Graduate Seminar: The Arts of Migration/ The Arts of the Folk
This seminar takes as its subject two kinds of artworks—first, those made by migrating peoples chronicling their journeys or commenting on the facts of their migration (such as Hmong storycloths and the Aztec codices), and in some cases, artworks made by others, not migrants themselves, who nevertheless made migration a major theme (such as Dorothea Lange who photographed the dust bowl migrations to California, and Jacob Lawrence who chronicled the migration north of African Americans). Second, we will look at the arts of traditional communities that base their artifact production on longstanding, ecologically localized and distinctive practices in, for instance, architecture, ceramics, quilt making or basket making. Issues include nostalgia, memory, sentiment, trauma; cultural heritage; the remaking or confirmation of the social order; the selection of what is to be seen, remembered, recoiled from, embraced, what is to be taught to future generations/outsiders concerning fear, courage, pride, self-definitions, accusations, and authenticity.
Students are encouraged to research topics of personal interest that are congruent with the seminar’s basic outlines and that are represented in collections at the university or in the Bay Area.