Spring 2017 Undergraduate Courses

Updated: Friday, January 13, 2017.


AHIS BC1002 Introduction to the History of Art II (Barnard Course)
A. Higonnet
M/W 2:40-3:55, 304 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. Discussion section required.

AHIS UN2102 Gore and Violence in Greek Art
I. Mylonopoulos
M/W 10:10-11:25, 832 Schermerhorn
This course aims to offer an alternative – more ‘realistic’ – view of ancient Greek art and understand its violence and goriness as parts of its (at least) two faces; to add, as it were, the lightless night of violence to the luminous day of the athletic, heroic, and divine realms. Violence in art will be placed in a broader political, social, historical, and intellectual context. In addition, violence in art will be understood as a powerful visual means for the construction and deconstruction or even destruction of images of dangerous Otherness: the aggressive barbarian (Persians), the uncontrolled nature outside the constraints of the polis (Centaurs), and the all too powerful or independent female (Amazons).

AHIS UN2109 Roman Art and 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 UN2303 Rome, Michelangelo to Bernini
M. Cole, Y. Hara
T/R 2:40-3:55, 612 Schermerhorn
This course we will look at highlights of Roman art and architecture from the late fifteenth to the late seventeenth centuries, considering the works in relation to the conditions in which they were originally produced and viewed. It will introduce the most important artists of the period, considering the issues their works raised and giving attention to the conditions in which those works were originally produced and viewed. Discussion section required

AHIS UN2307 Early Modern Architecture (1400-1750)
E. Pistis, M. Waters
M/W 1:10-2:25, 612 Schermerhorn
This course examines the history of early modern architecture, roughly between 1400 and 1750, from a European perspective outward. It begins by addressing a number of transhistorical principal issues and analytical approaches and then moves on to a series of roughly chronological thematic studies, which build on this conceptual framework. 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 movements of architectural knowledge. Additional topics that will be discussed 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 cities and towns; the creation of urban space and landscape; the formalization of architectural education; and the changing status of the architect.

AHIS UN2405 Twentieth Century Art
R. Krauss
T/R 2:40-3:55, 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 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 
D. Delbanco
M/W 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn

Section 002
M. Chusid
T/R 8:40-9:55, 832 Schermerhorn

Section 003
T. Andrei
M/W 2:40-3:55, 832 Schermerhorn

AHUM UN2802 Arts of Islam: Realignments of Empire and State (circa 1000-1400)
H. Ecker
T/R 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn
This introductory survey course, open to both undergraduates and graduates, examines a broad spectrum of artistic and architectural developments across the Islamic World (Spain, North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia) encompassing crucial political and territorial shifts that occurred in the late medieval period. Looking inward and outward, these shifts not only created new realities of empire and state, but also realigned engagements between a variety of Muslim societies with both European and Asian steppe cultures, leading to new forms that articulate shifts in religious, political, intellectual and social practices. Through examining a series of test cases in within a mainly chronological narrative, the course will cultivate clear visual analysis within particular cultural and material contexts. It will also develop experience in reading a variety of secondary and primary source materials in translation. CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core Requirement.

AHUM UN2901 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture
S. Shah
M/W 1:10-2:25, 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. CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core Requirement.

AHIS BC3688 Japanese Photography (Barnard Course)
J. Reynolds
M/W 10:10-11:25, 504 Diana Center
This course will examine the history of Japanese photography from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present. The class will be organized both chronologically and thematically. Throughout its history, photography has been an especially powerful medium for addressing the most challenging issues facing Japanese society. Among the topics under discussion will be: tourist photography and the representation of women within that genre in the late 19th century, the politics of propaganda photography, the construction of Japanese cultural identity through the representation of "tradition" in photography, and the interest in marginalized urban subcultures in the photography of the 1960s and 1970s. Although the course will be focused on Japan, the class will read from the literature on photography elsewhere in order to situate Japanese work within a broader context.


AHIS UN3000 Majors Colloquium: Introduction to the Literature and Methods of Art History Introduction to different methodological approaches to the study of art and visual culture. Required course for majors.

 AHIS UN3000 is not open to Barnard or Professional Studies students.

 Section 001
J. Kraynak
T 2:10-4, 832 Schermerhorn

Section 002 
N. Elcott
W 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn

Undergraduate Seminars

Undergraduate seminars require an application, which can be found here. Admission is at the instructor's discretion. Applications for Columbia undergraduate seminars must be submitted to Emily Benjamin in the main office for the Department of Art History and Archaeology at 826 Schermerhorn Hall.

Applications for Barnard undergraduate seminars must be submitted to Elisabeth Sher at the Barnard Art History Department. Please visit the Barnard Art History website to download their seminar application form.

Applications for Spring 2017 Columbia and Barnard undergraduate seminars are due by 12pm on Friday, November 11th, 2016.

AHIS UN3002 Senior Thesis Seminar
K. Jones
W 4:10-6, 934 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.

