ARTH 583 Spring 2015 Going to Ground: Considering Earth in the Arts of Africa (D)

This seminar explores how earth has been conceptualized and integrated into African artistic thought as geography, environment, material, and metaphor, and how this interpretive flexibility has allowed it to become a symbol of power and presence in African art-making from prehistory to the present. The seminar will also focus on the ways in which earth has been used in contemporary art towards addressing the growing problems of pollution, unsustainable development, and the widespread depletion of earth-based natural resources in Africa. Over the course of this seminar, students will develop a knowledge base of earth-related issues that have been addressed in African artistic production, and engage with various cross-disciplinary methodologies to critically analyze the conceptual and aesthetic strategies deployed in these works. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with specialists from multiple fields towards fleshing out their knowledge base, including Dr. Karen Milbourne, curator of the National Museum of African Art in Washington DC, and Dr. Alex Apotsos, former climate change advisor for the Africa Bureau at USAID. This course fulfills EDI requirements through its exploration of the effects of globalization and Western modernization on the African natural environment, and its engagement with diverse cultural legacies, socio-political systems, and economic realities as contributors to the varied art-making strategies deployed by contemporary African environmental artists.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: directing class discussions, a term paper (20-25 pages) with presentation, and possibly an exhibition review (3-5 pages)
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Prerequisites: this seminar is designed for graduate students in Art History; undergraduates eligible only with permission of instructor
Enrollment Preference: if oversubscribed, preference will be given to advanced-level Art History graduate students who need to complete their distribution requirements
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Divisional Attributes: Division I,Exploring Diversity
Other Attributes: ARTH Middle East, Asia and Africa Courses
Enrollment Limit: 14
Expected Enrollment: 14
Class Number: 3070
ARTH 583 - 01 (S) SEM Going to Ground (D) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsExploring Diversity Initiative Michelle M. Apotsos
W 10:00 AM-12:40 PM Lawrence 003 3070
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