Spring 2016 Undergraduate Courses

This is a preliminary list of courses. Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.


AHIS BC1001 Introduction to the History of Art II (Barnard Course)
A. Higonnet
M/W 2:40 – 3:55, at Barnard
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 BC3626 In and Around Abstract Expressionism (Barnard Course)
A. Alberro
T/R 4:10 – 5:25, at Barnard
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.

AHIS BC3654 Institutional Critique (Barnard Course)
R. Deutsche
T/R 1:10 – 2:25, at Barnard
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 BC3642 North American Art and Culture (Barnard Course)
E. Hutchinson
T/R 10:10 – 11:25, at Barnard
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.

AHIS V3250 Roman Art & Architecture
F. de Angelis
M/W 2:40-3:55, 614 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 W3110 The Athenian Acropolis in the 5th & 6th Centuries BCE
I. Mylonopoulos
M/W 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
The course places the architecture and the sculptural decoration of the Parthenon in the centre of the scheduled class sessions. The course also aims at a contextualisation of the Parthenon within the broader architectural, artistic, and topographical 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. Two class sessions will, nevertheless, give a brief overview of the Acropolis after the end of the Peloponnesian war and concentrate on the transformation of the Acropolis into "Greece's museum of the past", an Arcadian topos of human imagination.

AHIS W3230 Medieval Architecture
S. Murray
T/R 2:40-3:55, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
Medieval Architecture provides an opportunity to study buildings belonging to the one-thousand year period from the fourth century to the Late Middle Ages. We will focus particularly upon issues of representation—how buildings have been described in words and depicted in images, exploring the stories created to link buildings together into a continuous narrative.

AHIS W3606 Visual Arts in Imperial Spain 1470-1600
D. Bodart
T/R 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
The course will survey Renaissance 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
R. Krauss
T/R 2:40-3:55, 501 Schermerhorn Hall
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.

AHIS W3645 20th Century Architecture/City Planning
P. Del Real
T/R 10:10-11:25, 832 Schermerhorn Hall
This undergraduate lecture course is an introduction to key topics in the history and theory of modern architecture and urbanism of the twentieth century, primarily focusing on developments in Europe and the United States, complemented with selected case studies from countries in Latin America and Asia. The course does not systematically cover all the major events, ideas, protagonists, and buildings of the period. It is organized around thematic and sometimes monographic lectures, which are intended to represent the essential character of modern architecture from its beginnings around 1900 until more recent developments at the end of the century.


Required course for Columbia majors. Please sign-up using this online form. The form will start accepting responses on Monday, October 19th at 10am. It will stop accepting responses on Wednesday, November 4th at 5pm. Admission is at the instructor's discretion.
Early sign-up is strongly encouraged.

Please note that we are offering two sections of AHIS W3895 Major's Colloquium: Introduction to the Literature and Methods of Art History and one section of AHIS W3961 Major's Colloquium: Methods of Architectural History. Both of these courses count towards the colloquium requirement for all three of our majors.

If you have already completed your colloquium requirement, but are interested in taking AHIS W3961, you may fill out a seminar application form and submit it to 826 Schermerhorn. You will be considered for admission if there is room in the class after all students needing to the colloquium have been enrolled. If you are a Barnard student and interested in taking AHIS W3961, you may also submit a seminar application.

AHIS W3895 Major's Colloquium: Introduction to the Literature and Methods of Art History 

Introduction to different methodological approaches to the study of art and visual culture.

AHIS W3985 is not open to Barnard or Professional Studies students.

Section 001
J. Crary
T 10:10 - 12pm, 930 Schermerhorn 

Section 002
B. Joseph
R 2:10-4pm, 832 Schermerhorn

AHIS W3961 Major's Colloquium: Methods of Architectural History
B. Bergdoll
W 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
This course will combine practical training in visual analysis and architectural historical research—through a single writing assignment in three stages -- with a close reading of key works of architectural historians since the emergence of the discipline as a free-standing field of inquiry in the late 19th century. In addition to course meetings occasional site visits will be arranged in the city and further afield.

History and Theory of Architecture majors are encouraged to take AHIS W3961 as their colloquium if possible.

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).  Applications for Barnard courses should be submitted to the Barnard Art History Department using the Barnard application form. The required application form can be found on the planning sheets and forms page.

Seminar Application Deadline: Friday, November 13, 2015

AHIS BC3919 Body Politics Since 1945  (Barnard Course)
J. McGrath
W 12:10-2, at Barnard
This seminar will focus on the multiple ways in which art since 1945 has constructed understandings of the body - as heroic, abject, commodified, diseased, erotic, queer and beyond. How does art think the body? How has art produced the body as a discursive, historical, and political object?

AHIS BC3922 The 1960's (Barnard Course)
J. McGrath
R 4:10-6, at Barnard
This course will focus on the aesthetic developments of the 1960's. Situating artworks in historical, political and cultural perspective, we will examine major American artistic movements such as Pop, Minimalism, and Conceptualism, in addition to European arrangements like Zero, Situationism, Arte Povera and Vienna Actionism.

