Spring 2015 Undergraduate Courses

Updated: 1/20/2014

This is a preliminary list of courses. Check back for changes and additional courses.


AHIS BC1001 Introduction to the History of Art II
A. Higonnet
M/W 2:40-3:55pm, 304 Barnard Hall
Either term may be taken separately. Brief examination of the techniques of visual analysis, followed by a chronological survey of the major period styles of Western European art. Emphasis on the introduction of form and content in the works studied and on the correlation of the visual arts with their cultural environments. BC1001: Greek and Roman art; medieval art. BC1002: Renaissance to modern art.

AHIS BC3675 Feminism and Postmodernism
R. Deutsche
T/R 1:10-2:25pm, Location TBA
Examines art and criticism of the 1970s and 1980s that were informed by feminist and postmodern ideas about visual representation. Explores postmodernism as (1) a critique of modernism, (2) a critique of representation, and (3) what Gayatri Spivak called "a radical acceptance of vulnerability." Studies art informed by feminist ideas about vision and subjectivity. Places this art in relation to other aesthetic phenomena, such as modernism, minimalism, institution-critical art, and earlier feminist interventions in art.

AHIS C3001 Introduction to Architecture
H. Gyger
M/W 10:10-11:25am, 612 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 is required.

AHIS V3250 Roman Art & Architecture
F. de Angelis
M/W 2:40-3:55, 612 Schermerhorn
The architecture, sculpture, and painting of ancient Rome from the 2nd century B.C. to the end of the Empire in the West.

AHIS W3208 Arts of Africa
Z. Strother
M/W 4:10-5:25pm, 612 Schermerhorn
Introduction to the arts of Africa, including masquerading, figural sculpture, reliquaries, power objects, textiles, painting, photography, and architecture. The course will establish a historical framework for study, but will also address how various African societies have responded to the process of modernity and globalization.

AHIS W3607 Baroque Imperial Spain (17th Century)
D. Bodart
T/R 10:10-11:25am, 612 Schermerhorn
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.

AHIS W3650 Twentieth-Century Art
A. Alberro
T/R 4:10-5:25pm, 501 Schermerhorn
The course will examine a variety of figures, movements, and practices within the entire range of 20th-century art—from Expressionism to Abstract Expressionism, Constructivism to Pop Art, Surrealism to Minimalism, and beyond—situating them within the social, political, economic, and historical contexts in which they arose. The history of these artistic developments will be traced through the development and mutual interaction of two predominant strains of artistic culture: the modernist and the avant-garde, examining in particular their confrontation with and development of the particular vicissitudes of the century's ongoing modernization. Discussion section complement class lectures. Course is a prerequisite for certain upper-level art history courses.

AHUM V3342 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture
A. Menon
T/R 11:40-12:55pm, 832 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.


Required course for majors. Please sign-up using this online form. You may no longer sign- up in the department office. Admission is at the instructor's discretion. Early sign-up is strongly encouraged.

This course is not open to Barnard or Continuing Education Students.

Deadline for sign up: November 14, 2014

AHIS W3895 Section 001 Major's Colloquium: Introduction to the Literature and Methods of Art History
J. Crary
T 10:10 - 12pm, 930 Schermerhorn
Introduction to different methodological approaches to the study of art and visual culture. Majors are encouraged to take the colloquium during their junior year.

AHIS W3895 Section 002 Major's Colloquium: Introduction to the Literature and Methods of Art History
N. Elcott
W 11-12:50pm, 930 Schermerhorn
Introduction to different methodological approaches to the study of art and visual culture. Majors are encouraged to take the colloquium during their junior year.

Undergraduate Seminars

Seminars require an application and admission is at the instructor's discretion. Applications for Columbia seminars should be submitted to Amanda Young in the department office (826 Schermerhorn Hall). Applications for Barnard courses should be submitted to the Barnard Art History Department. The required application form can be found on the planning sheets and forms page.

Application Deadline: November 14, 2014

AHIS BC3968 Art Criticism II (Barnard)
N. Guagnini
T 11 - 12:50pm, 501/2 Diana Center
Contemporary art and its criticism written by artists (rather than by art historians or journalistic reviewers). Texts by Victor Burgin, Judith Barry, Andrea Fraser, Coco Fusco, John Kelsey, Jutta Koether, Yvone Rainer, Juan Downey, Maria Eichorn, Jeff Wall, Mike Kelley, Falkie Pisano, and Melanie Gilligan. We will consider theoretical and practical implications of each artist's oeuvre. Also, considers the art and writing of each artist together.

