Spring 2019 Graduate Courses

Last updated: Monday, February 4, 2019. 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 GU4045 Collecting
A. Higonnet
M/W 10:10-11:25, 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 for undergraduates only.

Bridge Seminars

Bridge seminars are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Interested students must submit an application to be considered for enrollment. Admission is at the instructor’s discretion.

AHIS GU4584 Critical Approaches to Persianate Painting
M. Chagnon
W 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn
This course charts the origins, development, and proliferation of the arts of depiction in the Persianate cultural sphere after the advent of Islam ca. 650 CE. Illustrated manuscripts, single-sheet paintings and drawings, and pictures in other two- and three-dimensional media will be examined both historiographically and through new critical frameworks. Topics to be considered include cross-cultural interactions, relations of text and image, the status of "the image" in Perso-Islamic thought and practice, and the haptic in Persianate painting.
***All interested students should attend the first class of AHIS GU4584. Please fill out and bring a hard copy of the department's seminar application form with you (rather than submitting an online application).

Core Graduate Courses

Required courses for first-year students.

AHIS GR5001 Curatorial Colloquium
J. Kraynak
R 12:10-2, 806 Schermerhorn
The Curatorial Colloquium is a required course for first year MODA students. The course introduces students to the history, theory and practice of exhibitions and institutions; histories of curating and recent models of the “curatorial.” Readings for seminar sessions cover key topics and recent debates, including the emergence of the national museum; ideological critiques of the museum; exhibitions and politics; the shifting nature and roles of exhibitions, and the latter’s relationship to new trends in and mediums of artistic practice. As a colloquium, seminar sessions are supplemented by presentations by guest speakers from the curatorial and museum fields, curatorial walk-throughs and other off-site visits to exhibitions and various programs. Please note: some visits require either extended class time to accommodate travel, or attendance out of regular class hours. The Curatorial Colloquium does not permit enrollment from students who are not in the MODA program.

AHIS GR5003 Practices of Art History Colloquium
F. Baumgartner
R 12:10-2, 930 Schermerhorn
Required course for all first-year MA students. This course examines the range of practices associated with art history, including connoisseurship, provenance, curatorship, and conservation. Drawing on the participation of leading art professionals invited to share their expertise with the students, the course culminates in the conception and mounting of an exhibition based on Columbia’s art collection.

AHIS GR5006 MODA Thesis Prep
J. Kraynak
T 4:10-6, 806 Schermerhorn
The MODA Thesis Prep is a required course for MODA students who plan to commence their thesis in the Fall of 2019. The course will introduce students to the fundamentals of an MA thesis, the research and writing process, and how to devise an appropriate topic for a written/scholarly, or an exhibition-based thesis. The class will also review key methodologies in modern and contemporary art history. At the end of the semester, students will have comprised a detailed topic, a preliminary proposal, and identified a faculty adviser.

Graduate Lectures

Graduate lectures are open to graduate students without an application. Interested undergraduates should contact the instructor for permission.

AHIS GR6403 Modernism, Structuralism, Post-structuralism
R. Krauss
T 2:10-4, 612 Schermerhorn
The discourse on Modernism in the visual arts examined in relation to the theoretical positions of structuralism and post-structuralism, specifically the work of Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida.

AHIS GR6408 Origins of Modern Visual Culture
J. Crary
W 4:10-6, 807 Schermerhorn
Major developments in the emergence of modern visual culture in Europe and North America 1750-1900. Topics include the panorama, diorama, museums, photography, world expositions, and early cinema; issues in technology, urbanization, and consumer society. Attention to texts by Debord, Agamben, Bakhtin, Elias, Lefebvre, Caillois, Kluge, Gunning, Foucault, and others. This is a no laptop, no e-device course.

AHIS GR6410 Art and Neuroscience in an Age of Iconoclasm
D. Freedberg
R 2:10-4, 612 Schermerhorn
This course will assess the potential of the cognitive neurosciences to illuminate critical problems in the humanities and the history of art and images. Until very recently, such an integrative approach was viewed with deep skepticism. Even now, the epistemological divide remains an obstacle, on the grounds that the reductionism of sciences militates against the contextual sensitivity regarded as central to the humanities. The course will focus on emotional and embodied responses to images and consider the implications for the concept of art in our digital environments.

