Fall 2018 Undergraduate Courses

Last updated: Tuesday, September 4th, 2018. Red text denotes a new or changed course since the previous update.


AHIS BC1001 Introduction to the History of Art I (Barnard course)
G. Bryda
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 UN2108 Greek Art and Architecture
I. Mylonopoulos
M/W 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn
Introduction to the art and architecture of the Greek world during the archaic, classical, and Hellenistic periods (11th - 1st centuries B.C.E.).

AHIS UN2400 Nineteenth Century Art
J. Crary
M/W 4:10-5:25, 612 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.

AHIS UN2411 Histories of Photography
N. Elcott
T/R 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn
Few media have shaped the course of modernity more powerfully than photography. Law, science, journalism, criminology, urban planning, and entertainment are but a handful of the fields remade by the introduction of photography. More ambivalent has been photography's relationship to art. Once relegated to the margins, photographic practices now occupy the center of much artistic production. This course will not attempt a comprehensive survey of the medium. Rather, we will trace central developments through a series of case studies from photography's nineteenth century birth to its current, digital afterlife. We will cover seminal movements and figures as well as more obscure practices and discourses. Particular attention will be paid to the theoretical and methodological questions concerning the medium.

AHIS UN2420 Art in Britain: Holbein to Shonibare
M. Gamer
T/R 4:10-5:25, 832 Schermerhorn
This course will examine the history of art in Britain from the early sixteenth century to present. Students will be introduced to major artists, works, and media, as well as to key themes in the art historical scholarship. Topics will include: portraiture, politics, and power; landscape and national identity; print culture, graphic satire, and caricature; the relationship between image and text; and the visual culture of slavery, trade, and empire.

COURSE ADDED 5/23/2018
AHIS UN2602 Arts of Japan
M. Chusid
T/R 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn
This course surveys the arts of Japan from the pre-historic era to the Edo period, with a particular focus on Buddhist art, sculpture and architecture, narrative handscolls, ink painting, decorative screens, and woodblock prints. Throughout the course, we will take close account of the broader cultural and historical contexts in which the arts were made. Other themes that we will cover include the ongoing tension in Japanese art between native traditions and foreign influences, the role of ritual in Japan's visual arts, artistic responses to multiple visual pasts and rupture from these pasts, the changing loci of patronage, and the formats and materials of Japanese art.

COURSE ADDED 8/28/2018
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.

(no Section 001)

Section 002
J. Lee
M/W 11:40-12:55, 930 Schermerhorn

Section 003
D. Melnikova
T/R 4:10-5:25, 930 Schermerhorn

AHIS BC3642 North American Art and Culture (Barnard course)
E. Hutchinson
T/R 2:40-3:55, location tbc
An examination of North American painting, sculpture, photography, graphic art and decorative arts from the Colonial Period until World War I. Artists discussed will include Benjamin West, John Singleton Copley, Thomas Cole, Lilly Martin Spencer, Harriet Powers, Rafael Aragon, Robert Duncanson, Frederick Church, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, James MacNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Thomas Moran, Henry Ossawa Tanner and Eadweard Muybridge.

AHUM UN2802 Arts of Islam: Realignments of Empire and State (circa 1000-1400)
A. Shalem
M/W 2:40-3:55, 612 Schermerhorn
This introductory survey course, open to both undergraduates and graduates, examines a broad spectrum of artistic and architectural developments across the Islamic World (Spain, North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia) encompassing crucial political and territorial shifts that occurred in the late medieval period. Looking inward and outward, these shifts not only created new realities of empire and state, but also realigned engagements between a variety of Muslim societies with both European, African and Asian steppe cultures, leading to new forms that articulate shifts in religious, political, intellectual and social practices. Through examining a series of test cases in within a mainly chronological narrative, the course will cultivate clear visual analysis within particular cultural and material contexts. It will also develop experience with reading a variety of secondary and primary source materials in translation. This course is the second part of the series "Arts of Islam" and can be taken separately for credit. Discussion section required. CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core Requirement.

