Fall 2013 Undergraduate Courses

Updated on August 28, 2013.


AHIS BC1001 Barnard Intro Survey
P. Moxey
M/W 2:40-3:55, 304 Barnard Hall
Attempting to offer an introduction to artistic creation on a global scale, this course is team-taught by specialists in a number of different cultural and historical traditions. In the fall semester we will discuss the art of Europe, the Middle East, India, Japan, and China, in periods ranging from the Paleolithic to the Renaissance. Teaching assistants run weekly sections to supplement the lectures. Museum trips are an integral part of the course.

AHIS BC3658 History/Theory Avant-Garde
R. Deutsch
T/TH 1:10-2:25, 407 Milbank
Courses in nineteenth- and/or twentieth-century art are recommended as prerequisites for this course. This course examines the idea and practice of artistic avant-gardism in Europe and the United States from the mid-nineteenth to the late-twentieth century. It explores the changing relationship of avant-gardism to bourgeois society, concepts of democracy, art institutions, political radicalism, and non-art forms of culture, such as mass culture and third-world cultures. It studies theories of the modernist, historical, and neo-avant-gardes.

AHIS C3001 Introduction to Western Architecture
F. Benelli
T/TH 10:10-11:25, 501 Schermerhorn Hall
Satisfies the architectural history/theory distribution requirement for majors, but is also open to students wanting a general humanistic approach to architecture and its history. Architecture analyzed through in-depth case studies of major monuments of sacred, public, and domestic space, from the Pantheon and Hagia Sophia to Fallingwater and the Guggenheim. Discussion Section Required.

AHIS V3201 Arts of China
R. Harrist
M/W 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
An introduction to the arts of China, from the Neolithic period to the present, stressing materials and processes of bronze casting, the development of representational art, principles of text illustration, calligraphy, landscape painting, imperial patronage, and the role of the visual arts in elite culture.

AHIS V3248 Greek Art and Architecture
I. Mylonopoulos
M/W 4:10-5:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
Introduction to the art and architecture of the Greek world during the archaic, classical, and Hellenistic periods (11th–1st centuries B.C.E.). Discussion Section Required.

AHUM V3340 Arts of China, Japan & Korea
S. Choi
T/R 11:40-12:55, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
Introduces distinctive aesthetic traditions of China, Japan, and Korea—their similarities and differences—through an examination of the visual significance of selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts in relation to the history, culture, and religions of East Asia.

AHIS V3342 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture
V. Dehejia
T/R 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
Introduction to 2000 years of art on the Indian subcontinent. The course covers the early art of Buddhism, rock-cut architecture of the Buddhists and Hindus, the development of the Hindu temple, Mughal and Rajput painting and architecture, art of the colonial period, and the emergence of the Modern.

AHIS W3407 Early Italian Art
M. Cole
M/W 1:10-2:25, 501 Schermerhorn Hall
An introduction to the origins and early development of Italian Renaissance painting as a mode of symbolic communication between 1300-1600. Artists include Giotto, Fra Angelico, Masaccio, Mantegna, and Leonardo da Vinci. Emphasis on centers of painting in Florence, Siena, Assisi, Venice and Rome.

AHIS W3600 Nineteenth Century Art
J. Crary
M/W 11:40-12:55, 501 Schermerhorn Hall
The course examines selected topics in the history of European painting from the 1780s to 1900. It will explore a range of aesthetic, cultural and social issues through the work of major figures from David, Goya, and Turner to Manet, Seurat and Cezanne. This is a no laptop, no e-device course. Discussion Section Required.

AHIS W4048 Mesoamerican Art and Architecture
M. O'Neill
MW 1:10-2:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
This course is a survey of the art and archaeology of ancient Mesoamerica, a geographical area encompassing much of present-day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. We will cover architecture and art in a variety of media and addresses a wide range of topics including materials and manufacturing techniques, aesthetics, funerary traditions, history and mythology, politics, writing, trade, warfare, urbanism, archaeoastronomy, and the creation of sacred landscapes. Students will learn about the chronology and content of the major ancient Mesoamerican cultures' artistic and architectural traditions. Furthermore, students will become familiar with a range of theoretical approaches to the study of ancient Mesoamerica. Through the readings and writing assignments, students will develop skills in critical reading and thinking.

AHIS G4357 Gothic Architecture
S. Murray
R 2:10-4, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
The course will combine synchronic with diachronic approaches. Under the former heading comes the historiographic exploration of the way in which the epithet "Gothic" came to be attached to this particular kind of architecture and the way in which a more precise definition of the phenomenon emerged in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The exploration should embrace the range of approaches and methods appropriate to our own age with its passion for literary criticism. The diachronic approach will allow us to tell the story of Gothic, looking at it as a phenomenon that exists over time and space. We will return frequently to the question of representation—the problems encountered when buildings and concepts of "style" are carried over into words and images.

