Fall 2017 Undergraduate Courses

LAST UPDATED on 6/29/2017


AHIS BC1001 Introduction to the History of Art I (Barnard course)
J. Ackley
M/W 2:40-3:55, 304 Barnard Hall
An introduction to the art and architecture of the ancient and medieval world. The artistic traditions of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the Americas will be surveyed from the prehistoric era to c. 1400 CE. Questions of style, content, function, and cultural and historical context will be emphasized throughout. Museum visits will play an integral role in the course. Discussion section required.

AHIS UN1007 Introduction to Architecture
M. Waters
M/W 10:10-11:25, 614 Schermerhorn
This course is required for architectural history and theory majors, but is also open to students interested in a general introduction to the history of architecture, considered on a global scale. Architecture is analyzed through in-depth case studies of key works of sacred, secular, public, and domestic architecture from both the Western canon and cultures of the ancient Americas and of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic faiths. The time frame ranges from ancient Mesopotamia to the modern era. Discussion section required.

AHIS UN2400 Nineteenth Century Art
J. Crary
M/W 2:40-3:55, 501 Schermerhorn
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.

NEW COURSE (added 7/24/17)
AHIS UN2414 In and Around Abstract Expressionism
C. Chamberlain
T/R 1:10-2:25, 612 Schermerhorn
In histories of twentieth-century art, Abstract Expressionism is typically treated as either a monument or a straw man. The first approach portrays “Ab-Ex” as a heroic movement that heralded the triumph of American painting and secured New York’s preeminence over Paris. The second reduces it to the epitome of everything that succeeding generations of artists would reject or critique: modernist autonomy, male chauvinism, cultural jingoism. In recent years, both these narratives have been significantly complicated, by scholars and curators who have situated Ab-Ex in a more global context, and by a diverse array of painters who have found renewed relevance in its principal aesthetic strategies. This lecture course will look “in and around” Abstract Expressionism in three stages. We will begin by surveying its major precedents in the first half of the twentieth century, including cubism, concretism, muralism, and surrealism. Then, we will explore how, in the years immediately following World War II, abstract painting developed differently in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. Finally, we turn to some of the major concepts whereby postwar painting has been understood, such as formalism, “action painting,” and calligraphic abstraction. Throughout, we will connect the work of individual painters to the larger themes of the postwar era: the aftermaths of Auschwitz and Hiroshima; the decolonization of the global south; the formation of international institutions; the spread of commercial culture; and the ideological divisions of the Cold War. Note: this course is equivalent to AHIS BC3626.

AHIS UN2600 Arts of China
R. Harrist
NEW TIME M/W 4:10-5:25, 612 Schermerhorn
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.

AHUM UN2604 Arts of China, Japan, and Korea
This course 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. CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core requirement. Discussion section required.

Section 001 
D. Delbanco
M/W 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn

Section 002
T. Andrei
M/W 1:10-2:25, 832 Schermerhorn

AHUM UN2800 Arts of Islam: The First Formative Centuries (ca. 700-1000)
A. Shalem
M/W 2:40-3:55, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
This introductory course attempts to cover the first 300 years, from circa 700-1000 AD, stressing the birth of Islam as the birth of a new aesthetic phenomenon in the Mediterranean Basin, Near East and Central Asia and its appropriations and innovations in creating a novel imperial style, while, at the same time, questioning the modern historiographies and narratives for these masterpieces. CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core requirement. Discussion section required.

AHUM UN2901 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture
V. Dehejia
T/R 2:40-3:55, 612 Schermerhorn
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. CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core requirement. Discussion section required.

