Art History and Archaeology

Departmental Office: 826 Schermerhorn; 212-854-4505
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/arthistory/

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Barry Bergdoll, 918 Schermerhorn; 212-854-5425; bgb1@columbia.edu

Director of Art Humanities: Prof. Noam Elcott, 907 Schermerhorn; 212-854-7968; nme2106@columbia.edu

Coordinator for Undergraduate Programs: Emily Benjamin, 826 Schermerhorn; 212-854-4505; eb3061@columbia.edu

The goal of the major in the Department of Art History and Archaeology is to explore the history of art, architecture, and archaeology across a broad historical, cultural, geographic, and methodological spectrum.

Department courses take advantage of the extraordinary cultural resources of New York City and often involve museum assignments and trips to local monuments. The department offers a major and concentration in art history and in the history and theory of architecture, and a combined major in art history and visual arts.

At the heart of the major is AHIS UN3000 Majors' Colloquium: the Literature and Methods of Art History, which introduces students to different methodological approaches to art history and critical texts that have shaped the discipline. The colloquium also prepares students for the independent research required in seminars and advanced lecture courses, and should be taken during the junior year.

Surveys and advanced lecture courses offered by Barnard and Columbia cover the spectrum of art history from antiquity to the present and introduce students to a wide range of materials and methodologies. Limited-enrollment seminars have a narrower focus and offer intensive instruction in research and writing. The opportunity for advanced research with a senior thesis is available to students who qualify.

The major readily accommodates students who wish to study abroad during junior year. Courses taken at accredited programs can generally count as transfer credits toward the major, but students must gain the approval of the director of undergraduate studies. Similarly, any transfer credit for the major must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies. Generally no more than 12 points of transfer credit are applicable to the major. The form to petition for transfer credit can be found on the department website. Eligible Art History courses taken at Reid Hall and through the Berlin Consortium are counted as Columbia courses, not transfer courses.

All newly declared majors and concentrators should visit the department office and speak with the undergraduate program coordinator about the requirements and their planned curriculum.

The director of undergraduate studies regularly communicates with majors by e-mail to announce departmental events, museum internships, and other news. Students who do not receive these messages should email the undergraduate program coordinator. The director of undergraduate studies is also available to talk to students about their professional goals and plans to study abroad.

Course Information

Lectures

Attendance at the first class meeting is recommended.

Colloquia

For information about enrollment in the required colloquium AHIS UN3000 Majors' Colloquium: the Literature and Methods of Art History students should consult the department during the registration period in the semester prior to the one in which the course is offered. Interested students must sign up using an online form; majors will be informed of the sign-up dates and deadline via the majors mailing list. Enrollment is limited and admission is at the discretion of the instructor. It is recommended that students sign up for the colloquium in their junior year.

Seminars

Seminars require an application which is due in the departmental office in 826 Schermerhorn before the registration period in the semester prior to the one in which the course is offered (April for fall courses, November for spring courses). The required application form is available in PDF format on the department website. Students should wait list the seminars to which they apply on SSOL.

Bridge Seminars

Bridge seminars are open to graduate and undergraduate students. As with other seminars, they require an application, which are due in the semester prior to the semester in which the course is offered (August for fall courses, December for spring courses). The required application form is available in PDF format on the department website.

Bridge Lectures

Bridge lectures are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. They do not require an application.

Travel Seminar

In the spring, one or more undergraduate seminars in the Department of Art History and Archaeology may be designated as a travel seminar. Travel seminars receive funding to sponsor travel over the spring break to a distant site related to the subject matter of the seminar.

Study Abroad

Reid Hall, Paris

For information about the Columbia University in Paris Art History Program at Reid Hall, including summer session courses, visit the Office of Global Programs website.

Summer Program in Italy: Archaeological Fieldwork at Hadrian's Villa

Columbia University offers a four-week summer program that provides undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to excavate and learn together at Hadrian's Villa, a UNESCO World Heritage site near Rome and the most important Roman villa. It synthesizes Roman, Greek, and Egyptian architectural and artistic traditions and has attracted scholarly attention for centuries. For more information, visit the program website.

Columbia Summer Program in Venice

The Department of Art History and Archaeology and the Department of Italian offer a summer program based at Co' Foscari University in Venice. The program uses an interdisciplinary approach to understanding Italian culture through study of its language, literature/film, architecture, art history and conservation. and economy. Students have the opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of the rich Venetian culture, traditions and history. The program is open to qualified undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S. and Italy. For more information, visit the program website.

