilongwe, Malawi. Our goal will be to determine what, if any, continuities linked the buildings, landscapes, and spaces of post-independence Africa, India, and the Caribbean in the twentieth century. Over the course of the semester, students will gain skills in analyzing buildings, town plans, and other visual materials. Also, this class will aid students in developing their writing skills, particularly, their ability to write about architecture and urban space.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

159 Modernity and the Avant-Gardes, 1890–1945

(Offered as ARHA 159 and ARCH 159) This course is an examination of the emergence, development, and dissolution of European modernist art, architecture and design. The course begins with the innovations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, created in consort with the growth of modern urbanism, colonialist politics, and psychological experimentation. Distinctions between the terms modernity, modernism, and the avant-garde will be explored as we unpack the complex equations between art, politics, and social change in the first half of the twentieth century. Covering selected groups (such as Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, l'Esprit Nouveau, Bauhaus, and Constructivism), this course will consider themes such as mechanical reproduction, nihilism, nationalism, consumerism, and primitivism as they are disclosed in the making and reception of modernist art and architecture.

Fall semester. Visiting Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2021

160 Deconstructing Modernity: 1945–2000

(Offered as ARHA 160 and ARCH 160) This course examines the art, architecture, and design produced in Europe and the United States from the aftermath of World War II to the end of the twentieth century. We will begin with art in relationship to war, the Holocaust, and the expansion of capitalism, consumerism, suburbia, and the skyscraper. Finally, we will conclude by engaging the rejection of modernist strategies in the latter part of the twentieth century. We will survey movements such as COBRA, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, the Situationists, Minimalism, land art, performance art, feminist art, Neo-Expressionism, and the archival turn; architectural groups such as Archigram, CIAM, the post modernists, and deconstructionists; and defining texts by Adorno, Sartre, Arendt, Debord, Foucault, Krauss, Derrida, among others.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

180 Contemporary Native American Art

(Offered as ARHA 180 and AMST 211) This course will examine works of art created by Native American artists, including painting, sculpture, photography, and performance and installation art, from the late nineteenth century to today.  Students will study important movements and consider individual artists who worked primarily as painters, including the Iroquois realists of the late nineteenth century; the Studio School of Southwestern artists, printmakers, and illustrators; the Kiowa Six and their important role in creating modern Native American murals; abstract expressionists like Kay Walkingstick (Cherokee); Pop artists like Fritz Scholder (Luiseno) and Harry Fonseca (Nisenan Maidu); and Conceptual artists such as Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne). Major Native American contemporary photographers include Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke (Crow)), Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole-Diné), and Horace Poolaw (Kiowa). The course will also consider sculptors working in realistic (Alan Houser, Blackbear Bosin) and abstract styles (Rick Bartow, Tammy Garcia); performance artists like James Luna and Rebecca Belmore; important emerging artists like the interdisciplinary activist/arts collective Postcommodity; and Angel de Cora, the first Native American graduate of Smith College, the 150th anniversary of whose birth will be marked in 2021.

This class will be taught in-person, with the option to join by Zoom.

Limited to 34 students. Omitted 2021-2022. Visiting Lecturer Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021

186 Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 186 and LLAS 186) This course provides an introduction to the Pre-Columbian art and architecture of the Americas. It explores major traditions in architecture and city planning, murals, sculpture, painting, masks, and textiles. The first half of the semester concentrates on Preclassic and Classic Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America); the second on Postclassic Mesoamerica, North America, and the Andes.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

187 Native American Art

This course provides an introduction to Native American Indian art and architecture from North and Latin America. It focuses on the modern and contemporary periods (with some attention to archaeological art), exploring traditions in architecture, sculpture, painting, masks, textiles, and ceramics. The first half of the semester concentrates on the Woodlands, Plains, and Southwest; the second on the Northwest Coast, Arctic, Mexico and Guatemala, Central America, the Andes, and Amazonia. The course will be interdisciplinary, and will include readings Indigenous narratives, Native American aesthetics, and contemporary artists including photographers, videographers, and performance artists, as well as alternative curating and exhibition of Indigenous art.

Limited to 35 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021

190 Art.com

This course explores the complex relationship between art and the Internet. How has the Internet seeped into and come to inform the way artists work in the twenty-first century? What is the history of digital imaging? What role do digital renderings play in the design of art and architecture? Why have some artists rejected digital media in favor of pre-digital materials—analog media, artisanal craft, body art and performance? What is the difference between seeing a work of art “in person” versus on social media? Why do people post what they see “in person” on social media? How do artists, galleries, and museums seek to limit the online circulation of works of art? What is the relationship between a unique, original work of art and a multitude of copies? What is Post-Internet art? To what extent has the Internet disrupted the way the art world functions and in what ways has the pandemic played a role in moving art online? How has the recent NFT boom affected the art market and how does it figure in a longer history of thinking about the relationship between art as intellectual property and as taking material form? The course will combine twenty-first century case studies with a wider range of texts on topics such as originality, reproduction, and theories and histories of technology. The class will meet on Zoom and will include brief lectures, discussion (both in breakout rooms and all together), guest speakers, film screenings, short writing assignments, and final presentations. 

Limited to 25 students.  January 2022 semester. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

201 Measuring Histories through Materiality and Multiples

The most quotidian objects possess the power to connect to a broad audience. This course will harness that power to make art that measures and recounts past events in human history. The events might be small or large, little known, personally experienced, or widely recounted. Students will interrogate the context, function, materiality, and symbolism of common objects from as many vantage points as possible. We will explore how objects in multiples can disrupt, engage, challenge, obscure or metaphorically highlight the meaning in materials. The class will explore methods of combining, linking, and connecting common objects both conceptually and physically toward the manifestation of both singular and collaborative artworks. We will work together to select suitable materials and methods to quantify, measure, and actualize diverse histories and narratives. Students should be prepared to share materials, ideas, stories, and ways of working.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019

202 Architectural Anthropology

(Offered as ARCH 202 and ARHA 202) This seminar explores the emerging interdisciplinary field that combines the theory and practice of architecture and anthropology. We compare and contrast these two disciplines’ canonical methods, their ethical stances, and their primary subject matters (i.e., buildings and people). With that, we reflect upon the challenges of ethnoarchitecture as a new discipline, emphasizing the challenges of carrying out architectural research and/or construction work among people from cultural backgrounds different than the architect’s own. In general, this course invites critical thinking about the theory and practice of architecture, especially when it confronts issues of difference, including ethno-cultural and social class differences.

Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone; previous instruction in architectural studies, area or ethnic studies, or social studies can be beneficial but is not mandatory.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

203 Color Meets Object

What happens when a painted image escapes its rectangle and pushes out of illusionistic depth into the literal space of the room? How does it change a viewer’s understanding of sculptural form when the sculpture’s physical volumes have been optically flattened, heightened, or contradicted by the addition of color? In this course we will invite interaction between illusionistic and literal, tactile space to consider unique possibilities where the concerns of painting and sculpture merge. We will explore how each discipline can expand its scope with an amalgam of tactile and chromatic visual elements and experience. The semester will begin with a series of structured studio problems and with research into contemporary art practices that incorporate both color and tactile volume. We will also look into the wealth of historical precedents for these practices. This critical review and first-hand study of artworks, in conjunction with studio experimentation, will help each student determine the shape of an end-of-semester artwork or series of works. Readings, visiting artists, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.