AHIS BC3350 Medieval Art and Architecture
J. Ackley
T/R 4:10-5:25pm, location tbc
A survey of medieval art and architecture from Late Antiquity to c. 1450. Questions of iconography, function, and historical context will be interwoven with those of style, material, and craft. Late Antique, Byzantine, and early Islamic (Umayyad and Abbasid) art, as well as that of the Migration Era (Merovingian, Visigothic, and other Germanic cultures), will be briefly reviewed, after which the course will explore in depth the diverse artistic traditions of medieval Europe, including Insular, Carolingian, Anglo-Saxon, Ottonian, Mozarabic, Romanesque, and the multiple permutations of Gothic art. The course concludes with a nod towards van Eyck, Alberti, and fifteenth-century painting. Key thematic questions throughout include strategies of picturing, manifesting, and touching God; cross-cultural exchange between West and East; the treatment of the human figure; the relationship between Church and court; and the intersection of politics, religion, and economics embodied by so much of medieval art. The course will emphasize the figural arts of painting and sculpture; the precious arts of metalwork, ivory, and textiles; and architecture.


AHIS UN3000 Majors Colloquium: Introduction to the Literature and Methods of Art History
J. Crary
T 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn
Introduction to different methodological approaches to the study of art and visual culture. Required course for majors.
Online sign-up form opens Monday, April 3rd, at 10am.
AHIS UN3000 is not open to Barnard or Professional Studies students.

Undergraduate Seminars

Undergraduate seminars require an application, which can be found here. Admission to undergraduate seminars is at the instructor's discretion. Applications for Columbia undergraduate seminars must be submitted to Emily Benjamin in the main office for the Department of Art History and Archaeology at 826 Schermerhorn Hall.

Applications for Fall 2017 Columbia undergraduate seminars are due by 3pm on Friday, April 14th, 2017.
Applications for Barnard undergraduate seminars must be submitted to Elisabeth Sher at the Barnard Art History Department by Friday, April 7th. Please visit the Barnard Art History website download their seminar application form.

AHIS UN3002 Senior Thesis Seminar
A. Shalem
T 4:10-6, 832 Schermerhorn
Required for all thesis writers. Counts towards elective lecture credit. For more information about the senior thesis project, please visit the senior thesis page on our website.

AHIS UN3309 Virtual Space: Renaissance Perspective (1400-1750)
M. Hara
R 12:10-2, 930 Schermerhorn
Single-point perspective was an optical representational technique that fundamentally altered the early modern visual world. Bridging the domains of art and science, perspectival representation could simultaneously reveal a mathematically reasoned space and a fantastic reality. It appealed widely to visual artists, writers, scientific thinkers, politicians, and explorers. The ambiguities and broad applicability of perspective opened new possibilities for visual communication and spatial thinking. This undergraduate seminar is organized chronologically (1400-1750, roughly) and thematically to provide a broad overview on perspectival representation in this historical period. We will consider fields as diverse as painting, building, print making, theater design, cartography, urban design, natural science, and philosophy - primarily in Italy, where the discourse centered upon during the early modern period. The seminar aims to explore ideas related to virtual space - that is, moments of contact between real space and the mental space of our interior worlds. It seeks to broaden students' knowledge, not only of artists and artworks form early modernity, but also of critical literature on this art historical topic. Readings will include primary sources from the Renaissance as well as key scholarly texts from the field.

AHIS UN3432 The Global Division of Documentary Labor
T. Stark
W 12:10-2, 930 Schermerhorn
This undergraduate seminar offers an introduction to the politics and aesthetics of documentary from the late 1960s to the present in photography, film, and multimedia art. Central to this course will be an analysis of how documentary is bound up with ethical questions about the right to representation and self-representation in a variety of geopolitical contexts, including Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. Over the course of the semester, we will trace shifts in the subject of documentary representation, from the heroic industrial worker (often male and European) in early twentieth-century Factography and Worker Photography to a multiplicity of political subjectivities reflecting topics such as domestic labor, anti- and post-colonial struggles, and surveillance in our current digital world.

