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 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 departmental 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
  • Vidya Dehejia
  • David Freedberg
  • Robert E. Harrist, Jr.
  • Anne Higonnet (Barnard)
  • Holger Klein
  • Rosalind Krauss
  • Branden Joseph
  • Matthew McKelway
  • Stephen Murray
  • Jonathan Reynolds (Barnard)
  • Simon Schama
  • Avinoam Shalem
  • Zoë Strother

Associate Professors

  • Francesco de Angelis
  • Noam M. Elcott
  • Elizabeth Hutchinson (Barnard)
  • Kellie Jones
  • Ioannis Mylonopoulos

Assistant Professors

  • Diane Bodart
  • Zeynep Celik
  • Meredith Gamer
  • Eleonora Pistis
  • Michael Waters

Adjunct Faculty

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

Lecturers

  • Talia Andrei
  • Frederique Baumgartner
  • Marta Becherini
  • Colby Chamberlain
  • Miriam Chusid
  • Huffa Frobes-Cross
  • Alessandra Di Croce
  • Daniel Greenberg
  • Yoko Hara
  • Alexandra Helprin
  • Page Knox
  • Janet Kraynak
  • Sandrine Larrive-Bass
  • Martina Mims
  • Irina Oryshkevich
  • Olivia Powell
  • Maria Gonzalez Pendas
  • Elizabeth Perkins
  • Michael Sanchez
  • Rachel Silveri
  • Susan Sivard
  • Caroline Wamsler

On Leave

  • Profs. Joseph, McKelway, Waters (2018-2019)
  • Prof. Delbanco (Fall 2018)
  • Profs. Crary, Dehejia, Harrist, Reynolds, Shalem (Spring 2019)

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. Courses in the Department of Architecture may substitute for up to two courses in art history, with approval of the director of undergraduate studies. 

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 one seminar 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:

Seven courses in art history, including four in architectural history. Courses must cover four of five general areas, as described for the major:
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 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 49/67

AHIS UN2108 Greek Art and Architecture. 3 points.

Introduction to the art and architecture of the Greek world during the archaic, classical, and Hellenistic periods (11th - 1st centuries B.C.E.).

Fall 2018: AHIS UN2108
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2108 001/62589 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Ioannis Mylonopoulos 3 48/67

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 66/67

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 42/67

AHIS UN2400 Nineteenth-Century Art. 4 points.

The course examines selected topics in the history of European painting from the 1780s to 1900. It will explore a range of aesthetic, cultural and social issues through the work of major figures from David, Goya, and Turner to Manet, Seurat and Cezanne. This is a no laptop, no e-device course.

Fall 2018: AHIS UN2400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2400 001/25518 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Jonathan Crary 4 57/60

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 3 200/200

AHIS UN2420 Art in Britain: Holbein to Shonibare. 3 points.

Not offered during 2018-19 academic year.

This course will examine the history of art in Britain from the early sixteenth century to present. Students will be introduced to major artists, works, and media, as well as to key themes in the art historical scholarship. Topics will include: portraiture, politics, and power; landscape and national identity; print culture, graphic satire, and caricature; the relationship between image and text; and the visual culture of slavery, trade, and empire.

Fall 2018: AHIS UN2420
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2420 001/16347 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Meredith Gamer 3 25/50

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
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Zoe Strother 3 33/33

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.

Fall 2018: AHIS UN2602
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2602 001/86496 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Miriam Chusid 3 15/30
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 30/30

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.

Fall 2018: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 002/78460 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Ja Lee 3 19/22
AHUM 2604 003/16498 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Daria Melnikova 3 18/22
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

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 45/45

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 44/67

AHUM UN2802 Arts of Islam: Realignments of Empire and State (ca. 1000-1400). 4 points.

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

This introductory survey course, open to both undergraduates and graduates, examines a broad spectrum of artistic and architectural developments across the Islamic World (Spain, North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia) encompassing crucial political and territorial shifts that occurred in the late medieval period. Looking inward and outward, these shifts not only created new realities of empire and state, but also realigned engagements between a variety of Muslim societies with both European, African and Asian steppe cultures, leading to new forms that articulate shifts in religious, political, intellectual and social practices. Through examining a series of test cases in within a mainly chronological narrative, the course will cultivate clear visual analysis within particular cultural and material contexts. It will also develop experience with reading a variety of secondary and primary source materials in translation. This course is the second part of the series "Arts of Islam" and can be taken separately for credit.

