ARTH 425
Fragments and Healing: Disability Studies and Late Antique Art Spring 2024
Division I
Cross-listed REL 425
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Class Details

This seminar will investigate some of the ways that contemporary Disability Studies can help us see and think about the complexities of differently abled bodies in Late Antiquity (broadly, from ca. 200 until ca. 750), the formative period for Christian art (and consequently for much of Western art). Disability Studies is an extremely active and rich body of literature and art that has not often been brought into conversation with historical periods of art, and so this seminar seeks to open up discussion of the insights possible from that conversation, not only how Late Antique art can be re-interpreted, but also how that period of art can reveal under-explored areas in the field of Disability Studies. The seminar will undertake a mutual interrogation of accepted notions in both fields and, in this way, to explore some new understandings of Disability Studies’ capacities for allowing us to think with our art, culture, and bodies. The means at our disposal for this seminar are art of Late Antiquity and of the contemporary world, and that idea of mutual interrogation also operates in our study and display of that art. The seminar will look at art of healing and recuperation, art produced by and directed at diversely-abled bodies, and at fragments and restoration, and think about art as documents, reflections, and determinants of those bodies, now and in the past. It will, for this reason, work around the collection of WCMA, with exhibition and collection research, and the historical archives of the Library holdings, so that the widest possible study of bodies and difference is opened for our thinking and dialogue.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 3881
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: participation in discussion; three 1-2-page reading reports; one 3-5-page exhibition response; one 15-20-page final essay
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: senior art-history majors and graduate students; other students will need instructor consent
Unit Notes: In this seminar, students will develop skills of crafting clear and persuasive arguments through an iterative writing process. Further, to help them achieve these goals, they will receive timely comments on their written work.
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ARTH 584 Division I REL 425 Division II ARTH 425 Division I
Attributes: ARTH pre-1800

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