Columbia Summer Program in Greece

The Department of Art History and Archaeology and the Program in Hellenic Studies offer a new summer program in Athens. "Curating the Histories of the Greek Present" examines aspects of Greek history and culture through the organization of an art exhibition  under the general theme of the environment. The project is structured around classroom seminars, museum and site visits, walking tours, and workshop sessions in which students will learn about and gain experience in all stages of curating an exhibition. For more information, visit the program website.

Departmental Honors

In order to qualify for departmental honors, students must write a senior thesis and have a GPA of at least 3.7 in the major. The faculty of the Department of Art History and Archaeology submits recommendations to the College Committee on Honors, Awards, and Prizes for confirmation. Normally no more than 10% of graduating majors receive departmental honors in a given academic year. 

Senior Thesis Prize

A prize is awarded each year to the best senior honors thesis written in the Department of Art History and Archaeology.

Professors

  • Alexander Alberro (Barnard)
  • Zainab Bahrani
  • Barry Bergdoll
  • Michael Cole
  • Jonathan Crary
  • Francesco de Angelis
  • Vidya Dehejia
  • David Freedberg
  • Robert E. Harrist, Jr.
  • Anne Higonnet (Barnard)
  • Holger Klein
  • Rosalind Krauss
  • Kellie Jones
  • Branden Joseph
  • Matthew McKelway
  • Jonathan Reynolds (Barnard)
  • Simon Schama
  • Avinoam Shalem
  • Zoë Strother

Associate Professors

  • Diane Bodart
  • Zeynep Çelik
  • Noam M. Elcott
  • Elizabeth Hutchinson (Barnard)
  • Ioannis Mylonopoulos
  • Lisa Trever

Assistant Professors

  • Gregory Bryda (Barnard)
  • Meredith Gamer
  • Eleonora Pistis
  • Michael Waters

Adjunct Faculty

  • Dawn Delbanco
  • Rosalyn Deutsche (Barnard)
  • John Rajchman
  • Stefaan Van Liefferinge

Lecturers

  • Molly Allen
  • Frederique Baumgartner
  • Eliza Butler
  • Hannah Friedman
  • Alexandra Helprin
  • Page Knox
  • Janet Kraynak
  • Sandrine Larrive-Bass
  • Ja Won Lee
  • Daria Melnikova
  • Martina Mims
  • Irina Oryshkevich
  • Elizabeth Perkins
  • Olivia Powell
  • Kelly Presutti
  • Michael Sanchez
  • Susan Sivard
  • Caroline Wamsler
  • Gillian Young

On Leave

  • Profs. Freedberg, Trever (2019-2020)
  • Profs. Crary, de Angelis, Delbanco, Harrist (Fall 2019)
  • Profs. Dehejia, Jones, Krauss, Mylonopoulos, Pistis (Spring 2020)

Guidelines for all Art History and Archaeology Majors, Concentrators, and Interdepartmental Majors

Courses

HUMA UN1121 Masterpieces of Western Art (Art Humanities) does not count toward the majors or concentrations, and no credit is given for Advanced Placement exams.

Grading

Courses in which a grade of D has been received do not count toward the major or concentration requirements.

Only the first course a student takes in the department may be taken for a grade of Pass/D/Fail. Classes taken in the Architecture or Visual Arts departments to fulfill the studio requirement may be taken for a grade of Pass/D/Fail.

Senior Thesis

The senior thesis project consists of a research paper 35-45 pages in length. It is a year-long project, and students writing a thesis must register for AHIS UN3002 Senior Thesis for the fall and spring terms. Much of the fall semester is devoted to research, and the spring semester to writing.

All thesis writers are required to participate in class and, on alternate weeks, meet as a group or individually with the instructor. Group meetings are designed as a series of research and writing workshops geared toward students' research projects. Students receive a total of six credits for successful completion of the thesis and class.

In order to apply, students follow a selection process similar to the one currently used for seminars. Students must identify a thesis topic and secure a faculty adviser in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. Applications must indicate the subject of the thesis, a short annotated bibliography, and the name and the signature of the adviser, followed by a one-page statement (400 words) outlining the topic, goals, and methodology of the thesis.

