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ARTH 301
Methods of Art History Fall 2020
Division I Writing Skills

Class Details

This course on the methods and historiography of art history offers art-history majors an overview of the discipline since the late 18th century. The course surveys influential definitions of the discipline, the evolving tasks it has set itself, and the methods it has developed for implementing and executing them. Works of art will inevitably enter into our discussions, but the main objects of study will be texts about art as well as texts about methods for an historical study of art. Topics include: style and periodization; iconography, narratology, and phenomenology; the social functions of images and the social history of art; the materiality of art; race, gender, and sexuality; the global scope of art and art history.
The Class: Format: seminar; In the fall of 2020, this course will be taught in a mixed, tutorial-and-discussion format. Students will meet in tutorial pairs to discuss their papers once per week, and will meet all together once per week to discuss the context and background of the assigned readings. Meetings of the entire class will be online and synchronous; meetings of individual tutorial groups will be either online or in person, depending on circumstances. Museum visits are possible depending on circumstances.
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 2908
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: six 1,000-word analytical essays plus one 2,000-word revision of an earlier paper. Participation in class discussion. Attendance.
Prerequisites: any prior ARTH course (one or more 100-level ARTH course[s] recommended) or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: The course is limited to art-history majors (and required of them). If the course is over-enrolled, preference will be given to senior art-history majors, then juniors. Second-year students planning to major in art history can enroll with permission.
Unit Notes: Satisfies the ARTH 301 requirement for the art-history major. Will satisfy the methods/junior seminar requirement for the history/studio major, but students wishing to do so must have permission of instructor to enroll.
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
WS Notes: Students submit one 1,000-word essay every other week, for a total of six short essays. In addition, they revise one of the short papers into a 2,000 writing project at the end of term. The purpose of the essays is to analyze the arguments and rhetoric of influential art-historical scholarship and criticism. The subject of the course, then, is how to write as an art historian. We discuss not only the content of the essays we read and write but also the form, both in class and in office hours.

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