ARTH 515
Creating Whiteness: Racial Taxonomies in 'American' Art, 1650-1900 Fall 2018
Division I
Cross-listed AMST 355 / ARTH 515
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“What is race?” “How is a race created?” “What are the racial histories and subsequent political implications of ‘American’ art?” These are the central questions of our exploration. Drawing on two centuries of making in the Americas–from 17th century casta paintings of New Spain to the pictorialist photographs of Fred Holland Day–this object-based seminar for graduate students (and undergraduates with instructor’s approval) draws upon area collections (including WCMA and The Clark Art Institute) to make the argument that racial ideologies have always been sutured to definitions of an American canon. Our approach is the case study: devoting one or two class meetings to the exploration of eight specific moments/artists in order to engage with the intersectional ideologies of personal and collective identity, e.g., self and the Divine; portraiture and the nation, armed conflict, and the constructed mutabilities of gender and sexuality. Additional artists and topics include: the Stuart family’s images of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson; advances in photographic technology vis-a-vis the amputated bodies of Civil War veterans; gender fluidity in John Singer Sargent; and the equation of homoeroticism and black bodies in pictorialism. Designed to provide breadth and specific moments of depth, we will be covering processes of making across multiple mediums and time periods. An elementary reading knowledge of French, Latin, Portuguese, and/or Spanish will not go amiss.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 16
Expected: 12
Class#: 1223
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: research paper, presentations
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: second-year graduate students, then first-year graduate students, then advanced undergraduate students
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AMST 355 Division I ARTH 515 Division I

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