AHIS BC3984 Curatorial Exhibitions (Barnard)
V. Smith
W 10:10-12pm, 501/2 Diana Center
Contemporary exhibitions studied through a selection of great shows from roughly 1969 to the present that defined a generation. This course will not offer practical training in curating; rather it will concentrate on the historical context of exhibitions, the theoretical basis for their argument, the criteria for the choice in artists and their work, and exhibitions' internal/external reception.

AHIS BC3988 A Virtual Welcome into the Material World of the Enlightenment (Barnard)
A. Higonnet
This course combines traditional teaching, real experience, and a digital skills laboratory. A pioneering collaboration between Barnard faculty, Metropolitan Museum of Art curators, and digital experts will give students a new kind of hybrid access to one of the Met's treasures. The Met's eighteenth-century period rooms not only display some of the most stylistically beautiful and technically innovative furniture, metalwork, porcelains and textiles ever designed, but also, through those objects, one of the most fundamental Enlightenment inventions: the domestic interior as we still know it, an interior predicated on individualism and global trade, created by artisans and managed by servants for a social elite. The Met's period rooms must, for conservation reasons, remain behind cordons, visible only at a distance and in gentle light. Digital technology has the potential to reveal hidden aspects of the Met's treasures. Craft can be demonstrated with high-resolution details, function and motion can be explored in space, rooms can be re-populated with the people who made, served, and used their contents. This new visual knowledge can, in turn, be made more public than ever by being presented in the virtual world of the internet.

The course operates on two tracks. Its traditional seminar track begins with common work on basic readings. This part of the course meets 1.5 hours a week. A revolution in scholarship on the material world of the Enlightenment allows dramatically new perspectives in what are often called the decorative arts. Four seminar sessions take place in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: two taught by Danielle Kisluk-Grosheide, curator of furniture, and two taught by Jeffrey Munger, curator of porcelain. These sessions are 1 hour each (to allow for travel time). Meanwhile a laboratory, taught one hour a week in studio@Butler, begins with fundamental digital skills.

AHIS C3997 Senior Thesis Seminar
K. Jones
W 4:10-6pm, 934 Schermerhorn
Required for all thesis writers. Counts towards elective lecture credit.

AHIS W3871 Art and Culture during the French Revolution
F. Baumgartner
W 2:10-4pm, 934 Schermerhorn
This course focuses on the artistic developments and cultural shifts that occurred during the French Revolution (1789-1799). Rather than tracing the career of individual artists, it examines how painters, sculptors, architects, printmakers and material culture responded to and participated in the political and cultural changes of the period. Topics of discussion will include: the abolition of the Royal Academy; the notion of the revolutionary painter; women artists in the gendered Republic; public festivals and ephemeral architecture; vandalism and the opening of museums; the dissemination of politics through caricature; and fashion as a symbolic form of political practice.

AHIS W3873 The Literature of Modern Architecture
B. Bergdoll
M 12:10-2pm, 832 Schermerhorn
Unlike many seminars in art history, this course is primarily devoted to the analysis of texts. It is concerned with reading, or in some case rereading, major texts of modern architectural theory and criticism which have played a role in shaping the way either contemporaries of later generations have understood and debated architecture. Our concern will be not simply to isolate the ideas discussed in the texts, as one would in discussing their place in the history of modern architecture, but to treat them as texts in a social/professional dynamic or space. We will be eager to know something of their publication history, the audience to which they were directed, the choice of format for the text, the reception of the text in the press and by various publics, and the debates that arose from the texts, both at the time and in subsequent episodes of their critical fortune and influence.


**New Course ** // Application Deadline: December 8, 2014

AHIS W3876 Art and Literature in Postwar France
K. Minturn
W 9 - 10:50, 832 Schermerhorn
This seminar will examine crucial intersections between art and literature in France from the eve of World War II until the postmodern era. Beginning with late Surrealism and La Collège de Sociologie, we will move on to look at art and literature during the Occupation and the postwar épuration, Structuralism and Post-Structuralism's engagement with the arts, and finally, the rise of the New Art History and the aesthetics of the New Novel. We will consider works by Dubuffet, Wols, Artaud, and key texts by Bataille, Paulhan, Sartre, Barthes, Lévi-Strauss, Derrida, Damisch, Claude Simon, among others.

