Fall 2019 Undergraduate Courses

Last updated: Wednesday, August 28th, 2019. 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 UN1007 Introduction to the History of Architecture
M. Waters
M/W 2:40-3:55, 614 Schermerhorn Hall
This course is required for architectural history and theory majors, but is also open to students interested in gaining a general introduction to the history of architecture. Moving from antiquity to the modern era on a global scale, architecture is analyzed through in-depth analyses of key works of sacred, secular, public, and domestic spaces. While examining the cultural, urban, social, and political dimensions of architecture, the class also addresses issues of media, materiality, and technology as well as temporal and geographic migrations of architectural knowledge. Discussion section required.

AHIS UN2105 Greek Myths Seen Through Ancient Greek and Roman Art
I. Mylonopoulos
M/W 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
The lecture course will explore the rich world of Greek mythology as seen through Greek and Roman art. An important focus will be the understanding of the significant discrepancies between the literary and artistic dissemination of ancient myths. The course will illuminate the ways in which ancient artists visualized Greek myths and demonstrate that art did not simply illustrate stories but helped shape them significantly while creating very often imaginative alternatives.

AHIS UN2311 Baroque Imperial Spain
D. Bodart
T/R 2:40-3:55, 807 Schermerhorn Hall
The course will survey Baroque art in Hapsburg Spain, considered in the wide geographical context of the extended and dispersed dominions of the different crowns of the Spanish monarchy, which connected the Iberian Peninsula with Italy, Flanders and the New World. It will concern visual art in its various media, mainly painting, sculpture and architecture, but also tapestries, prints, armor, goldsmithery and ephemeral decoration, among others. Works of the main artists of the period will be introduced and analyzed, giving attention to the historical and cultural context of their production and reception. The course will particularly focus on the movement of artists, works and models within the Spanish Hapsburg territories, in order to understand to what extent visual arts contributed to shaping the political identity of this culturally composite empire.

COURSE ADDED 5/10/2019
AHIS UN2412 Eighteenth Century Art in Europe
F. Baumgartner
T/R 10:10-11:25, 807 Schermerhorn Hall
This course will examine the history of art in Europe from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth century. This was a period of dramatic cultural change, marked by, among other things, the challenging of traditional artistic hierarchies; increased opportunities for travel, trade, and exchange; and the emergence of “the public” as a critical new audience for art. Students will be introduced to major artists, works, and media, as well as to key themes in the art historical scholarship. Topics will include: the birth of art criticism; the development of the art market; domesticity and the cult of sensibility; the ascension of women artists and patrons; and the visual culture of revolution. The emphasis will be on France, Italy and Britain, with forays to Spain, Germany, Austria, Russia and elsewhere.

AHIS UN2427 Twentieth-Century Architecture
Z. Çelik
M/W 1:10-2:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
This course examines some of the key moments of architectural modernity in the twentieth century in an attempt to understand how architecture participated in the making of a new world order. It follows the lead of recent scholarship that has been undoing the assumption that modern twentieth-century architecture is a coherent enterprise that should be understood through avant-gardist movements. Instead, architectural modernity is presented in this course as a multivalent, and even contradictory, entity that has nonetheless had profound impact on modernity. Rather than attempting to be geographically comprehensive, it focuses on the interdependencies between the Global North and the South; instead of being strictly chronological, it is arranged around a constellation of themes that are explored through a handful of projects and texts. Reading primary sources from the period under examination is a crucial part of the course. Discussion section required.

AHIS BC2601 Arts of Japan (Barnard course)
J. Reynolds
M/W 10:10-11:25, location tbc
Introduction to the painting, sculpture, and architecture of Japan from the Neolithic period through the present. Discussion focuses on key monuments within their historical and cultural contexts.

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
D. Melnikova
M/W 1:10-2:25, 807 Schermerhorn Hall

Section 003
H. Kim
T/R 2:40-3:55, 806 Schermerhorn Hall

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

AHIS BC3654 Institutional Critique (Barnard course)
R. Deutsche
T/R 1:10-2:25, location tbc
Examines precedents for institutional critique in the strategies of early twentieth-century historical avant-garde and the post-war neo-avant-garde. Explores ideas about the institution and violence, investigates the critique and elaboration of institutional critique from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, and considers the legacies of institutional critiques in the art of the present.

AHIS BC3673 History of Photography (Barnard course)
A. Alberro
T/R 4:10-5:25, Diana 504
This course will survey selected social, cultural and aesthetic or technical developments in the history of photography, from the emergence of the medium in the 1820s and 30s through to the present day. Rather than attempt comprehensively to review every aspect of photography and its legacies in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the course will instead trace significant developments through a series of case studies. Some of the latter will focus on individuals, genres or movements, and others on various discourses of the photographic image.  Particular attention will be placed on methodological and theoretical concerns pertaining to the medium. Discussion section required.


