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For over a thousand years, women in East Asia profoundly influenced the development of the visual arts, yet their formidable presence remains largely hidden. This seminar explores the critical roles women played as patrons, artists, and collectors of the arts in China, Korea, and Japan. We cover historical periods from the 10th century to the present day and discuss both traditional and nontraditional media including painting, sculpture, photography, embroidery, and even inkstones. Topics include didactic paintings for women in the Song court, calligraphy and painting as gendered modes of expression in Heian period Japan, the revival of Buddhist arts in Korea under the patronage of imperial women, and artworks by modern and contemporary artists that contest dominant representations of gender and sexuality. The course does not simply focus on artistic production, but also contextualizes these topics in light of emergent theorizations and readings on femininity, feminism, and the sexual politics of representation. Along with a final research paper, students will generate a substantial Wikipedia entry on a certain aspect of the course to promote the coverage of women and the arts online. No prior knowledge of Asian art history is required or assumed.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
Class participation, 4 object or reading response papers (2-3 pages), Wikipedia page editing project and presentation (5-7 minutes long), and 12-15-page final research paper (written in stages over the semester including a 15-minute presentation)
Art History and Asian Studies majors
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This course fulfills the Difference, Power, and Equity by exploring the construction of gender in relation to power. We discuss how Daoist, Confucian, Shinto, and Buddhist ideas historically shaped attitudes toward women and address the ways in which colonialism and Orientalism shaped understandings of gender differences and roles in East Asia. Students will be introduced to theoretical texts of feminism and postcolonialism and learn to identify key issues to the feminist art historical project