Fall 2020 Undergraduate Courses

Last updated: Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020. Red text denotes a new or changed course since the previous update.

Please confirm course modalities on the Directory of Classes: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/home.html

Undergraduate Lectures

Undergraduate lectures are open to all undergraduate students. Graduate students may enroll in lecture courses listed at the 2000-level and above, as outlined in the program handbooks.

AHIS BC1001 Introduction to the History of Art I (Barnard course)
G. Bryda
M/W 2:40-3:55
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 1:10-2:25
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 UN2101 The Acropolis of Athens in the 6th and 5th Centuries BCE
I. Mylonopoulos
M/W 8:40-9:55
The Athenian Acropolis represents one of the most important sites of the ancient world. The impact of its architecture and sculpture on artistic and intellectual expressions of later periods goes beyond the limits of antiquity. The course takes into consideration the importance of the Parthenon in Columbia University’s core curriculum but aims also at the contextualisation of the monument within the broader context of the Athenian Acropolis during the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. The chosen chronological frame focuses on the period of the most intensive activity on the Acropolis, which correlates with the glorious days of Athenian power.
Important notice: Because of the COVID-19 crisis and in order to help students cope with the unusual demands of online teaching, all readings, all PowerPoint files, and all personal notes of the instructor will be posted on coursework in the first week of the term.

AHIS UN2105 Greek Myths Seen Through Ancient Greek and Roman Art
I. Mylonopoulos
M/W 10:10-11:25
The lecture course aims to 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.
Important notice: Because of the COVID-19 crisis and in order to help students cope with the unusual demands of online teaching, all readings, all PowerPoint files, and all personal notes of the instructor will be posted on coursework in the first week of the term.

AHIS UN2309 Early Modern Architecture (1550-1799)
E. Pistis
M/W 4:10-5:25
This course examines the history of early modern architecture from a European perspective outward. It starts with the time of Michelangelo and Palladio and ends in the late eighteenth century. It addresses a number of transhistorical principal issues and analytical approaches while focusing on to a series of roughly chronological thematic studies. Travelling across courts, academies, streets, and buildings devoted to new institutions, this course examines the cultural, material, urban, social, and political dimensions of architecture, as well as temporal and geographic migrations of architectural knowledge. Topics will also include: the resurgence of interest in antiquity; the longue durée history of monuments; changes in building typology; the patronage and politics of architecture; technological developments and building practice; architectural theory, books, and the culture of print; the growth of capital cities; the creation of urban space and landscape; the formalization of architectural education; and the changing status of the architect.

AHIS UN2400 Nineteenth Century Art
M. Gamer
T/R 10:10-11:25

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.

Section 001
N. Kuromiya
T/R 10:10-11:25

Section 002
C. Jiang
M/W 8:40-9:55

Section 003
M. McKelway
M/W 4:10-5:25

AHUM UN2901 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture
V. Dehejia
T/R 2:40-3:55
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 BC3626 In and Around Abstract Expressionism (Barnard course)
A. Alberro
T/R 4:10-5:25
This course focuses on the history of the artistic phenomenon of abstract expressionism in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Japan. To place abstract expressionism within its proper historical context, we will explore the modern, anti-modern, avant-garde, and neo-avant-garde artistic practices that have been elaborated in various ways in different locations from the 1920s to the 1960s, and the major critical and historical accounts of modernism in the arts during these years. Discussion section required.

AHIS BC3667 Clothing (Barnard course)
A. Higonnet
T/R 2:40-3:55
Human beings create second, social, skins for themselves. Across history and around the world, everyone designs interfaces between their bodies and the world around them. From pre-historic ornaments to global industry, clothing has been a crucial feature of people’s survival, desires, and identity. This course studies theories of clothing from the perspectives of art history, anthropology, psychology, economics, sociology, design, and sustainability. Issues to be studied include gender roles, craft traditions, global textile trade, royal sumptuary law, the history of European fashion, dissident or disruptive styles, blockbuster museum costume exhibitions, and the environmental consequences of what we wear today. Discussion section required.

