Undergraduate Seminar: Picturing Architecture in Early Modern China and Beyond
Architecture is more than just brick-and-mortar buildings. Or timber-and-stone frames, as the case may be with Chinese architecture. Representations of architecture occupy that interesting space between the process of its material construction and whatever function its end result is designed to serve. As such, they are sometimes even more closely intertwined than their built counterparts with the political, cultural, and social matrices of signification. In this class we will explore ways in which architecture is represented in drawings, paintings, photography, novels, and cinema, in China as well as the broader Sinosphere. Some of the questions we consider will allow us to probe into the design process, to understand how space is conceptualized over time on paper; others will take us far afield to critical reflections on questions of gender, immigration, and state power. Cities that will come into and out of our focus include Peking (Beijing), Shanghai, Hong Kong, and San Francisco.
This course fulfills the following requirements for the History of Art major: Geographical area (B) and Chronological period (II) or (III), based on the topic of the final research paper or project.