Fall 2021 Graduate Courses

Last updated: September 24, 2021. Red text denotes a new or changed course since the previous update.

Bridge Lectures

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

AHIS GU4110 Modern Japanese Architecture
J. Reynolds
M/W 10:10-11:25, 807 Schermerhorn Hall
This course will examine Japanese architecture and urban planning from the mid-19th century to the present. We will address topics such as the establishment of an architectural profession along western lines in the late 19th century, the emergence of a modernist movement in the 1920s, the use of biological metaphors and the romanticization of technology in the theories and designs of the Metabolist Group, and the shifting significance of pre-modern Japanese architectural practices for modern architects. There will be an emphasis on the complex relationship between architectural practice and broader political and social change in Japan.

Bridge Seminars

Bridge seminars are open to graduate students 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 2021 bridge seminar applications by 5pm on Monday, August 9th, 2021.

AHIS GU4503 Exhibition Planning and Programming, Subject: Childhood
A. Higonnet
W 10:10-12, 832 Schermerhorn Hall
This bridge seminar studies the history of childhood, through a 2022 Boston Institute of Contemporary Art exhibition. To Begin Again was planned to consider how we imagine childhood in our present moment. How do 20 of today’s major artists, many of whom are parents, and belong to an inclusive range of backgrounds, represent the beginnings of human life? Now, the socially stratified consequences of Covid-19 on families and education are also at stake. Due to Covid-19, the timing of the ICA exhibition has allowed an interval in which to re-think what exhibition programming might consist of, in light of the exhibition’s subject, and recent history. Thanks to a Harvard Radcliffe Institute grant, a virtual seminar will convene museum, childhood and education experts to discuss best practices and new possibilities. Students will attend the workshop as well as an artist’s talk, and meet with the exhibition curator, as well as several museum education professionals, to understand how a museum exhibition comes into being. Assignments will include practicing aspects of research and writing necessary to a successful exhibition.

A crucial resource and practicum for the seminar will be a website of the museum programming seminar, funded and managed by the Harvard, Radcliffe Institute, to which seminar graduate students will contribute.

‘Exhibition Planning and Programming, Subject: Childhood’ seminar application form.

AHIS GU4546 Gilles Deleuze: Thinking in Art
J. Rajchman
M 4:10-6, 807 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.

‘Gilles Deleuze: Thinking in Art’ seminar application form.

AHIS GU4727 Medieval Monuments and Memory
M. Boomer
W 12:10-2, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
The medieval world was filled with monuments that defined both the places people lived and traveled through and the ways they understood their communities. This course investigates how architecture and sculpture shaped medieval perceptions of the past and how medieval patrons hoped to make a mark on the future. Case studies will explore the commemoration of local figures, the commemoration of the dead, the definition of political identities, the presentation of older architectural elements inside new structures, the creation of new stories to redefine preexisting sites, and other relevant topics. We will also discuss how modern restorations, neo-medieval monuments, museum collections, and political discourse impact how medieval monuments are made meaningful today.

‘Medieval Monuments and Memory’ seminar application form.

Core Graduate Courses

Required courses for first-year students.

AHIS GR5000 MODA Critical Colloquium
J. Kraynak
R 12:10-2, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Required course for all first-year Modern Art M.A. students. The Colloquium features reading and analysis of texts by major theorists, critics and artists, organized through three components: 1) an introduction to the different interpretive methods and models shaping the discourses of art history and criticism 2) a presentation of major theoretical concepts and terms that are utilized in relation to the analysis and interpretation of art and culture 3) an examination of rhetoric, language and different models of critical writing from philosophy/theory; to art history, scholarly writing and criticism; to recent online formats and the blogosphere. The course is designed to allow for guest presentations on particular issues by scholars, critics and writers, just as it draws on the expertise and participation of Columbia faculty. The aim is to develop students' critical thinking and for them to learn directly from leading practitioners writing about modern and contemporary art. Guest writers from Artforum, Grey Room, Parkett, Texte zur Kunst, and October, among other venues, regularly participate in the colloquium.