Graduate Seminars

Graduate seminars require an application. Admission is at the instructor's discretion.

Each course description includes a link to an application form for that seminar. Interested students must fill out and submit their online applications for spring 2019 graduate seminars by 5pm on Monday, January 7th, 2019.

AHIS GR8013 Art and Neuroscience in an Age of Iconoclasm
D. Freedberg
R 2:10-4, 612 Schermerhorn
This course will assess the potential of the cognitive neurosciences to illuminate critical problems in the humanities and the history of art and images. Until very recently, such an integrative approach was viewed with deep skepticism. Even now, the epistemological divide remains an obstacle, on the grounds that the reductionism of sciences militates against the contextual sensitivity regarded as central to the humanities. The course will focus on emotional and embodied responses to images and consider the implications for the concept of art in our digital environments.
Apply for ‘Art and Neuroscience in an Age of Iconoclasm’ using this form.

COURSE UPDATED (11/13/2018)
AHIS GR8025 Greek Sanctuaries
I. Mylonopoulos
M 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn
Aim of the seminar is to understand the forms and functions of architecture and dedicatory objects in Greek sanctuaries while analyzing these sacred places as the spatial centers in which Greek aesthetics, Greek identity, and ultimately Greek culture were shaped.
Apply for ‘Greek Sanctuaries’ using this online form.

AHIS GR8144 Representing Architecture in Ancient Rome
F. de Angelis
T 6:10-8, 930 Schermerhorn
Roman art provides us with a rich and manifold repertoire of architectural representations. Reliefs featuring emperors engaged in religious and civic rituals against architectural backdrops, coins celebrating newly constructed buildings, paintings emphasizing the spatial settings of everyday activities—the range of ancient media and genres reproducing edifices is vast. These images have typically attracted scholarly attention first and foremost qua visual renderings of coeval monuments: they have therefore been assessed according to their degree of accuracy, and exploited for the information they can yield when those monuments are no longer, or only partially, extant. While not disregarding such aspect, this seminar will consider architectural representations as testimonies of the perception and reception of buildings and their decoration in antiquity; and, along with the descriptive qualities of images depicting architecture, it will address their prescriptive and normative character. Among other things, it will focus on the conventions that these images used and that caused them to deviate from the appearance of the actual buildings; the treatment of architectural ornament in images; the interaction between architecture and human activities, be they ceremonial or quotidian; and especially the functions of ancient depictions of buildings and monuments. Graduate students from all departments, as well as advanced undergraduates, are most welcome to apply.
Apply for ‘Representing Architecture in Ancient Rome’ using this online form.

AHIS GR8205 Medieval Sculpture
G. Bryda
T 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn
This graduate seminar will examine the medium of sculpture in the medieval European context. Starting with its ambivalent reception and its association with pagan idolatry, the course will explore how the formal, material, and phenomenal qualities inherent to the three-dimensional medium engendered sculpture with a unique ability to convey complicated theological precepts to the masses, elevate the drama of the liturgy, and conjure visionary experiences. Structured around case studies of objects abroad and in American collections, the seminar will couple rigorous visual analysis with classic and contemporary methodological approaches from the field in its study of reliquaries, altarpieces, tombs, monumental architectural programs, and liturgical props, among other works.
Apply for ‘Medieval Sculpture’ using this online form.

AHIS GR8317 Antiquarianism and Archaeology
Z. Bahrani
T 4:10-6, 934 Schermerhorn
This seminar explores the two forms of interest in the past that co-existed in European intellectual circles in the eighteenth-nineteenth century: Antiquarianism and Archaeology. The first form of engagement with the distant past is associated with the collector and the Wunderkammer, the combination of artefacts and fossils, gems and coins, all into one collection. The second form, emerged after the first, and was defined as a science. Both of these forms of engagement with the past came to be centered around the archaeological past of lands under the Ottoman empire, the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean, including Egypt, Mesopotamia and Anatolia as well as Greece and Cyprus. The seminar will consider Antiquarianism in its many guises beginning with antiquarianism in antiquity itself, turning back to the earliest records of collecting and cataloguing artefacts in the Ancient Near East and Egypt, as well as Greece and the Roman east. The seminar in turn explores antiquarianism and the development of the scientific discipline of archaeology, how it defined itself and set itself apart from its predecessor, focusing on the collecting and documentation of antiquities, the start of organized excavations, and the origins of the modern museum, all of which were part of the newly defined discipline, archaeology. Permission of instructor required.
Apply for ‘Antiquarianism and Archaeology’ using this online form.

