Spring 2019

  HA 192A | CCN: 19979

Undergraduate Seminar: Colonial Histories, Postcolonial Transcripts: Modern & Contemporary Art of South Asia

Atreyee Gupta,

Monday | 2:00 - 5:00pm

Do extra-aesthetic conditions exert pressure on artistic form? Do political processes impact art history writing? We will enter these questions via the modern and contemporary art of South Asia.

Our deliberations will begin in the nineteenth century, when the Indian subcontinent became a British colony and colonial artists first encountered modern European art. Seemingly paradoxically, colonized artists’ encounter with European modernist cultures often shaped and sustained the desire for liberation from European imperialism. Consequently, it was metropolitan artistic forms and discourses that were reordered in the colonies to articulate demands for intellectual and political self-determination. Art history followed. How did the vocabulary of art and art history change as the “European” modern was negotiated with the indigenous and the anti-colonial? And how did the resistant energies of this anti-colonial modern generate alternative conceptualizations of a postcolonial modern and contemporary art as the subcontinent gained independence in the Post-War years and imperialism assumed new forms under the shadow of the Cold War?

Our examination of artistic movements will be complemented by a close engagement with formative scholarly texts on the modern and contemporary art of South Asia in order to better understand the intersections among artistic form, art historical analysis, and political processes.

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