Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Shaking the Western Canon: Depictions of the Human Body and Disability Studies
Alexandra Courtois de Vicose
Monday | Wednesday: 8:00 - 9:30am
Depictions of the human body have been central to western art history, a discipline largely concerned with corporeality and embodiment. Established art historical narratives trace how representations of the body have changed over time from European academies advocating the emulation of classical ideals to the perceived iconoclasm of the avant-gardes. This course will supplement these narratives by considering representations of disability, as well as the work of artists working from within the personal experience of disability. In other words, we will look at disability as both a subject and an influence on artistic creation. Disability Studies’ potential to alternatively analyze and contextualize artworks disrupts well-rehearsed art historical narratives, powerfully questioning processes of making, notions of “modernity,” “authorship,” and “reception” among others.
This class will prioritize close reading of a variety of texts produced by scholars in the disciplines of Art History and Disability studies. We will therefore be introduced to a broad spectrum of ways to look at, think, and write about the human body. We will also practice the basic skills involved in researching, reading, and writing effectively in an academic context. Indeed, as the second half of the Reading and Composition requirement, this course aims to provide students with the skills to write a 10-12 page research paper. Students should also expect to complete several drafts of the paper, an annotated bibliography, and a short presentation.