Art History

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

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Avinoam Shalem, 814 Schermerhorn; 212-854-5681; as4501@columbia.edu

Director of Art Humanities: Prof. Matthew McKelway, 919 Schermerhorn; 212-854-3182; mpm8@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
  • 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. Alberro, Mylonopoulos, Strother (2017-2018)
  • Profs. Bergdoll, Elcott, Gamer, Kraynak (Fall 2017)
  • Profs. Dehejia, Krauss (Spring 2018)
  • Prof. Bergdoll (Reid Hall, Spring 2018)

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
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 recommended.

AHIS UN1007 Introduction to Architecture. 3 points.

Discussion Section Required

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.

Fall 2017: AHIS UN1007
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 1007 001/13225 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
614 Schermerhorn Hall
Michael Waters 3 68/120

AHIS UN2102 Gore and Violence in Greek Art. 3 points.

......Aim of the course is to offer an alternative - more "realistic" - view of ancient Greek art and understand its violence and goriness as parts of its (at least) two faces; to add, as it were, the lightless night of violence to the luminous day of the athletic, heroic and divine realms....

Spring 2017: AHIS UN2102
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2102 001/22203 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Ioannis Mylonopoulos 3 27/30

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 2017: AHIS UN2109
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2109 001/13375 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Francesco de Angelis 3 53/67

AHIS UN2303 Rome, Michelangelo to Bernini. 3 points.

This course will look at highlights of Roman art and architecture from the late fifteenth to the late seventeenth centuries, considering the works in relation to the conditions in which they were originally produced and viewed......

Spring 2017: AHIS UN2303
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2303 001/73451 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Michael Cole, Yoko Hara 3 44/67

AHIS UN2307 Early Modern Architecture (1400-1750). 3 points.

This course examines the history of early modern architecture, roughly between 1400 and 1750, from a European perspective outward.  It begins by addressing a number of transhistorical principle issues and analytic approaches and then moves on to a series of roughly chronological thematic studies, which build on this conceptual framework.......

Spring 2017: AHIS UN2307
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2307 001/88030 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Michael Waters, Eleonara Pistis 3 62/67

AHIS UN2400 Nineteenth-Century Art. 3 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 2017: AHIS UN2400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2400 001/18693 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
501 Schermerhorn Hall
Jonathan Crary 3 115/200

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 2017: AHIS UN2405
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2405 001/66409 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
501 Schermerhorn Hall
Rosalind Krauss 3 136/200

AHIS UN2414 In and Around Abstract Expressionism. 3 points.

In histories of twentieth-century art, Abstract Expressionism is typically treated as either a monument or a straw man. The first approach portrays “Ab-Ex” as a heroic movement that heralded the triumph of American painting and secured New York’s preeminence over Paris. The second reduces it to the epitome of everything that succeeding generations of artists would reject or critique: modernist autonomy, male chauvinism, cultural jingoism. In recent years, both these narratives have been significantly complicated, by scholars and curators who have situated Ab-Ex in a more global context, and by a diverse array of painters who have found renewed relevance in its principal aesthetic strategies. This lecture course will look “in and around” Abstract Expressionism in three stages. We will begin by surveying its major precedents in the first half of the twentieth century, including cubism, concretism, muralism, and surrealism. Then, we will explore how, in the years immediately following World War II, abstract painting developed differently in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. Finally, we turn to some of the major concepts whereby postwar painting has been understood, such as formalism, “action painting,” and calligraphic abstraction. Throughout, we will connect the work of individual painters to the larger themes of the postwar era: the aftermaths of Auschwitz and Hiroshima; the decolonization of the global south; the formation of international institutions; the spread of commercial culture; and the ideological divisions of the Cold War.

Fall 2017: AHIS UN2414
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2414 001/98497 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
James Chamberlain 3 11/67

AHIS UN2600 Arts of China. 3 points.

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

An introduction to the arts of China, from the Neolithic period to the present, stressing materials and processes of bronze casting, the development of representational art, principles of text illustration, calligraphy, landscape painting, imperial patronage, and the role of the visual arts in elite culture.

