Art and Art History 298. Experimental Courses
Nineteenth-Century French Art
This course examines the major artistic movements of nineteenth-century France, including Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, and Impressionism. We will study the development of landscape painting in relation to the rise of urbanization and industrialization, and look at the origins of an “avant-garde.” Our primary focus will be painting, but we will explore sculpture and photography, as well. While this course follows a fairly straightforward chronology, our main priority will be to consider the cultural and historical context in which works of art were produced. A range of critical texts by both artists and historians will be introduced.
Kathy Anne Quick
History of Photography: 1900-1960
This course surveys the development of photography from 1900 to 1960 by exploring the work of major artists/practitioners, movements, theories, and institutions. We will explore technological and aesthetic shifts in photography while considering the medium’s relationship to key social, political, and cultural contexts. Topics covered include photography’s changing relationship to artistic practice, the rise of photojournalism and photographic reportage, documentary projects, fashion/advertising photography, and the snapshot, among others. Students will gain an understanding for how to approach photographs through visual analysis, research, and critical thinking.
Cities of the Middle East
Chaotic souqs, monumental mosques, exotic natives, and labyrinthine streets: this image of the timeless medina, or Arab City, has been a source of fascination in western visual cultures for centuries. In this course, we will flip the script on orientalist narratives of urban life in the Middle East to better understand the political, social, economic, and cultural histories that have shaped representations and transformations of modern urban space and urban life in the region. Throughout the semester we will combine critical readings and case studies from art, architecture, urban planning, and film to examine a range of cities.
We will travel from colonial urbanism in Algiers, modernist planning in Kuwait City, and gentrification in Jaffa, to “star-chitect” ambitions for Abu Dhabi, military occupation in Baghdad, and urban uprisings in Cairo. The course is organized around four main themes: (1) the myth of the medina, (2) colonial urbanism, (3) manufacturing urban heritage, and (4) contesting urban space. Special attention will be paid to the visual representation of cities in the Middle East in order to develop critical observations of the role that art, media, and film play in shaping knowledge of the region.
Photography as Knowledge (1830-1900)
This course is a social history of photography which examines how the medium shaped categories of subjectivity in the 19th-century (race, nation, gender, class, insanity, and criminality). Photography was also a means to archive and classify fields of knowledge. It intersected with the burgeoning sciences of ethnography and anthropology, for example, and was used in both topographical and expeditionary surveys. Faith in photography as a document made it a powerful witness to war, colonial expansion and social inequalities.
While we study the work of photography’s more well-known practitioners from Europe and North America (Atget, Muybridge, Nadar, Brady, O’Sullivan, for example), our approach will not emphasize the aesthetic innovations of self-consciously artistic photography. Rather, we examine both professional and domestic photography as a means to produce knowledge about the world.