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Landscape, Theory, Ideology
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.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
class participation, writing assignments
MA students, then advanced art history undergraduates