Spring 2022 Graduate Courses

Last updated: Friday, January 28th, 2022. Red text denotes a new or changed course since the previous update.

Please confirm course listings on the Directory of Classes: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/home.html

Bridge Lectures

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

AHIS GU4027 Architecture and Associated Arts in Western Europe from 1066 until 1399: Building with Blood, Sweat, and Tears
S. Van Liefferinge
T/R 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
This course will study building practice, sculpture, and architectural ornamentation in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. The monuments selected belong to a period that starts when architecture moved away from Roman antique models and ends just before the re-adoption of Classical standards in the Renaissance. In this course the originality of medieval architecture, its relationship with earlier and later monuments, and the dramatic effort involved in its creation will be discussed. Major themes of medieval society such as pilgrimages, crusades, piety, the cult of relics, and the social and intellectual context of the Middle Ages are also part of this lecture. The course will also introduce students on how to harness digital technologies such as laser scanning or photogrammetry for the study of medieval art. No preliminary knowledge of medieval history or architectural history is needed and no knowledge of digital technologies or specific computer skills is expected. (Virtual) Museum visits will complement the regular lectures.

AHIS GU4031 Art of Italy: 1300-1520
I. Oryshkevich
M/W 10:10-11:25, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
A survey of the art of Italy from the early fourteenth century to the onset of the Reformation. Major artists and cultural centers of the period will be covered, but also examined within the context of broader artistic conventions of the time. Special attention will be paid to the historical factors that led to the Renaissance in the visual arts as well as the impact of cultures beyond classical antiquity on the form and iconography of paintings and sculptures produced in the period.

AHIS GU4042 African American Artists in the 20th and 21st Centuries
K. Jones
M/W 2:40-3:55, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
This course is a survey of visual production by North Americans of African descent from 1900 to the present. It will look at the various ways in which these artists have sought to develop an African American presence in the visual arts over the last century. We will discuss such issues as: what role does stylistic concern play; how are ideas of romanticism, modernism, and formalism incorporated into the work; in what ways do issues of postmodernism, feminism, and cultural nationalism impact on the methods used to portray the cultural and political body that is African America?

Bridge Seminars

Bridge seminars are advanced courses open to undergraduate and graduate students. Students must submit an application, linked below each course description, in order to be considered for enrollment. Admission is at the instructor’s discretion.

Spring 2022 bridge seminar applications are due by 5pm on Friday, January 7th.

AHIS GU4512 Interpretive Archaeology: Historiography of the Ancient World
A. Duplouy
T 10:10-12, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
The objective of this graduate seminar is to bring a historiographical dimension to the training of students enrolled in archaeology and art history of the ancient world or Classics, by providing them with the keys to various readings of ancient Greek societies and their material culture and the way these have been constantly renewed since the nineteenth century. Through class discussions of ancient sources and modern texts, the seminar will develop ways of identifying the interpretive models that have shaped classical scholarship up to now. The seminar will offer the opportunity to discuss these models, be they supplementary or conflicting, in order to move towards an ever more explicit reasoning on the interpretations of ancient sources and archaeological evidence.

Interpretive Archaeology: Historiography of the Ancient World application form.

AHIS GU4741 Art and Theory in a Global Context
J. Rajchman
M 4:10-6, 807 Schermerhorn Hall
What is “globalization”? How does it change the way we think about or show art today? What role does film and media play in it? How has critical theory itself assumed new forms in this configuration moving outside post-war Europe and America? How have these processes helped change with the very idea of ‘contemporary art’? What then might a transnational critical theory in art and in thinking look like today or in the 21st century? In this course we will examine this cluster of questions from a number of different angles, starting with new questions about borders, displacements, translations and minorities, and the ways they have cut across and figured in different regions, in Europe or America, as elsewhere. In the course of our investigations, we will look in particular at two areas in which these questions are being raised today -- in Asia and in Africa and its diasporas. The course is thus inter-disciplinary in nature and is open to students in different fields and areas where these issues are now being discussed.

Art and Theory in a Global Context application form.

AHIS GU4949 Architecture in the Age of Progress
S. Isenstadt
M 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
This course focuses on buildings and design theories from the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States that were responding to industrialization and rapid urbanization. Based on the premise that modernism in architecture has as much to with attitudes toward change as it does a particular set of formal traits, this class will examine those works that responded to significant technological and social upheaval in an effort to welcome, forestall, or otherwise guide change. We will look at broad themes of the period, including national character, rapid economic growth, the quickened pace of urban life, and shrinking distances due to emerging forms of transportation and communication, all in the light of new methods and materials of construction, new functional programs, and the growing metropolis.

Architecture in the Age of Progress application form.

Core Graduate Courses

Required courses for first-year students.