Requisite: One prior studio course in painting or sculpture, or permission of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22 Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

204 Housing, Urbanization, and Development

(Offered as ARCH 204, ARHA 204, and LLAS 204) This course studies the theory, policy, and practice of low-income housing in marginalized communities worldwide. We study central concepts in housing theory, key issues regarding low-income housing, different approaches to address these issues, and political debates around housing the poor. We use a comparative focus, going back and forth between the cases of the United States and the so-called developing world. By doing this, we engage in a “theory from without” exercise: We attempt to understand the housing problem in the United States from the perspective of the developing world, and vice versa. We study our subject through illustrated lectures, seminar discussions, documentary films, visual analysis exercises, and a field trip.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

205 Sustainable Design: Principles, Practice, Critique

(Offered as ARCH 205 and ARHA 205) This theory seminar aims to provide students with a strong basis for a deep engagement with the practice of sustainability in architectural design. The studied material covers both canonical literature on green design and social science-based critical theory. We start by exploring the key tenets of the sustainable design discourse, and how these tenets materialize in practice. Then, we examine sustainable design in relation to issues such as inequality and marginality. As we do this, we locate sustainability within the larger environmental movement, studying in detail some of the main approaches and standards of sustainable design, the attempts to improve this practice over time, and the specific challenges confronting these attempts. In addition to reading discussions, we study our subject through student presentations and written responses, a field trip, and two graphic design exercises.

Recommended prior coursework: The course is open to everyone, but students would benefit from having a previous engagement with a course in architectural design, architectural history and/or theory, introduction to architectural studies, or environmental studies.

Limited to 20 students. Fall Semester. Professor Arboleda.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

206 Failed It!

This course offers an exciting investigation into failure in art during the uniqueness of life and culture in 2020. We will discover and debate the complexities, challenges, and benefits of failure and what it means for making art. Students will experiment with flaws, imperfections, rejects, and errors in their art projects. We will encourage you to think about failure in positive, unexpected, inspirational, and low-fi ways. You will learn about artists who are motivated by errors, uncommon methods, and breaking rules. The course includes presentations, screenings, discussions, collaboration, in-class activities, assignments, and independent work. There will be an emphasis on using and subverting everyday tools and materials.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Artist-in-Resident England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

207 Talking with Beads

This studio art course focused on complex global beading traditions and techniques. We will study how the language of beadwork is used to tell stories, connect with ancestors, provide protection, create community, signify power, and challenge injustice. This course draws on the over 75,000-year usage of beads ranging from umbilical amulets (Native American) to abacuses (Middle East and Asia) to rosaries (Europe) to lukasa (Central Africa) to Zulu love letters (South Africa). Students will learn dozens of beading techniques (many unique to South African cultures where some of the earliest beads were discovered.) We will use beads to communicate, preserve, and encode messages. We will expand the definition of what constitutes a bead; use variation in size, color, shape, and material as metaphor; and design beaded memory devices. No prior beading experience is necessary but curiosity and commitment is required.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

208 Playing with Pictures

This studio course focuses on the archiving, collecting, and appropriation related to contemporary art. Students will learn to "play with pictures" in imaginative, conceptual, exploratory, and intelligent ways. This learning will happen through exercises in-class, readings, journal writing, experimental making, film screenings, group discussions, critiques, and other activities. We will investigate the collection, curation, and juxtaposition of images from a wide range of sources, and consider how new personal, social, and political meanings can be generated from different groupings of images. This will be framed by critically reviewing the work of contemporary visual artists who use archives, collecting, and/or appropriation in their practice. Students will create personalized repositories of images from which to draw for future art and design projects.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Artist-in-residence England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

209 Space and Design: Intermediate Studio Architecture

(Offered as ARCH 209 and ARHA 209) This course will be a design investigation of sustainable architecture. Students will research cutting edge innovations in green technology and present their findings through graphic boards and verbal presentations. They will then design their own systems for water collection, air filtration, energy capture, site strategies, and solar power. A design language will be developed through a series of rigorous design exercises and creative innovation, and will culminate in a building project. Students will further develop sketching, drafting and model-making skills both by hand and with the computer. Guest critics will attend three reviews during the semester, and students will present their work to design professionals and professors.

Requisite: ARCH 105 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students.

Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Chase.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

212 Storytelling Arts in Mesoamerica

(Offered as ENGL 212 and ARHA 212) [Before 1800] This course will explore the major pictorial narrative traditions of Mesoamerica, focusing on manuscripts of the Aztec, Maya, and Mixtec peoples, as well as other media, including texts and images from murals, ceramics, monuments, and mirrors. These visual and narrative media continue to play important roles in the preservation of Indigenous identity, solidarity, and cultural identity within nation states; the course will examine public, popular, and fine arts reviving, repurposing, and supporting resistance using this imagery.

Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Couch.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

213 Printmaking I: The Handprinted Image

An introduction to intaglio and relief processes including drypoint, engraving, etching, aquatint, monoprints, woodcut and linocut. The development of imagery incorporating conceptual concerns in conjunction with specific techniques will be a crucial element in the progression of prints. Historical and contemporary references will be discussed to further enhance understanding of various techniques. Critiques will be held regularly with each assignment; critical analysis of prints utilizing correct printmaking terminology is expected. A final project of portfolio making and a portfolio exchange of an editioned print are required.

Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

214 Sculpture I

An exploration of three-dimensional concepts, form, expression and aesthetics. In a series of directed projects students will encounter a range of materials and technical processes including construction, modeling and carving. Projects will include conceptual and critical strategies integrated with material concerns. By the end of the course students will have developed a strong understanding of basic principles of contemporary sculpture and acquired the skills and technical knowledge of materials to create accomplished works of three-dimensional expression. Students will develop an awareness of conceptual and critical issues in current and historical sculptural practice, establishing a foundation for continued training and self-directed work in sculpture and other artistic disciplines.

No prior studio experience is required. Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

215 Painting I

An introduction to the fundamentals of the pictorial organization of painting. Form, space, color, and pattern, abstracted from nature, are explored through the discipline of drawing by means of paint manipulation. Slide lectures, demonstrations, individual and group critiques are regular components of the studio sessions. Two three-hour meetings per week.  The course will be taught remotely.

Requisite: ARHA 102 or 111 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 8 students. Spring semester: Professor Sweeney.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

217 Improvising the Space Between: Drawing, Architecture, and Sculpture

This course is an exploration into the shared territories of drawing, architecture, and sculpture, and the hybrid spaces that may be created between those disciplines. An improvisational and responsive approach, in the spirit of experimentation and open inquiry, frames the studio-based course work. We will consider potentials and challenges of space, light, materials, joinery, structural geometries, organic growth, and temporality. After this initial period of information gathering, students will be free to determine the format or combination of formats that will shape an extended semester-end project. Readings, artist talks, museum visits and a wide range of pertinent visual materials will supplement and inform our studio work.

