Spring 2018

  HA 192H.2 | CCN: 39362

Undergraduate Seminar: Handicraft and Contemporary Art

Julia Bryan-Wilson,

Thursday | 1:00 - 4:00pm

This undergraduate seminar examines the resurgence of craft within contemporary art and theory. In a time when much art is outsourced -- or fabricated by large stables of assistants-- what does it mean when artists return to traditional, and traditionally laborious, methods of handiwork such as knitting, jewelry making, or woodworking? Though our emphasis will be on recent art (including the feminist reclamation of quilts, an artist who makes pornographic embroidery, queer fiber collectives, do-it-yourself environmental interventions, and anti-war craftivism), we will also examine important historical precedents. We will read formative theoretical texts regarding questions of process, materiality, skill, bodily effort, domestic labor, and alternative economies of production. Throughout, we will think through how craft is in dialogue with questions of nation-building, gendered work, and mass manufacturing. The seminar is centered around student-led discussion of our critical readings and culminates with final research projects.

This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical area (A) or (C) and Chronological period (III), based on the topic of the final research paper or project.