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. Discussion section required. CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core requirement.


Required course for Columbia AHIS/HTAC/AHVA majors. Students must sign up to indicate their interest using an online form, linked below.  The form will open on Wednesday, April 4th at 10am. The form will close on Thursday, April 12th, 2018 at 5pm. Admission is at the instructor's discretion. Early sign-up is strongly encouraged.

AHIS UN3000 Majors’ Colloquium: Introduction to the Literature and Methods of Art History
Z. Strother
W 10:10-12, 832 Schermerhorn
This course is an introduction to the theories and methods of art history and visual culture. It is required for undergraduate majors. This course is restricted to Columbia undergraduate majors in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. It is not open to Barnard or Professional Studies students.
'Majors Colloquium' sign-up form (opens 10am, April 4th, 2018).

Undergraduate Seminars

Undergraduate seminars are open to CU and Barnard undergraduates. Interested students must submit an application to be considered for enrollment. Admission is at the instructor's discretion.

Department of Art History and Archaeology seminars: Each undergraduate seminar description on this page includes a link to an online application form for that seminar. Students must fill out and submit their Fall 2018 undergraduate seminar applications by 5pm on Friday, April 13th, 2018.

Barnard Art History seminars: Applications for Barnard undergraduate seminars must be submitted in person to Elisabeth Sher in the Barnard Art History department office at 500E Diana Center. Interested students must use the Barnard Art History seminar application form. Barnard seminar applications are due by 12pm on Friday, April 13th, 2018.

AHIS UN3002 Senior Thesis Seminar
B. Bergdoll
W 4:10-6, 934 Schermerhorn
Required for all thesis writers. Counts toward elective lecture credit. For more information about the senior thesis program, please visit the senior thesis information page.

AHIS UN3103 Roman Villas: The Art and Architecture of an Ancient Lifestyle
F. de Angelis
T 6:10-8, 930 Schermerhorn
The villa—the countryside residence that Roman aristocrats used both for running landed estates and as a leisure retreat from city life—is one of the most characteristic features of the ancient classical world. From the late Republic on, it was the locus where a new and distinctive lifestyle was developed. The seminar is designed to introduce students to the main aspects of the architecture and figural decoration of Roman villas by focusing on well-known examples from the Vesuvian area.
‘Roman Villas: The Art and Architecture of an Ancient Lifestyle’ seminar application form.

AHIS UN3313 Women Painters in Europe, 1500-1750
M. Cole
W 2:10-4pm, 934 Schermerhorn
Histories of European Renaissance and Baroque art once narrated a story involving almost only male actors: it was men who made the period's paintings and sculptures, men who purchased them, and men who left their views on art for posterity. That characterization of the field is no longer quite so true, and one of the most significant changes in the field is that female painters now feature in every survey of the period. The aim of this course is to look comparatively at the painterly works produced by women across the early modern period and at the way those pictures have been treated in the scholarly literature from the last several decades.
‘Women Painters in Europe, 1500-1750’ seminar application form.

AHIS UN3444 Reflexivity in Art and Film
J. Crary
T 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn
This seminar will explore a range of individual works of Western art from the 16th century to late 20th century in which the tension between illusionism and reflexivity is foregrounded. It will focus on well-known paintings and films in which forms of realism and verisimilitude coexist with features that affirm the artificial or fictive nature of the work or which dramatize the material, social and ideological conditions of the work’s construction. Topics will include art by Durer, Holbein, Velazquez, Watteau, Courbet, Morisot, Vertov, Deren, Godard, Varda, Hitchcock and others. Readings will include texts by Auerbach, Gombrich, Brecht, Jameson, Barthes, Didi-Huberman, Bazin, Lukacs, Mulvey, and Daney.
‘Reflexivity in Art and Film’ seminar application form.

