Architecture, History and Theory

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 INTRO LIT/METHODS OF ART HIST, which introduces students to different methodological approaches to art history and critical texts that have shaped the discipline. The colloquium also prepares students for the independent research required in seminars and advanced lecture courses, and should be taken during the junior year.

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

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

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

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

Course Information

Lectures

Attendance at the first class meeting is recommended.

Colloquia

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

Seminars

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

Bridge Seminars

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

Bridge Lectures

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

Travel Seminar

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

Study Abroad

Reid Hall, Paris

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

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

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

Columbia Summer Program in Venice

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

Columbia Summer Program in Greece

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

Departmental Honors

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

Senior Thesis Prize

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

Professors

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

Associate Professors

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

Assistant Professors

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

Adjunct Faculty

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

Lecturers

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

On Leave

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

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

Courses

HUMA UN1121 MASTERPIECES OF WESTERN ART,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 UN3000INTRO LIT/METHODS OF ART HIST
Seven 3-point lecture courses in Art History:
At least one course in three of four historical periods, listed below
An additional two courses in two different world regions, listed below
Two additional lectures of the student's choice
Two seminars in art history
A studio course taken in the Visual Arts or Architecture departments (which may be taken Pass/D/Fail)

Historical Periods

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

World Regions

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

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


Major in History and Theory of Architecture

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

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

The requirements for the major are as follows:

AHIS UN3000INTRO LIT/METHODS OF ART HIST
Seven lecture courses in art history, one of which must be AHIS UN1007 Introduction to Architecture, and three of which must focus on architectural history. Courses must cover four of five general areas:
Ancient Mediterranean
Medieval Europe
Renaissance and Baroque
18th-20th century
Non-Western
At least two seminars in art history or architectural history
Architectural Studio:
ARCH UN1020Introduction To Architectural Design and Visual Culture


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


Major in Art History and Visual Arts

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

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

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

The requirements for the major are as follows:

AHIS UN3000INTRO LIT/METHODS OF ART HIST
Seven 3-point lecture courses in art history:
At least one course in three of four historical periods, as listed below
An additional two courses in two different world regions, as listed below
Two additional lectures of the student's choice
21 points in Visual Arts covering:
VIAR UN1000BASIC DRAWING
VIAR UN2300Sculpture I
or VIAR UN2200 Ceramics I
Five additional VIAR 3-point studio courses (15 points)
In the senior year, students must complete either a seminar in the Department of Art History and Archaeology or a senior project in visual arts (pending approval by the Visual Arts Department).

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

Historical Periods

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

World Regions

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

Concentration in Art History

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

The requirements for the concentration are as follows:

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

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

Historical Periods

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

World Regions

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

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


Concentration in History and Theory of Architecture

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

The requirements for the concentration are as follows:

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

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

 

Fall 2020 Undergraduate Lectures and Bridge Lectures

UNDERGRADUATE LECTURES: 2000-level courses. Attendance at first class meeting is strongly recommended. BRIDGE LECTURES: 4000-level courses. Bridge lectures are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. They do not require an application. Attendance at first class is strongly recommended.

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

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

Fall 2020: AHIS UN1007
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 1007 001/10837 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Online Only
Michael Waters 4 80/110

AHIS UN2101 ATHENIAN ACROPOLIS-5/6CENT BCE. 3.00 points.

Fall 2020: AHIS UN2101
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2101 001/21478 M W 8:40am - 9:55am
Online Only
Ioannis Mylonopoulos 3.00 20/30

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

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

Fall 2020: AHIS UN2105
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2105 001/21480 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Ioannis Mylonopoulos 3 33/30

AHIS UN2309 Early Modern Architecture (1550-1799). 3 points.

This course examines the history of early modern architecture from a European perspective outward. It starts with the time of Michelangelo and Palladio and ends in the late eighteenth century.  It addresses a number of transhistorical principal issues and analytical approaches while focusing on to a series of roughly chronological thematic studies. Travelling across courts, academies, streets, and buildings devoted to new institutions, this course examines the cultural, material, urban, social, and political dimensions of architecture, as well as temporal and geographic migrations of architectural knowledge. Topics will also include: the resurgence of interest in antiquity; the longue durée history of monuments; changes in building typology; the patronage and politics of architecture; technological developments and building practice; architectural theory, books, and the culture of print; the growth of capital cities; the creation of urban space and landscape; the formalization of architectural education; and the changing status of the architect.

