Courses / Fall 2019

Fall 2019

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    Course Number: HA 192A.1 | CCN: 30984

    Undergraduate Seminar: The Folk and/in the Modern: Critical Concepts + Curatorial Practicum in 20th-century South Asian Art

    Atreyee Gupta, Lawrence Rinder (Director and Chief Curator, BAMPFA)

    Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00pm

    This seminar is conceived as an integral component of an exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) that addresses the relation between the folk and the modern in India. As part of the course, students will be actively involved in researching, conceptualizing, and implementing the exhibition, which is tentatively slated for Spring 2020.

    Guided by its first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, India had embarked on a course of accelerated modernization and rapid industrialization shortly after the country’s independence in 1947. Almost simultaneously, artists and intellectuals turned to engage folk practices with a renewed urgency. Did this renewed attention to folk notions of animism, cosmology, and magic then also enable a different discourse around modernity in South Asia? Did the negotiation between the folk and the modern reinscribe both modernism and modernization with a postcolonial diction? The first module of the course, which will be taught by Atreyee Gupta (Assistant Professor, History of Art), will address the postcolonial paradigm of the folk and/in the modern. In the second module taught by Lawrence Rinder (Director and Chief Curator, BAMPFA), students will be introduced to practices and strategies of exhibition making that both produce new knowledge and de-familiarize what we think we know already. The third module will be devoted to the hand-on components of the exhibition, which include the production of gallery texts, labels, and other related activities.

    Enrollment requires instructor approval. Priority for enrollment will be given to Art History Majors. Interested students should forward a paragraph explaining their interest and previous relevant course work to Atreyee Gupta (

    This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical areas (B) and Chronological period (III).

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