The application deadline is set for August before the senior year. Please check the department website for exact dates. Applications may be delivered in person or emailed to the coordinator for undergraduate programs. The director of undergraduate studies, in consultation with the thesis adviser, reviews the applications.

Students who intend to write a thesis should begin formulating a research topic and approaching potential faculty sponsors during the spring of the junior year. Currently, the department offers the Summer Research Travel Grant fellowship, which supports thesis-related research and travel during the summer. Additional senior thesis research funding during the academic year is administered through Columbia College and General Studies. 

Senior thesis applications may be found at: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/arthistory/undergraduate/forms.html

Summer Research Travel Grant

The department offers the Summer Research Travel Grant, which may be used for travel to museums, building sites, libraries, archives, and other places of interest relevant to the thesis project. Students normally use these funds to conduct research during the summer before senior year.

Travel grant applications require a carefully edited thesis proposal, itemized budget, and supporting letter from a faculty sponsor. Applications are due in April of the student's junior year. Students will be notified of deadlines as they become available. Please contact the coordinator for undergraduate programs with any questions.


Major in Art History

Please read Guidelines for all for Art History and Archaeology Majors, Concentrators, and Interdepartmental Majors above.

The year-long senior thesis project (for qualified students; see below) AHIS UN3002 Senior Thesis may substitute for one elective lecture course. Seminars may substitute for lecture courses and may count toward fulfillment of the distribution requirements. Barnard Art History courses count toward the majors and concentration requirements. 

The requirements for the major are as follows:

AHIS UN3000Majors' Colloquium: the Literature and Methods of Art History
Seven 3-point lecture courses in Art History:
At least one course in three of four historical periods, listed below
An additional two courses in two different world regions, listed below
Two additional lectures of the student's choice
Two seminars in art history
A studio course taken in the Visual Arts or Architecture departments (which may be taken Pass/D/Fail)

Historical Periods

  • Ancient (pre-400 CE/AD)
  • 400-1400
  • 1400-1700
  • 1700-Present

World Regions

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe/North America/Australia
  • Latin America
  • Middle East

NOTE: These chronological divisions are approximate. In case of ambiguities, please contact the director of undergraduate studies.


Major in History and Theory of Architecture

Please read Guidelines for all for Art History and Archaeology Majors, Concentrators, and Interdepartmental Majors above.

Majors can take advantage of one of the strengths of the department by focusing on architectural history. This track combines an introductory studio in architectural design with a slightly modified program in art history.  Major requirements were updated in February 2019; please contact the director of undergraduate studies with any questions.

The requirements for the major are as follows:

AHIS UN3000Majors' Colloquium: the Literature and Methods of Art History
Seven lecture courses in art history, one of which must be AHIS UN1007 Introduction to Architecture, and three of which must focus on architectural history. Courses must cover four of five general areas:
Ancient Mediterranean
Medieval Europe
Renaissance and Baroque
18th-20th century
Non-Western
At least two seminars in art history or architectural history
Architectural Studio:
ARCH UN1020Introduction To Architectural Design and Visual Culture


 NOTE: These chronological divisions are approximate. In case of ambiguities, please contact the director of undergraduate studies.


Major in Art History and Visual Arts

Please read Guidelines for all for Art History and Archaeology Majors, Concentrators, and Interdepartmental Majors above.

Students interested in the combined major should contact the coordinator for undergraduate programs in the Art History department, as well as the director of undergraduate studies in the Visual Arts department. 

Up to two 3-point courses in art history may be replaced by a related course in another department, with approval of the adviser. The combined major requires the completion of sixteen or seventeen courses. It is recommended that students interested in this major begin working toward the requirements in their sophomore year.

The requirements for the major are as follows:

AHIS UN3000Majors' Colloquium: the Literature and Methods of Art History
Seven 3-point lecture courses in art history:
At least one course in three of four historical periods, as listed below
An additional two courses in two different world regions, as listed below
Two additional lectures of the student's choice
21 points in Visual Arts covering:
VIAR UN1000Basic Drawing
VIAR UN2300Sculpture I
or VIAR UN2200 Ceramics I
Five additional VIAR 3-point studio courses (15 points)
In the senior year, students must complete either a seminar in the Department of Art History and Archaeology or a senior project in visual arts (pending approval by the Visual Arts Department).