Fall 2017: AHIS UN2600
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2600 001/21711 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Robert Harrist 3 67/67

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 2017: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 001/68097 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Dawn Delbanco 3 61/66
AHUM 2604 002/77396 T Th 8:40am - 9:55am
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Miriam Chusid 3 23/22
AHUM 2604 003/76282 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Talia Andrei 3 19/22
Fall 2017: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 001/14476 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Dawn Delbanco 3 66/66
AHUM 2604 002/11638 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Talia Andrei 3 22/22

AHUM UN2800 Arts of Islam: The First Formative Centuries (circa 700-1000). 3 points.

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

This introductory course attempts to cover the first 300 years, from circa 700-1000 AD, stressing the birth of Islam as the birth of a new aesthetic phenomenon in the Mediterranean Basin, Near East and Central Asia and its appropriations and innovations in creating a novel imperial style, while, at the same time, questioning the modern historiographies and narratives for these masterpieces.

Fall 2017: AHUM UN2800
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2800 001/66583 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Avinoam Shalem 3 66/66

AHUM UN2802 Arts of Islam: Realignments of Empire and State . 3 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 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. 

Spring 2017: AHUM UN2802
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2802 001/83648 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Heather Ecker 3 24/66

AHUM UN2901 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement, Discussion Section Required

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 2017: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/25796 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Siddhartha Shah 3 22/22
Fall 2017: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/23435 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Vidya Dehejia 3 66/66

AHIS BC3350 Medieval Art and Architecture . 3 points.

Medieval painting, sculpture, and precious arts from Late Antiquity to c. 1400, including early Byzantine, early Islamic, Merovingian, Visigothic, Insular, Carolingian, Ottonian, Mozarabic, Anglo-Saxon, and especially Romanesque and Gothic art. Questions include those of style, function, material, historical context, the earthly, the divine, ornament, the figural, and the geographic Other.

Fall 2017: AHIS BC3350
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3350 001/06121 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Joseph Ackley 3 2/67

Undergraduate Seminars

Undergraduate seminars are open to undergraduate students only. Applications are due in the semester prior to the semester in which the course is offered (April for fall courses, November for spring courses.) Applications must be submitted to the department office in 826 Schermerhorn Hall. The required application form and deadline information can be found on the department website.

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 2017: AHIS UN3101
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3101 001/65810 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Zainab Bahrani 4 8/15

AHIS UN3309 Virtual Space: Renaissance Perspective (1400-1750). 4 points.

Prerequisites: A course in art history or architectural history

Single-point perspective was an optical representational technique that fundamentally altered the early modern visual world. Bridging the domains of art and science, perspectival representation could simultaneously reveal a mathematically reasoned space and a fantastic reality. It appealed widely to visual artists, writers, scientific thinkers, politicians, and explorers. The ambiguities and broad applicability of perspective opened new possibilities for visual communication and spatial thinking. This undergraduate seminar is organized chronologically (1400-1750, roughly) and thematically to provide a broad overview on perspectival representation in this historical period. We will consider fields as diverse as painting, building, print making, theater design, cartography, urban design, natural science, and philosophy - primarily in Italy, where the discourse centered upon during the early modern period. 

Fall 2017: AHIS UN3309
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3309 001/82782 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Yoko Hara 4 7/15

AHIS UN3410 Approaches to Contemporary Art. 3 points.

This course examines the critical approaches to contemporary art from the 1970s to the present. It will address a range of historical and theoretical issues around the notion of "the contemporary" (e.g. globalization, participation, relational art, ambivalence, immaterial labor) as it has developed in the era after the postmodernism of the 1970s and 1980s.

Spring 2017: AHIS UN3410
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3410 001/13975 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Branden Joseph 3 11/15

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 2017: AHIS UN3413
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3413 001/62589 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Jonathan Crary 4 13/15

AHIS UN3424 Sunshine/Noir: Minor Histories of California Art. 4 points.

What would the history of American art look like if we looked west instead of east, focusing on cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco rather than New York? This seminar asks students to examine art since WWII as it developed under the Southern California sun and the Northern California fog. Moving away from a traditional auteur driven narrative focused on individual artists, curators, critics, or works, this seminar will also focus attention on pivotal exhibitions, events, performances, and catalytic encounters that happened on the peripheries of, and often, in opposition to, traditional institutional contexts like the gallery and museum.
Please note that this course is a travel seminar. The trip to the Bay Area, California will take place over the 2017 spring break. Students who enroll in this course must commit to going on the trip. Students who enroll in the seminar and do not go on the trip will not be eligible to receive credit for the course.<

Spring 2017: AHIS UN3424
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3424 001/17149 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Johanna Gosse 4 10/10

AHIS UN3425 Public Outdoor Sculpture at Columbia and Barnard. 4 points.