Requisite: One prior course in studio arts, architecture, or film production, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-2022. Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2020

218 Photography I

An introduction to black-and-white still photography. The basic elements of photographic technique will be taught as a means to explore both general pictorial structure and photography’s own unique visual language. Emphasis will be centered less on technical concerns and more on investigating how images can become vessels for both ideas and deeply human emotions. Weekly assignments, weekly critiques, readings, and slide lectures about the work of artist-photographers, one short paper, and a final portfolio involving an independent project of choice. Two three-hour meetings per week.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Kimball.  Spring semester. Artist in Residence England.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

219 Venice, Perfect City (476-1797)

(Offered as HIST 219 [TE/TC/C/P] and ARHA 219) When the Roman Empire imploded in 476, refugees from the Italian mainland settled on a few disconnected islands sheltered from the open Adriatic Sea by a lagoon. Within a few centuries, they created one of the most unlikely, beautiful, and long-lasting European cities ever to have been built. The cooperative spirit with which early medieval Venetians were able to create an urban environment built on seawater found its expression in the political and societal structures they formed to govern their city, republic, and, eventually, empire. In this course, we will discuss key events in the history of this extraordinary city, whose autonomy and self-government lasted until Napoleon invaded it in 1797. Topics include: art, architecture, and urban planning; the formation of an aristocratic but republican constitution; the emergence of civic institutions, poor relief, and neighborhood organizations; the history of the Ghetto and its Sephardic, Ashkenazi, and Italian communities; Venetian sea-trade and the conquest of the Levantine Empire; the Venetian Renaissance; ties with Byzantium, and the Mamluk and Ottoman Empires; convent culture; proto-feminism; and the Enlightenment. These topics will be discussed in the wider context of historical developments in the European and Mediterranean middle ages and early modern period. Two meetings per week. 

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Sperling.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

221 Foundations in Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 221 and FAMS 221) This introductory course is designed for students with no prior experience in video production. The aim is both technical and creative. We will begin with the literal foundation of the moving image—the frame—before moving through shot and scene construction, lighting, sound-image concepts, and final edit. In addition to instruction in production equipment and facilities, the course will also explore cinematic form and structure through weekly readings, screenings and discussion. Each student will work on a series of production exercises and a final video assignment.

Limited to 12 students with instructor's permission. Fall semester: Professor Levine. Spring semester: Visiting Professor Mellis. 
2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

222 Drawing II

A course appropriate for students with prior experience in basic principles of visual organization, who wish to investigate further aspects of pictorial construction abstracting from forms including the figure, landscape and organic still life. There will be weekly drawing assignments and critiques, in addition to a final project of a life size self portrait. 

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Professor R. Sweeney. Spring semester: Professor Gloman. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

224 Translating Nature: Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture

This course explores the visual structures of natural things. The processes and disciplines of drawing, acrylic painting, watercolor and sculpture will be used to examine natural subjects such as plants, animals, landscape and the figure. We will work directly from life. Out-of-class trips will be frequent to access natural subject matter not found in the classroom.

Requisite: One of ARHA 111, ARHA 214, or ARHA 215 (because of the diversity of subject and materials used). Limited to 8 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist David Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

226 Women and War in European History, 1558–1918

(Offered as HIST 226 [EU/TC/P], ARHA 226, EUST 226, and SWAG 225) Although overlooked in military histories until recently, women have long been actively involved in warfare: as combatants, as victims, as workers, and as symbols. This course examines both the changing role of women, and the shifting constructions of “womanhood,” in four major European conflicts: the wars of Elizabeth I in sixteenth-century England, the wars and peace of Marie de Médicis in seventeenth-century France, the French Revolution, and the First World War. Using methodologies drawn from Art History and History, the course seeks to understand the gendered nature of warfare. Why are images of women and the family central to the iconography of war, and how have representations of womanhood shifted according to the aims of particular conflicts? To what extent do women’s experiences of warfare differ from men’s, and can war be considered a source of women’s liberation or oppression? Students will analyze a range of historical images in conjunction with primary source texts from these conflicts and will also develop an original research project related to the course’s themes. Two class meetings per week.

Recommended requisite: A course in Art History or History. Limited to 25 students. Not offered in 2021-22. Professor Boucher.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2019

227 Critiquing the Critique as Studio Art Practice

What is the purpose of the art critique and how can we get the most out of them?  Students who have taken at least two studio art courses will explore the meaning and application of critique as it applies both to their own work and the work of others. We will critique the artwork of established artists and the writing of established art critics to unearth strategies. Together, we will define the purpose of critique, deconstruct critique methodologies, hone written and verbal skills to become better critics, and apply criticism toward the development of new work. Students will bring previous work to the course and remake that work based on feedback. Ultimately, students will practice analyzing and articulating their art practice in relationship to various social, cultural, and historical lenses.

Limited to 18 students.  January 2022 term.  Online only. Professor Clark.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

228 Image & Text

The combination of language with visual information offers a rich range of possibilities. In this course we will investigate strategies of interweaving image and text to create works that draw upon the qualities of each to produce hybrid forms. The class will look at a variety of sources and respond to them in a series of hands-on studio projects. These sources include maps, diagrams, calligraphy, illustrations and manuscripts, as well as work from the history of art and literature. The projects can involve drawing, printing, erasures, book-making, writing, digital media and photography to produce works that deploy image and text to express narrative, poetic, political or informational content. Students from a range of diciplines and interests are encouraged to participate.

No prior studio experience is required. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Spring 2022

229 The Virgin Mary: Image, Cult, Syncretism (ca. 400-1700)

(Offered as HIST 229 [TC/P/C], ARHA 229, RELI 229 and SWAG 229) When, in 431, the Council of Ephesus declared the Virgin Mary to be Theotokos or God-Bearer, she had already been venerated in Egypt since the third century as a re-instantiation of Isis. The syncretism of her cult explains her ubiquitous popularity in medieval Byzantium and the Latin West, but also in early Islamic Syria and colonial Latin America. Her frequent depiction on moveable wooden panels (icons) and mosaics accompanied her early rise to liturgical prominence. By 1200, she rivaled Jesus Christ in religious importance, not only through her role as intercessor, but also as dispenser of divine grace in the form of breastmilk. She was the most active miracle-working saint in all of Christianity. Her frequent depiction on icons, altarpieces and devotional panels accompanies – and, in part, explains – the development of figurative art in the West. In colonial America, the introduction of her cult ended prior religious forms of expression, but also helped them to partially survive in a new context. In this seminar, students will produce a 15-page research paper based on a careful analysis of textual and visual sources as well as pertinent scholarship. Two class meetings per week. This course will be conducted in class but also include remote students via zoom.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Sperling.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

232 Cartographic Cultures: Making Maps, Building Worlds

(Offered as ARHA 232 and ARCH 232) This course traces the history of modern cartography from the integration of indigenous map-making techniques into colonial Latin American land surveys in the sixteenth century to the use of GIS software by militaries and corporations to create detailed images of foreign and domestic territories in the twenty-first century. Along the way, we will study the political and economic impetus that drove governments, militaries, municipalities, and private entities to create renderings of the land on which we live. We will also investigate the technological history of map-making as we consider the extent to which innovations in modern science have influenced the production of maps. This course will challenge the presumption that maps are factual portrayals of physical space. It will also question how divergent forms of culturally based knowledge as well as economic constraints and corporate rivalries have historically influenced map-making and subsequently shaped our understanding of territories near and far. We will think through these issues while investigating a number of major topics in the history of modern cartography: map-making and indigenous expertise in the Americas prior to and during European intervention; colonial cartography in the Americas, Asia, and Africa; the explosion of the map-making industry in eighteenth and nineteenth-century England and France; the mapping of oceans and other remote landscapes during this time; the twentieth-century genre of pictorial maps in the United States; cartography and modern warfare; and artists’ responses to these histories. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will build their writing and research skills while gaining knowledge of the methods that scholars employ when reading a wide variety of maps. Moreover, in approaching contemporary debates in the field of cartography, this course will introduce students to landscape studies.
Limited to 34 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020

233 2020: Art Can Help

(Offered as ARHA 233 and FAMS 233) We approach the fall of 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic, a wave of international protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, systemic racism, an escalating climate emergency, and widespread anxiety about the consequences of the upcoming American elections. Our own responses to these crises can vary, often from day to day. We may feel inspired to make change or to further educate ourselves, but we can also feel overwhelmed and unsure of our own place in the world. What are our responsibilities as artists, individuals and as members of the communities that surround us?

