Introduction to Art History I (Lycoming College): This course is a survey of the historical development of art and architecture in a variety of forms around the world from prehistory through the late Middle Ages. We will concentrate on a chronological study of major objects and monuments from different locations, looking for differences in style which help to distinguish art-historical periods and cultures from one another, as well as identifying certain affinities. Students will learn skills of close visual analysis as combined with contextual inquiry in order to place the visual arts in the context of broader cultural, religious, and historical frameworks. Key questions asked throughout the course will be: how objects functioned within ancient civilizations and what they tell us about the various structures of those societies; how images and buildings expressed religious beliefs (polytheism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism); how and why art was created and viewed in various times and locations; how power was invested in images and how these images impact our world today. Students will develop critical thinking skills in response to scholarly literature and be introduced to disciplinary theories and methods.
Introduction to Art History II (Lycoming College): This course is an introduction to key developments in art around the world from the fourteenth century to the present. We will concentrate on a mostly chronological study of major artworks from various locations, looking for differences in style that help to distinguish art-historical periods and cultures from one another, in addition to identifying cross-cultural affinities. Students will learn skills of close visual analysis as combined with contextual inquiry in order to place the visual arts within broader social, cultural, and political frameworks. We will continually revisit important art historical concerns during the semester, such as: the culturally constructed “value” of both the artwork and the artist; how race, class and gender historically and culturally determine who is allowed to make art and who is allowed to see it; the role of institutions in the construction of histories; how interconnected histories of colonization and diaspora have historically influenced stylistic developments around the globe and continue to manifest in our present day. Students will develop critical thinking skills in response to scholarly literature and be introduced to key art historical theories and methods.
Gender and Sexuality in Art (Lycoming College): Gender and sexuality are often vital components of artistic practice that drive creativity, modes of expression, and shape identities. This course examines the presence of these issues in art through case studies from the nineteenth-century to the present-day in relation to constructions of gender and sexualities in their particular historical contexts. Students will be given the tools to recognize and challenge encoded assumptions regarding gender and sexuality in visual culture and the ways they often intersect with key issues of race and class. Students will also be encouraged to bring in outside perspectives that expand the scope of in class discussions, as well as pursue their own interests in their final research paper.
Museum Studies: Histories and Practices (Lycoming College): This course investigates the place of the museum in society from a variety of historical and contemporary perspectives. Why did museums emerge and what role have they played in shaping our understanding of art, history, culture, and community? What goes into organizing, preserving, investigating, and interpreting a collection for the public? How have museums responded to key ethical questions and challenges of our current time? What function might museums serve in the future? Students will come to understand what careers are available in museums (aided by guest visits from museum professionals) and will gain practical experience in curating an exhibition at the Lycoming College Art Gallery.
Art, Race, and American Identities (Lycoming College): What does it mean to “be American”? What does American history look like and who is allowed to represent it? This course examines works of contemporary art that complicate normative understandings of US history and trouble the notion of a singular “American” identity. The course is structured around four units that center on artists of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, and mixed ethnic/racial heritages typically underrepresented in USAmerican narratives. Students will be introduced to the key histories before engaging in the political, social, and artistic issues of our current moment. Class time will involve in-depth discussions of how artists have responded to a key topics which include: art as a tool of resistance; patriotism, nationalism, and their symbols; histories of racism in visual culture; monuments, museums, and memorials; borders, immigration, and diasporas; colonialism and cultural traditions; hybridity, otherness, and issues of personal and collective identities. Each unit holds a companion literary text that will be examined in relationship to issues under study, including how the authors engage with history, identity, and representation.
Eye, Mind, Body: Art from 1900-1970 (Lycoming College): This course is an in-depth exploration of modern and postmodern art. Radical experiments in art making from 1900 to 1970 fundamentally changed the nature of artistic expression, moving from the primacy placed on visual mediums, such as painting and sculpture, towards new forms of making that engaged the mind and body in their form and content. The course takes a global approach so students will come to understand the differing ways modern art emerged and changed within and outside of traditional “centers.” Key questions that will be addressed throughout the semester are: What is the nature of beauty in the 20th century? Can an idea be a work of art? What is the role of the artist in modern society? How have artworks reflected or pushed back against moments of political and social upheaval? How did/does gender, race, class, sexuality, histories of colonialism and diaspora impact the creation of modern art and its interpretation?