The donation to Columbia of Reclining Figure, a large bronze sculpture of an abstract female form by Henry Moore, has sparked lively debate about the role of public outdoor sculpture at Columbia and Barnard. Inspired by this debate, which attracted international attention in the press, this seminar will study our extremely varied collection of public sculpture from multiple perspectives. Among the issues we will consider are the nature of public space, the relationship between the space of a university campus and it surrounding environment, the aesthetic and administrative choices that lie behind the display of sculpture on our own campus, and the ways through which works of sculpture express institutional values and ideals. Students will research works such as The Thinker by Rodin, Alma Mater by Daniel Chester French, Equestrian Lincoln by Anna Hyatt Huntington, Curl by Clement Meadmore, and SELECTIONS FROM TRUISMS by Jenny Holzer, as well as Moore's controversial piece. Through archival research, students will investigate the history of how these and other works were acquired, how decisions were made about their placement on campus, and how responses to them have changed over time. We also will pay special attention to materials, processes, and conservation of sculpture, visit a bronze foundry in Astoria with sculptor Greg Wyatt (CC '71), and view the collection of outdoor sculpture at Princeton. The seminar will allow students to study works of art they see daily and to gain research experience in the university archives to which they will have ready access. The seminar will be valuable also in addressing issues of public art and institutional values widely discussed and debated in our society

Spring 2017: AHIS UN3425
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3425 001/72899 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Robert Harrist, Roberto Ferrari 4 8/12

AHIS UN3433 Enlightenment and Archaeology. 4 points.

In this seminar, we will study the emergence of the disciplines of Near Eastern and Classical archaeology, antiquarian interests and collecting practices in eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe. This European scientific interest was centered around the ancient past of lands under the Ottoman empire in the Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Students will learn about antiquarianism and the development of the scientific discipline of archaeology, how it defined itself and set itself apart from its predecessor, focusing on the earliest collecting and documentation of antiquities, the start of organised excavations, the origins of the modern museum and early archaeological photography.

Fall 2017: AHIS UN3433
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3433 001/97847 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Zainab Bahrani 4 3/12

AHIS UN3434 Diplomacy by Ceramics: Introduction to the Soft Power of One Medium Across World Cultures. 4 points.

Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

This course offers a survey of how ceramic art has been used to channel “soft power” over the centuries and in multiple cultures. From medieval Japan to Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great, ceramics have been used as instruments of diplomacy, being offered as gifts or strategically displayed in private and public settings of high visibility. Through object-based analysis, students will learn about the global history of the relation between art and politics. Readings are drawn from multiple disciplines, including art history, cultural sociology, anthropology, and communication studies. Museum visits and digital visualization tools will play an integral role in the course.

Fall 2017: AHIS UN3434
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3434 001/23398 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
652 Schermerhorn Hall
Sonia Coman-Ernstoff 4 3/15

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 2017: AHIS UN3501
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3501 001/75530 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Alvaro Luis Lima 4 8/15

AHIS UN3602 Death and the Afterlife in East Asian Buddhist Art. 4 points.

Death is an encounter with the immaterial, yet its material forms are critical to understanding how people asked, and answered, questions about the unknowable. What will we experience during, and after, we die? How can we as the living maintain connections with the deceased? Is death an inevitable reality, or can it be transcended? This seminar is intended to both facilitate discussion of visual representations of death and salvation in East Asian Buddhist art, and to improve close looking of the visual materials. We will examine how and why representations of dying, death, and salvation were given concrete reality in art and architecture throughout East Asia, using Buddhism as a common lens through which to examine artistic practice. Proceeding in a largely chronological and thematic fashion, we will look at the changing conceptions of death and the afterlife in India, China, and Japan. Each week, we will read excerpts from a primary text in translation and study related images, considering their composition, context of use or display, and the ways in which artists pictorially resolved or translated text into visual form. These discussions, in turn, will serve as our point of entry into a much larger picture in thinking about the following issues with respect to Buddhist art: 1) visual narratives; 2) art and sacred biography or myth; 3) art and doctrine; 4) tensions between permanence and impermanence.