In this remote studio course for students working in video and photography, we will explore methods and issues related to politically engaged art practice. Topics to be covered may include: the tension between the personal and the political in art, the role of images within political discourse, documentary, archive, and the relationship between creative practice and activism.

Each student will work independently in photography, video or both to produce a body of work that speaks to their own interests or experience. Students may choose to work in a variety of modes that might include or combine direct observation, diaristic record, archival practices, performance or poetic intervention. The course will include group and individual critiques of the students’ work, research seminars, historical and topical lectures from the histories of film, video and photography, and the examination of art practices that seek to balance or blend politics and aesthetics. We will conclude the semester with a group exhibition of artistic work created by students in the class.

Requisite Course: One 200-level course in film/video or photography, or a portfolio of work which demonstrates relevant experience. Limited to 14 students. Omitted 2021-22 Professor Kimball and Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

235 Integrated Practices: Social Issues and the Interview

(Offered as ARHA 235 and FAMS 410)  This Integrated Practices course blends production components and theories regarding the interview, oral histories, direct address and on camera dialogues, in non-fiction video production, in order to explore and respond to the ways in which social issues such as racism, economic inequality, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, bullying, hate speech and hate crimes, disability, incarceration, to name a few, affect us.

In Social Issues and the Interview, students create, research and analyze the process of producing scripted, interview-based, socially engaged, short non-fiction videos. The course examines elements of performance for the camera, remote internet-based interviews, studio and in the field shooting, The class looks at various interview and editing techniques as well as the form, history, and function of the interview form in the non-fiction genre. 

 

Requisite: A foundations course in Critical Studies of Film and Media (such as “Coming to Terms: Cinema”) and an introductory film/video production workshop. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Montoya.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

237 Curating between the Virtual and the Physical: Liliana Porter

This course introduces students to contemporary art and the history and practice of organizing exhibitions. How do we present and experience art in a fixed location and how can art be curated and engaged with on the Internet? A museum exhibition of work by artist Liliana Porter, on view at the Mead during the run of the course, and the planning of a parallel online exhibition in collaboration with Curator of American Art and Arts of the Americas Lisa Crossman, will provide a case study. Porter’s work, which ranges from video to installation to works on paper, offers a particularly rich opportunity for thinking through the relationship between originality and reproduction, objects and representation. This class presents students with an opportunity to converse with the artist, engage with the exhibition of her work on view, learn from a curator, and participate in the organization of the virtual exhibition. Students will also read, discuss, and write about curating, spatial experience, technological mediation, and artists and curators who have reimagined the forms art and exhibitions take.

Limited to 15 students.  Spring semester: Professor Vicario

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

240 Women in Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 240, ARCH 240 and SWAG 240) This course begins with an examination of gendered, architectural spaces and how and why they were structured for women in the 19th century in both Britain and America. Looking at primary and secondary sources, students will gain insight into societal norms and how they conditioned architecture generally associated with women, such as houses, asylums, and early women’s colleges. This study will serve as a platform from which to understand the pressures upon women and the pioneers who rejected such norms and pursued architecture as a profession. The latter half of the course will look at the work of early women architects, the hurdles they faced and the examples they set. The course will conclude with a critical examination of women architects practicing today and how they navigate the profession. It is open to non-majors and will introduce interested students to issues surrounding the architectural canon, equity, and the history of gendered spaces in architecture. 
Limited to 25 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Lecturer Vickery.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

241 The Age of Michelangelo: Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture

(Offered as ARHA 241, ARCH 241, and EUST 241)  Michelangelo, a defining genius of the Italian Renaissance, emerged from a rich cultural environment that forever changed how we think of art. Artists of the Renaissance developed an original visual language from the legacy of the ancient world, while also examining nature, their environment, and encounters with other worlds to the East and West. Their art revealed a profound engagement with philosophical attitudes toward the body and the spirit, as well as with ideals of pious devotion and civic virtue. Those concepts changed radically over the period of the Renaissance, however. Artists developed the rhetoric of genius and artistic struggle by vaunting an artist’s godlike role, owing to his imaginative creation of art and his ability to mimic reality illusionistically, yet they also questioned a human’s place in the cosmos. We will analyze in depth the visual language of painting, sculpture, and architecture created for merchants, monks, princes and popes in the urban centers of Florence, Rome and Venice from the 14th through the 16th centuries, and examine the virtuosic processes artists used to achieve their goals. 

Rather than taking the form of a survey, this course, based on lectures but regularly incorporating discussion, will analyze selected works and contemporary attitudes toward the visual through study of the art and its primary sources.

 Learning goals:

  • Gain confidence in the art of close looking to gain visual understanding;
  • Achieve an understanding about how art and its culture are intertwined;
  • Develop the critical skills to analyze points of view from a historical period other than our own;
  • Learn collaboratively with classmates;
  • Develop and argue an original thesis about a single work of art in a research paper.

Meets twice a week, 1 hour and 20 minutes.

One course in ARHA, FAMS, or ARCH recommended.

Uncapped.

 Omitted 2021-22. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

242 Hand-Drawn and Hand-Printed: The Stories of Images

This course will focus on drawing and printmaking as a means of building visual stories through serial description and expression. Studio work will include brush and ink drawings, watercolor, printmaking techniques, and collage, with a range of approaches to subject matter based on each student’s individual interests and choices. These include representational, narrative, abstract, and symbol-based imagery, among others. Relief printing techniques using both wood and synthetic blocks, will be taught, as well as the intaglio technique of trace monotype printing. All prints will be handprinted using spoons, barens, and the palm of the hand. Experimentation around conceptual and technical boundaries will be explored and encouraged. Projects will focus on using a combination of these means to develop a series of related images. A broad cultural range of contemporary and historical references will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects. The semester’s work will culminate in a cohesive body of visual work given the form of a small-scale installation and, for the final project, a hand-made accordion book. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Writing will be required of students in the form of series statements, feedback on other students’ projects, and final semester reflections on their work. No prerequisites required.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

243 Cut, Inked and Hand Pressed: Woodcut Prints

Woodcut is a dynamic form of printmaking. It has been instrumental in communication since the invention of paper in 105 C.E. and is a relief technique with a broad array of possibilities. Students will learn various methods to cut and print wood blocks, and assignments will include multiple block printing, hand-colored prints, collage, and cut paper. All prints will be handprinted using spoons, barens and the palm the hand. Assignments will be critiqued regularly, and critical analysis of prints' conceptual and technical concerns will be discussed. The study of a culturally wide range of historical and contemporary artists will provide inspiration, insight and knowledge into the visual language of woodcut. Students will be encouraged to create imagery that provides personal meaning influenced by political, individualistic, imaginative and emotional experiences. No prerequisites required.

Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

247 Independent Projects: Sculpture Studio Seminar

This course is an opportunity for students to pursue and shape independent sculpture projects developed through a series of closely related sculptural works. The class will focus on the dynamics and engineering of three-dimensional structures and compositions, sensitivity to materials – what they offer and associations they carry--and use of a tactile language of form as expressive means. The semester will result in the production by each student of a coherent body of works, where every piece has informed and shaped the next as students’ ideas for their series are honed and more fully explored. The class as a whole will start the semester’s work with short exercises and studies, testing a range of approaches to using the language of three-dimensional form, before moving in individual directions. Modeling and construction techniques, as well as mold-making and casting, will be taught as needed in response to student goals, and as is possible within the constraints of COVID-19 precautions. Relevant readings, presentations, and museum visits will inform studio work. Regular group critiques and discussions will be a key part of learning with and from each other.
Requisite: ARHA 214, or permission of the instructor.
Taught on campus, and remotely through group and individual Zoom meetings, and shared on-line materials, if needed.
Omitted 2021-2022. Limited to 8 students. Professor Keller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

249 Digital Art History

(Offered as ARHA 249 and ARCH 249) This course is an introduction to the latest digital tools that art historians and museum curators use to analyze and display works of art, architecture, and the larger built environment, including, but not limited to, 3D modeling, network graphing, and digital mapping and storytelling. We will begin by asking what actually constitutes art historical data and then turn to consider how the digital collection, organization, interpretation, and presentation of this information can inform our understanding of objects, buildings, cities, and landscapes. Among the other topics we will explore are the digital artworks and exhibitions that artists and curators around the globe are currently creating in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the ethics and practicalities of doing digital art history today. This non-lecture-based course centers hands-on collective learning and is designed for students of all backgrounds. No previous knowledge of the subject is presumed.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

250 Humanitarian Design in Theory and Practice

(Offered as ARCH 250 and ARHA 250) This course explores the challenges and possibilities of humanitarian design, a growing area of interest in architectural practice. The course includes a field trip to Ecuador, to take place over Spring Break. This field component is deeply integrated into the course contents. During the first part of the semester, students become familiar with relevant theoretical and practice-based approaches to disaster reconstruction. With that, they gain an understanding of the complexities of this area, and a good grasp of the tasks and issues to be dealt with in the field. Upon returning from Ecuador, the rest of the semester is devoted to debriefing, producing and analyzing documentation, and drawing general lessons for the theory and practice of humanitarian design. The main case study is that of post-disaster reconstruction following Ecuador’s 2016 Pedernales Earthquake, which killed over 600 people and injured over 16,000. We will study the outcome of diverse reconstruction efforts and approaches four years after the earthquake. In order to compare and contrast approaches, our fieldwork will focus on two settings, an urban and a rural one, both located in the coastal Manabí province.

Limited to 12 Amherst College students. Admission with consent of the instructor. This course is open to Amherst College students only.  There will be an application process before pre-registration. Those students selected will have their travel expenses covered.
Omitted 2021-22. Professor Arboleda. 

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

253 The Modern Metropolis

(Offered as ARHA 253 and ARCH 253) This course traces the social and political history of the modern city from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. In the process, it questions the extent to which contemporary megacities—like São Paulo or Shanghai—reflect a social and urban system of organization that has its roots in earlier experiments in metropolitan design. Over the course of the semester, we will approach a number of genericized architectural spaces that have recurred across modern cities in ways that elucidate the broader template to which such urban zones often conform. These sites include the park, the nightclub, the brothel, the restaurant, the port, the highway, and the hotel, to name only a few. Our examination of these spaces will foreground the role of architecture and urban planning in shaping social interaction in these common locales. We will approach these sites as manifested in several modern metropolises, such as Paris, Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai, Dakar, São Paulo, and New York. In investigating these places, we will ask: What makes a city? What, if any, continuities characterize the organizational structures, social spaces, and living conditions of modern cities in the western and non-western worlds? In encouraging students to explore the relationships between European and non-European urban centers, this course will serve as a point of departure for rethinking the binaries that separate the West and the Non-West. Through written assignments and independent research, students will gain knowledge of the ways in which urban spaces have informed social, political, economic, and cultural histories in America and beyond. This course will also aid students in developing their writing and research skills.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

255 Latin American Art: Strategies and Tactics

(Offered as ARHA 255 and LLAS 255) This course explores art produced since 1920 in Latin America. From the state-sponsored murals of post-revolutionary Mexico to the "Constructive Universalism” of Joaquín Torres-García in Uruguay, how did artists align themselves with and distinguish themselves from movements and ideas circulating in Europe and the United States? When and why did U.S. institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art begin to collect, exhibit, and theorize art from Latin America? At mid-century, how was the proliferation of geometric abstraction in Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Caracas entangled with the modernization projects in those cities? In the wake of the Cuban Revolution, in what ways did the spread of anti-imperialist ideas radicalize artistic practices across the region? When dictatorships commandeered several countries from the 1960s through the 1980s, how did political and cultural repression generate new dangers but also new tactics for artists? Studying more recent practices, we will investigate art projects produced on the U.S.-Mexico border, the interaction between artists from Latin America and an increasingly global art world, and the curatorial trends characterizing the early twenty-first century display of art from the region. Throughout the course, the work of art will be analyzed as the battleground upon and across which political struggles were fought.

Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2021

257 The Colonial City: Architecture, Empire, Resistance

(Offered as ARHA 257, ARCH 257, and BLST 253) Creole dwellings were first erected by enslaved builders working under Diego Colón (the son of Christopher Columbus) on the island of Hispaniola. By the end of the first wave of European expansion in the early nineteenth century, the creole style existed across imperial domains in the Caribbean, North and South America, Africa, the Indian Ocean, and even Asia. We will examine the global diffusion of this architectural typology from its emergence in the Spanish Caribbean to its florescence in British and French India in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In doing so, we will address buildings and towns in former Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonies worldwide. Some of the urban centers that we will engage include: Kingston, Jamaica; Pondicherry, India; Cape Town, South Africa; Cartagena, Colombia; Saint-Louis, Senegal; and Macau, China. In investigating both creole structures and the cities that harbored such forms, we will think through the social and economic factors that caused buildings and urban areas to display marked continuities despite geographical and imperial distinctions.
Limited to 34 students.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Carey.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

258 Art, Things, Spaces, and Places

(Offered as ARHA 258, ARCH 258 and EUST 258) The purpose of this course is to introduce students to research on lived environments from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, the architecture that shaped them, and the art and objects that they contained. The goal of each class, through reading and discussion, is to investigate what a researchable question is in the fields of history, art history, architecture, and material culture in Europe, England, and the Americas. Using multi-disciplinary research strategies, we will examine the power of precious and ordinary objects (including furniture, tapestries, devotional paintings, family portraits, and sculpture), the contemporary connotations of their materiality, and consider what objects in a home might signify about a family’s status, political allegiance, spirituality, and place in the world. Further, we will ask how art, objects and décor shape the beholder’s experience of spaces inside and outside a residence, in private and in public. What does the display of objects in collections, including those from far-away cultures other than the patron’s, signify to the owner and the viewer? Visiting lecturers will present their ideas on various topics such as the anthropology of art, the significance of precious materials, and collecting. We will take field trips to museums and meet curators in order to identify a research topic.