AHIS BC3934 Dada and Surrealism (Barnard Course)
J. McGrath
M 4:10-6, at Barnard

AHIS BC3968 Art Criticism II (Barnard Course)
N. Guagnini
T 11 - 12:50pm, at Barnard
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 Course)
V. Smith
W 10:10-12pm, at Barnard
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 W3826 Women Painters in Europe 1500-1750
M. Cole
T 4:10-6, 832 Schermerhorn Hall
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.

AHIS W3832 Sacred Landscapes of the Ancient Andes (Approved for partial fulfillment of the Global Core requirement)
A. Gannaway
T 12:10-2, 832 Schermerhorn
Application deadline for this course only extended to 11/20/2015
This seminar will explore how the concept of the sacred landscape, a trope evoked in pre-Columbian scholarship with increasing frequency, has been used in the interpretation of the art and architecture of the ancient Central Andes. Class sessions will be focused on specific case studies that highlight the material dimensions of the so-called sacred landscapes of a number of ancient Andean cultures. Class topics will be drawn from over two thousand years of rich cultural development and will include examples from a variety of geographical areas throughout this region, which encompasses contemporary southern Ecuador, Peru, western Bolivia and northern Argentina and Chile. Over the course of the semester students will learn about artistic and architectural traditions that have been interpreted through the lens of an integrative landscape studies approach in roughly reverse chronological order and in considerable depth. They will explore how landscapes are conceptualized by scholars working in various disciplines (e.g. art history, architectural history, archaeology, ethnography) and will become familiar with the wide range of methodologies employed by those who take the sacred landscapes of the ancient Andes as their area of focus. 

AHIS W3837 Visual Arts and Natural History
C. Girard
W 12:10 – 2, 930 Schermerhorn
This seminar will examine the relation between eighteenth-century visual arts and the expansion of natural history during the period. While ambitious publication projects such as Linnaeus's Systema Naturea, Buffon's Histoire naturelle, and Diderot and d'Alembert's Encyclopédie challenged existing ideas about classification, visual expertise, and collecting and display, new fields of study, such as ornithology, were emerging. From the formal experimentation that shells generated in ornament books to the creation of museums of natural history, this seminar will ask how questions of creation, morphology, scale, growth, and deformity were investigated visually. Topics such as the rise of the amateur, women artists and collectors, the valorization of the artist's manner, the representation of life versus death, geographic exploration, theories of preformation versus epigenesis, teratology, sexual difference, taxonomy, and fetishism will be studied. Visits to the city's museums and rare book collections, and in particular to the American Museum of Natural History, will be an integral part of this seminar. Students are expected to engage critically with the literature on the history of both art and natural history, to study thoroughly a set of primary sources, and to think creatively about the topics addressed during this seminar.

AHIS W3847 Cities of Knowledge: Displaying Archaeological Knowledge in the Public Spaces of Amman ( Travel Seminar)
A. Shalem
W 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Like the cities of Rome and Jerusalem, the city of Amman is unique in its urban concept of exhibiting its archaeological past in the very center of the town. It is true that many cities all over the world are proud to call our attention to their ancient and even near past histories by exposing ruins and remains of 'previous' architectural achievements. These monuments are displayed as if in a museum – an open one, which has no clear borders. And yet, the decision to designate a large space at the very center of a metropolis for presenting archaeology and to expose the underground history of urban spaces to the everyday inhabitants and visitors of a city is a revolutionary plan. The display of the Forum Romanum in Rome and the Cardo in Jerusalem as sites of learning of historical knowledge is modern and is strongly embedded in the histories of Nationalism and of constructing identities.

This seminar discusses the urban development of the city of Amman with its two major archaeological sites, the ancient Roman buildings of the Roman city of Philadelphia in the central valley of the city, with its amphitheater, Odeon Theater and the Nymphaeum, and the Qala'a (Citadel) – the Umayyad Palace – located on the hill above. It aims at discussing these sites as related to the modern city of Amman and to other spaces located next to, in between, or as related to these archaeological sites. Modern method of urban planning all related to the idea of reconstructing past narratives for Amman will be critically discussed, while focusing mainly on archaeology, urban architectural developments, specific cultural centers and even museum display. The course is designed as a preparatory course for an excursion to Amman in March 2016 (Spring Recess). Students' presentations will be held both in situ, in front of the monuments of Amman, as well as in class.

AHIS W3882 August Sander and Photographic Portraiture in the 20th Century
N. Elcott
T 2:10-4, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
No one has shaped the course of photographic portraiture—of individuals and of an entire society—more than August Sander. Photobooks like The Face of Our Time (1929) mark the history of our social media present. This undergraduate seminar will study in depth Sander's photographs of social architypes, classes, professions, women, artists, politicians, political prisoners, outcasts, and the dead, as it interrogates the fundamental systems that frame these images: the archive, the document, physiognomy, scientific atlases, the politics of vision, photobooks, humanism, and Sander's vital legacy to the present. We will work in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art, which has recently acquired all 619 photographs that comprise People of the Twentieth Century, Sander's lifelong portrait of 20th century German society. Final presentations, to take place at MoMA, will focus on individual portfolios selected by the students.