AHIS BC2698 American Monument Cultures (Barnard course)
E. Hutchinson
M/W 1:10-2:25 + 2:40-3:55*
Cities, institutions, and impassioned individuals are pulling down statues of people implicated in the histories of slavery, colonization and violence. This class explores why monuments are important, how they have been used historically to assert political and social power and different points of view on where to go from here. The nation is caught up in a vital debate about how historical figures and events should be recorded in the public square. Spurred by protests in Charlottesville, VA in the summer of 2017 and moved forward during the uprisings against police brutality in the summer of 2020, cities, institutions and impassioned individuals are pulling down and removing statues of Confederate leaders and other individuals implicated in the histories of slavery, colonization and violence even as objections are raised to these actions from both the left and the right. This activism led to the formation of a commission to study New York City’s built environment in fall 2017 and its resolution advocating both taking down and putting up monuments here. Why are Monuments so important? How have they been used historically to assert political and social power? This course introduces the history of monument culture in the United States, focusing on monuments related to three controversial subjects: the Vietnam War, the Confederacy, and the “discovery” of America. We will study when, by whom, and in what form these monuments were erected and how artists and audiences of the past and present have responded to them. In addition to gaining historical background, students will engage in a digital project exploring the history and impact of monuments in a city or town with which they are familiar. Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion and will feature guest speakers most weeks. To accommodate the online platform, each class will be broken into several units and will include both a break and short periods of independent or small group work. In addition, students must complete online modules on conducting local research, podcasting, story maps, and timelines.
*This course meets on the BLOCK B schedule for Fall 2020.

Undergraduate Colloquia

Required course for Columbia AHIS/HTAC/AHVA majors. Please sign up using this online form. The form will open on Wednesday, April 15th, at 10am. The form will close on Friday, April 17th, 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
This course is an introduction to the theories and methods of art history and visual culture. It is required for undergraduate majors.

Section 001
J. Crary
T 4:10-6

AHIS UN3000 is open to Columbia College and General Studies 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 2020 undergraduate seminar applications by 5pm on Friday, April 17th, 2020.

Barnard Art History seminars: Interested students must attend the first class session for the roster selection process.

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

AHIS UN3101 The Public Monument in Antiquity
Z. Bahrani
R 4:10-6
This seminar will focus on the invention of the public monument as a commemorative genre, and the related concepts of time, memory and history in the ancient Near East and Egypt. Public monuments will be studied in conjunction with readings from ancient texts (in translation), as well as historical criticism, archaeological and art historical theories.

Apply for ‘The Public Monument in Antiquity’ using this online form.

AHIS UN3327 Building Before Industrialization
M. Waters
W 10:10-12
This seminar will examine the social, cultural, economic, technological history of construction from antiquity to the sixteenth century. More than just a survey of practice, the course will attempt to understand how issues of technology, production, and facture equally shaped architecture with particular focus on Old Kingdom Egypt, Classical Greece, Imperial Rome, Byzantine Constantinople, Gothic France, fifteenth-century Florence, and sixteenth-century Rome. In doing so, we will examine how buildings were built, the acquisition and transformation of materials, the organization of labor, the economics of construction, structural innovation, technological change and mechanization, natural philosophy, processes of design, and the role of builders and architects.

Apply for ‘Building Before Industrialization’ using this online form.

AHIS UN3413 Nineteenth-Century Criticism
J. Crary
T 2:10-4 W 2:10-4
This course examines a diverse selection of texts that have a crucial bearing on the formation of concepts of modernity and on new aesthetic practices in nineteenth-century Europe and North America. Using works of art theory, fiction, poetry, and social criticism, the seminar will trace the emergence and development of new models of cultural and subjective experience and their relation to social and historical processes.  Readings include work by Diderot, Schiller, Carlyle, Poe, Baudelaire, Ruskin, Emerson, Huysmans, Pater, Nietzsche and Henry Adams.

Apply for ‘Nineteenth Century Criticism’ using this online form.

AHIS UN3417 Medieval Revival: Collecting, Copying, and Co-opting the Past
O. Clemens
M 12:10-2
From the mid-eighteenth century through the early twentieth century, a fascination with the medieval world and its aesthetics would influence architecture, art collecting, and art movements like the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain and the United States. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this course explores works of art and architecture inspired by the vogue for medieval revival, theorizing them in relation to Romanticism, nationalism, and anti-modernism. This course will simultaneously explore the way that the discipline of medieval art history and the history of collecting has been shaped by these narratives.

Apply for ‘Medieval Revival: Collecting, Copying, and Co-opting the Past’ using this online form.