AHIS W3878 Life of a Cathedral: Notre-Dame of Amiens (Travel Seminar)
S. Murray
R 10:10-12pm, 930 Schermerhorn
Notre-Dame of Amiens, often considered the "classic" Gothic cathedral, is studied each year by the more than one thousand students enrolled in the Columbia University Core course, Art Humanities. Like a great city, the cathedral brings together multiple segments of society in lively collaboration and conflict. We will explore the three overlapping worlds of the cathedral: the world of the clergy (owners and principal users), the world of the layfolk (parishioners, townsfolk and pilgrims) and the world (most mysterious) of the architects, or master masons. The semester is thus divided into three parts: each class will be preceded by an intense look at a specific aspect of the life of the cathedral and a reading presented by one of the participants.

Participants in the class will also be invited to contribute to the development of a new website on the cathedral, designed for the use of Art Humanities students. We plan to organize a one-week study trip to Paris and Amiens in March 2015 (Spring Break) in order to continue the conversation in situ.

Application Deadline for Travel Seminar only: Wednesday, November 19th by 5pm

Please note: This course is still in process and may not appear on SSOL or the Directory of Classes when registration opens. If you are accepted into the course you will be provided with further instructions on how to register.

AHIS W3881 Marvelous Encounters
M. Kehoe
M 10:10-12pm, 832 Schermerhorn
The encounters between European explorers and populations in the East and West in the Early Modern era were mutually disruptive events, challenging long-held notions of geography, human evolution, and cultural history. This course begins with the imaginary monstrous races and the supposed encounters with the strange and marvelous in the 14th century Travels of Sir John Mandeville, and explores the visual culture of encounter through the Age of Exploration into the Colonial Period. This course examines 'ethnographic' studies of non-Europeans in print culture and later photography, European attempts to organize and understand their new knowledge through, for example, casta paintings, and also select descriptions of Europeans by non-Europeans, such as Japanese images of Dutch and Portuguese traders. This course will include the reading of primary sources, like travel accounts (in translation), as well as post-colonial critiques of encounter and its repercussions.

AHIS W3884 UFO Photography
B. Joseph
T 2:10-4pm, 832 Schermerhorn
Since its invention, the medium of photography has been valued for its claim to visual veracity. Approaches as diverse as Henry Fox Talbot's The Pencil of Nature through to Roland Barthes's notion of the photograph as a "message without a code" and Rosalind Krauss's discussion of the "index" have stressed the seemingly causal relationship of photography to an existing, physical, real-world referent that at one time—no matter how fleeting—stood before the camera's lens. Yet, throughout its history, photographers have also used the medium's implicit truth claims against itself, as practitioners have indulged in myriad means of producing trick photos—as documented recently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2012 exhibition "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop"—as well as various types of spirit photography, featured in the Metropolitan Museum's excellent 2005 show "The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult." Like spirit photography (or the related genre of early 20th-Century "fairy" photography), photographs of UFOs strain the credibility of the photographic document, while relying upon the implicit truth claims of the medium all the more heavily to make their point. In this course, we will examine three related aspects of pre-digital photography: (1) the photograph's "rhetoric" (as Barthes famously put it) of visual evidence; (2) the history of spiritual photography from the mid-19th- to the early 20th centuries; and (3) the mid-20th century phenomenon of UFO photography, which follows directly from the older tradition of occult photography.

AHIS W3923 The Public Monument in Antiquity
Z. Bahrani
T 4:10-6pm, 832 Schermerhorn
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.

Bridge Lecture

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

AHIS W4176 Art, Archaeology and History of Anatolia
A. Ozyar
T/R 2:40-3:55pm, 612 Schermerhorn
This course surveys the art, archaeology and ancient history of Anatolia (ancient Turkey) from the first city-states of the early second millennium BC through the establishment of the Hittite Kingdom and through its disintegration into a plurality of polities until the Persian conquest in the course of the sixth century BC. Topics are arranged chronologically as well as thematically. The lectures will explore forms of representation and monuments within a historical context derived from archival and epigraphic texts (in translation). At the same time, the interplay of representation and inscription, ranging from small scale private seals to large public monuments is considered in the context of a multilingual environment. The course also addresses the historiography of the field, particularly the history of research, its protagonists, major debates and the current state of research in this flourishing field.

Bridge Seminars

Bridge seminars are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. As with other seminars, they require an application. Applications can be submitted to Amanda Young in the department office (826 Schermerhorn Hall). The required application form can be found on the planning sheets and forms page.
Application Deadline: Monday, December 1st

AHIS G4085 Andean Art and Architecture
(Approved for partial fulfillment of Global Core requirement)
A. Finegold
T 12:10-2:00, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Survey of the art of the Andes from earliest times until the Spanish conquest. Emphasis on the nature of Andean tradition and the relationship between art and society.