NEW COURSE 5/23/2018
AHIS UN3608 Contemporary Japanese Art

M. Chusid
T 2:10-4, 832 Schermerhorn
This seminar examines the development of Japanese art from the early twentieth century to the present. Rather than a traditional survey, this course thematically explores some of the major theoretical, political, and historical developments found in a broad range of visual cultural practices. As we engage with artworks produced in a wide range of media—painting, performance, film, cultural products, and fashion—we will also investigate how contemporary art deliberately engages with Japan’s past and envisions its future. Themes to be considered include representations of gender and the environment, political dissent, Japan’s relationship with the West, technology, cuteness, the art of disaster, and fantasy. We will also think about the place of Japanese art in a global context, as well as the changing understanding of “art” and its place in society. Online applications due by 5pm on Wednesday, August 1st. Please email instructor with any questions.
‘Contemporary Japanese Art’ seminar application form.

NEW COURSE 7/18/2018 
AHIS UN3708 Beyond El Dorado: Materials, Values, and Aesthetics in Pre-Columbian Art History
L. Trever
M 12:10-2, 832 Schermerhorn
In this seminar, we will investigate ancient and indigenous art, materials, and aesthetics from areas of what is today Latin America. Taking advantage of New York’s unrivaled museum collections, we will research Pre-Columbian gold and silver work, as well as equally precious stone, shell, textile, and feather works created by artists of ancient Mexico, Central America, and Andean South America. We will also study latter-day histories of collecting, reception, display, appropriation, and activism that shape contemporary understandings of Pre-Columbian art. Students should attend the first class for the roster selection process. Please fill out and bring a seminar application: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/arthistory/undergraduate/forms/seminar-application-form.pdf.

AHIS BC3865 Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century (Barnard course)
A. Higonnet
M 11-12:50, location tbc
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.
Apply for ‘Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century’ using this form.

COURSE ADDED 4/10/2018
AHIS BC3949 Art of Witness (Barnard course)

R. Deutsche
W 11-12:50, location tbc
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.
Apply for ‘Art of Witness’ using this form.

AHIS BC3968 Art Criticism I (Barnard course)
J. Miller
T 11-12:50, location tbc
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.
Apply for ‘Art Criticism I’ using this form.

COURSE ADDED 4/10/2018
 Contemporary Photography and Related Media: The Political Exhibition (Barnard course)
J. Lehan
R 12:10-2pmBC MILSTEIN LL018
This seminar serves as an introductory survey of contemporary photography and related media through the framework of current exhibitions in New York City. Exhibitions of photography and video play a particular role in mirroring the present moment, which finds political themes front and center. Prevalent are exhibitions that redress (art) historical erasure, present counter histories, or take direct aim at specific governmental policies.  Through group outings to NYC galleries and museums (approximately 8 trips) we will take stock of which artists are showing, in what contexts, and unpack both artistic and curatorial strategies. In addition to class discussion of what we've seen, during our time in the classroom we will look back at the select landmark photography exhibitions, to chart evolutions in the medium and their interrelation with politics. Interested students should be sure to attend the first day of class (Tuesday, September 4th, 2:10-4pm) to be considered for enrollment. Please fill out and bring a copy of the Barnard Seminar Application for Professor Lehan's consideration.

Bridge Lectures

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

AHIS GU4011 Art and Archaeology of Mesopotamia
Z. Bahrani
T/R 4:10-5:25, 612 Schermerhorn
This course surveys the art and architecture of Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq and north-eastern Syria) from the establishment of the first cities and the development of the first monumental art and architecture in the fourth millennium BC through the Hellenistic conquest in the fourth century BC (the Seleucid dynasty), and the Parthian era. The lectures are organised chronologically from the Early Bronze Age until the Late Antique. Within this historical framework the lectures will focus on culturally specific concepts of representation and aesthetics, and explore the uses of the arts in politics, imperialism, private rituals and state cults. At the same time, small scale and personal arts are considered in the context of private ownership and the practices of daily life.