Fall 2020: AHIS UN2309
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2309 001/12524 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Online Only
Eleonora Pistis 3 46/60

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 2020: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 001/15789 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Naomi Kuromiya 3 22/21
AHUM 2604 002/15790 M W 8:40am - 9:55am
Online Only
Chen Jiang 3 18/21
AHUM 2604 003/15791 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Online Only
Matthew McKelway 3 19/21
Spring 2021: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 001/16858 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Online Only
Xu Tingting 3 20/21
AHUM 2604 002/16713 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Naomi Kuromiya 3 23/21
AHUM 2604 003/16714 T Th 7:40pm - 8:55pm
Online Only
Jeewon Kim 3 21/21
AHUM 2604 004/16715 M W 8:40am - 9:55am
Online Only
Chen Jiang 3 18/21

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 2020: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/10839 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Online Only
Vidya Dehejia 4 58/60
Spring 2021: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/17486 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Seher Agarwala 4 16/21

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. 

Fall 2020: AHIS GU4045
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4045 001/00372 T Th 8:40am - 9:55am
Room TBA
Anne Higonnet 4 57/75

Fall 2020 Undergraduate Seminars and Bridge Seminars

UNDERGRADUATE SEMINARS: 3000-level courses 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. BRIDGE SEMINARS: 4500-level courses open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Applications are due in August for fall courses, and January 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.

Fall 2020: AHIS UN3101
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3101 001/12527 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Zainab Bahrani 4 9/12

AHIS UN3327 Building Before Industrialization. 4 points.

Architectural historians have long been interested in how changes in building materials, construction technologies, and methods of design and production shaped architecture from eighteenth century onward. By exploring how these shifts were tied to broader developments in society, from the so-called “Industrial Revolution” to the “Digital Revolution”, this work has transformed the way we look at the modern built environment. Yet this interest in the meaning embedded in building processes has less commonly reached back to architecture produced before industrialization. In response to this lacuna, this seminar will examine the social, cultural, economic, technological history of construction from antiquity to the sixteenth century. More than just a survey of practice, the course will attempt to understand how issues of technology, production, and facture equally shaped architecture with particular focus on Old Kingdom Egypt, Classical Greece, Imperial Rome, Byzantine Constantinople, Gothic France, fifteenth-century Florence, and sixteenth-century Rome. In doing so, we will examine how buildings were built, the acquisition and transformation of materials, the organization of labor, the economics of construction, structural innovation, technological change and mechanization, natural philosophy, processes of design, and the role of builders and architects.

Fall 2020: AHIS UN3327
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3327 001/11838 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Michael Waters 4 11/12

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.

Fall 2020: AHIS UN3413
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3413 001/11339 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Jonathan Crary 4 7/12

AHIS UN3417 Medieval Revival: Collecting, Copying, and Co-opting the Past. 4 points.

From the mid-eighteenth century through the early twentieth century, a fascination with the medieval world and its aesthetics would influence architecture, art collecting, and art movements like the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain and the United States. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this course explores works of art and architecture inspired by the vogue for medieval revival, theorizing them in relation to Romanticism, nationalism, and anti-modernism. This course will simultaneously explore the way that the discipline of medieval art history and the history of collecting has been shaped by these narratives.

Fall 2020: AHIS UN3417
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3417 001/15287 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Olivia Clemens 4 10/12

AHIS UN3453 Women Artists in Eighteenth-Century Europe. 4 points.

