Theories and Methods of Art History
Required of majors in History of Art. This course introduces theories and methods of art history that have played a major role in its intellectual and professional formation from the later eighteenth century to the present day. The approach is partly historiographical and partly analytic. Readings will be drawn from key texts by major art-writers, art theorists, and art historians; lectures will present historical contexts and analytical critique. Special attention will be given to the adequacy of established art-historical paradigms of formal, stylistic, and iconographic analysis in dealing with the “expanded field” of visual studies and image theory today, including the rise of visual culture studies and studies of scientific and other putatively non-artistic modes of visualization, the displacement of studies of “the object” into studies of “the image,” and the increasing importance of new technologies of art historical documentation, pedagogy, and historical reconstruction. (Guest lectures will be presented by specialists in these areas.) In addition, some consideration will be given to the professional structure of art history and visual studies as an increasingly “globalized” mode of inquiry and to the educational and professional opportunities for students who are considering going on to advanced degrees or employment in art-history related fields. Previous coursework in art history is not required and non-majors are encouraged to take the course, but students will find it helpful to have completed lower-division and at least one upper-division course in art history and/or related fields (e.g., film studies or art practice).