Professor Joy Sperling, Chair
Professor Joy Sperling; Associate Professors Joanna Grabski, Karl Sandin; Visual Resource Specialist Jacqueline Pelasky
We strongly urge students to declare their intention to major in Art History before the end of their sophomore year. We also urge you to choose an academic advisor from among Art History faculty. Requirements for Art History Major: 10 four-credit courses, 1 one-credit course (ARTH 409), participation in Junior Day, completion of Senior Thesis (25-30 pages) and presentation of Senior Thesis at the Annual Senior Symposium (ARTH 409). The Senior Thesis must be submitted to the Art History faculty in order to graduate.
Requirements for Art History Major: 10 four-credit courses, 1 one-credit course (ARTH 409), participation in Junior Day, completion of Senior Thesis (25-30 pages) and Presentation of Senior Thesis at the Annual Senior Symposium (ARTH 409). The Senior Thesis must be submitted to the Art History faculty in order to graduate.
Required Core Course: One 100-level course of student’s choice: ARTH 101 (The Western World: Ancient to Baroque), ARTH 111 (Modern Art and Visual Culture), ARTH 121 (African Art and Visual Culture), ARTH 131 (Asian Art and Visual Culture). Required Core Courses for Juniors/Seniors: ARTH 380 (Methods of Art History and Visual Culture), this course taken in the junior year. ARTH 408-01 (Art History Senior Seminar), this course taken in the senior year. ARTH 409-01 Art History Senior Symposium.
Seven courses from the following 200 and 300 level courses; at least three must be at the 300 level (excluding ARTH 380). You MUST take at least one course in each area at either the 100, 200, or 300 level. African Art and Oceanic Art: ARTH 222 (Representing Africa on Film), ARTH 223 (Arts of Oceania), ARTH 225 (Arts of Post-Colonial Africa), ARTH 230 (Special Topics in African Art History), ARTH 334 (Visual Life in African Cities). Asian Art: ARTH 231 (Art of Japan), ARTH 240 (Special Topics in Asian Art History), ARTH 232 (Art of China), ARTH 333 (Art and Revolution in China). Modern Art: ARTH 211 (History of Photography), ARTH 212 (American Art), ARTH 220 (Special Topics in Modern Art History), ARTH 313 (New Art Late 20th Century-21st Century). Ancient to Baroque Art: ARTH 201 (Classical Art and Architecture), ARTH 203 (Early Renaissance Art and Architecture), ARTH 204 (High Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture, ARTH 210 (Special Topics in Ancient to Baroque Art History), ARTH 302 (Medieval Art and Architecture).
A limit of two courses towards the major may be taken from institutions other than Denison (including off-campus programs). It is strongly recommended that only one be taken in each of the above areas. At least eight Art History courses must be taken at Denison.
All juniors in Art History participate in Junior Day. They are required to make a formal 5 to 10-minute presentation of current work or research, along with a statement about why the work is important to them and why they have taken it in a specific direction. The presentation is made to the faculty and to the student's peers as a "mini-symposium" in the junior year. There is also a Senior Symposium at which Art History seniors make a formal presentation on their research to an invited audience.
The Western World: Ancient to Baroque (ARTH-101). This course is an introduction to selected themes, periods, and sites of visual production and built practice in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the New World. It focuses on a selected series of 'case studies' that integrate sites/monuments significant to the flow of Western art with period-specific and general critical issues. The relation of systems of visual and architectual representation to period-specific and current understandings of power, ritual, and the human body, as suggested through the disciplines of Art History and Visual Culture, will be key. 4
Modern Art and Visual Culture (ARTH-111). An introduction to the Art and Visual Culture of the Modern Age. This course examines the wide range of visual production of the Modern Age primarily in Europe and North America. It examines the concepts of the Modern, Modernity and Modernism. The class is taught through the lenses and using the methodologies of both Art History and Visual Culture, operating on the assumption that the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries are the age of visual culture. Thus, the class discusses both elite art and the rising popular culture. 4
African Art and Visual Culture (ARTH-121). This course examines the diverse arts and visual culture of Africa. The scope of this course ranges from pre-colonial to contemporary times, considering a selection of objects, concepts and practices from across the continent. The course is designed to provide you with an introduction to these art forms and the various socio-cultural, historical, critical and aesthetic platforms from which they operate. In addition, we will explore some of the key theoretical issues in the portrayal and interpretation of art and visual culture from this world arena. 4
Asian Art and Visual Culture (ARTH-131). An introduction to the art and visual culture of India, China, Japan and Southeast Asia focusing on historical, religious and social issues and the function of both art and visual culture. 4
Classical Art and Architecture (ARTH-201). This course is an introduction to the art and architecture of Greece and Rome. Visual and spatial practices of religion and politics will be examined, focusing on Classical Athens and on Rome during the Late Republic and Early Empire. Selected works of art and architecture, and specific urban and exurban sites will be considered. Issues surrounding 'classical' forms and their subsequent role in Western art and architecture will be investigated. 4
Early Renaissance Art and Architecture (ARTH-203). This course is an introduction to the art, architecture, and selected patterns of urban development in Italy during the Early Renaissance and the Quattrocento. Focus will be on developments in Siena, Rome, and especially Florence. Issues surrounding 'classicism' and the development of new representational systems, new scales and materials in sculpture, new spatial and structural forms in architecture, and new relations to urbanism and centers of power and global expansion will be explored. 4