This seminar will examine the career and artistic production of women artists in the long eighteenth century in Europe, with a specific focus on Italy, France and Britain. Recent research has shown that many women managed to become professional artists during this period. But how successful were they? And what did their work consist of? To date, the historical recovery of data about their career and oeuvre remains a work in progress. In contrast, the few women artists who reached international fame in the eighteenth-century – in part because they were members of otherwise overwhelmingly male art academies – have received significant scholarly attention by art historians that include Angela Rosenthal and Mary Sheriff, among others, and have been the subject of important monographic exhibitions in the past two decades. In light of this state of the research, we will study the cases of canonical artists, such as Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807), as well as the cases of still understudied (yet sufficiently documented) artists, such as Marie Geneviève Bouliar (1763-1825). Our primary task will be to examine the different ways in which women who became artists navigated the eighteenth-century social order – an order where the terms “woman” and “professional artist” were commonly understood as contradictory – and analyze their art with a critical understanding of the expectations, aesthetic and otherwise, that they were held to. Topics of discussion will include: training; the hierarchy of genres; women artists and media, including miniature, engraving and sculpture; self-portraiture and gender expectations; women artists and art criticism; and emulation and authorship.

Fall 2020: AHIS UN3453
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3453 001/12871 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Frederique Baumgartner 4 10/12

AHIS UN3503 Contemporary Arts of Africa. 4 points.

This course takes up a question posed by Terry Smith and applies it to Africa: "Who gets to say what counts as contemporary art?" It will investigate the impact of modernity, modernism, and increasing globalism on artistic practices with a special focus on three of the major centers for contemporary art in sub-Saharan Africa: Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria.

Some of the topics covered will be: the emergence of new media (such as photography or cinema), the creation of "national" cultures, experiments in Pan-Africanism, diasporic consciousness, and the rise of curators as international culture-brokers. The course will examine the enthusiastic embrace by African artists of the biennial platform as a site for the production of contemporary art. What differential impact has French vs. British colonialism left on the arts? How are contemporary artists responding to calls for restitution on African cultural heritage?

Fall 2020: AHIS UN3503
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3503 001/15247 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Zoë Strother 4 14/15

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 2020: AHIS UN3708
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3708 001/11340 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Lisa Trever 4 11/12

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 2020: AHIS GU4646
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4646 001/11341 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
John Allan Rajchman 4 23/30

AHIS GU4740 Re-Reading American Photographs. 4.00 points.

New methodologies for studying the history of photography drawing on affect theory, new materialism, explorations of circulation and exchange, and other scholarly trends vex established modes of American photo history and invite an expansion of the canon. This seminar surveys recent publications in photo theory and examples of photo history, including the fall 2020 special issue of Panorama on “Re-Reading American Photographs” to deepen our engagement with photographic works from the medium’s first century (1839-1939)

Fall 2020: AHIS GU4740
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4740 001/20738 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Elizabeth Hutchinson 4.00 9/15

AHIS GU4948 American Government Architecture: Governance and Governmentality. 4 points.

How do dynamics of governance shape architecture, like states’ rights in America’s federal system? And how do government centers through form, space, and symbol shape citizens’ identities and consent to be governed, aspects of governmentality theorized by Foucault and subject to resistance and reform? Focused upon modern American architecture and urbanism this seminar is open to students’ explorations in other media, places, and times. If feasible, field trips will go to local and/or regional sites. No prerequisites are necessary for this class.

Fall 2020: AHIS GU4948
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4948 001/14022 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Daniel Abramson 4 11/15

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 INTRO LIT/METHODS OF ART HIST. 3.00 points.

Required course for department majors. Not open to Barnard or Continuing Education students. Students must receive instructors permission. 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 2020: AHIS UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3000 001/11336 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Jonathan Crary 3.00 11/12
Spring 2021: AHIS UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3000 001/12535 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Zoë Strother 3.00 8/12
AHIS 3000 002/12536 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Frederique Baumgartner 3.00 13/12

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 2020: AHIS UN3002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3002 001/10838 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Barry Bergdoll 3 9/10
Spring 2021: AHIS UN3002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3002 001/12537 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Barry Bergdoll 3 9/10

Spring 2021 Undergraduate Lectures and Bridge Lectures

UNDERGRADUATE LECTURES: 2000-level courses. Attendance at first class meeting is strongly recommended. BRIDGE LECTURES: 4000-level courses. Bridge lectures are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. They do not require an application. Attendance at first class is strongly recommended.

