Theories & Methods for a Global History of Art
Simply put, art history is a history of image worlds, objects, and material practices. Could art history, then, help us better understand the haptic and visual potential of the latest iPad, the deification of the natural environment in ancient India, hallucinogenic-induced apparitions in Latin America, the alchemic power of blood in medieval Christian art, or even the kinesthetic of contemporary museum display? Co-taught by faculty specializing in Latin American, European, and South Asian art and architecture, Global Methods: Art History Today aims to do precisely that. The course is not designed to function as a history of world art or even a history of the discipline of art history, and it works very well as a supplement to HA 100. Rather, moving from the ancient to contemporary worlds, from the Americas to Asia, the course offers an indispensable toolkit for developing the required skills for visual analysis and interpretation. In the classroom, we will engage with major theoretical frameworks (for instance postcolonialism, feminism, and sexuality studies), critical methodologies (for instance formalism, sensory histories, and anthropology), and key concepts (for instance artist, mimesis, avant-garde). Our discussions in the classroom will be complemented by trips to local museums and Hindu temples to provide students with hands-on experience in fieldwork. At the same time, we will acquire a pragmatic foundation in framing research questions and writing papers in preparation for upper division coursework.