NEW COURSE (added 4/13/17)
AHIS UN3433 Enlightenment and Archaeology
Z. Bahrani
W 4:10-6, 934 Schermerhorn
This undergraduate seminar examines the emergence of the disciplines of Near Eastern and Classical archaeology, looking into the antiquarian interests and related collecting practices of eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe. These interests were centered around lands under the Ottoman empire, in the Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Students will learn about antiquarianism and the development of the scientific discipline of archaeology, how archaeology defined itself and set itself apart from its predecessors, focusing on the collecting and documentation of antiquities within the context of empire, the start of organized excavations in this region, the origins of the modern museum and early archaeological photography. Seminar applications should be submitted to the department of Art History and Archaeology. Interested students should attend the first class for the roster selection process. Please be sure to complete and bring a seminar application.

NEW COURSE (added 6/29/17)
AHIS UN3434 Diplomacy by Ceramics: Introduction to the Soft Power of One Medium Across World Cultures

S. Coman-Ernstoff
M 12:10-2, 930 Schermerhorn
This course offers a survey of how ceramic art has been used to channel “soft power” over the centuries and in multiple cultures. From medieval Japan to Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great, ceramics have been used as instruments of diplomacy, being offered as gifts or strategically displayed in private and public settings of high visibility. Through object-based analysis, students will learn about the global history of the relation between art and politics. Readings are drawn from multiple disciplines, including art history, cultural sociology, anthropology, and communication studies. Museum visits and digital visualization tools will play an integral role in the course. In lieu of an application interested students should attend the first class for the roster selection process.

AHIS UN3602 Death and the Afterlife in East Asian Buddhist Art
M. Chusid
M 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn
Death is an encounter with the immaterial, yet its material forms are critical to understanding how people asked, and answered, questions about the unknowable. What will we experience during, and after, we die? How can we as the living maintain connections with the deceased? Is death an inevitable reality, or can it be transcended? This seminar is intended to both facilitate discussion of visual representations of death and salvation in East Asian Buddhist art, and to improve close looking of the visual materials. We will examine how and why representations of dying, death, and salvation were given concrete reality in art and architecture throughout East Asia, using Buddhism as a common lens through which to examine artistic practice. Proceeding in a largely chronological and thematic fashion, we will look at the changing conceptions of death and the afterlife in India, China, and Japan. Each week, we will read excerpts from a primary text in translation and study related images, considering their composition, context of use or display, and the ways in which artists pictorially resolved or translated text into visual form. These discussions, in turn, will serve as our point of entry into a much larger picture in thinking about the following issues with respect to Buddhist art: 1) visual narratives; 2) art and sacred biography or myth; 3) art and doctrine; 4) tensions between permanence and impermanence.

NEW COURSE (added 6/29/17)
AHIS BC3931 The Body in Medieval Art (Barnard course)
J. Ackley
T 12:10-2, location tbc
Medieval thinkers theorized the body in ways vastly different from how human bodies are conceptualized and defined today in the twenty-first-century West.  Indeed, the “medieval body” was not at all a stable, monolithic entity, but rather a shifting constellation of ideas and practices that waxed, waned, and coexisted throughout the Middle Ages.  The diversity of medieval attitudes towards the body helped inform its representation in art, which, simultaneously, was also dependent upon conventions of craft, medium, artistry, preciousness, and style.  “Body” signals not only earthly bodies—sexed, fleshly, corruptible, and soon to decay—but also the soul (equally fragile), as well as heavenly, angelic, and divine bodies, including that of Christ.  This course analyzes medieval strategies of representing these bodies while situating them in their respective intellectual and cultural environments.  Primary-source material will be contextualized by the secondary literature, and our inquiries will remain cognizant of gender-, sexuality-, race-, and performance-critical methods.  The bodies examined will include, and are not limited to, saintly, gendered, racialized, clerical, monstrous, virginal, heretical, sickly, healthy, courtly, resurrected, and uncircumscribable bodies. In lieu of an application interested students should attend the first class for the roster selection process.