Fall 2017: AHIS UN3602
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3602 001/82191 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Miriam Chusid 4 8/12

Majors Colloquium

The Majors Colloquium is a required course for all majors in the department. For information about enrolling, students should consult with the department during the registration period in the semester prior to the one in which the course is offered. See the department website for more information. Students must sign-up online by the deadline, which is posted on our website and the directory of classes.

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 2017: AHIS UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3000 001/63590 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Janet Kraynak 4 14/15
AHIS 3000 002/86947 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Noam Elcott 4 14/15
Fall 2017: AHIS UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3000 001/13011 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Jonathan Crary 4 10/15

Senior Thesis

For more information about the Department of Art History and Archaeology Senior Thesis program, please visit the information page on the department website.

AHIS UN3002 Senior Thesis. 3 points.

Prerequisites: the department's permission.

Required for all thesis writers.

Spring 2017: AHIS UN3002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3002 001/27073 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Kellie Jones 3 7/10
Fall 2017: AHIS UN3002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3002 001/18148 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Avinoam Shalem 3 0/10

Bridge Lectures

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

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 2017: AHIS GU4044
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4044 001/22341 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
614 Schermerhorn Hall
Branden Joseph 3 80/80

Bridge Seminars

Bridge seminars are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Applications for bridge seminars are due in the semester prior to the semester in which the course is offered (August for fall courses, November for spring courses). Applications must be submitted to the department office in 826 Schermerhorn Hall. The required application form and deadline information can be found on the department website.

AHIS GU4548 Displacing God: Architecture, Modernism, and the Post Secular. 3 points.

This seminar explores the shifting and paradoxical role that religion has played in various conceptions of architectural modernism and cross-references contemporary theories on the formation of secular societies with physical and discursive evidences drawn from the history of architecture.......

Spring 2017: AHIS GU4548
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4548 001/66299 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Maria Gonzalez Pendas 3 9/12

AHIS GU4640 The Soviet Photomontage of the 1920s – 1930s. 4 points.

This seminar will introduce students to the history of the Soviet photomontage, from its first examples in the work of Russian Constructivists Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzky, Gustav Klucis, Liubov Popova, and others after the October Revolution, to its rise to the top of the hierarchy of the agitational mass art in the 1920s, and its role in advancing the First Five-Year Plan and documenting the socialist reconstruction in the 1930s. In this course photomontage is interpreted as a logical continuation of the analytical movements in the early 20th -century art. We will address the reasons behind the abrupt turn to factography and productivism in the work of Russian Constructivists in the early 1920s. We will examine photomontage as a complex modernist experiment that led to expanding the language of modern art and became a sophisticated art form, able to document the great experiment of the Russian Revolution, its severity and idealism, and to express the utopian visions behind it. We will discuss the rise of the Soviet political photomontage after Lenin’s death in 1924, look into the artistic ideology behind Vladimir Mayakovsky’s magazine LEF, and the ways that artists and critics involved with LEF sought to link Lenin’s revolutionary practice with their own radical artistic practices. The course will also address the work of the photography section of the avant-garde group October (1928-1932) during the Stalin’s First Five-Year Plan, and its artists’ active experimentation with representing processes of industrial production. Finally we will discuss the end of constructivist experimentation in photomontage and the shift to its merely political form after the 1932 Communist Party resolution “On the reconstruction of literary and art organizations.” We will trace its eventual demise later in the 1930s after the establishement of socialist realism as the country’s official artistic style.

Spring 2017: AHIS GU4640
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4640 001/14701 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Maria Ratanova 4 17/20

AHIS GU4582 Mediterranean Trade and Exchange (ca. 900-1400). 4 points.

This seminar will explore trade in the Mediterranean over nearly half a millenia using a variety of disciplinary approaches and a trans-cultural framework....

Spring 2017: AHIS GU4582
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4582 001/82202 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Heather Ecker 4 10/15

AHCL GU4541 Post-War Critical Theory: Re-inventions. 4 points.

Is today a time of reinvention for the critical theory that took shape after the Second World War? In this course, taking 1989 as a new take-off date, we explore this hypothesis through a series of over-lapping questions including: what is contemporary as distinct from modern? What is an apparatus as distinct from a medium, a media, or a machine? Is there or can there be a global art history? Can participation be critical? Focusing of the role of visual art and art institutions, their expansions and transformations, we thus address the question of the fate the function of critical theory in the new world of information economies, new urbanizations, biennials and art fairs.