This course will give students tools to conduct their own research into past lived environments and their contents, and identify how we in the 21st century might come to understand them. As the culmination of the course students will collaboratively develop a prospectus for a research project with one or two other classmates. Assignments to meet that goal include adding new content to Wikipedia as a record of students’ findings and a contribution to knowledge for a wider public.

Open to sophomores but also motivated first-years interested in research in a variety of fields. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Spring 2022

259 Utopia: Visionary Architecture, Art and Theory

(Offered as ARHA 259 and ARCH 259) This course is an examination of utopian plans in architecture and art. We will consider the philosophical constructs of utopia in architectural drawings, buildings, and plans in relation to film, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. We will consider how different projections about life in the future are also harsh criticisms of the present, which often rely upon imagined concepts of social organizations in times past. The course reflects on utopian art from antiquity to the present, including an examination of selected utopian authors, including Sir Thomas More, Edward Bellamy, and William Morris, with an emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We examine the tensions between theory and practice by studying the successes and failures of actual attempts at realizing utopian communities. We will question the differences between utopia, dystopia, displacement and the home, as we consider whether utopian art and design is viable in the twenty-first century.

Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Assistant Professor Koehler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

261 Buddhist Art of Asia

(Offered as ARHA 261 and ASLC 260) Visual imagery plays a central role in the Buddhist faith. As the religion developed and spread throughout Asia it took many forms. This course will first examine the appearance of the earliest aniconic traditions in ancient India, the development of the Buddha image, and early monastic centers. It will then trace the dissemination and transformation of Buddhist art as the religion reached South-East Asia, Central Asia, and eventually East Asia. In each region indigenous cultural practices and artistic traditions influenced Buddhist art. Among the topics the course will address are the nature of the Buddha image, the political uses of Buddhist art, the development of illustrated hagiographies, and the importance of pilgrimage, both in the past and the present.

Fall semester. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

263 The Art Market

This course investigates the relationship between art and commerce in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. What is the network of auctions, galleries, and fairs overseeing the buying and selling of works of art and how is value decided, constructed, and transformed in the process? How do we understand and calculate the value of art in both economic and symbolic terms? How do you buy and sell a work of performance art? What agency do artists possess in determining how their work operates in the market and how have artists played with the market since the 1960s? Finally, in what ways does the making, buying, and selling of works of art conform to and diverge from the operations of the economy at large? Using texts by Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, Eve Chiapello, and Jean-Joseph Goux, among others, as a theoretical foundation, we will explore the relationship between works of art and commodities and the ways in which artists both embrace and critique the commercial side of the art world. We will also study the recent attention paid to the “dirty money” funding arts institutions and trace a longer history of this phenomenon and its contestation by artists, activists, and artist-activists.

Requisite: One course in the history of art or cultural studies or permission of the instructor. Recommended requisite: ARHA 155. Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Niko Vicario.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2021, Fall 2021

267 Islamic Arts of the Book

(Offered as ARHA 267 and ASLC 267) The book has played (and continues to play) a central role in the Islamic world. As a technology, it gives physical form to the Qur’an, an orally proclaimed text, allowing Islam’s scripture to be read, touched, held, and easily transported. It is a carrier of divine blessing, but also of wisdom, authority, tradition, and affiliation. The earliest Islamic books were either very fragile, being made of papyrus, or expensive, being made of animal skin (parchment). Knowledge of papermaking, which traveled westward from its place of origin in China, revolutionized the production of manuscripts in royal and intellectual hubs like Samarqand, Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordoba. Books on geography, history, poetry, and science soon proliferated, many of them filled with fantastic paintings made of gold leaf, ground minerals, and carbon-based inks. We will study the history of the Islamic book, from manuscripts of the Qur’an, which often bear calligraphy but almost never include illustrations, to historical, astrological, and poetic works—like the famous Shahnama (Book of Kings)—that contain images of various types and sizes. We will pay special attention to who produced, collected, and circulated these books, and ask how and according to which criteria they were conceived, used, and evaluated. We will bring to our objects of study a close-viewing lens, but also explore the use of computational tools drawn from the Digital Humanities. Visits to view book materials in local collections will supplement classroom discussion and assigned readings. No previous knowledge of the topic is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2019

269 Baroque Art

(Offered as ARHA 269, ARCH 269, EUST 269) At the beginning of the seventeenth century, religious and social upheavals in Europe led to a renewed proliferation of exciting, innovative art. In this century of remarkably varied artistic production, paradoxes abounded. Artists sought the illusion of reality by imitating unimproved, even base or monstrous nature through close observation of the human body, landscape, and ordinary, humble objects of daily use. They imbued art meant to inspire religious devotion with unbounded eroticism or with the gory details of painful suffering and hideous death. Artists and architects made the visionary appear real and sensual. They adored the past but re-cast it in modern terms. Others continued to quest for perfection in a return to the lofty principles implicit in ancient artistic canons of ideality. More than ever before, artists explored the expression of passion through dramatic narratives and sharply revealing portraiture. They depicted dominating political leaders as flawed mortals—even satirized them through the new art of caricature—at the same time that they developed a potent and persuasive vocabulary in art, architecture, and gardens for the expression of the rulers’ absolutist political power.

This class will examine issues in Baroque art in depth through selected works of painting, sculpture, and architecture produced by artists in the Catholic countries of the seventeenth century, e.g. Caravaggio, Bernini, Poussin, Velázquez, and Rubens in Italy, France, Spain, the Spanish Netherlands, and parts of the Americas. It also engages the cultural, social, and intellectual framework for their accomplishments. 

Intermediate level, one other course in art history preferred but not required. Uncapped.

Spring Semester. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2016, Spring 2022

270 African Art and the Diaspora

(Offered as ARHA 270 and BLST 293 [D]) The course of study will examine those African cultures and their arts that have survived and shaped the aesthetic, philosophic and religious patterns of African descendants in Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and urban centers in North America. We shall explore the modes of transmission of African artistry to the West and examine the significance of the preservation and transformation of artistic forms from the period of slavery to our own day. Through the use of films, slides and objects, we shall explore the depth and diversity of this vital artistic heritage of Afro-Americans. 

Fall semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

284 Women and Art in Early Modern Europe

(Offered as ARHA 284, EUST 284, and SWAG 206)  This introductory discussion-based course will examine how prevailing ideas about women and gender shaped visual imagery in Europe from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and how these images, in turn, presented surprisingly varied pictures of women and their domains. Artists vividly expressed the paradoxical power that women possessed even more than language could. Both admired and feared in their societies, aristocrats, queens, mistresses, saints, witches, heroines, and housewives were all depicted in art in elevated and debased manners, sometimes as eroticized subjects and at other times as powerful, idealized actors—occasionally both at the same time. We will analyze the art and material goods that women paid for and what it communicated about them; women’s homes and the objects they held; the portrayal of women from merchant societies in Italian city-states to aristocratic women in India, of female saints, heroes and rulers, including Elizabeth I of England and Maria de' Medici of France; and the troubling imagery of rape. These different types of art raise questions about biological theories about women; feminine ideals of beauty; what marriage meant in different societies; the relationship between the exercise of political power and gender; women’s expression of transcendent spirituality; and what the portrayal of indigenous and enslaved women in Dutch and Spanish colonies conveyed about race.