AHIS BC3950 Photo and Video in Asia (Barnard course)
C. Phillips
R 12:10-2, location tbc
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 (Barnard course)
J. Miller
T 11-12:50, Diana Center 501/2
This course is a seminar on contemporary art criticism written by artists in the post war period. Such criticism differs from academic criticism because it construes art production less as a discrete object of study than as a point of engagement. It also differs from journalistic criticism because it is less obliged to report art market activity and more concerned with polemics. Art /Criticism I will trace the course of these developments by examining the art and writing of one artist each week. These will include Brian O’Doherty/Patrick Ireland, Allan Kaprow, Robert Morris, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Smithson, Art & Language, Dan Graham, Adrian Piper, Mary Kelly, Martha Rosler, Judith Barry and Andrea Fraser. We will consider theoretical and practical implications of each artist’s oeuvre.

AHIS BC3985 Intro to Connoisseurship (Barnard Course)
A. Bayer
M 9-10:50, Met Museum
Factors involved in judging works of art, with emphasis on paintings; materials, technique, condition, attribution; identification of imitations and fakes; questions of relative quality.

Bridge Lectures

Bridge lectures are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. They do not require an application.

AHIS GU4044 Neo-Dada and Pop Art
B. Joseph
T/R 10:10-11:25, 614 Schermerhorn
This course examines the avant-garde art of the fifties and sixties, including assemblage, happenings, pop art, Fluxus, and artists' forays into film. It will examine the historical precedents of artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Allan Kaprow, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Carolee Schneemann and others in relation to their historical precedents, development, critical and political aspects.

Bridge Seminars

Bridge seminars are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Admission to bridge seminars is at the instructor’s discretion. The undergraduate application form for bridge seminars can be found here, and should be submitted to Emily Benjamin in the main office for the Department of Art History and Archaeology at 826 Schermerhorn Hall.

Applications for Fall 2017 bridge seminars are due on Monday, July 31st, 2017.

CLST GU4514 Roman Coins and History: A Hands-On Seminar on an Unpublished Collection
L. Carbone
F 2:10-4, 934 Schermerhorn
Aimed at advanced undergraduate and graduate students, this course aims to introduce coinage and the study of coins as historical disciplines and to provide a survey of the production and use of coinage in the Roman world from the 3rd century BC to the 1st century AD, with specific emphasis on the Late Republican coinage. The study of the unpublished R.B.Witschonke Collection, consisting of 3,713 provincial coins mainly dated between 2nd century BC and 1st century AD, will offer the students a unique opportunity to study hands-on the Roman coinage in the Provincia Asia and its relationship to the political, social and economic history not only of this province, but also of the Empire as whole in the period of time encompassed by the Collection. The best original papers resulting from this research will be included in the forthcoming catalogue of this collection. The students will also have direct access to the world-class numismatic collections at the American Numismatic Collection (over 170,000 Roman and Greek pieces) and to the Olcott collection of Roman coins housed in the RBML in Butler Library (over 3,000 Roman pieces).

AHCL GU4541 Post-War Critical Theory: Re-inventions
J. Rajchman
W 4:10-6, 832 Schermerhorn
Is today a time of reinvention for the critical theory that took shape after the Second World War? In this course, taking 1989 as a new take-off date, we explore this hypothesis through a series of over-lapping questions including: what is contemporary as distinct from modern? What is an apparatus as distinct from a medium, a media, or a machine? Is there or can there be a global art history? Can participation be critical? Focusing of the role of visual art and art institutions, their expansions and transformations, we thus address the question of the fate the function of critical theory in the new world of information economies, new urbanizations, biennials and art fairs.

AHIS GU4583 The Craft of Ivory
A. Shalem
T 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn
Studying the art of ivory in the Middle Ages provides art historians with the wide spectrum about the history of styles and craftsmanship. The relatively huge amount of the surviving material enables us to tell a relatively coherent story about the production of this material. In the focus of this seminar are the products of the so-called medieval Islamic ivories, mainly those produced in the Arab Mediterranean and the Levant. These artifacts are usually datable between the 7th and the 14th centuries. The discussions in the class will concentrate on carved, incised, painted, and wood and ivory intarsia objects as well as on issues concerning trade, availability, meanings, iconographies, patronage, ownerships, as well as the relationship of this material to other substances, such as wood, textiles, metal and precious stones.