NOTE: These chronological divisions are approximate. In case of ambiguities, please contact the director of undergraduate studies.

Historical Periods

  • Ancient (pre-400 CE/AD)
  • 400-1400
  • 1400-1700
  • 1700-present

World Regions

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe/North America/Australia
  • Latin America
  • Middle East

Concentration in Art History

Please read Guidelines for all for Art History and Archaeology Majors, Concentrators, and Interdepartmental Majors above.

The requirements for the concentration are as follows:

Seven 3-point lecture courses in art history:
At least one course in three of four historical periods, listed below
An additional two courses in two different world regions, listed below
Two additional lectures of the student's choice

NOTE: These chronological divisions are approximate. In case of ambiguities, please contact the director of undergraduate studies.

Historical Periods

  • Ancient (pre-400 CE/AD)
  • 400-1400
  • 1400-1700
  • 1700-present

World Regions

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe/North America/Australia
  • Latin America
  • Middle East

Concentrators are not required to take the majors colloquium, a seminar, or a studio course.


Concentration in History and Theory of Architecture

Please read Guidelines for all for Art History and Archaeology Majors, Concentrators, and Interdepartmental Majors above.

The requirements for the concentration are as follows:

AHIS UN1007Introduction to the History of Architecture
Seven lecture courses in art history, one of which must be AHIS UN1007 Introduction to the History of Architecture, and three of which must focus on architectural history. Courses must cover four of five general areas:
Ancient Mediterranean
Medieval Europe
Renaissance and Baroque
18th-20th century
Non-Western

Concentrators are not required to take the majors colloquium, a seminar, or a studio course. 

 

Undergraduate Lectures

Attendance at first class meeting is strongly recommended.

AHIS UN1007 Introduction to the History of Architecture. 4 points.

This course is required for architectural history and theory majors, but is also open to students interested in a general introduction to the history of architecture, considered on a global scale. Architecture is analyzed through in-depth case studies of key works of sacred, secular, public, and domestic architecture from both the Western canon and cultures of the ancient Americas and of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic faiths. The time frame ranges from ancient Mesopotamia to the modern era. Discussion section is required.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN1007
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 1007 001/75510 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Eleonora Pistis 4 56/67
Fall 2019: AHIS UN1007
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 1007 001/41646 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
614 Schermerhorn Hall
Michael Waters 4 72/90

AHIS UN2105 Greek Myths Seen Through Ancient Greek and Roman Art. 3 points.

The lecture course will explore the rich world of Greek mythology as seen through Greek and Roman art. An important focus will be the understanding of the significant discrepancies between the literary and artistic dissemination of ancient myths. The course will illuminate the ways in which ancient artists visualized Greek myths and demonstrate that art did not simply illustrate stories but helped shape them significantly while creating very often imaginative alternatives.

AHIS UN2109 Roman Art and Architecture. 3 points.

The architecture, sculpture, and painting of ancient Rome from the 2nd century B.C. to the end of the Empire in the West.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN2109
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2109 001/18284 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Francesco de Angelis 3 48/67

AHIS UN2305 Renaissance Imperial Spain. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Required discussion section AHIS UN2306

The course will survey Renaissance art in Hapsburg Spain, considered in the wide geographical context of the extended and dispersed dominions of the different crowns of the Spanish monarchy, which connected the Iberian Peninsula with Italy, Flanders and the New World. It will concern visual art in its various media, mainly painting, sculpture and architecture, but also tapestries, prints, armor, goldsmithery and ephemeral decoration, among others. Works of the main artists of the period will be introduced and analyzed, giving attention to the historical and cultural context of their production and reception. The course will particularly focus on the movement of artists, works and models within the Spanish Hapsburg territories, in order to understand to what extent visual arts contributed to shaping the political identity of this culturally composite empire.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN2305
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2305 001/92194 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Diane Bodart 4 15/67

AHIS UN2311 Baroque Imperial Spain (17th Century). 3 points.

The course will survey Baroque art in Hapsburg Spain, considered in the wide geographical context of the extended and dispersed dominions of the different crowns of the Spanish monarchy, which connected the Iberian Peninsula with Italy, Flanders and the New World. It will concern visual art in its various media, mainly painting, sculpture and architecture, but also tapestries, prints, armor, goldsmithery and ephemeral decoration, among others. Works of the main artists of the period will be introduced and analyzed, giving attention to the historical and cultural context of their production and reception. The course will particularly focus on the movement of artists, works and models within the Spanish Hapsburg territories, in order to understand to what extent visual arts contributed to shaping the political identity of this culturally composite empire.