 GOALS FOR LEARNING

  • Understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;
  • Gain an understanding of how historical attitudes about women and by women affect art made about and by women;
  • Develop an analytical ability to examine points of view expressed in texts and art of a historical period other than our own and to distinguish them from another;
  • Learn collaboratively with classmates;
  • Learn how to perform 2 kinds of research:

1) find materials to contribute publicly useful scholarship, by creating or revising Wikipedia entries, which greatly lack material on women;

2) Develop and argue an original thesis in a 10-page research paper.

 No prerequisites. Uncapped.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Courtright.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Spring 2021

304 Documentary Photography

In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore the practice of documentary photography. This course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class visual exercises. We will examine the history, theory and ideological questions and complications of working with those outside of or within one’s own circle of experience. This will be complemented by a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary photographers, and slide lectures that consider the multitude of ways artists use photography within the documentary tradition.

Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2020

308 Doing What You Don’t Know How to Do

Under what conditions can we make our best work? What does our best work look like and how is that assessment made? And how can we access our best selves to do so?  This course interrogates the dynamics of the visual arts studio: the opportunities, conditions, and pressures that shape our behavior there. By creating a supportive community via online conferencing with both synchronous and asynchronous elements, and photographic sharing of projects/assignments — perhaps a new kind of studio? — we encourage risk and reach towards a studio practice that is yet unknown to us. We will teach each other, think big and then bigger, try new materials and processes, and treat each decision as an experiment. This course will introduce both historical and contemporary examples of artists in whose work we can readily observe risk-taking and problem solving. Setting the stage for a life in the studio driven by exploration and fearlessness, we will ask the question, “What do we have to lose?”

Requisite: Nomination by the art departments of each of the Five Colleges. Limited to 15 students, with spaces reserved for 3 students from each of the Five Colleges. Omitted 2021-22. Visiting Lecturer Hepler.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

313 Still/Moving: The Documentary Project

(Offered as ARHA 313 and FAMS 313) In this intermediate/advanced level course students will explore creative documentary practice in both photography and video production. The course is structured around individual projects of the student’s own design, and is informed by weekly group critiques and in-class exercises, both visual and technical. Shared topics between the two mediums may include: ethnography, narrative, sequencing/editing, staging/scripting, place and space, and working with archival materials. We will examine the shared history, theory, and ideological questions of these mediums, and focus on issues that inform contemporary documentary practice and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The course will include a series of historical and topical readings, class visits by contemporary artists, and presentations that consider the many ways artists use photography and film/video within the documentary tradition.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience in photography or film/video (to be approved by the instructor(s) in advance of the first class.) Limited to 14 students. Fall semester. Assistant Professor Levine and Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

319 Working in Series: The Interdisciplinary Connection Between Drawing and the Hand-Printed Image

An investigation of ideas into the development of visual imagery focusing on series of works utilizing drawing and printmaking. Contemporary and historical references of artists' series of works will be studied in conjunction with students' individual projects, culminating in a final project consisting of a cohesive, visual body of work. Experimentation of conceptual and technical boundaries will be encouraged and explored. Discussion and critiques will be held regularly in both group and individual formats. Visual work will include a wide variety of drawing media, including, but not limited to traditional methods. The techniques of intaglio and relief printmaking will be used in combination with and concurrent to the drawn images.

Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Senior Resident Artist Garand.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

323 Advanced Studio Seminar

A studio course that will emphasize compositional development by working from memory, imagination, literature and abstractions derived from nature and other works of visual art. The Students will be encouraged to explore a wide variety of media including, but not limited to, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and collage. Students will be required to create an independent body of work over the course of the semester which explores their individual direction in pictorial construction. 

Requisite: ARHA 222, 326 or 327 or permission of the instructor. Limited to 5 students. Fall and Spring semester. Professor R. Sweeney.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

324 Sculpture II Miniatures and Monuments 

In this course we will be exploring the role of scale in sculpture. Through a series of studio projects, in a variety of materials, we will create sculptures in a range of sizes to understand how scale affects the creation and perception of a work of three-dimensional art. Using wood, welded steel, clay, and plaster, we will examine forms including the miniature, the maquette, and the monument. Students will have opportunities for collaboration and installation and be encouraged to explore new territory while refining and developing their critical and technical skills. Contemporary critical approaches will be introduced through readings and visual presentations.

Requisite: ARHA 214 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Culhane.

 

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2022

325 Images and Icons—Exploring Devotional Art

(Offered as ARHA 325 and ASLC 325) An examination of the construction, use, and interpretation of images and icons. The primary focus will be on images and icons in the Buddhist and Hindu faiths; however, the class will also make comparisons with those in Christianity and the religions of Africa and New Guinea. Some of the topics to be covered will include the relationship between icons and deities, the authentication and animation of images, the connections between icons and political authority, the ritual use of images, and aniconism and iconoclasm. The class is designed to focus on art historical writing.

Limited to 18 students to facilitate class discussion. Omitted 2021-22. Prof. Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

326 Painting II

This course offers students knowledgeable in the basic principles and skills of painting and drawing an opportunity to investigate personal directions in painting. Assignments will be collectively as well as individually directed. Discussions of the course work will assume the form of group as well as individual critiques. Two three-hour class meetings per week.

Requisite: ARHA 215 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2021-22. Senior Resident Artist Gloman.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

328 Photography II

(Offered as ARHA 328) This course is a continuing investigation of the skills and questions introduced in ARHA 218. An emphasis will be placed on defining, locating and pursuing independent work; this will be accomplished through a series of weekly demonstrations, assignments and a final independent project. Student work will be discussed and evaluated in group and individual critiques. This is complemented by slide presentations and topical readings of contemporary and historical photography.This course will be taught virtually using digital cameras and and software. Students will be supplied with cameras for the semester. Two two-hour meetings per week. 

Requisite: ARHA 218 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Kimball.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021

330 Fictional Narrative Video Production

(Offered as ARHA 330 and FAMS 443) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore fictional narrative filmmaking through a rigorous script-to-screen process. Students will write, shoot and edit a short (8-minute) fictional narrative film either in small groups or individually. In addition to weekly online screenings of short and feature narrative films, the class will consist of weekly Zoom sessions led by the professor, including lectures on advanced narrative filmmaking techniques, film discussions, script readings, and critiques of footage and various cuts.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Instructor to be determined.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020

335 Experiments in 16mm Film

(Offered as ARHA 335 and FAMS 335) This intermediate production course surveys the outer limits of cinematic expression and provides an overview of creative 16mm film production. We will begin by making cameraless projects through drawing, painting and scratching directly onto the film strip before further exploring the fundamentals of 16mm technology, including cameras, editing and hand-processing. While remaining aware of our creative choices, we will invite chance into our process and risk failure, as every experiment inevitably must.

Through screenings of original film prints, assigned readings and discussion, the course will consider a number of experimental filmmakers and then conclude with a review of exhibition and distribution strategies for moving image art. All students will complete a number of short assignments on film and one final project on either film or video, each of which is to be presented for class critique. One three-hour class and one film screening per week.

