Proseminar: Traditions of Art History Writing in the 20th Century
The purpose of this course is to familiarize you with the way in which art history has developed since the late 19th century. It is important that you understand not only where our discipline stands today but also how it got here, since you will be the ones determining where it goes next. We will proceed chronologically, reading critical texts and also historicizing them, thinking about what concerns were formulated and addressed at what historical moments, how the writing of art history is always of its moment in a way we may (or may not) want to describe as “political.” I have tried to select readings that are both fundamental to the shaping of our discipline and in some way “typical” of their time, although certain texts really fall only into one or the other category. By the end of the semester, you should feel fairly knowledgeable about the historiography of our field and should be able to use that knowledge to think critically about current art history writing and, eventually, about your own place in the field.