Methods and Theories of Art History
MW 4-530P, 102 MOFFITT
This course is required of undergraduate majors in History of Art, but it is also open to other interested students. It reviews some of the principal methods of art historical analysis and theories of art history, including connoisseurship, “formalism,” iconography and iconology, cultural and social history, and gender and race studies, in relation to relevant developments in art and aesthetics and in philosophy, archaeology, literary studies, sociology, and other fields. Attention will also be paid to the institutional and professional formation of art history and to the kinds of careers art historians can have today. The approach is roughly chronological, beginning with “foundational” documents of art-historical aesthetics in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and ending with present-day postcolonial interculturalist art history, “world art studies,” and “thing theory.” Examples are drawn from art-historical practice in ancient, medieval, and modern studies and from Western and non-Western contexts, though the emphasis is placed on methods and theories developed in the Euro-American tradition of art history to account for histories of art on a global scale. Primary readings will be taken partly from the Oxford History of Art volume on The Art of Art History, edited by Donald Preziosi, and partly from other sources.