AHIS UN3101 The Public Monument in Antiquity
Z. Bahrani
T 4:10-6, 930 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.

AHIS UN3410 Approaches to Contemporary Art
B. Joseph
T 2:10-4, 934 Schermerhorn
This course examines the critical approaches to contemporary art from the 1970s to the present. It will address a range of historical and theoretical issues around the notion of "the contemporary" (e.g. globalization, participation, relational art, ambivalence, immaterial labor) as it has developed in the era after the postmodernism of the 1970s and 1980s.

AHIS UN3413 Nineteenth-Century Criticism
J. Crary
T 10:10-12, 832 Schermerhorn
Selected readings in nineteenth-century philosophy, literature and art criticism with emphasis on problems of modernity and aesthetic experience. Texts include work by Diderot, Kant, Coleridge, Hegel, Emerson, Flaubert, Ruskin, Baudelaire, and Nietzsche. 

AHIS UN3424 Sunshine/Noir: Minor Histories of California Art*
J. Gosse
T 12:10-2, 832 Schermerhorn
What would the history of American art look like if we looked west instead of east, focusing on cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco rather than New York? This seminar asks students to examine art since WWII as it developed under the Southern California sun and the Northern California fog. Moving away from a traditional auteur-driven narrative focused on individual artists, curators, critics, or works, this seminar will also focus attention on pivotal exhibitions, events, performances, and catalytic encounters that happened on the peripheries of, and often, in opposition to, traditional institutional contexts like the gallery and museum.

*Please note that this course is a travel seminar. The trip to the Bay Area, California will take place over the 2017 spring break. Students who enroll in this course must commit to going on the trip. Students who enroll in the seminar and do not go on the trip will not be eligible to receive credit for the course. Additional information about the department's travel seminar program can be found here.

AHIS UN3425 Public Sculpture at Columbia and Barnard
R. Harrist, R. Ferrari
M 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn
The donation to Columbia of Reclining Figure, a large bronze sculpture of an abstract female form by Henry Moore, has sparked lively debate about the role of public outdoor sculpture at Columbia and Barnard. Inspired by this debate, which attracted international attention in the press, this seminar will study our extremely varied collection of public sculpture from multiple perspectives. Among the issues we will consider are the nature of public space, the relationship between the space of a university campus and it surrounding environment, the aesthetic and administrative choices that lie behind the display of sculpture on our own campus, and the ways through which works of sculpture express institutional values and ideals.

AHIS UN3501 African Art: The Next Generation. Focus: Congo!
Alvaro Luis Lima
M 10:10-12, 934 Schermerhorn
Why is it so hard to represent the Congo? Some of the most important sculpture in the world comes from the two Congos, which continue to produce acclaimed writers, choreographers, and visual artists. We will begin with Heart of Darkness and Tintin in the Congo in order to consider the problems of representation set into motion by early colonial texts. The seminar profits from an intense interdisciplinary dialogue among historians, anthropologists, political scientists, philosophers, artists, and art historians who have debated the history of Congolese art and changed its future through active patronage and museum exhibitions. Some flash points that we will consider: the relationship of ethnography to fiction; the transmutation of the fetish into the power object; the impact of collecting and colonialism; what modernity might mean in the Congo; and the relationship of the Congo to the diaspora. We will close by examining Congolese biennale culture and take up Terry Smith’s question: “Who gets to say what counts as contemporary art?” CC/GS/SEAS: Partial fulfillment of Global Core Requirement. Approval pending for Barnard GER designations (ART, CUL, Thinking through Global Inquiry, and Thinking with Historical Perspective).

AHIS BC3930 Saints, Relics, and the Dead in Medieval Art (Barnard Course)
J. Ackley
W 12:10-2, Room TBC
This seminar addresses one of the most fundamental questions of the Middle Ages: what happens to the dead, what happens to “the very special dead,” (i.e., the saints), and what role did medieval art play in negotiating these concerns? Christianity had burdened human beings with fleshly, decaying, corruptible bodies: the unclean, undeserving body served as a barrier which blocked an ultimate reunification with God. The possibility of overcoming such a fallen state and assuming a heavenly, immortal body was, understandably, one of the central organizing principles of the Church, its rituals, and its art. Accordingly, much medieval art concerned itself with the proper protection, treatment, and exposure of the dead, especially saints and other divine figures. Saints, unlike regular humans, occupied an exceptional status: their bodies, already glorious, remained on earth, frequently divided and circulated as fragments, and thus served as points of contact between the earthly and the divine. Saints’ lives provide some of the most memorable and, by definition, most extraordinary episodes in medieval literature. Reliquaries, the containers made to hold, protect, and occasionally reveal relics, comprise some of the most sumptuous, complex, and puzzling examples of medieval art that have come down to us. This seminar will anchor these and related themes within medieval art history and, most importantly, the work of art. This seminar will make especial use of the medieval collections at The Met and The Cloisters.

AHIS BC3949 Art of Witness (Barnard Course)
R. Deutsche
W 11-12:50, 501/2 Diana Center
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.

