Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Image and/as Identity in Mexico
Monday, Wednesday: 8:00-9:30am
This course explores how visual and material culture both reflect and construct Mexican identities over time by considering the role images play in the formation of a shared imagined community. By looking closely at select objects from the sixteenth century through the twentieth century, we will see how the colonized peoples of Mexico were at once responsible for identity-making–through their own creative efforts–and subject to the colonial power’s attempt to define their identities. Across five centuries of art history–beginning with sixteenth century codices, seventeenth century “conquest” paintings, eighteenth century Casta paintings, nineteenth century landscape paintings, and concluding with twentieth century performance art– we can discern identities being formed, reshaped, elided, reconstructed, and even corrupted.
This course fulfills the second half of the Reading and Composition (R&C) requirement. We will engage closely with texts and works of art, developing strategies to be effective readers, writers, and researchers at the college level. In the first half of the course, we will focus on primary sources, scholarship, and museum catalogs in the fields of Latin American and global art history. Students will study texts closely for how they use sources, build an argument, and enter into an academic conversation. Frequent short writing assignments will draw on object and visual analysis skills practiced in class, and respond to primary sources and methodological texts. In the second half of the course, students will produce a longer (10-12 page) research paper, crafting a historical argument on Mexican colonial or modern artworks.