High Renaissance and Baroque Art & Architecture (ARTH-204). This course provides and introduction to the art, architecture, and selected patterns of urban development Rome during the High Renaissance, Mannerism, and the Baroque era through the papcy of Alexander VII (1655-67). Developments from ca. 1450 on in Rome leading to Julius II and the Roman High Renaissance will be a prime focus. Consideration of Mannerism, the Council of Trent and early Baroque visual and architectural forms (later 16th century) will lead to the second focus on 17th century visual and spatial practices in Counter-Reformation Rome and beyond. 4
History of Photography (ARTH-211). An introduction to the history photography from its inception in 1839 to the present day. The class focuses specifically on the multivalent functions of photography in society globally, the theoretical and conceptual bases of its production, consumption and on the critical analysis of photography as a field of art production. 4
American Art (ARTH-212). An introduction to American Art and Visual Culture of the American colonies and the United States from the Early-Colonial Period to the beginning of World War II. The class focuses specifically on how Art, Popular Culture and Mass Culture function in the visual culture of the United States until 1939. 4
Representing Africa on Film (ARTH-222). An examination of ethnographic/documentary film dealing with Africa as well as contemporary cinema produced by African filmmakers. This class accords particular attention to the perspectives of African filmmakers as agents in the representation of cultures, social realities and histories in Africa. 4
Arts of Oceania (ARTH-223). An examination of the diverse arts and cultures of the South Pacific. This course focuses on objects, concepts and practices from Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Australia as well as the portrayal and interpretation of arts from this geographical region in other areas of the world. 4
Arts of Post-Colonial Africa (ARTH-225). This course examines selected issues and debates related to the production, interpretation and collection of visual arts in post-colonial Africa. By way of a series of case studies, we will consider both the individual voices of artists and perspectives from art world information brokers. 4
Art of Japan (ARTH-231). An introduction to Japanese architecture, sculpture, painting and the decorative arts from prehistoric times to the 20th century, with an emphasis on the works in their cultural and religious context. 4
Art of China (ARTH-232). This course is an introduction to Chinese visual culture from prehistoric times through the Mao era. Organized around a selection of key objects and images, this course explores a variety of art forms from China through diverse contexts such a ritual, gender, imperial patronage, literati ideals, and political icons. 4
Medieval Art and Architecture (ARTH-302). This course is an advanced investigation of art and architectural developments in the Latin West and Byzantine East during the medieval period. Selective foci include western monastic art, building, and lay patronage in Spain, France, and Burgundy during the Romanesque and early Gothic periods, as well as eastern monasticism in Constantinople, Greece, and Asia Minor in the Middle Byzantine period. Issues unique to each cultural sphere will be considered, such as feudalism in the West, and the icon and the role of the Imperial family and Constantinopolitan aristocracy in the East. 4
New Art (Late 20th/21st Century) (ARTH-313). This advanced-level class examines Art and Visual Culture since 1980, mostly in the western world, but increasingly globally after 2000. The class explores the intellectually complex, multivalent and frequently socially and politically engaged art of today, focusing on its conceptual platforms, agendas, meanings, purposes, and effects. The course examines an increasingly pluralistic and global art world through the lenses of both Art History and Visual Culture, and it explores the museum as a contested site. 4
Visual Life in African Cities (ARTH-324). An advanced level course. Cities in Africa, like their counterparts elsewhere in the world, are intensely -- perhaps even unrelentingly - artistic environments. In Dakar as in Nairobi, in Johannesburg as in Lagos, the urban terrain's unparalleled resources enable myriad artistic phenomena including paintings and sculptures, modernist architecture and public monuments, sartorial expression, as well as print and electronic media such as cartoons, advertisements, video, television, the internet, and popular music. In this seminar style course, students will investigate the artistic propositions and creative resources constituting the urban environment in Africa by way of a series of case studies. 4
Art and Revolution in 20th Century China (ARTH-333). This advanced-level course examines the complicated relationship between art and politics in China through key debates and developments in Chinese visual culture during the 20th century. The class explores competing narratives that negotiate the tensions between "traditon and modernity," "East and West," "local and global" and their implications for revolutions in art. Particular attention will be paid to interrogating the ideological underpinnings of artistic mediums and formats, the historiographical stakes of modernity, and the assertion of cultural memory in art and text. 4
Directed Study (ARTH-361). For the student of marked creative ability who wishes to pursue advanced subjects not otherwise listed, such as design, drawing, graphics, ceramics or history and criticism. 1-4
Directed Study (ARTH-362). For the student of marked creative ability who wishes to pursue advanced subjects not otherwise listed, such as design, drawing, graphics, ceramics or history and criticism. 1-4
Methods of Art History and Visual Culture (ARTH-380). This class is required for Art History majors. This class is the first of the three-part capstone experience for the Art History major. It introduces students to the theoretical and methodological platforms of Art History and Visual Culture and examines the historical development of the fields of both Art History and Visual Culture. It introduces students to the methods and theoretical approaches of practicing scholars in the field and asks students to formulate their own platforms, which they will translate into active research in the second and third capstone courses (ARTH 408 and 409). 4