Application Deadline: Thursday, January 8th

AHIS G4661 Portraits and Identity
R. Brilliant
R 2:10 - 4pm, 930 Schermerhorn
Portraits constitute an important genre in art for centuries, appearing in many global cultures, and in countless numbers, indicating their enduring popularity, and their significance. They appear in public and private contexts of viewing, and manifest a record of individual existence, while also possessing the authority of an on-going presence after death. Portraits have been collected, displayed, employed in political, secular, and religious contexts, and have drawn the attention of generations of artists and their patrons in a variety of modes in single and multiple images in various media. A seminar for undergraduate majors and graduate students, culminating in two exhibitions, planned by the students, with a list of works, a companion brochure, and a brief catalogue essay for each exhibition.

AHIS G4626 Transpacific Objects
M. Cao
W 11-12:50pm, 832 Schermerhorn
This course focuses on the circulation of visual and material objects between the Americas and the Asia Pacific from Enlightenment to modernity. It takes the ocean itself as a framework of analysis for the global artifacts of scientific exploration, cultural exchange, imperialism, and trade. What kinds of things traveled through the Pacific? How were they appropriated, assimilated, and understood across the globalizing world of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? Can the Pacific be understood on the same terms as the Atlantic? We will explore these questions through various intellectual frameworks, from cannibalism to islands. We will likewise devote attention to centers of exchange—Mexico City, Hawaii, Canton, and Yokohama—and look closely at the goods that circulated between them, from paintings and decorative arts to maps and botanical illustrations. An interdisciplinary set of texts, from maritime novels to anthropological theory, will be brought to bear on the visual world of the Pacific. Visits to museum and library collections in New York will be integral part of the course.

AHIS G4862 Repatriation and Indigenous Art in the Age of Globalization
E. Hutchinson
W 4:10-6pm, 832 Schermerhorn
Material culture has changed hands between Native and non-Native communities since the beginnings of Euro-American cultural contact. But individuals and communities have competing definitions of who can "own" indigenous culture and what rights of use, display and reproduction attend that ownership. Since the spread of indigenous rights movements in the late 1960s, museums These issues are coming to the fore in the twenty-first century as tribal nations are increasingly petitioning for the return of cultural property using the passage of national legislation (such as the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act) and international policy (such as the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples). At the same time, both tribal and whitestream museums are exploring new models of collaboration in collecting and curatorial work. This course explores the current global discussion of cultural property, using case studies to explore the complex legal and ethical issues confronting museums, dealers, collectors and communities.

AHIS G4142 Mediterranean "East"-"West" Interactions: An Introduction
A. Shalem
T 6:10-8pm, 934 Schermerhorn
The constant contacts, in peace and war times, between the Latin West and the world of Islam, especially during the Middle Ages, formed and shaped the identities of both Christian and Muslim worlds. Moreover, these cultural clashes and artistic exchanges seemed on the one hand to consolidate identities and maintain barriers of differences but on the other hand to contribute to dynamic aesthetic conversations, enriching the visual cultures of both. In several moments in history, which, sometimes, can hardly be defined as convivencia, a new amalgamated aesthetic language was born. Trade with luxury goods and even the sack of works of art 'sponsored' and enhances visual dialogues between different religious cultures of the Mediterranean. In this seminar the routes and the 'ambassadors' of these exchange moments are discerned. The Mediterranean basin (between 800 to 1500 AD) is in focus. The mobile world around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea – from the far west district of al-Andalus and the city of Cordoba to the near Eastern metropolises of Cairo and Damascus – will be highlighted. Port cities such as Salerno, Amalfi, Genua, Mahdiyya, Venice, Palermo and Acre will be jointly discussed in order to draw a full and complete picture of the particular medieval art, which developed across the Mediterranean basin.

AHIS G4126 Rock-Cut Architecture of India
V. Dehejia
T 4:10 - 6pm, 930 Schermerhorn
For a period of over a thousand years, a favored mode of architecture across India was to create monuments by excavating into the rock of the mountainside. This course examines the rock-cut mode of architecture, adopted by Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains, that remained popular right up to the tenth century when it yielded precedence to structures built by piling stone upon stone.

AHIS G4330 Paris in the Middle Ages
S. Murray
R 2:10-4pm, 934 Schermerhorn
The urban fabric of Paris provides the connective tissue linking medieval achievements in architecture, sculpture, and painting with the history of the city from the Romans to the Renaissance.