AHIS UN3453 Women Artists in Eighteenth-Century Europe
F. Baumgartner
T 10:10-12 R 10:10-12
This seminar will examine the career and artistic production of women artists in the long eighteenth century in Europe, with a specific focus on Italy, France and Britain. Recent research has shown that many women managed to become professional artists during this period. But how successful were they? And what did their work consist of? To date, the historical recovery of data about their career and oeuvre remains a work in progress. In contrast, the few women artists who reached international fame in the eighteenth century – in part because they were members of otherwise overwhelmingly male art academies – have received significant scholarly attention by art historians that include Angela Rosenthal and Mary Sheriff, among others, and have been the subject of important monographic exhibitions in the past two decades. In light of this state of the research, we will study the cases of canonical artists, such as Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807), as well as the cases of still understudied (yet sufficiently documented) artists, such as Marie Geneviève Bouliar (1763-1825). Our primary task will be to examine the different ways in which women who became artists navigated the eighteenth-century social order – an order where the terms “woman” and “professional artist” were commonly understood as contradictory – and analyze their art with a critical understanding of the expectations, aesthetic and otherwise, that they were held to. Topics of discussion will include: training; the hierarchy of genres; women artists and artistic media, including miniature painting, engraving and sculpture; self-portraiture and gender expectations; women artists and art criticism; and emulation and authorship.

Apply for ‘Women Artists in Eighteenth-Century Europe’ using this online form.

AHIS UN3503 Contemporary Arts of Africa
Z. S. Strother
W 10:10-12
This course takes up a question posed by Terry Smith and applies it to Africa: "Who gets to say what counts as contemporary art?" It will investigate the impact of modernity, modernism, and increasing globalism on artistic practices with a special focus on three of the major centers for contemporary art in sub-Saharan Africa: Senegal, Nigeria, and South Africa. The course will incorporate visits from curators, young scholars, and one of the filmmakers to be featured in MOMA’s “New directors” series. Some of the topics covered will be: the emergence of new media (such as photography or cinema), the creation of "national" cultures, experiments in Pan-Africanism, diasporic consciousness, and the rise of curators as international culture-brokers. The course will examine the enthusiastic embrace by African artists of the biennial platform as a site for the production of contemporary art. CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core requirement.

Apply for ‘Contemporary Arts of Africa’ using this online form.

AHIS UN3708 Beyond El Dorado: Materials, Values, and Aesthetics in Pre-Columbian Art History
L. Trever
T 2:10-4
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.

Apply for ‘Beyond El Dorado: Materials, Values, and Aesthetics in Pre-Columbian Art History’ using this online form.

AHIS BC3968 Art Criticism I (Barnard course)
J. Miller
T 11-12:50
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 BC3977 Art of Witness (Barnard course)
R. Deutsche
R 12:10-2 W 11-12:50
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.

Bridge Lectures

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

AHIS GU4045 Collecting
A. Higonnet
T/R 8:40-9:55
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. Discussion section required for undergraduates only.

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 2020 bridge seminar applications by 5pm on Monday, August 3rd, 2020.

AHIS GU4646 Foucault and the Arts
J. Rajchman
W 4:10-6
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.

Apply for ‘Foucault and the Arts’ using this online form.

AHIS GU4740 Re-Reading American Photographs
E. Hutchinson
T 2:10-4
New methodologies for studying the history of photography drawing on affect theory, new materialism, explorations of circulation and exchange, and other scholarly trends vex established modes of American photo history and invite an expansion of the canon. This seminar surveys recent publications in photo theory and examples of photo history, including the fall 2020 special issue of Panorama on “Re-Reading American Photographs” to deepen our engagement with photographic works from the medium’s first century (1839-1939).

Apply for ‘Re-Reading American Photographs’ using this online form.

AHIS GU4948 American Government Architecture: Governance and Governmentality
D. Abramson
M 10:10-12, 807 Schermerhorn*
How do dynamics of governance shape architecture, like states’ rights in America’s federal system? And how do government centers through form, space, and symbol shape citizens’ identities and consent to be governed, aspects of governmentality theorized by Foucault and subject to resistance and reform?  Focused upon modern American architecture and urbanism this seminar is open to students’ explorations in other media, places, and times.  If feasible, field trips will go to local and/or regional sites.
*This seminar will be taught primarily remotely; perhaps exclusively. In-person classes and/or field trips may be scheduled depending upon the feasibility of student attendance and other factors.

Apply for ‘American Government Architecture: Governance and Governmentality’ using this online form.