AHIS W3921 Patronage and Monuments of India
V. Dehejia
R 10:10 – 12, 930 Schermerhorn
Exploration of the multiple aspects of patronage in Indian culture—religious, political, economic, and cultural. Case studies focused on specific monuments will be the subject of individual lectures.

Undergraduate Seminar
AHIS C3997 Senior Thesis Seminar
K. Jones
M 6:10-8pm, 930 Schermerhorn
Required for all thesis writers. Counts towards elective lecture credit. 
For more information about the thesis, please visit the senior thesis page on our website.

Bridge Lectures

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

AHIS W4073 Contemporary Arts of Africa
Z.S. Strother
M/W 4:10-5:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
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. 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. A special symposium co-organized by the professor, “Biennial Cultures in Africa,” will examine the enthusiastic embrace by African artists of the biennial platform as a site for the production of contemporary art.

AHIS W4110 Modern Japanese Architecture
J. Reynolds
T/R 10:10-11:25, Room TBA (please note day/time )
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 1920's, 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.

AHIS W4155 Art and Archaeology of Mesopotamia
Z. Bahrani
T/R 4:10-5:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
This course surveys the art and architecture of Mesopotamia from the rise of the first cities, the invention of writing, and the development of monumental art and architecture in the fourth millennium BC through the Parthian- Roman era (3rd century AD). Within this historical framework the lectures will focus on the revolutionary ancient developments in art and architecture, including the origins of narrative representation, thefirst emergence of historical public monuments, and sacred architecture. We will also study some ancient texts on the making and uses of images and monuments, including rituals of animating statues, building rituals, treatment of images in wars, and visual performativity. At the same time, small scale and personal arts will be considered in the context of private ownership and the practices of daily life.

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.

Bridge seminars will count towards seminar credit for majors.

Application Deadline: November 3oth, 2015

( Course Cancelled)
AHIS G4156 The Japanese Buddhist Temple
M. McKelway

AHIS G4106 The Indian Temple
V. Dehejia
W 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
This course explores the emergence and development of the Indian temple, examines the relationship between form and function, and emphasizes the importance of considering temple sculpture and architecture together. It covers some two thousand years of activity, and while focusing on Hindu temples, also includes shrines built to the Jain and Buddhist faiths.

AHIS G4615 Mapping Gothic
S. Murray
T 10:10-12, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
The story of Gothic is traditionally recounted diachronically as architectural development. With our new interactive website, www.mappinggothic.org, we challenge the user to entertain multiple stories and explore the synchronicity of architectural production, considering the space and time when France became France and new cultural/national unities began to emerge in Europe.

AHIS G4847 Museum Practice and Writing for Catalogues: Spanish and Latin American Painting at the Hispanic Society Museum, 1700-1920
M. Burke
T 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
This seminar has two goals. It will introduce an important group of Hispanic (Spanish and Latin American) works of art, and it will teach basic museological principals as they relate to the registration, researching, cataloguing, and publishing of individual works of art – particularly as published in catalogues raisonnés, museum collection catalogues, and exhibition catalogues. The researching and writing of an exemplary, professional catalogue entry will be one of the tasks of students in the seminar. The seminar will use the works at The Hispanic Society Museum and Library in New York as the subjects of the students' work. The goal is to give students access to objects as a way of increasing skills in technical and formal analysis, connoisseurship, and appreciation of the social value of material culture.

Many of the works at the Society are unpublished or only schematically published. Students will be doing original scholarship in cataloguing these works.

A reading knowledge of Spanish is highly desirable but not a requirement for admission to the seminar. If a student does not have Spanish, then a basic command of either French or Italian will be necessary.

Sessions will be held both at the University and at The Hispanic Society Museum and Library, 613 West 155th Street.

Other Courses of Interest

The following courses are approved to count towards the majors and concentrations in the Art History Department, but do not originate from the department. Please consult the Directory of Classes for enrollment instructions.

Please consult the instructor and/or department of origin with any questions.

HIST W4081 Building Forever: Rome through its Monuments, Antiquity and the Middle Ages
M. Maskarinec
R 2:10-6
How did a small Italian settlement by the Tiber River rise to become the capital of a vast Mediterranean Empire? How did this same city reinvent itself as the spiritual capital of Western Christendom? How were these dramatic changes registered, recorded, remembered, forgotten or erased in the urban fabric? This course 'reads' the multilayered city of Rome from its origins through the Middle Ages: Part I: From Village to Empire; Part II: A Christian Capital; Part III: Reform and Renewal in the Middle Ages. Each meeting focuses on select sites or monuments in the city, each paired with a primary text, to consider larger economic, social, cultural, religious, and political changes taking place in Rome and the impact that they had on the urban landscape. Throughout, we will delve into the methodological challenges faced by scholars in understanding these changes. Students will be encouraged to think creatively about the intersections of history and legend and the participation of monuments in their wider urban setting.

**This course can count for seminar and architectural history credit for department major and concentrators. **