Fall 2018: AHUM UN2802
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2802 001/82496 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Avinoam Shalem 4 47/66

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.

Fall 2018: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/81529 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Vidya Dehejia 4 67/67
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 22/22

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 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 UN3103 Roman Villas: The Art and Architecture of an Ancient Lifestyle. 4 points.

Not offered during 2018-19 academic year.

The villa—the countryside residence that Roman aristocrats used both for running landed estates and as a leisure retreat from city life—is one of the most characteristic features of the ancient classical world. From the late Republic on, it was the locus where a new and distinctive lifestyle was developed. It thus became a critical node for the establishment and definition of central values and notions of Roman culture, such as work and leisure, culture and nature, city and countryside, “Roman-ness” and Greekness. The architectural features of villas as well as their painted and sculptural decoration played a key role in this context. Far from being mere backdrops, they decisively contributed to the constitution and shaping of these life ideals. The seminar is designed to introduce students to the main aspects of the architecture and imagery of Roman villas by focusing on well known examples from the Vesuvian area. Issues that will be discussed include: How should we describe and present an ancient villa? How did the Romans do it, and to what extent can we rely on ancient texts to visualize villas? What is the relationship between architecture and social practices, and how can we use archaeological remains to reconstruct these practices? What does the layout and location of villas tell us about Roman attitudes toward nature? What methods have modern scholars developed to interpret the figural decoration of villas? Are they sufficient for a thorough understanding of how images affected the experience of inhabitants and visitors of villas, or can we go beyond current approaches?

Fall 2018: AHIS UN3103
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3103 001/23324 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Francesco de Angelis 4 9/12

AHIS UN3313 Women Painters in Europe, 1500-1750. 4 points.

Not offered during 2018-19 academic year.

Histories of European Renaissance and Baroque art once narrated a story involving almost only male actors: it was men who made the period's paintings and sculptures, men who purchased them, and men who left their views on art for posterity. That characterization of the field is no longer quite so true, and one of the most significant changes in the field is that female painters now feature in every survey of the period. The aim of this course is to look comparatively at the painterly works produced by women across the early modern period and at the way those pictures have been treated in the scholarly literature from the last several decades.

Fall 2018: AHIS UN3313
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3313 001/19255 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Michael Cole 4 8/10

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 8/12

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 8/12

AHIS UN3444 Reflexivity in Art and Film. 4 points.

This seminar will explore a range of individual works of Western art from the 16th century to late 20th century in which the tension between illusionism and reflexivity is foregrounded. It will focus on well-known paintings and films in which forms of realism and verisimilitude coexist with features that affirm the artificial or fictive nature of the work or which dramatize the material, social and ideological conditions of the work’s construction. Topics will include art by Durer, Holbein, Velazquez, Watteau, Courbet, Morisot, Vertov, Deren, Godard, Varda, Hitchcock and others. Readings will include texts by Auerbach, Gombrich, Brecht, Jameson, Barthes, Didi-Huberman, Bazin, Lukacs, Mulvey, and Daney

Fall 2018: AHIS UN3444
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3444 001/90942 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Jonathan Crary 4 13/15

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 8/15

AHIS UN3608 Contemporary Japanese Art. 4 points.

This seminar examines the development of Japanese art from the early twentieth century to the present. Rather than a traditional survey, this course thematically explores some of the major theoretical, political, and historical developments found in a broad range of visual cultural practices. As we engage with artworks produced in a wide range of media—painting, performance, film, cultural products, and fashion—we will also investigate how contemporary art deliberately engages with Japan’s past and envisions its future. Themes to be considered include representations of gender and the environment, political dissent, Japan’s relationship with the West, technology, cuteness, the art of disaster, and fantasy. We will also think about the place of Japanese art in a global context, as well as the changing understanding of “art” and its place in society.

Fall 2018: AHIS UN3608
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3608 001/86946 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
806 Schermerhorn Hall
Miriam Chusid 4 11/12

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.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN3610
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3610 001/25949 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
806 Schermerhorn Hall
Miriam Chusid 4 0/12

AHIS UN3708 Beyond El Dorado: Materials, Values, and Aesthetics in Pre-Columbian Art History. 4 points.

In this seminar, we will investigate ancient and indigenous art, materials, and aesthetics from areas of what is today Latin America. Taking advantage of New York’s unrivaled museum collections, we will research Pre-Columbian gold and silver work, as well as equally precious stone, shell, textile, and feather works created by artists of ancient Mexico, Central America, and Andean South America. We will also study latter-day histories of collecting, reception, display, appropriation, and activism that shape contemporary understandings of Pre-Columbian art.

