ARTH 546
Texere: The Material Philosophy of Print and Textile, ca. 1500-1900 Fall 2019
Division I

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It is a commonplace in the literature on textiles that the words for both text and textile derive from the Latin texere: to weave. As this etymological root indicates, the action of making cloth provides the metaphoric structure by which we conceive of language from the threading of thought to the weaving of prose and poetry. In the recent theoretical writings of Tim Ingold, among others, the processes of weaving-textility-offer a model against which to conceive of the dominant hylomorphic conception of matter and form as a process of imprint. Instead, textiles illustrate a world that is created through forces in motion, never imprinting, but moving against and within one another. This seminar will use these questions as the starting point to examine the interaction between printed matter (embodying a hylomorphic process) and textile (a material challenge to hylomorphism). The Clark Art Library contains a preeminent collection of textile material, and this seminar will dive into the Mary Ann Beinecke collection to examine histories of gender and labor, figuration and ornament, mobility and place, and finally, form and matter. The case studies will range from sixteenth-century needlepoint model books to twentieth-century kimono design.
The Class: Type: Seminar
Limit: none
Expected: 12
Class#: 1956
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, writing assignments
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: MA students, then advanced art history major undergraduates
Distributions: Division I

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