Required course for all Columbia AHIS/HTAC/AHVA majors. Students must sign up to indicate their interest using an online form, linked below. The form will open at 10am on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019. The form will close at 5pm on Thursday, April 11th, 2019. 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 Hall
This course is an introduction to the theories and methods of art history and visual culture. It is required for undergraduate majors.
Apply for the Fall 2019 Majors Colloquium using this form.

*AHIS UN3000 is restricted to Columbia undergraduate majors in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. It is not open to Barnard or Professional Studies students.

Undergraduate Seminars

Undergraduate seminars are open to CU and Barnard undergraduates. Students must submit an application in order to be considered for enrollment. Admission is at the instructor’s discretion.

Department of Art History and Archaeology seminars: Each undergraduate seminar description includes a link to an online application form. Interested students must fill out and submit their fall 2019 undergraduate seminar applications by 5pm on Thursday, April 11th, 2019.

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 500 Diana Center. Barnard seminar applications are due by 12pm on Thursday, April 11th, 2019. Interested students must use the Barnard Art History seminar application form.

AHIS UN3002 Senior Thesis Seminar
B. Bergdoll
T 4:10-6 M 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Required for all thesis writers. This year-long course towards one elective lecture course requirement. For more information about the senior thesis program, please visit the senior thesis information page.

AHIS UN3100 Hellenistic Sculpture: Intellectuals, Gods, Kings, and Fishermen
I. Mylonopoulos
M 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Obsession with the Classical often kept us from looking at the Hellenistic period with its artistic achievements as a time of innovation and experimentation in art. In Hellenistic times, new cultural and artistic centers arose besides Athens: Alexandria in Egypt, Antiocheia and Pergamon in Asia Minor, or Rhodes. Especially in sculpture, artists and patrons demonstrated an unprecedented interest in subjects such as ugly old women, working peasants, slaves with disfigured bodies, or non- Greeks. The seminar will study the sculpture of the Hellenistic period as an extremely imaginative and dynamic artistic expression without the Classical bias. In addition, it will look into the societal conditions that allowed this multi-cultural and rather inclusive style in sculpture to be created. The styles of the various Hellenistic artistic centers 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, intellectual, and social creation – a creation that often went against the ideals of the past.
Apply for ‘Hellenistic Sculpture: Intellectuals, Gods, Kings, and Fishermen’ using this online form.

AHIS UN3314 Inganno and Engaño: Art and the Rhetoric of Deceit between Spain and Italy
H. Friedman
W 12:10-2, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
This seminar examines ideas of deception - inganno in Italy, engaño in Spain - as a fundamental trait of the visual arts and as a growing preoccupation in literature, politics, science, and religion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We will attend to the rich cross-cultural exchange, divergence, and overlap in the way deceit was thought about between the Italian and Iberian peninsulas in this period. Case studies and assignments will include key works of art from New York City museums & collections, with mandatory field trips.
Apply for ‘Inganno and Engaño: Art and the Rhetoric of Deceit between Spain and Italy’ using this online form.

AHIS UN3450 Art and Empire
K. Presutti
T 10:10-12, 832 Schermerhorn Hall
This course explores the images and objects produced, collected, and displayed in the context of the British and French empires of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Drawing on a range of perspectives—including those drawn from postcolonial studies, critical race studies, and indigenous studies—we will develop a critical vocabulary for addressing the history of colonialism and the ongoing process of decolonization, asking what particular problems and opportunities art history presents for the study of empire. In what ways were aesthetics entangled with imperial ideology? How did works of art support or challenge dominant political, social, and cultural narratives? And what does a study of historic empires have to offer to our understanding of globalization today? We will also engage with the ways in which the legacy of empire is treated in contemporary museology, and will visit a number of New York City museums and collections throughout the semester. Regions covered include India, the Caribbean, the Pacific, and North Africa; topics include cartographic practices, the recording of history, the visual culture of slavery, artifacts of exploration, photography and “truth,” and the materiality of color.
Apply for ‘Art and Empire’ using this online form.

AHIS UN3451 Latinx Artists Coast to Coast
K. Jones
W 4:10-6, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
This course takes a close look at visual art and performative culture by artists of Latin American descent in the U.S. or Latinx, Latina/o art.  The artists we will study trace their heritage to Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba, along with other countries in Latin America.  We will consider how these wide-ranging and diverse creative expressions come to signify Latinidad while in the process transforming U.S. culture. Course themes include: physical and psychic borders, indigeneity, colonialism and racialization, gender and sexuality, and expanding notions American art and identity. Class discussions will focus on close examination of theoretical approaches and individual works along with ideas of representation.
Apply for ‘Latinx Artists Coast to Coast’ using this online form.