AHIS UN2405 Twentieth-Century Art. 3 points.

Prerequisites: Discussion Section AHIS UN2406

  The course will examine a variety of figures, movements, and practices within the entire range of 20th-century art—from Expressionism to Abstract Expressionism, Constructivism to Pop Art, Surrealism to Minimalism, and beyond–situating them within the social, political, economic, and historical contexts in which they arose.  The history of these artistic developments will be traced through the development and mutual interaction of two predominant strains of artistic culture: the modernist and the avant-garde, examining in particular their confrontation with and development of the particular vicissitudes of the century’s ongoing modernization.  Discussion section complement class lectures.  Course is a prerequisite for certain upper-level art history courses.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN2405
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2405 001/00349 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
501 Schermerhorn Hall
Alexander Alberro 3 153/200

AHIS UN2412 Eighteenth Century Art in Europe. 3 points.

This course will examine the history of art in Europe from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth century. This was a period of dramatic cultural change, marked by, among other things, the challenging of traditional artistic hierarchies; increased opportunities for travel, trade, and exchange; and the emergence of “the public” as a critical new audience for art. Students will be introduced to major artists, works, and media, as well as to key themes in the art historical scholarship. Topics will include: the birth of art criticism; the development of the art market; domesticity and the cult of sensibility; the ascension of women artists and patrons; and the visual culture of empire, slavery, and revolution. The emphasis will be on France and Britain, with forays to Italy, Spain, Germany, India, America, and elsewhere.

Fall 2019: AHIS UN2412
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2412 001/13396 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Frederique Baumgartner 3 47/67

AHIS UN2427 Twentieth-Century Architecture. 4 points.

This course examines some of the key moments of architectural modernity in the twentieth century in an attempt to understand how architecture participated in the making of a new world order. It follows the lead of recent scholarship that has been undoing the assumption that modern twentieth-century architecture is a coherent enterprise that should be understood through avant-gardist movements. Instead, architectural modernity is presented in this course as a multivalent, and even contradictory, entity that has nonetheless had profound impact on modernity. Rather than attempting to be geographically comprehensive, it focuses on the interdependencies between the Global North and the South; instead of being strictly chronological, it is arranged around a constellation of themes that are explored through a handful of projects and texts. Reading primary sources from the period under examination is a crucial part of the course.

AHIS UN2500 The Arts of Africa. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Introduction to the arts of Africa, including masquerading, figural sculpture, reliquaries, power objects, textiles, painting, photography, and architecture. The course will establish a historical framework for study, but will also address how various African societies have responded to the process of modernity.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN2500
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2500 001/10976 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Zoe Strother 3 29/33

AHIS UN2602 The Arts of Japan. 3 points.

Introduction to the painting, sculpture, and architecture of Japan from the Neolithic period through the present. Discussion focuses on key monuments within their historical and cultural contexts.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN2602
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2602 001/70967 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Miriam Chusid 3 30/35

AHUM UN2604 Art In China, Japan, and Korea. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Introduces distinctive aesthetic traditions of China, Japan, and Korea--their similarities and differences--through an examination of the visual significance of selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts in relation to the history, culture, and religions of East Asia.

Spring 2019: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 002/20940 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Ja Lee 3 22/22
AHUM 2604 003/14449 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Daria Melnikova 3 23/22
Fall 2019: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 002/99178 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Daria Melnikova 3 21/22
AHUM 2604 003/16183 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
806 Schermerhorn Hall
Hae Yeun Kim 3 18/19

AHIS UN2612 A History of China in 27 Objects. 3 points.

This course introduces twenty-seven significant monuments and objects comprising a selective overview of 4000 years of traditional Chinese culture. Through these twenty-seven objects, we will think about historical currents, consider materials (clay, stone, bronze, lacquer, paper, silk, ink, and wood), how things were made, how these objects were used among the living, and why some of them were buried with the dead. Because analogy and metaphor is fundamental to Chinese language, we will examine visual symbols, auspicious imagery and rhetoric of resistance that had their origins in literature. The goal of the course is to raise awareness of visual clues in Chinese art and to establish basic visual literacy. After successfully completing this course you will be better able to articulate a research question, read more critically, write a visual analysis, and impress friends and family as you name a painting used in restaurant décor.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN2612
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2612 001/63046 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Alfreda Murck 3 39/55

AHIS UN2702 Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture. 3 points.

