ARTH 206
What is Islamic Art? Spring 2023
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed REL 204 / ARTH 206

Class Details

Through a deep engagement with primary sources–visual, performative and textual–this tutorial introduces students to global cultures that have participated in the production of Islamic art and culture through the centuries. Through a diverse set of readings, we will discuss how Islamic art is viewed today. How did, for instance, Colonialism and Orientalism from the 18th to the 20th centuries create an entrenched narrative for the study of the field, that continues to hold sway to this day? How have Muslim cultures defined their own artistic production? In particular, how can specific artworks, such as figural painting or palace architecture, be understood as “Islamic”? What are some key scholarly debates around the term “Islamic Art”? The tutorial is specifically designed keeping in mind the period of soul-searching the field is currently going through, even to the point of questioning the very term “Islamic art” and its epistemological parameters. By familiarizing students to an important discipline in art history, the aim of the tutorial is to provide alternate methodologies as well as epistemologies that run parallel to more mainstream or familiar avenues of study.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 8
Class#: 3527
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: focused bi-monthly writing assignments, 5-7 pages in length, and bi-monthly peer response papers, 2 pages in length.
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Art History majors and seniors, Religion majors
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
REL 204 Division II ARTH 206 Division I
WS Notes: This tutorial helps students develop writing skills in terms of grammar, structure, and organization. It is designed to teach students how to make clear, well-articulated arguments. Students will receive extensive feedback every other week on their writing assignments from the instructor and their peers. There will also be a comprehensive mid-semester review from the instructor.
DPE Notes: In addition to introducing students to an important field of art history, the tutorial analyzes how Islamic art was codified and examined during the colonial and post-colonial periods, and how that understanding has come to define the field over the last century. The course will encourage students to challenge longstanding biases and assumptions when studying these artworks.

Class Grid

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