Proseminar in Art History: Genealogies, Methodologies, Practices, Horizons
Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00pm
The Proseminar is required of first-year PhD students in History of Art and is open to students from other programs interested in engaging with the visual. In the last three decades, a range of political and methodological interjections have substantively reshaped the idea of art history. If postcolonial theory and deconstruction have undermined the notion of a stable seeing and knowing subject, new methodologies such as sensory histories and digital humanities have expanded the scope and scale of what falls within the domain of art history. Where do we go from here? The thrust of this proseminar is both historiographic and pragmatic. Beginning with the Enlightenment and the birth of modern disciplinarity, we will track the histories, genealogies, methods, and debates that have shaped art history. We will pay close attention to authors and texts that have come to define the discipline. We will be equally attentive to voices that have remained outside of such (mostly western) exemplary discursive paradigms in order to tease out the global contours of art history. Debates in allied fields such as visual anthropology and cultural studies will also allow us to situate the questions and concerns of art history within a wide intellectual horizon. Then, moving from historiography to practice, we will attend to the pragmatics of fieldwork, grant writing, and archival research. Our aim will be not only to think critically about art history but also to interrogate our own subject position in relation to the field.