The Western Hemisphere was a setting for outstanding accomplishments in the visual arts for millennia before Europeans set foot in the so-called “New World.” This course explores the early indigenous artistic traditions of what is now Latin America, from early monuments of the formative periods (e.g., Olmec and Chavín), through acclaimed eras of aesthetic and technological achievement (e.g., Maya and Moche), to the later Inca and Aztec imperial periods. Our subject will encompass diverse genre including painting and sculpture, textiles and metalwork, architecture and performance. Attention will focus on the two cultural areas that traditionally have received the most attention from researchers: Mesoamerica (including what is today Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras) and the Central Andes (including Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia). We will also critically consider the drawing of those boundaries—both spatial and temporal—that have defined “Pre-Columbian” art history to date. More than a survey of periods, styles, and monuments, we will critically assess the varieties of evidence—archaeological, epigraphic, historical, ethnographic, and scientific—available for interpretations of ancient Latin American art and culture.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN2702
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2702 001/25513 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Lisa Trever 3 57/67

AHUM UN2901 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Introduction to 2000 years of art on the Indian subcontinent. The course covers the early art of Buddhism, rock-cut architecture of the Buddhists and Hindus, the development of the Hindu temple, Mughal and Rajput painting and architecture, art of the colonial period, and the emergence of the Modern.

Spring 2019: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 002/14582 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Tara Kuruvilla 4 21/22
Fall 2019: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/99094 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Vidya Dehejia 4 60/63

Undergraduate Seminars

Undergraduate seminars are open to undergraduate students only. Interested students must fill out and submit an online application form in the semester prior to when the course will be offered (April deadline for fall courses, November deadline for spring courses). Please visit the "Courses" page on the department website and select the upcoming semester to find a list of undergraduate seminar descriptions and links to seminar application forms.

AHIS UN3100 Hellenistic Sculpture: Intellectuals, Gods, Kings & Fishermen. 4 points.

Obsession with the Classical often kept us from looking at the Hellenistic period with its artistic achievements as a time of innovation and\ experimentation in art. In Hellenistic times, new cultural and artistic centers arose besides Athens: Alexandria in Egypt, Antiocheia and Pergamon in Asia Minor, or Rhodes. Especially in sculpture, artists and patrons demonstrated an unprecedented interest in subjects such as ugly old women, working peasants, slaves with disfigured bodies, or non-Greeks. The seminar will study the sculpture of the Hellenistic period as an extremely imaginative and dynamic artistic expression without the Classical bias. In addition, it will look into the societal conditions that allowed this multi-cultural and rather inclusive style in sculpture to be created. The styles of the various Hellenistic artistic centers will be individually analysed based on representative works and then compared to each other and to the sculptural traditions of the Classical period, so that Hellenistic sculpture can be understood both as a continuation of the Classical and especially Late Classical sculpture and as an artistic, intellectual, and social creation – a creation that often went against the ideals of the past.

Fall 2019: AHIS UN3100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3100 001/41657 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Ioannis Mylonopoulos 4 14/12

AHIS UN3101 The Public Monument in the Ancient Near East. 4 points.

This seminar will focus on the invention of the public monument as a commemorative genre, and the related concepts of time, memory and history in the ancient Near East and Egypt. Public monuments will be studied in conjunction with readings from ancient texts (in translation), as well as historical criticism, archaeological and art historical theories.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN3101
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3101 001/18950 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Zainab Bahrani 4 10/15

AHIS UN3314 Inganno and Engaño: Art and the Rhetoric of Deceit between Spain and Italy. 4 points.

This seminar examines ideas of deception - inganno in Italy, engaño in Spain - as a fundamental trait of the visual arts and as a growing preoccupation in literature, politics, science, and religion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We will attend to the rich cross-cultural exchange, divergence, and overlap in the way deceit was thought about between the Italian and Iberian peninsulas in this period. Case studies and assignments will include key works of art from New York City museums & collections, with mandatory field trips.

AHIS UN3319 The Architect's Library-Laboratory. 4 points.