 The course takes a broad interdisciplinary approach, intersecting methods of art history, archaeology and anthropology, and provides a preliminary introduction to some ancient texts on works of art, in translation. The lectures explore such topics as the development of narrative representation, monumental public art, architectural sculpture, and small- scale glyptic arts. The meaning and function of these and other genres are considered within their specific Mesopotamian social context. Rituals of animating images, building rituals, treatment of images in wars, cultic performance, and the import of luxury arts through long distance trade contacts will thus also be addressed in the lectures. All these aspects of the visual arts and their uses will be explored within the context of the political and social practices of Mesopotamia itself as well as within the broader context of international economic-trade relations and imperialism. No laptops or other e-devices.

AHIS GU4021 Medieval Art I: From Late Antiquity to the End of the Byzantine Empire
H. Klein
M/W 1:10-2:25, 612 Schermerhorn
This lecture course, open to both advanced undergraduates and graduate students, offers a
comprehensive chronological survey of the most important monuments of Late Antique and
Byzantine art, spanning from the earliest surviving traces of Christian art and architecture in the city of Rome and the eastern provinces of the Late Roman Empire (Dura Europos) to
the art and architecture of the Late Byzantine Empire. Topics of special interest will include
the formation of Christian art and culture in the world of Late Antiquity, the relationship
between imperial self-representation and urban design in the city of Constantinople, the
theology and function of religious images in Byzantine society before and after the
iconoclast controversy, the development of Byzantine church architecture and its function as a liturgical space, the production and use of liturgical books, sacred vessels, and the question of cross-cultural relations between the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe. This course is open to all undergraduate and graduate students without prerequisites. Discussion section required for undergraduates only.

Bridge Seminars

Bridge seminars are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Interested students must submit an application to be considered for enrollment. Admission is at the instructor’s discretion.

Each bridge seminar description on this page includes a link to an online application for that seminar. Students must fill out and submit their Fall 2018 bridge seminar application forms by 5pm on Wednesday, August, 1st, 2018.

AHIS GU4531 Tintoretto – 500 Years
D. Bodart
R 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn
Acclaimed in his time as one of the most promising painters of his generation, but also criticized for the haste of his working method and his eccentricity, Jacopo Tintoretto is among the most complex and intriguing figures of Italian sixteenth century painting. The seminar will reconsider the singularity of Tintoretto's processes of creation in the light of his productive workshop organization and practice, according a special attention to the role of his son Domenico and his daughter Marietta.

AHIS GU4646 Foucault and the Arts
J. Rajchman
R 4:10-6, 934 Schermerhorn
Michel Foucault was a great historian and critic who helped change the ways research and criticism are done today – a new ‘archivist’. At the same time, he was a philosopher. His research and criticism formed part of an attempt to work out a new picture of what it is to think, and think critically, in relation to Knowledge, Power, and Processes of Subjectivization. What was this picture of thought? How did the arts, in particular the visual arts, figure in it? How might they in turn give a new image of Foucault’s kind of critical thinking for us today? In this course, we explore these questions, in the company of Deleuze, Agamben, Rancière and others thinkers and in relation to questions of media, document and archive in the current ‘regime of information’. The seminar is open to students in all disciplines concerned with these issues.

AHIS GU4676 Slow Looking: A History of Chinese Art in Ten Objects from the Metropolitan Museum of Art 
R. Harrist
M 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn and Met Museum
This bridge seminar, taught at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with the curators of Chinese Art, will focus intensely on key works that represent major art historical developments, from the Neolithic Period through the Qing dynasty. Allowing direct access to objects in the museum's storage and study rooms, the seminar is designed for students who wish to deepen their understanding of how works of art were made and perceived by their original viewers.

AHIS GU4747 Architecture and Empire in the Nineteenth Century
Z. Celik
R 10:10-12, 934 Schermerhorn
This course revisits some of the key moments in the European architecture of the nineteenth century with the goal of understanding the relationship between these developments and a global modernity shaped by old and new empires. In doing so, it assumes a particular methodological stance. Rather than attempting to be geographically comprehensive, it focusses on the interdependencies between Europe and its colonies; instead of being strictly chronological, it is arranged around a constellation of themes that are explored through a handful of projects and texts. Reading of primary texts is a crucial part of the course. Students will have the opportunity to hone their critical skills by reading, writing, and conducting research toward a final paper.