AHIS GR5001 Curatorial Colloquium
J. Kraynak
T 2:10-4, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
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
F. Baumgartner and R. C. Ferrari
R 12:10-2, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
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
R 12:10-2, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
The MODA Thesis Prep is a required course for MODA students who plan to commence their thesis in the Fall of 2021. 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 and do not require an application. Interested undergraduates should contact the instructor for permission to enroll.

AHIS GR6408 Origins of Modern Visual Culture
J. Crary
W 4:10-6, 612 Schermerhorn Hall
This course conducts an archaeology of modern visual culture and attempts to map out some of the pre-history of a contemporary society of the spectacle. A central premise of the course is that modern visual culture is inseparable from Western European hegemony and its expansion in the 17th and 18th centuries. Thus, we will examine how specifically Western constructions of perceptual competence occurred alongside the eradication of pre-modern and traditional cultural forms which had been defined by embodied knowledge and multi-sensory experience. Modernity in Europe and North America becomes synonymous with the positioning of sight as the privileged sense modality. The unstable status of the spectator will be discussed in terms of new strategies of social regulation, self-discipline and the formation of an individual aligned with patterns of capitalist production and accumulation. The modernization of perception will be assessed through analyses of specific art works, optical technologies, forms of display, and cultural practices. Texts by Agamben, Debord, Dussel, Bakhtin, Elias, Lefebvre, Caillois, Federici, Gunning, Foucault, and others.

Graduate Seminars

Graduate seminars are open graduate students. Students must submit an application, linked below each course description, in order to be considered for enrollment. Admission is at the instructor’s discretion.

Spring 2022 graduate seminar applications are due by 5pm on Friday, January 7th.

AHIS/CMPM GR8024 Advanced Topics in Comparative Media: Architecture and Money
Z. Celik; L. Allais
T 4:10-6, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
Even though architecture’s dependency on economic structures is frequently acknowledged, architectural history has paid surprisingly little attention to this relationship. This course visits a series of themes that have been the focus of the recent scholarship on the history of capitalism—real estate, speculation, optimization, aid, credit/debt, insurance etc.—in an attempt to better understand architectural discourses’ historical relationship with the economy. Particular attention will be paid to texts and artifacts that help rethink traditional periodizations of architectural modernity and its historiographic geography.

Advanced Topics in Comparative Media: Architecture and Money application form.

AHIS GR8367 Rethinking Brunelleschi
M. Waters
W 2:10-4, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
Histories of Renaissance architecture have long begun with Filippo Brunelleschi. Writers since the fifteenth century have heralded his technical achievements and inventions as well as his formalization of a classicizing mode of architecture. This seminar offers an opportunity to reassess this legacy. On one hand, it aims to do so by contextualizing Brunelleschi within his contemporary artist milieu and early fifteenth-century Florentine society. The course, at the same time, also seeks to dig deeply into the career of a single individual and closely study a series of his seminal projects as a means of interrogating the foundations of Renaissance art and architecture. Specific themes that will be explored include the status of the architect; the rise of the artist biography; the study of antiquity and the continuity of medieval traditions; the early fifteenth-century goldsmith-sculptor; charitable organizations and corporate architecture; structural innovation and construction techniques; technological experimentation and machines; the development of linear perspective; patronage and commemoration; practices of architectural design; and architectural authorship and problems of connoisseurship. While the seminar will be monographic in focus, relevant final paper topics that extend beyond its geographic and temporal scope are welcomed.

Rethinking Brunelleschi application form.

AHIS GR8401 Rhetoric of the Avant-Garde in Japan
J. Reynolds
F 12:10-2, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
This seminar will examine ways in which the concept of "avant-garde" has informed art practice and art criticism in Japan from the 1920s to the present. The class will consider various media, including architecture, photography, painting, sculpture and performance. We will discuss the use of manifestos and other typically avant-garde strategies employed by groups such as the Bunriha, Mavo, the Gutai-ha, and Mono-ha and will consider the importance of institutions such as the Sogetsu Arts Center and Yomiuri Independent Exhibitions in the production and dissemination of visual culture. We will debate whether work in "traditional" media by figures such as Yagi Kazuo, Tange Kenzo, and Morita Shiryu is consistent with claims of "originality" and "progress" that are so central to the rhetoric of the avant-garde. We will also explore the potential of avant-garde practice as a form of social critique through the work of figures such as Okamoto Taro, Akasegawa Gempei, Tomatsu Shomei, and Ono Yoko. Reading knowledge of Japanese is not required, but students with Japanese language will be strongly encouraged to apply those skills to research projects. Permission of the instructor required for enrollment.

Rhetoric of the Avant-Garde in Japan application form.

AHIS GR8421 Periodizing the Seventies
B. Joseph
T 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
This course focuses on the artistic practice of the 1970s as it has been delimited and defined within art history and criticism. Particular attention to the emergence of new movements and genres, the legacy of political radicalism, and the transformations of poststructuralist and autonomist theory.

Periodizing the Seventies application form.