This seminar challenges the interpretation of architect's libraries as static repositories of information, and it shows how they were in fact sorts of laboratories, in which architects experimented in both the creation of knowledge and the production of designs.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN3319
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3319 001/83198 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Eleonora Pistis 4 6/12

AHIS UN3413 Nineteenth-Century Criticism. 4 points.

Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, and the instructor's permission.

Selected readings in 19th-century philosophy, literature, and art criticism, with emphasis on problems of modernity and aesthetic experience. Texts include work by Diderot, Kant, Coleridge, Hegel, Emerson, Flaubert, Ruskin, Baudelaire, and Nietzsche.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN3413
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3413 001/25030 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Jonathan Crary 4 11/12

AHIS UN3450 Art and Empire. 4 points.

This course explores the images and objects produced, collected, and displayed in the context of the British and French empires of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Drawing on a range of perspectives—including those drawn from postcolonial studies, critical race studies, and indigenous studies—we will develop a critical vocabulary for addressing the history of colonialism and the ongoing process of decolonization, asking what particular problems and opportunities art history presents for the study of empire. In what ways were aesthetics entangled with imperial ideology? How did works of art support or challenge dominant political, social, and cultural narratives? And what does a study of historic empires have to offer to our understanding of globalization today? We will also engage with the ways in which the legacy of empire is treated in contemporary museology, and will visit a number of New York City museums and collections throughout the semester. Regions covered include India, the Caribbean, the Pacific, and North Africa; topics include cartographic practices, the recording of history, the visual culture of slavery, artifacts of exploration, photography and “truth,” and the materiality of color.

AHIS UN3501 African Art: The Next Generation. Focus: Congo. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

African art history reached a new maturity and sophistication in the 1990s through an intense interdisciplinary dialogue on the visual arts in the Congo. Prominent historians, anthropologists, political scientists, philosophers, artists, and art historians debated the history of Congolese art and changed its future through active patronage. The seminar will cover a wide variety of these texts and will examine the unprecedented role for museum exhibitions in disseminating new interpretations for African art.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN3501
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3501 001/16745 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
806 Schermerhorn Hall
Zoe Strother 4 9/15

AHIS UN3610 Visualizing Japanese Buddhism. 4 points.

It has long been recognized that Buddhism is a religion whose tenets are constantly being absorbed, reinterpreted, and disseminated through images. While artworks exist as compliments to doctrinal thought, they are also integral components to ritual and belief, and can even underpin and inspire new forms of religious thought. This course provides a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of Buddhist art in Japan. Each week, we will focus on one group of related images, studying and analyzing their basic design or composition and material. Then, we will think about their original use, how they served specific ritual functions, or how they promoted certain Buddhist teachings. Themes to be considered include the development of Japanese Buddhist art in relation to the broader East Asian context and to indigenous Japanese religions (Shinto), the role of art and architecture in promulgating larger belief systems, women as Buddhist practitioners and as commissioners of religious art projects, and the deification of historical figures. By the end of this course, students will acquire an understanding of the multiple ways people in the Japanese archipelago interpreted Buddhist art over time, and will learn to evaluate and analyze religious artworks within specific ideological frameworks.

Majors Colloquium

The Majors Colloquium is a required course for all majors in the department. See the department website for more information. Students must sign up online by the deadline, which is posted on the department website.

AHIS UN3000 Majors' Colloquium: the Literature and Methods of Art History. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Not open to Barnard or Continuing Education students. Majors must receive instructor's permission. Students must sign-up online: http://goo.gl/forms/otfh8x5hqk

Introduction to different methodological approaches to the study of art and visual culture. Majors are encouraged to take the colloquium during their junior year.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3000 001/60049 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Meredith Gamer 4 15/15
Fall 2019: AHIS UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3000 001/99099 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Zoe Strother 4 12/14

AHIS UN3007 Major's Colloquium: Intro to the Literature and Methods of Architectural History. 4 points.

This course, on the one hand, examines the intertwined histories of art history and architectural history from the late nineteenth century onwards and, on the other, focuses on questions that have been central to architectural history since the field’s beginnings. It combines theoretical inquiry with practical training in historical research. Students will be asked to carry out research projects in various archives in New York City and complete a single writing assignment in stages.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN3007
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3007 001/60481 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Zeynep Celik 4 10/12

Senior Thesis

The year-long Senior Thesis program is open to majors in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. For more information, please visit the Senior Thesis information page on the department website.