AHIS GR8347 Ephemeral Art
D. Bodart
R 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn
Works created or used for ephemeral occasions are a fundamental dimension of Renaissance and Baroque art. Triumphal arches and colossal statues, exuberant chariots and costumes, wine fountains and food sculptures, and transformative fireworks machines set the stage for royal pageantry, civic rituals, religious processions, and carnivals. These temporary productions, made of perishable materials, worked as a powerful experimental laboratory for artistic ideas and future lasting works. While very few remnants of these abundant and polymorphous creations survive today, textual and visual descriptions, diffused in printed versions, allow a reconstruction of this lost figurative world. The seminar will explore the creations and uses of ephemeral art in the Early Modern period, discussing different cultural contexts in Europe and the New World. Particular attention will be given to the materials and processes of production, the modes of display and the conditions of reception, as well as to the pageantry and performative aspect.
Apply for ‘Ephemeral Art’ using this online form.

AHIS GR8432 Art and Theory in a Global Context
J. Rajchman
W 2:10-4, 934 Schermerhorn
What is Globalization? How does it affect the ways we think about art? What new role can theory play in it? And in what new ways does it involve aesthetics as well as politics? For some time, there has been an on-going debate on all of these matters; this seminar is an exploration and critical examination of them. We will take 1989—or the dawn of the twenty-first century—as a turning point for the emergence of a new set of models and institutions, which, transforming or re-evaluating older ones, provides the context for new kinds of art and theory. We will focus on China and Brazil as case studies and engage with several current exhibitions or discussions in New York. The seminar is organized around a series of issues through which the larger debate has unfolded or been refracted. They include: modernity, modernism and contemporaneity; image, media and participation; exhibition histories, museums and biennials, and much more. In this way, it opens onto the larger question: what is contemporary art and thinking today? The seminar is open to qualified students from all areas or disciplines concerned with the problem of the arts in what has come to be known as 'globalization'.
Apply for ‘Art and Theory in a Global Context’ using this online form.

AHIS GR8436 Art and the British Empire
M. Gamer
T 10:10-12 F 10:10-12, 832 Schermerhorn
From the late 16th to the early 20th centuries, the British Empire grew to become the largest in world history. Its territories spanned the globe, from the Americas to Africa to South Asia and the Pacific. Until relatively recently, the visual and material culture of Britain's colonies was considered marginal, at best, to the history of British art. Over the last two decades, the situation has altered dramatically. In this time, a large and dynamic body of scholarship has emerged that places the fact and concept of empire at the very center of its approach to the question of what "British art" is, and what it means to study it.
Apply for ‘Art and the British Empire’ using this online form.

AHIS GR8486 French Architecture and Architectural Theory in the Long Nineteenth Century (1790-1914)
B. Berdgoll; F. Garric
M 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn
This hybrid lecture/seminar course will consider major developments and figures in French architectural theory and practice from the eve of the Revolution to the eve of the First World War.  Lectures alternately by Bergdoll and Garric will be interespsed with discussion sessions devoted to major theoretic statements including Rondelet, Quatremere de Quincy, the Saint-Simonians, Viollet-le-Duc, Charles Garnier and Julien Guadet.
Apply for ‘French Architecture and Architectural Theory in the Long Nineteenth Century (1790-1914)’ using this online form.

