Undergraduate Seminar: Art and Evolution
This course explores the profound effect of evolutionary theory on modern art in Europe and the United States. Artists explored new ideas about the struggle for existence, the relationship between humans and other animals, sexual selection, the purpose of beauty, the expression of the emotions, degeneration, extinction, religion, and ecology. Classes will focus on diverse case studies including landscape art, symbolist prints, sculptures of the human body, and art nouveau ornament. We will also consider the contributions of visual culture to evolutionary discourses through caricature, photography, illustration, and exhibition displays. During the semester we will study the theories of evolutionists such as Charles Darwin and discuss questions of aesthetics, race, colonialism, gender, and sexuality.
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical areas (A) or (C) and Chronological period (III), based on the topic of the final research paper or project.