AHIS G4556 European Architecture 1750-1890
C. Yerkes
T 2:10-4, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
Interested students please send an email to [email protected] for registration assistance.
This course provides an overview of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European architecture, urbanism, and landscape design. Within this framework, thematic topics to be investigated include: the search for origins; the Grand Tour and the vogue for ruins; the development of institutions like prisons, hospitals, and academies; the development of domesticity and the rise of the public sphere; pluralism and historicism in architectural styles; the crisis of ornament; landscapes of industry; and the emergence of the modern metropolis.

AHIS W4850 Collecting
A. Higonnet
M/W 2:40-3:55, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
Graduate Lecture open to undergraduates. This course studies the nearly universal human phenomenon of collecting. We will begin by gauging the range and basic structures of the phenomenon, looking at collections ranging from sock monkeys through anatomical waxes to ukiyo-e cards. These examples will enable us to compare and contrast theories of collecting, of which the most important will be psychological and anthropological. Moving from these general theories to the historically particular, we will next turn to the history of high-end collecting, Renaissance curiosity cabinets, and the origins of museum. The history of the art museum will then be studied in some detail, through both analysis of art museum types—principally national or municipal, private, monographic, and geographic—and through case studies of personal collections. Finally, the course will address art-work about collecting. Lectures, readings, and discussion sections will be reinforced by multiple visits to New York City museums.

Undergraduate Seminars and Colloquia

AHIS W3895 Major's Colloquium: Introduction to the Literature and Methods of Art History
N. Elcott
T 2:10-4, 832 Schermerhorn Hall
Prerequisites: the department's permission. Students must sign-up in 826 Schermerhorn. Introduction to different methodological approaches to the study of art and visual culture. Majors are encouraged to take the colloquium during their junior year.

AHIS BC3865 Paris, Capital of the 19th Century
A. Higonnet
T 9-10:50, TBA
Paris in its nineteenth-century heyday. Painting, prints, architecture, urban planning, fashion, romance, revolutions and death will all be studied. Assignments will include novels about Paris.

AHIS BC3925 Myth, Ritual, and Rulership in Ancient Maya Art and Architecture
M. O'Neil
W 4:10-6, TBD
The ancient Maya, who inhabited present-day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras, are renowned for their innovations in writing, mathematics, architecture, and the visual arts. This course will examine Classic period Maya sculpture, ceramics, painting, and architecture from the first millennium of the current era through the lenses of mythological narratives, portrayals of supernatural forces, conceptions of the universe, and the place of humans within the cosmos. The course also examines how Maya rulers were positioned and portrayed within these mythic and cosmic structures through pictorial and textual narratives, architectural configurations, and rituals and performances.

AHIS BC3949 Art of Witness
R. Deutsche
W 11-12:50, 501/2 Diana Center
Undergraduate seminar course. Course limited to 15 Students with instructor's permission. Application process required. Applications are due in the Barnard Art History office by April 10th. Examines aesthetic responses to collective historical traumas, such as slavery, the Holocaust, the bombing of Hiroshima, AIDS, homelessness, immigration, and the recent attack on the World Trade Center. Studies theories about trauma, memory, and representation. Explores debates about the function and form of memorials.

AHIS BC3950 Photo and Video in Asia
C. Phillips
W 6:10-8, 501/2 Diana Center
East Asia is now perhaps the world's most dynamic region, and its dramatic social and economic transformation has been mirrored in the work of a host of startlingly original and innovative visual artists. The class will explore the ideas and visual idioms that inform the leading contemporary photo artists in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. We will begin with a historical survey of the development of photography in East Asia since the mid-19th century, but we will concentrate on the period from 1960 to the present. Figures whose work will be explored include such Japanese artists and photographers as Eikoh Hosoe, Daido Moriyama, Tomatsu Shomei, Miyako Ishiuchi, Nobuyoshi Araki, Yasumasa Morimura, Moriko Mori, Naoya Hatakeyema, and Tomoko Sawada. From China, we will examine the work of artists like Zhang Huan, Hong Hao, Yang Fudong, Lin Tianmiao, and Xing Danwen, while Korean artists to be covered include Atta Kim and Yeondoo Jung. Since many of these artists work regularly in video as well as photography, there will be regular video screenings throughout the semester.

AHIS BC3968 Art Criticism I
J. Miller
T 11-12:50, 501/2 Diana Center
Contemporary art and its criticism written by artists (rather than by art historians or journalistic reviewers). Texts by Dan Graham, (Art and Language), Robert Smithson, Brian O'Dougherty, Martha Rosler, Barbara Kruger and others. Also, considers the art and writing of each artist together.