AHIS UN3002 Senior Thesis. 3 points.

Prerequisites: the department's permission.

Required for all thesis writers.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN3002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3002 001/70888 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Barry Bergdoll 3 8/10
Fall 2019: AHIS UN3002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3002 001/99190 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Barry Bergdoll 3 9/10

Bridge Lectures

Bridge lectures are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. They do not require an application. Attendance at first class is strongly recommended.

AHIS GU4044 Neo-Dada and Pop Art. 3 points.

This course examines the avant-garde art of the fifties and sixties, including assemblage, happenings, pop art, Fluxus, and artists' forays into film. It will examine the historical precedents of artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Allan Kaprow, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Carolee Schneemann and others in relation to their historical precedents, development, critical and political aspects.

Fall 2019: AHIS GU4044
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4044 001/10366 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Branden Joseph 3 49/67

AHIS GU4150 Tourism, Nature, and the North American Landscape. 3 points.

It is a truism that landscape painting dominated nineteenth-century American art, especially as represented by members of the so-called “Hudson River School.”  Some have attributed this phenomenon to the inherent beauty of the natural environment on this continent.  Others have seen it as an expression of an innate, transcendental national character.  Recently, however, scholars have explored American landscape painting in connection to the development of tourism.  Beginning in the eighteenth century, tourists in Europe and America began seeking out powerful vistas as a means of cultivating taste and expressing cultural, national, and class identity.  Landscape tourism was fueled by and fueled the market for landscape representations and inspired the creation of new aesthetic categories such as “the sublime” and “the picturesque.”  At the same time, the development of tourism—including accommodations, roads, and new forms of transportation—facilitated artists’ exploration of the land.  These developments contributed to new technologies of vision that structured both the making and the consumption of pictures.

Bridge Seminars

Bridge seminars are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Interested students must fill out and submit an online application form in the weeks prior to the start of the semester in which the course is offered (August for fall courses, January for spring courses) in order to be considered for enrollment. Please visit the "Courses" page on the department website and select the upcoming semester to find a list of course descriptions and links to seminar application forms.

AHIS GU4546 Gilles Deleuze: Thinking in Art. 4 points.

The philosophy of Gilles Deleuze has emerged as one of the richest, most singular adventures in post-war European thought; Foucault considered it the most important in France, and more generally, in the 20th century. In all of Deleuze's work there is a search for a new 'image of thought.' But how did art figure in this search, and how did the search in turn appeal to artists, writers, filmmakers, architects, as well as curators or critics? In this seminar, we explore the complex theme of 'thinkin in art' in Deleuze, and its implications for art in the 21st century or for the global contemporary art of today.

Fall 2019: AHIS GU4546
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4546 001/41652 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
John Allan Rajchman 4 14/25

AHIS GU4749 Bauhaus and Architecture. 4 points.

This seminar will take up the complex issue of the role that architecture played at the Bauhaus. Despite the centrality of architecture to the curricular diagram devised by Gropius with the school’s founding in 1919, architecture was not formally taught until 1927, and then by Hannes Meyer rather than Gropius. Staged in the centennial year of the Bauhaus we will work to examine the school’s position and experiments in architecture freed of the later proliferation of the term “Bauhaus architecture” as a veritable synonym for the modern movement. Inevitably historiography will play a role in our considerations from the outset as well, as much to study in its own right as to peel back to a more nuanced and granular understanding of the various and shifting positions on architecture on the school. Architecture here will not be understood only as the design of new ground-up buildings but will consider the practices developed at the Bauhaus for the design of exhibitions and the metaphor of architecture in other practices. Indeed, in a year in which scores and scores, if not hundreds of centennial exhibitions are being staged both the issue of exhibition design and the role of exhibitions in promoting first Bauhaus positions and principles, and later Bauhaus agendas, will be a major topic. The seminar will travel together in the middle of the semester to visit the new Bauhaus museums just opened in Weimar and Dessau, and to see exhibitions that have been staged there and in Berlin to celebrate and interpret the complex 14 year history of the Bauhaus. We will also visit as many buildings associated with the Bauhaus and the architects who taught or were trained there as we can in and around Weimar, Dessau and Berlin on a short four day trip.