Requisite: One 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

350 Practice and Theory of Art History

What is art history? What is its history? What are its premises and where does it come from? This seminar will explore the historical foundations, formulations, and applications of current art historical methods, the foundations of the art historical discipline as it emerged from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as attitudes towards and theories on art practice in their diverse global contexts from before the modern period. Both practice and theory will be considered through discussion of select texts and objects drawn from a variety of traditions. Topics may include: style and periodization; iconography, narratology, and phenomenology; semiotics; the social functions of images and the social history of art; the cultural foundations of representation, aesthetics, and vision; art and the material world; art, gender, and sexuality; collecting and commodification of art; and post-colonialism and post-modernism.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Rice.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

353 Myth, Ritual and Iconography in West Africa

(Offered as BLST 315 [A] and ARHA 353) Through a contrastive analysis of the religious and artistic modes of expression in three West African societies—the Asanti of the Guinea Coast, and the Yoruba and Igbo peoples of Nigeria—the course will explore the nature and logic of symbols in an African cultural context. We shall address the problem of cultural symbols in terms of African conceptions of performance and the creative play of the imagination in ritual acts, masked festivals, music, dance, oral histories, and the visual arts as they provide the means through which cultural heritage and identity are transmitted and preserved, while, at the same time, being the means for innovative responses to changing social circumstances.

Spring semester. Professor Abiodun.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

357 The Persian Book of Kings

(Offered as ASLC 357, ARHA 357, and HIST 357 [TC, TE, ME, P]) The Shahnameh (Book of Kings), completed by Abu’l Qasim Ferdowsi around 1010, is one of the world's greatest epics, and also one of the most enigmatic. The Shahnameh tells the history of pre-Islamic Iran from the beginnings of civilization until the Arab conquest in the seventh century A.D. Its tales of battles, romance, heroism, and betrayal have been appreciated as literature for centuries. At the same time, it’s been deployed for political and cultural ends. Many of the communities who have most enthusiastically embraced its stories and themes have been of non-Iranian origin. Indeed, Ferdowsi’s patron, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, was himself of Turkic background. Since the nineteenth century, it has been touted as the cultural cornerstone of an emphatically non-Muslim modern Iranian national identity, and yet the author and his patron were Muslim. Some have even interpreted the Shahnameh as encouraging conversion to Islam.

This course will explore the Shahnameh as literature, history, and material culture—including illustrated manuscripts, printed books, ceramics, metalwork, and photography—from its original tenth-century context to the contemporary moment. We will focus in particular on a heavily illustrated mid-nineteenth-century copy of the Shahnameh in Amherst College’s Archives and Special Collections, and consider how this work expressed a non-Islamic cultural foundation of modernity. We will follow this story to explore how the Shahnameh figures in debates over the pre-Islamic past today. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professors Rice and Ringer.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022

383 The Tea Ceremony and Japanese Culture

(Offered as ARHA 383 and ASLC 319) An examination of the history of chanoyu, the tea ceremony, from its origins in the fifteenth century to the practice of tea today. The class will explore the various elements that comprise the tea environment-the garden setting, the architecture of the tea room, the forms of tea utensils, and the elements of the kaiseki meal. Through a study of the careers of influential tea masters and texts that examine the historical, religious, and cultural background of tea culture, the course will also trace how the tea ceremony has become a metaphor for Japanese culture and Japanese aesthetics both in Japan and in the West. There will be field trips to visit tea ware collections, potters and tea masters. Two class meetings per week.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

384 The Replicated Image in Japanese Art: Woodblock Prints, Postcards, and Photographs

(Offered as ARHA 384 and ASLC 384) An image that can be replicated serves a very different function from a single unique work of art; it addresses new audiences and elicits a wider range of responses. This course will explore three different types of replicated images in Japan—woodblock prints, lithographs, and photographs. With the unprecedented achievement of literacy among urban populations during the early seventeenth century, Japan developed highly inventive woodblock texts and images. The course will begin with an investigation of the Japanese print in the Edo period (1615–1868) through the works of artists such as Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige. It will subsequently examine the early history of the photograph in the nineteenth century and then how the postcard replaced the print as the favored format for the dissemination of images during the early twentieth century, becoming the primary visual means for communicating Japan’s modernity before the advent of World War II. The course will conclude with a study of photography from the 1920s to the present day. Photography also documented Japan’s modern era, the social tensions that appeared in the high-grown era after WWII, and today often transcends national boundaries.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

385 Witches, Vampires and Other Monsters

(Offered as ARHA 385, EUST 385, and SWAG 310) Our course will explore how evil was imagined, over cultures, centuries and disciplines. With the greatest possible historical and cultural specificity, we will investigate an array of monstrous creatures and plagues -- their terrifying powers, the explanations for why they came to be, and the strategies for how they could be purged -- as we attempt to articulate the kindred qualities they shared. We will study centuries-old witch burning manuals, and note the striking degree to which dangerous tropes -- about women, about pestilence, about dangerous sexuality, and about differences of all kinds -- have continued to our day. Among the artists to be considered are Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Dalí, Buñuel, Dreyer, Wilder, Almodóvar, and the community who made the AIDS Quilt.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

388 Approaches to Chinese Painting

(Offered as ARHA 388 and ASLC 383) This course will survey the Chinese pictorial and calligraphic traditions from the Neolithic era to the present day. Particular emphasis will be placed on the period from the Northern Song to the Qing dynasties and the development of the landscape idiom, but the course will also address the figure, bird and flower, and narrative traditions as well. It will conclude with an exploration of the ways contemporary artists engage the legacy of China’s cultural heritage. Special attention will be given to the differences between Western methodological approaches to Chinese painting and the theories of painting developed by the Chinese themselves.

Omitted 2021-22. Professor Morse.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

412 The Sixties

We will investigate a series of historical events (such as the Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis, Stonewall, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King) as well as the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of identity politics (Feminism, Black Power, the Brown Berets) and the counterculture. We will study the myriad art forms and their attendant ideologies invented during the decade (such as Pop, Op, Color Field, Minimalism, Land Art, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Fluxus), as well as some crucial critics, dealers and art journals, in an effort to understand the ways in which artists rejected or appropriated, then transformed, certain themes and conceptual models of their time. This course will include class trips.

Requisite: One course in modern art or consent of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 11 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Staller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2019

441 Documentary Production

(Offered as ARHA 441 and FAMS 441) Intended for advanced film/video production students, this course will explore creative documentary practice through readings, weekly screenings and production assignments. Each student will complete a series of projects working both as a single maker and in collaboration with other members of the class. Topics may include: shooting the interview; scripting, performance and reenactment; history and narrativity; place and space; ethnography and the “embedded” filmmaker. We will also host visiting filmmakers and, where possible, visit a cultural institution which supports and screens cutting-edge documentary work.

The course will be taught annually but will focus on a set of revolving themes and issues that inform contemporary documentary filmmaking and the critical discourse that surrounds it. The theme for Fall 2019 will be “Place and Space". One 3-hour class (some of which will include field shooting and research trips) and one evening screening each week.

Requisite: A prior 200-level production course or relevant experience (to be discussed with the instructor in advance of the first class). Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2021-22. Professor Levine.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Fall 2019

444 Films That Try: Essay Film Production

(Offered as ARHA 444 and FAMS 412) Essay filmmaking is a dynamic form with many commonly cited attributes—the presence of an authorial voice, an emphasis on broad themes, an eclectic approach to genre, and the tendency to digress or draw unexpected connections. Yet, true to its nature, the precise definition of the essay film is in constant flux. It can be both personal and political, individual and collective, noble and mischievous. Essay filmmakers themselves are equally diverse, ranging from established film auteurs to Third Cinema activists and contemporary video artists.

If we entertain the notion that the processes of cinem