AHIS BC3985 Introduction to Connoisseurship
M. Ainsworth
Factors involved in judging works of art, with emphasis on paintings; materials, technique, condition, attribution; identification of imitations and fakes; questions of relative quality.

AHIS C3997 Senior Thesis
C. Hunter
M 6:10-8, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
Required for all senior thesis writers.

AHIS W3885 Intellectuals, Gods, Kings & Fishermen
I. Mylonopoulos
M 11-12:50, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
During the Hellenistic period (330-30 BCE), themes that were considered uninteresting, even inappropriate for the viewer of Classical and Late Classical sculpture became extremely attractive: old people, hard working peasants, old drunken prostitutes, fishermen in the big harbours, or persons ethnically different from the Greek ideals became the subject of the Hellenistic sculpture in the round that also produced images of serene divinities and dynamic members of the elite in an entirely Classical tradition. Besides Athens, new cultural and artistic centres arose: Alexandria in Egypt, Antiocheia and Pergamon in Asia Minor, or Rhodes. Despite its importance as the birthplace of all arts, Athens did not dominate anymore the artistic language, so that an unprecedented variety of styles characterises the sculptural production of the Hellenistic period. The seminar will study the sculpture of the Hellenistic period as an extremely imaginative and dynamic artistic expression without the Classical bias. The styles of the various Hellenistic artistic centres will be individually analysed based on representative works and then compared to each other and to the sculptural traditions of the Classical period, so that Hellenistic sculpture can be understood both as a continuation of the Classical and especially Late Classical sculpture and as an artistic and intellectual revolt against the ideals of the past.

AHIS W3894 The Floating World: Prints in Columbia Collections
M. McKelway
W 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
(Note: Prof. McKelway's class will start on September 11, 2013)
"Pictures of the Floating World" (Ukiyo-e) constitute one of the most significant developments in the history of Japanese art, and one that would have profound impact on the history of art in Europe and the west in the early modern period. These images were created on all pictorial formats, from scroll paintings and painted fans to woodblock prints, wooden posters, lanterns, and kites. Because these images pervaded so many different media, Ukiyo-e images offer a unique lens through which to examine the role art in early modern society as well as the very nature of that society. Our course will focus primarily on the woodblock print, a popular pictorial form that was accessible to broad sectors of society, and will focus on woodblock prints created in the city of Edo between 1700 and 1850. The course will be shaped around three approaches: brief weekly lectures to introduce prominent images and themes; discussion of readings that offer critical perspectives; and direct examination of works of art in the collections of Columbia University and other institutions and collections in New York.

AHIS W3948 Nineteenth Century Criticism
J. Crary
T 10:10-12, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
Selected readings in 19th-century philosophy, literature and art criticism with emphasis on problems of modernity and aesthetic experience. Texts include work by Diderot, Kant, Coleridge, Hegel, Emerson, Flaubert, Ruskin, Baudelaire, and Nietzsche.

AHIS W3958 Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier: City and Nature
B. Bergdoll
W 2:10-4, 832 Schermerhorn Hall
This seminar will focus on the development of the urban ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, two of the most influential architect/theorists of the relationship of new forms of architecture to the modernization of cities and of larger territories in the first half of the twentieth century. Timed to take advantage of both the large Le Corbusier retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art ("Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes" through September 24th) and the preparation of a presentation of Frank Lloyd Wright's models and drawings now held at the Avery Library in a show on "Frank Lloyd Wright between density and dispersal" at MoMA (opens 20 December), the seminar offers a rare chance to combine readings of primary and secondary materials on these two influential architects with intensive viewing of original drawings and models.

AHIS W3966 The Printed Image and the Invention of the Viewer
S. Brisman
T 12:10-2, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
By the third quarter of the fifteenth century, the mechanically reproduced image could offer a variety of visual experiences: occasions for devotional encounters, markers of scientific data, portraits substituting for real presence, moral commentaries, templates for designs, and performances of stylistic bravado. Some of these categories had never before been presented for ownership, nor in the format of a single sheet that could be bought, colored, cut, pasted, written upon, copied, or sent as a greeting card. In order to attune prospective buyers to the capabilities of this medium, artists developed different strategies for signaling how their images might be enjoyed, put to use, or interpreted. Structured around visits to work with originals in New York collections, this course aims to develop our skills at "reading" prints, to understand how they invited certain behaviors and practices and offered new kinds of pictorial experiences. Through close reading of texts and close analysis of images, we will discover how early modern prints created artistic conversations and trained the eyes and minds of their viewers.