Fall 2018: AHIS UN3708
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3708 001/19701 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
806 Schermerhorn Hall
Lisa Trever 4 7/12

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.

Fall 2018: AHIS UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3000 001/71229 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
806 Schermerhorn Hall
Zoe Strother 4 10/15
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 10/12

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 12/12

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.

Fall 2018: AHIS UN3002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3002 001/23208 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Barry Bergdoll 3 8/10
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 7/10

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 GU4011 Art and Archaeology of Mesopotamia. 3 points.

Not offered during 2018-19 academic year.

This course surveys the art and architecture of Mesopotamia from the rise of the first cities, the invention of writing, and the development of monumental art and architecture in the fourth millennium BC through the Parthian- Roman era (3rd century AD). Within this historical framework the lectures will focus on the revolutionary ancient developments in art and architecture, including the origins of narrative representation, the first emergence of historical public monuments, and sacred architecture. We will also study some ancient texts on the making and uses of images and monuments, including rituals of animating statues, building rituals, treatment of images in wars, and visual performativity. At the same time, small scale and personal arts will be considered in the context of private ownership and the practices of daily life.

Fall 2018: AHIS GU4011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4011 001/70506 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Zainab Bahrani 3 37/60

AHIS GU4021 Medieval Art I: From Late Antiquity to the End of Byzantium. 4 points.

Not offered during 2018-19 academic year.

A survey of Early Christian and Byzantine art from its origins in the eastern provinces of the Late Roman Empire through the Ottoman Conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The course is first segment of a two-part survey of medieval monuments offered by the Department of Art History and Archaeology.

Fall 2018: AHIS GU4021
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4021 001/13006 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Holger Klein 4 22/50

AHIS GU4045 Collecting. 4 points.

Collecting is among the most universal of human social phenomena.  The course begins by studying the universality of collecting, exploring its range and hierarchies.  Following a study of social, psychological, and anthropological theories of collecting, the course traces the history of collecting at its highest levels, from Renaissance princely collections to modern public art museums. The course is mostly about European and American collecting, but includes discussion of how art from all over the world has been collected.  Special attention will be paid to preserved collections and art about collecting. 

Spring 2019: AHIS GU4045
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4045 001/21646 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Anne Higonnet 4 63/67

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 GU4531 Tintoretto – 500 Years. 4 points.

Acclaimed in his time as one of the most promising painters of his generation, but also criticized for the haste of his working method and his eccentricity, Jacopo Tintoretto is among the most complex and intriguing figures of Italian sixteenth century painting. The seminar will reconsider the singularity of Tintoretto's processes of creation in the light of his productive workshop organization and practice, according a special attention to the role of his son Domenico and his daughter Marietta.

Fall 2018: AHIS GU4531
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4531 001/17546 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Diane Bodart 4 10/15

AHIS GU4646 Foucault and the Arts. 4 points.

Michel Foucault was a great historian and critic who helped change the ways research and criticism are done today – a new ‘archivist’. At the same time, he was a philosopher. His research and criticism formed part of an attempt to work out a new picture of what it is to think, and think critically, in relation to Knowledge, Power, and Processes of Subjectivization. What was this picture of thought? How did the arts, in particular the visual arts, figure in it? How might they in turn give a new image of Foucault’s kind of critical thinking for us today? In this course, we explore these questions, in the company of Deleuze, Agamben, Rancière and others thinkers and in relation to questions of media, document and archive in the current ‘regime of information’. The Seminar is open to students in all disciplines concerned with these issues.

Fall 2018: AHIS GU4646
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4646 001/93496 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
John Allan Rajchman 4 14/20

AHIS GU4747 Architecture and Empire in the Nineteenth Century. 4 points.

This course revisits some of the key moments in the European architecture of the nineteenth century with the goal of understanding the relationship between these developments and a global modernity shaped by old and new empires. In doing so, it assumes a particular methodological stance. Rather than attempting to be geographically comprehensive, it focusses on the interdependencies between Europe and its colonies; instead of being strictly chronological, it is arranged around a constellation of themes that are explored through a handful of projects and texts. Reading of primary texts is a crucial part of the course. Students will have the opportunity to hone their critical skills by reading, writing, and conducting research toward a final paper.

Fall 2018: AHIS GU4747
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4747 001/19261 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Zeynep Celik 4 18/20