Art and Politics in Latin America (Lycoming College): This course offers an academic and participatory introduction to the major artists, artworks, scholars, and themes of 20th and 21st century Latin American art, approached through the critical intersection of art and politics. Key issues relative to this study will be: the shift from traditional media to conceptual, performative, technological, and site-specific methods of art making; the creation under and as a reaction to conditions of violence; the limitations and potential for artwork to manifest sociopolitical change; the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality with art and politics; and the various frameworks of national, regional, and global subjecthoods that remain pertinent to these artists and their works. Students will assist the Mexican feminist art collective Bordeamos por la paz in creating embroideries documenting victims of femicide in Juárez, and will curate a final public installation of their works. This project will give students direct insight into the practicalities of activist art making and curating as well as demonstrate art’s ability to make meaningful political impact on the world around them
Controversies in the Visual Arts (Millsaps College, Junior/Senior methods seminar, Fall 2018): This seminar is focused on major art works that have elicited a range of scholarly responses in order to provide an in-depth study of the variety of methodological approaches utilized by art historians. Through the study of just five works of art, we will undertake close analysis of critical texts that utilize different methods of analysis stemming from formalism, semiotics, marxism and social histories of art, psychoanalysis, structuralism, feminist and postcolonial approaches, etc. In doing so, students will understand critical approaches to constructing a scholarly argument in order to make a clear case about these complex art works from a particular perspective. This close reading will be utilized as practice for each students’ own formal research paper and presentation, which will be centered on an artwork of their choosing and will offer an advanced and nuanced art historical analysis from a particular methodological lens.
Differencing the Canon: Women, Art, and Representation (Millsaps College): This course introduces students to key issues and theoretical approaches associated with the study of women and art across the globe from the Renaissance to the present day. Rather than presenting an inverted history, privileging the achievements of women over men, students will be given the tools to deconstruct intersectional mythologies of representation and explore critical issues of gender, race, sexuality, class and nationalisms in relation to visual culture. Throughout the course, we examine the social, political and cultural conditions in which women artists have produced artwork, while at the same time uncover the ways in which gender and race have always been encoded within art history.
Contemporary Art (Millsaps College): This course is a global study of contemporary art from the 1970s through to today. Through in class discussions, readings, and the visual and written analysis of artworks, we will examine the unique character and experience of global contemporary life, paying close attention to its social, cultural, and political contexts. Key frameworks to this study will be issues of: gender and sexuality, race and identities, trauma and exile, the environment, dissent and activism, authorship and originality, memory, space, and the body. After taking this course, students will be able to identify strategies of artistic decision-making as well as evaluate the function of artistic expression by reflecting on the ways in which art may affirm, challenge, or alter a viewer’s perspective. Our class will also partner with the art collective, Bordeamos por la paz, an experience that will inform class discussion and be incorporated into a final CEL project.
Modern Art (Millsaps College): This course offers a survey of avant-garde modern art from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Rather than tracing a “progression” of traditions solely from Europe and the US, this course critically acknowledges the existence of multiple modernities around the globe. Under this lens, students will come to understand the ways in which modern art emerged and changed both within, and outside of, traditional “centers” of artistic production. Students will be introduced to key concepts that shape the study of modern art history, as well as continually challenged to utilize these methodologies in their own independent and comparative analysis. Some issues that will be addressed include: the role of the artist and work of art in society; the influence of gender, race, class, sexuality, histories of colonialism and diaspora on both art-making and interpretation; the intersection of art and politics; and the shift towards experimental approaches to the art object. The course content and assignments will leave students with the ability to persuasively analyze works of modern art in ways that address key social, cultural, and political histories that influenced their making and contemporary interpretation. Virtual exhibition curated by students: Shifting Focus
Centers and Margins: Modern and Contemporary Art from Latin America (Tufts University): This course is designed to introduce students to the major artists, objects and themes of Latin American art history from roughly 1930 to the present day. Historically positioned at both the center and margins of critical discourses, course material focuses on the global interconnectedness of art from Latin America, revealing how histories of colonization, modernization, politics and economic relationships have influenced the region’s stylistic developments. Students engage with both the formal transformations of the art object during this period, as well as the various socio-political and artistic contexts under which these transformations took place. While art from the region is the primary vector of exploration, the inevitable intersections of gender, race, class and sexuality are regularly drawn into discussions.
Visualizing a Nation: Twentieth Century Art from Mexico (Tufts University): This course introduces students to the major artists, objects and themes of Mexican art history from the late 19th Century through to the present day. Visual art has historically been both directly and indirectly engaged in the collective formation of national identities in Mexico. While students may be able to name the most famous artists associated with Mexican nationalism – such as the muralists – this course expands their conceptualization of national narratives through the inclusion of a wide variety of producers and discourses. We continually consider “official” visual narratives of citizenship and national identity, as well as counter-narratives posed by artists along the lines of gender, sexuality, race and belonging. Students will also engage with the global interconnectedness of art from Mexico, understanding its long history as a political, intellectual and artistic center.