AHIS BC3954 Medieval Manuscripts (Barnard Course)
J. Ackley
M 12:10-2, 501/2 Room TBC
The decorated medieval manuscript is one of the richest and most complex historical phenomena of the Middle Ages. A dense, considered interweaving of text and luxurious image, the medieval manuscript both crystallizes and comments upon many of the key intellectual, religious, and aesthetic foundations of medieval society. To step into a medieval manuscript—into its script, its miniatures, its marginal decoration, its scribbles, its little monsters and unexpected grotesques, its tears and signs of use—is to probe definitions of painted image and written word that differ markedly from our own today. Throughout, basic questions of the relationship between text and image, the linguistic and the pictorial, repeatedly beg attention. How were these books made, who used them (if they were used at all), how did the reading process unfold in the medieval period, and how did pictorial decoration assist in revealing—or, perhaps, obscuring—truth? In addition, what of the luxurious status of books and the painted miniature? What of their precious covers (frequently lost to us), and what of their status as artworks? Such thematic questions will inform this seminar’s systematic inquiry of the making, function, and layout of the medieval book, including its historical and art historical development across centuries. Significant use will be made of the manuscript collections at both the Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library and The Morgan Library & Museum.

AHIS BC3969 Art Criticism II (Barnard Course)
N. Guagnini
T 11-12:50, 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 BC3983 Ways of Graphic Design-ing (Barnard Course)
P. Krishnamurthy
T 2:10-4, Conference Hour 4-5, 501/2 Diana Center

AHIS BC3984 Curatorial Positions: 1969-Present (Barnard Course)
V. Smith
W 10:10-12, 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.

Bridge Lectures

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

AHIS GU4045 Collecting
A. Higonnet
M/W 11:40-12:55, 612 Schermerhorn
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.

Bridge Seminars

Bridge seminars are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Admission to bridge seminars is at the instructor’s discretion. The undergraduate application form for bridge seminars can be found here, and should be submitted to Emily Benjamin in the main office for the Department of Art History and Archaeology at 826 Schermerhorn Hall.

Applications for Spring 2017 bridge seminars are due by 12pm on Friday, November 11th, 2016.

AHIS GU4548 Displacing God: Architecture, Modernism, and the Post-Secular
M. González Pendás
M 12:10-2, 934 Schermerhorn
This seminar explores the shifting and paradoxical role that religion has played in various
conceptions of architectural modernism and cross-references contemporary theories on the formation of secular societies with physical and discursive evidences drawn from the history of architecture. Glaringly absent in most canonical histories, the production of religion has been however crucial to the shaping of core ideals of art and architectural modernism and to the commissioning of main works. Similarly, buildings continue to act as significant instruments for the intersection of politics and religion that define conflicts over nationalism, tradition and modernity. Not a course on churches or mosques and specifically
avoiding the study of these typologies in relation to theology, the seminar explores the other physical and discursive spaces where religion has operated historically: from urban sites to theoretical narratives and exhibition practices; from notions of technology, space, pedagogy and monumentality to processes of urbanization and technocratic governments. We will consider these the “shadows” of secularism, as anthropologist Talal Assad has suggested, which study serve to better understand the displacement of the religious sphere under regimes of modernization.

AHIS GU4582 Mediterranean Trade and Exchange (ca. 900-1400)
H. Ecker
R 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn
This seminar will explore trade in the Mediterranean over nearly half a millennia using a variety of disciplinary approaches and a trans-cultural framework. Bordered by three continents and a variety of states, the Mediterranean has been conceptualized as an ecological, economic and cultural region. We will examine a variety of historical models as we explore the mechanisms (ships, navigation, maps, and currency) and objects of trade (luxury goods and commodities) as well as trade in the Mediterranean as a conduit of ideas, materials, and forms between cultures. We will consider matters of control over resources in the movement of raw materials such as ivory, gold, rock crystal and silk in the Mediterranean region and their transformation into works of art in both Christian and Muslim spheres. We will also examine the documentation of trade and its interpretation for a critical understanding of issues of patronage, consumption, and display of luxury goods in the medieval period.

AHIS GU4640 Soviet Photomontage of the 1920s and 1930s
M. Ratanova
R 12:10-2, 930 Schermerhorn
This seminar will introduce students to the history of the Soviet photomontage, from its first examples in the work of Russian Constructivists Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzky, Gustav Klucis, Liubov Popova, and others after the October Revolution, to its rise to the top of the hierarchy of the agitational mass art in the 1920s, and its role in advancing the First Five-Year Plan and documenting the socialist reconstruction in the 1930s. In this course photomontage is interpreted as a logical continuation of the analytical movements in the early twentieth-century art. We will address the reasons behind the abrupt turn to factography and productivism in the work of Russian Constructivists in the early 1920s. We will examine photomontage as a complex modernist experiment that led to expanding the language of modern art and became a sophisticated art form, able to document the great experiment of the Russian Revolution, its severity and idealism, and to express the utopian visions behind it.