AHIS GR8487 Seeing Women’s Work in Art of Native America
E. Hutchinson
W 10:10-12, Metropolitan Museum of Art
This seminar is organized around the study of pottery, baskets, weavings and other tailored textiles on display in the exhibition “Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection,” and is a collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This landmark long-term display is the first to present Indigenous North American art in the Museum’s American Wing and the display invites the close analysis of more than 100 objects, over half of which were created by women. Unlike in other areas, Native women’s artistic accomplishments have long been recognized. Yet there is more to be said about the significance of the expert design and craftspersonship of Indigenous women’s art. Meeting weekly in the galleries and joined several times during the semester by an Indigenous artist, curator, or scholar, we will investigate how to see and understand women’s work in the sourcing and preparation of materials, in the conceptualization of design and decoration, in the crafting of finished pieces, and in their use. Discussion will center on a single object, with related pieces brought in to deepen our investigation. Readings will range from texts that focus on individual artistic traditions to those which explore gender in relationship to Indigenous culture and history. Each student will offer two presentations to the class: the first will focus on one of the works on display and the second will pair an object from “Art of Native America” with a related work created by a living Indigenous woman artist.
Apply for ‘Seeing Women’s Work in Art of Native America’ using this online form.

AHIS/CMPM GR8488 Genealogies of the Screen, 19th Century to Present
N. Elcott
W 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn
Artists, filmmakers, theorists, critics, and vast publics have engaged the screen since its nineteenth century proliferation. Recently, the screen has become the focus of ample scholarship. This seminar will track the long history and theory of screens through media archaeology, art and film theory, and close study of artworks, buildings, films, technological devices, and current exhibitions/performances/screenings in the NY-area. Topics include: screen typologies, practices, dispositifs, architectures; scale, im/materiality, orientation; theaters, galleries, urban environments, exhibition/expos; spectators, viewers, users, publics.
Apply for ‘Genealogies of the Screen, 19th Century to Present’ using this online form.

AHIS GR8489 Land and Landscape
Z. Çelik Alexander
R 10:10-12, 934 Schermerhorn
How did land—a primary source of economic value—become separated from landscape—an object of aesthetic enjoyment—in the West? This course examines the moment between the early eighteenth and the late nineteenth centuries when the physical and conceptual demarcations of land from landscape coincided with the emergence of political economic discourses, on the one hand, and the formulation of aesthetics as a separate branch of philosophical inquiry, on the other. Re-examining well-known moments in landscape history, the course aims to ask: What does a global modernity fueled as much by agriculturalization as by industrialization look like? How can this theoretical recalibration help construct new historical ontologies of such key concepts as nature, culture, and environment? What might this examination reveal about the vexed relationship between politics and aesthetics?
Apply for ‘Land and Landscape’ using this online form.

AHIS GR8616 Chinese Painting Connoisseurship: Authenticity, Forgeries, and Deceptions
A. Murck
F 2:10-4, 934 Schermerhorn
Chinese painters learn their craft by copying earlier masters. Some copies were good enough to pass as originals; some were made with intent to deceive. This seminar will consider some of the famous authenticity controversies such as the Metropolitan Museum’s Riverbank, and the National Palace Museum two versions of Huang Gongwang’s “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains”. We will also consider attitudes toward authenticity in dynastic China. What role do seals, inscriptions, mounting, and “antiquing” play in authenticating a painting? How did "for-the-market" forgeries come to be in the collection of the twentieth-century painter C. C. Wang, who prided himself on his connoisseurship? The class will study nine Chinese scrolls that C. C. Wang gave to Columbia University in 1973; we will visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Princeton University Art Museum, and make an overnight trip to the Freer|Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC. During each visit, curators will present instances of questionable attributions, deceptions, and how they are understood.  The class will be conducted in English, but Chinese language is useful.
Apply for ‘Chinese Painting Connoisseurship: Authenticity, Forgeries, and Deceptions’ using this online form.

AHIS GR8618 The Evolution of Iconography in the Tale of Genji Paintings
E. Bauer
R 4:10-6, 806 Schermerhorn
Genji-e (Genji pictures), although associated with a single text, constitute an extraordinary corpus of images – in their magnitude of numbers from the 12th century to the present within varied historical and social contexts, complexity as an object (handscrolls, hanging scrolls, screens, albums, etc.), and in their relationship with calligraphy. This seminar will explore the richness and diversity of paintings inspired by The Tale of Genji and will coincide with the exhibition The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The seminar will address the various approaches to this corpus of works, to assign meaning on different scales while critically examining previous research and then reflect on the relevance of this category.
Apply for ‘The Evolution of Iconography in the Tale of Genji Paintings’ using this online form.