AHIS UN3611 Korean Art in the Age of Global Encounters
J. Lee
T 12:10-2, 806 Schermerhorn Hall
This seminar explores the artistic developments in Korea with a focus on its encounter with the arts of China, Japan, and Europe from the fifteenth century to the present. Each class examines case studies the works of a particular artist—to examine the way in which Korean artists developed their distinctive style and established the aesthetic values in response to specific historical junctures. There will be two field trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum.

AHIS BC3910 Photo/Media: The Political Exhibition (Barnard course)
J. Lehan
W 11-12:50, location tbc
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.
Apply for ‘Photo/Media: The Political Exhibition’ using this form.

AHIS BC3968 Art Criticism I (Barnard course)
J. Miller
T 11-12:50, Diana 501/502
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.

AHIS BC3977 The Biennial Matrix of Contemporary Art (Barnard course)
A. Alberro
R 2:10-4, Diana 501/502
This seminar introduces the relationship between contemporary artistic practices and the regularly recurring survey shows of international art that have come, since the late 1980s, to define contemporary art. A large art public around the globe encounters contemporary art solely within the frames of these exhibitions, while the constellation of artists and art from diverse cultures and places that these events feature has generated vital intercultural dialogues. The seminar will explore not only the benefits to art history and art making brought by the biennials, such as the ways they draw local artists into ostensibly global networks of art world attention and financial support, but also the extent to which these mega-exhibitions have contributed to the spread of transnational capital and imperialist politics associated with the current systemic deepening of capitalist relations commonly referred to as neoliberalism. Rather than a history of biennials, the seminar will seek to come to an understanding of the impact of global mega-exhibitions on infrastructure of contemporary art, a network based on local customs and productions but defined by global exhibitions, markets, art criticism and online platforms.
Apply for ‘The Biennial Matrix of Contemporary Art’ using this form.

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, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
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.

AHIS GU4150 Tourism, Nature, and the North American Landscape
E. Hutchinson
T/R 4:10-5:25, location tbc
This course takes as its departure point that space is constructed in the act of viewing. We will look at how visual culture reflected and contributed to changing notions of the cultural meaning of the American landscape from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Through lectures and discussions centered on the development of tourism in diverse American locations—from the Hudson River Valley to the far west to the Caribbean—we will survey the development of tourism in the United States and consider how it served as a means of cultivating taste and expressing cultural, national, racial, gendered and class identity. And we will interrogate the implication of the developing tourist industry with new technologies of vision and consider how both impacted American attitudes toward the natural environment.

Bridge Seminars

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

Each bridge seminar description includes a link to an online application form. Students must fill out and submit their fall 2019 bridge seminar applications by 5pm on Thursday, August 1st, 2019.

AHIS GU4546 Gilles Deleuze: Thinking in Art
J. Rajchman
W 2:10-4, 832 Schermerhorn Hall
The philosophy of Gilles Deleuze has emerged as one of the richest, most singular adventures in post-war European thought; Foucault considered it the most important in France, and more generally, in the 20th century. In all of Deleuze's work there is a search for a new 'image of thought.' But how did art figure in this search, and how did the search in turn appeal to artists, writers, filmmakers, architects, as well as curators or critics? In this seminar, we explore the complex theme of 'thinking in art' in Deleuze, and its implications for art in the 21st century or for the global contemporary art of today.
Apply for ‘Gilles Deleuze: Thinking in Art’ using this online form.

AHIS GU4749 Bauhaus and Architecture (Travel Seminar)
B. Bergdoll
W 10:10-12 T 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Although architecture, or building, was at the center of Walter Gropius’s famed and influential diagram of the curriculum of the Bauhaus from the 1919 founding of the school, in fact architecture was not taught during the first half of the school’s short existence.  This seminar will examine the role of architecture as metaphor, discipline, and field of influence of the Bauhaus under the directorships of Gropius (1919-28), Hannes Meyer (1928-30), and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1930-33).  A key theme will be the role that exhibitions and exhibition designed played both during the lifetime of the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau, as well as the role that exhibitions played in extending the influence of the Bauhaus and – after its closure under the Nazis in 1933—in establishing its powerful legend.  Attendance in the travel component of the seminar is obligatory: from November 1-5 we will travel to Germany to visit the three principle Bauhaus sites and the museums, as well as centennial exhibitions being staged in Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin.
Apply for ‘Bauhaus and Architecture’ using this online form.