Fall 2017: AHCL GU4541
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHCL 4541 001/17197 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
John Allan Rajchman 4 8/20

CLST GU4514 Roman Coins and History: A Hands-On Seminar on an Unpublished Collection. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Survey of Roman history

Aimed at advanced undergraduate and graduate students, this course aims to introduce coinage and the study of coins as historical disciplines and to provide a survey of the production and use of coinage in the Roman world from the 3rd century BC to the 1st century AD, with specific emphasis on the Late Republican coinage. The study of the unpublished R.B.Witschonke Collection, consisting of 3,713 provincial coins mainly dated between 2nd century BC and 1st century AD, will offer the students a unique opportunity to study hands-on the Roman coinage in the Provincia Asia and its relationship to the political, social and economic history not only of this province, but also of the Empire as whole in the period of time encompassed by the Collection. The best original papers resulting from this research will be included in the forthcoming catalogue of this collection. The students will also have direct access to the world-class numismatic collections at the American Numismatic Collection (over 170,000 Roman and Greek pieces) and to the Olcott collection of Roman coins housed in the RBML in Butler Library (over 3,000 Roman pieces).

Fall 2017: CLST GU4514
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CLST 4514 001/79531 F 2:10pm - 4:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Lucia Francesca Carbone 4 6/12

Supervised Independent Research

AHIS UN3999 Supervised Independent Study. 1-3 points.

Prerequisites: the departmental consultant or director of undergraduate studies' permission, and the instructor's permission.

Independent research and the writing of an essay under supervision of a member of the Art History Department. Only one independent study may be counted toward the major. 

Spring 2017: AHIS UN3999
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3999 001/61704  
Alexander Alberro 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 002/67447  
Zainab Bahrani 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 003/76196  
Frederique Baumgartner 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 004/77400  
Barry Bergdoll 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 006/83248  
Michael Cole 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 007/87201  
Jonathan Crary 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 008/91947  
Francesco de Angelis 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 009/95848  
Vidya Dehejia 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 010/97698  
Dawn Delbanco 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 011/82496  
Rosalyn Deutsche 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 012/86249  
Noam Elcott 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 013/69307  
David Freedberg 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 014/19293  
Meredith Gamer 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 015/62948  
Robert Harrist 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 017/70897  
Elizabeth Hutchinson 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 018/72997  
Kellie Jones 1-3 1
AHIS 3999 019/76399  
Branden Joseph 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 020/81847  
Holger Klein 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 021/86147  
Rosalind Krauss 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 022/87897  
Janet Kraynak 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 023/92349  
Matthew McKelway 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 024/97147  
Patricio Keith Moxey 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 025/98499  
Stephen Murray 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 026/89700  
Ioannis Mylonopoulos 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 027/13040  
Eleonara Pistis 1-3 1
AHIS 3999 028/12398  
John Allan Rajchman 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 029/15998  
Jonathan Reynolds 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 030/88980  
Simon Schama 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 031/94287  
Avinoam Shalem 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 032/60535  
Zoe Strother 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 033/61453  
Michael Waters 1-3 0
Fall 2017: AHIS UN3999
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3999 001/00539  
Alexander Alberro 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 002/16413  
Zainab Bahrani 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 003/14269  
Frederique Baumgartner 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 004/12372  
Barry Bergdoll 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 005/23498  
Diane Bodart 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 006/69371  
Michael Cole 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 007/70466  
Jonathan Crary 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 008/70206  
Francesco de Angelis 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 009/70090  
Vidya Dehejia 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 010/10100  
Dawn Delbanco 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 011/01286  
Rosalyn Deutsche 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 012/69169  
Noam Elcott 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 013/61998  
David Freedberg 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 014/70547  
Meredith Gamer 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 015/72480  
Robert Harrist 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 018/27519  
Kellie Jones 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 019/21994  
Branden Joseph 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 020/22163  
Holger Klein 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 021/76240  
Rosalind Krauss 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 022/23795  
Janet Kraynak 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 024/60624  
Stephen Murray 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 025/69154  
Ioannis Mylonopoulos 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 026/27751  
Eleonara Pistis 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 027/11868  
John Allan Rajchman 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 030/20916  
Avinoam Shalem 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 031/72540  
Zoe Strother 1-3 0
AHIS 3999 032/61801  
Michael Waters 1-3 0