ARTH 548
Landscape, Theory, Ideology Spring 2020
Division I

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To use the term “landscape” is to imply and assume a subject position. Unlike the categories of “nature,” “wilderness,” “vista,” or “ecology,” a landscape is something invented and experienced (or observed, or represented, or cultivated) solely by human agents. The term “landscape” is variously deployed in the service of a range of political and philosophical positions. This seminar explores “landscape” as a fruitful agitation in critical theory and aesthetic discourse over the past thirty years. The course will interact with the artists and photographic works on view in the exhibition, Landmarks, a 150-year survey of landscape photography in WCMA’s collection. We will examine i) how landscape as medium and as genre moves from literature to painting to photography; ii) how to read and employ contemporary theory in the service of artwork from bygone eras; and iii) we will ask who exercises the agency and privilege to name, to invent, to denote a space or a view as worthy of sight.
The Class: Type: Seminar
Limit: 16
Expected: 12
Class#: 3971
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 undergraduates
Distributions: Division I

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