AHIS GR8496 Art History and the Archive
M. Gamer
W 10:10-12, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
This graduate seminar explores the concept and role of “the archive” in the history and making of art history. How has the discipline defined its archives in the past, and how is it doing so now? How does one identify, navigate, and mine repositories of historical knowledge for the purpose of art historical study? And what challenges or problems—theoretical, methodological, ethical—does such work raise? Our investigation will be grounded in and guided by readings drawn from a range of fields, including queer, feminist, postcolonial, indigenous, and critical race studies. Graduate students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Art History and the Archive application form.

AHIS GR8498 Black Otherwise Worlds: The Art of Contemporary Blackness
C. Knight
W 12:10-2, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
This course considers the relationship between recent black art and art writing and what scholar of religion Ashon Crawley calls an “aesthetic of possibility.” Specifically, we will examine work that imagines “otherwise” through a number of strategies: rethinking the relationship between the present and the past, crafting alternative worlds, critically examining life at the end of the Anthropocene, rethinking the Enlightenment subject, and exploring black sacred practices. The course will be a platform for reading deeply across art history, art criticism and black studies, and our concentration will be primarily on black artists working in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Black Otherwise Worlds: The Art of Contemporary Blackness application form.

AHIS GR8674 Birds and Flowers in the Arts of China and Japan
R. Harrist; M. McKelway
W 2:10-4, 807 Schermerhorn Hall
This course expands the department's offerings in East Asian art by studying a large corpus of Chinese and Japanese art that present images of birds, flowers, garden scenes, and related subjects on various media, from paintings to ceramics and textiles. These works create a world in miniature, intensely focused on fragments of nature. Topics will include the symbolism of various floral and avian motifs, such as plum blossoms, bamboo, cranes, and raptors, and their relation to larger cultural phenomena in China and Japan. The seminar will address also issues of patronage, the relationship between words and images, the ritual uses of painting, and the relationship between pictorial style and visual experience--issues central to the entire history of art in East Asia. The arts of China and Japan are intimately linked historically, and the seminar will allow graduate students specializing in either of the two traditions to explore these connections. At the same time, profound contrasts between Chinese and Japanese art and aesthetics that we will discuss will shed new light on both.

Birds and Flowers in the Arts of China and Japan application form.

AHIS GR8732 Migration and Contemporary Art
A. Alberro
R 2:10-4, 930 Schermerhorn Hall
This seminar will explore how contemporary art has changed since the twentieth century’s end. In particular, we will focus on how the massive migrations of recent years have shaped artistic expressions and projects. Not only has the theme of migration increasingly emerged as a dominant subject of art, but the varied mobilities of the contemporary world have radically reshaped art’s practices of production, display, and reception. We will study the increasing universality of the conditions of global migration and interdependence and examine this current reality’s relationships to art and curatorial practice. The seminar will inhabit, rethink, and depart from existing perspectives in transnational or diaspora studies to develop empirical and theoretical directions beyond some of the current frameworks, which appear to have stiffened from overuse. In the broadest sense, the seminar will explore the relationship of the visual arts to the forms of subjectivity produced by migration and displacement in recent years. How have experiences of migration and mobility found expression in artistic, curatorial, and critical practices? How do we grasp the new cultural assemblage generated by the conditions of relentless human mobility in the present? What kinds of artists and curators does migration make? How does transnational mobility, and moving from one location to another, hinder or further an artist’s or curator’s career? To what extent have artists and curators become migrant workers in contemporary art’s international labor market?

Migration and Contemporary Art application form.

AHIS GR8804 Visibility: On Histories of Seeing in the Lands of Islam
A. Shalem
M 12:10-2, 934 Schermerhorn Hall
Attentive looking forms a major part of the art historian’s visual inquiries, and looking at objects is part of our daily activities because it always involves investigations that help us to navigate our way in space. Terms like the “trompe l’oeil”, “eye catcher”, and even “Period Eye” emphasize how the act of looking is strongly linked to other concepts like illusion, mimesis and Zeitgeist, all of which play a major role in the construction of art history as a scientific discipline. In fact, as Heinrich Wölfflin more than once argued, the history of art is about histories of modes of seeing. In this seminar we will delve into the specific moment of our attentive looking at art as illustrated through the medieval and early modern writings of scholars and philosophers of the world of Islam as well as by discussing specific artifacts that dictate particular modes of seeing. Transparent materials, which declare upfront the existence of their translucent barriers, the evocation of the sensations of uncertainty, doubt and ambiguity, the elicitation of our feel of being amazed, the power of the double or mirrored image, the forming of the impression of voyeurism, and even the seeing of ghosts and phantoms, all these aspects form our discussions. Students will be asked to read for each meeting relevant publications and to present the material each week. A final paper is due on the last day of this seminar.

Visibility: On Histories of Seeing in the Lands of Islam application form.