AHIS GR5002 M.A. Methods Colloquium
F. Baumgartner
R 12:10-2, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
This course begins with a reflection on the practice of art history today, through the interrogation of two related issues: the canon and art history as a narrative. This preliminary reflection, informed both by foundational texts and recent interventions in the field, will help us establish a critical framework for our examination of the different methodological models that art historians have been using to interpret the visual arts. Through the close reading of texts dating from the sixteenth century to today that reflect a broad range of theoretical perspectives, we will study the history and recent developments of art history as a scholarly discipline, from biographical, iconographical and Marxist accounts to feminist, postcolonial and intersectional analyses. We will also think about how to articulate one’s critical position. For that purpose, we will discuss the concepts that have shaped the field of art history – authorship, vision, otherness and globalism, among others – while putting them in conversation with the visual arts from different time periods and geographical areas.

HUMA GR6913 Principles of Art Humanities
Z. S. Strother
R 12-2pm, Core Office
Art Humanities aims to instill in undergraduate students a passion and a critical vocabulary for the study of art as well as a fundamental capacity to engage the world of images and built environments. Principles of Art Humanities aims to prepare instructors to teach Art Humanities. We will study each unit of Art Humanities with an eye toward pedagogy, formal and critical analysis, and a capacious understanding of art and culture of past epochs. The course comprises presentations by the Art Humanities Chair and by weekly invited guests, as well as discussion among all participants. Required of all first-time Art Humanities instructors. Open to retuning instructors.

AHIS GR8000 Proseminar: Introduction to the Study of Art History
Z. Celik
R 12:10-2, 832 Schermerhorn Hall
Required course for first-year PhD students.

Graduate Lectures

Graduate lectures are open to graduate students. They do not require an application. Interested undergraduates should contact the instructor for permission to enroll.

AHIS GR6412 Surrealism
R. Krauss
T 2:10-4, 807 Schermerhorn Hall
Surrealism has attracted the attention of Frankfurt School theorists and feminists alike, often much of it negative. It has been a thorn in the side of art historians and modernists who find its claim to originality and formal innovation baffling. This course will explore those puzzles through the movement’s most important traces, both visual and textual.

AHIS GR6601 Painting in the Song Dynasty
R. Harrist
W 4:10-6, 807 Schermerhorn Hall
The goals of this course are to study major works of painting from the Song dynasty (960-1279) and to master art historical and sinological methods that can be used for research in any field of Chinese art. Among the topics that will receive special attention are the rise of landscape painting, imperial patronage, urban life and painting, the art of scholar-officials, and the relationship between words and images, especially during the Southern Song period.

If the course is taught online, students will be required to keep their webcams on throughout each class session. We will take appropriate breaks.

Graduate Seminars

Each course description includes a link to an application for that seminar. Admission is at the instructor’s discretion. Students must submit their Fall 2021 graduate seminar applications by no later than 5pm on Monday, August 9th, 2021.

AHIS GR8128 Edo Period Painting
M. McKelway
T 4:10-6, 807 Schermerhorn Hall
This seminar will examine visual expressions of sinophilia and eccentricity in Japanese painting of the Edo period. Through an investigation of both original texts and modern studies of such artists as Ike Taiga, Itō Jakuchū, and Nagasawa Rosetsu, the seminar will also explore how such factors as the social background, personal networks, religious faith, and degree of literacy of Edo-period painters found expression in their art. Using Tsuji Nobuo's Kisō no keifu (The Lineage of Eccentricity) and more recent publications in Japanese and western languages as a guide for discussions, the course will concentrate on painters active in mid-late Edo period (late 17th- early 19th century) Kyoto and Edo.

‘Edo Period Painting’ seminar application form.

AHIS GR8366 Renaissance Portraits
M. Cole
R 2:10-4, 807 Schermerhorn Hall
The portrait has long been central to the very idea of the Renaissance: it has reinforced the Burckhardtian characterization of the period in terms of naturalism and of the rise of the individual; it has exemplified the notion of a recovery an ancient past (Roman busts, coins); and it has seemed the typifying expression both of the bourgeois mercantile republic and of its opposite, the court. The seminar will consider all of these possibilities, but also raise questions that cut in other directions: in a period where the human body and life study became the basis for art making, was the portrait even a coherent category? Why did some artists (Sofonisba Anguissola) build careers around portraiture when others (Michelangelo) avoided the practice? How should we think about anonymous portraits, about works that cannot be approached in terms of the sitters’ identity? How might questions of race change our approach to the genre?

The course has been timed to coincide with the exhibitions The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512-1570 and By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500-1800. If group visits to the exhibitions are possible, participants will be asked to allow some flexibility in scheduling meetings to allow for this.

‘Renaissance Portraits’ seminar application form.

AHIS GR8484 Digitization and (Anti)Democracy
J. Kraynak
T 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
The idea that technology—in particular information technologies—is democratizing is a truism whose origins go back to the postwar era. With the rise of digitization—i.e. the Internet, social media—this utopianism has accelerated, promising user autonomy, decentralization, and new forms of engagement and participation that will inevitably shape community and make the world a better place. This course seeks to problematize these claims by examining theories of digitization, democracy, and technical society. It questions the universalism that underlies such utopianism—in particular with regards to matters of race, gender, and ethnicity—approaching technologies as socially symbolic meanings that both build upon and produce new forms of knowledge, potentially engendering political inequality and anti-democracy. Welcoming students from departments across the university, the course aims to generate a cross-disciplinary dialogue about these issues in relation to art, culture, and society.

In-person, with possibility of some remote sessions if necessary.

‘Digitization and (Anti)Democracy’ seminar application form.

AHIS GR8497 Identity and the Senses in Contemporary Art
U. Itam
M 10:10-12, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
This course examines the politics of identity in visual art of the United States from the 1990s to the present alongside the development of sensory studies. We will consider the rise and fall in multicultural initiatives and the subsequent emergence of post-identity discourse in the arts that marks this period. Our focus is on artistic practices that challenge the visual rhetoric of race, gender, class, sexuality, and ethnicity. Students will read texts that fall under the rubrics of feminism, performance studies, musicology, African American and African Diaspora studies, and critical race theory among others. At the same time, literature on the history and social construction of the senses will provide a framework for us to explore how smell, sound, taste, and touch affect our experience of works of art as well as how we engage with one another. Key developments and exhibitions—such as the significant entry of practitioners from the African diaspora into the international art world, advancements in technology, the 1993 Whitney Biennial, and “Freestyle” (2001) at the Studio Museum in Harlem-—will anchor our discussion.

‘Identity and the Senses in Contemporary Art’ seminar application form.

AHIS GR8656 History of Architectural Exhibitions
B. Bergdoll
T 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
This seminar will present a panorama of the history of architectural exhibitions from the mid-18th century to the present in lectures by the instructor and in readings. The hypothesis is that the diverse practices of exhibiting architecture as it grew from 18th century academic salons to 21st century installation pieces and biennales is a fruitful lens to pose the larger questions of the evolution of the architectural profession, of modern discourses on architecture, and on the notion of the public in its relationship to architecture. Architectural criticism too grew as much in relationship to exhibition as it did directly to building practice, indeed criticism might be said to have been born of exhibition.

‘History of Architectural Exhibitions’ seminar application form.

AHIS GR8765 Issues in Performance Art
K. Jones
W 4:10-6, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
Wedged between the rudiments of theater and the gestures of visual art, performance art came to prominence at the end of the twentieth century. Our concentration in this course will be on artists and practices after 1960. However, we will also consider the roots of this form in the first part of the twentieth century. Central to our investigations will be discussions surrounding performance as catalytic process, as temporal art, and issues of the body as form.

‘Issues in Performance Art’ seminar application form.

AHIS GR8803 Jerusalem: The Making of the Holy
A. Shalem
M 12:10-2, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
What are the reasons for declaring a particular space holy? How are the borders of this holy space made visible? What practices and rituals are employed in holy spaces? Can the sanctity of the holy be transferred?

The city of Jerusalem is the case study through which these questions will be critically examined. The city, sacred to three monotheistic religions, has been made and remade throughout history as a sacred space to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The course will examine Jerusalem's changing architectural program over circa one thousand years, as well as its representation in images and texts from Jewish, Christian and Muslim sources. The main focus will be the Haram al-Sharif, the temple mount in Jerusalem as well as other spaces in the old city of Jerusalem and its vicinity, in which further sacred spaces were built and designed for pilgrims. Aspects of different rituals and even oral traditions will be brought into discussion to illustrate the varied methods and politics of the space and the continuous contestations over Jerusalem’s sacredness up to the present day. At the same time, modern, mainly nationalistic, methods for reconstructing past narratives for Jerusalem will be critically discussed, focusing mainly on archaeology, urban architectural developments and museum display.

MA and PhD students interested in enrolling in this course should fill out a PDF application and email the instructor.