AHIS UN2119 Rome Beyond Rome: Roman Art and Architecture in a Global Perspective. 4 points.

This course will approach the art of the Roman empire from two vantage points. In its first half, it will consider it from the inside. Through a regional survey of the art and architecture produced in the provinces of the Roman empire between the 2nd c. BCE and the 4th c. CE, it will focus on the mechanisms by which models emanating from Rome were received and adapted in local contexts (so-called “Romanization”), as well as on the creative responses that the provincials’ incorporation into the empire elicited. The second half of the course will consider the art of the Roman empire from the outside, i.e., from the perspective of its neighbors in the Middle East and in Africa, as well as its self-proclaimed successors and imitators. On the one hand, we will see how ancient states such as the kingdom of Meroë and the Parthian empire, or regions such as the Gandhara, interacted with the visual culture of Rome and its empire. On the other, we will explore the degree to which the classical roots of the modern colonial empires in Asia, Africa, and the Americas both managed and failed to shape the visual cultures that these empires developed.

Spring 2021: AHIS UN2119
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2119 001/12531 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Online Only
Francesco de Angelis 4 112/132

AHIS UN2305 RENAISSANCE IN IMPERIAL SPAIN. 3.00 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 2021: AHIS UN2305
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2305 001/12558 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Diane Bodart 3.00 25/60

AHIS UN2400 NINETEENTH-CENTURY ART. 4.00 points.

How do you represent a revolution? What does it mean to picture the world as it “really” is? Who may be figured as a subject or citizen, and who not? Should art improve society, or critique it? Can it do both? These are some of the many questions that the artists of nineteenth-century Europe grappled with, and that we will explore together in this course. This was an era of rapid and dramatic political, economic, and cultural change, marked by wars at home and colonial expansion abroad; the rise of industrialization and urbanization; and the invention of myriad new technologies, from photography to the railway. The arts played an integral and complex role in all of these developments: they both shaped and were shaped by them. Lectures will address a variety media, from painting and sculpture to the graphic and decorative arts, across a range of geographic contexts, from Paris, London, Berlin, and Madrid to St. Petersburg, Cairo, Haiti, and New Zealand. Artists discussed will include Jacques-Louis David, Francisco Goya, Théodore Géricault, J.M.W. Turner, Adolph Menzel, Ilya Repin, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt, James McNeill Whistler, C. F. Goldie, Victor Horta, and Paul Cézanne

Spring 2021: AHIS UN2400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2400 001/13471 T Th 8:40am - 9:55am
Online Only
Meredith Gamer 4.00 79/90

AHIS UN2405 Twentieth-Century Art. 3 points.

  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. 

Spring 2021: AHIS UN2405
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2405 001/12559 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Online Only
Alexander Alberro 3 122/150

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 2021: AHIS UN2500
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2500 001/12532 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Zoë Strother 3 31/33

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 2020: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 001/15789 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Naomi Kuromiya 3 22/21
AHUM 2604 002/15790 M W 8:40am - 9:55am
Online Only
Chen Jiang 3 18/21
AHUM 2604 003/15791 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Online Only
Matthew McKelway 3 19/21
Spring 2021: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 001/16858 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Online Only
Xu Tingting 3 20/21
AHUM 2604 002/16713 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Naomi Kuromiya 3 23/21
AHUM 2604 003/16714 T Th 7:40pm - 8:55pm
Online Only
Jeewon Kim 3 21/21
AHUM 2604 004/16715 M W 8:40am - 9:55am
Online Only
Chen Jiang 3 18/21

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 2021: AHIS UN2612
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2612 001/12533 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Online Only
Alfreda Murck 3 42/60

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 2021: AHIS UN2702
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2702 001/12534 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Online Only
Lisa Trever 3 56/75

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 2020: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/10839 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Online Only
Vidya Dehejia 4 58/60
Spring 2021: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/17486 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Seher Agarwala 4 16/21

Spring 2021 Undergraduate Seminars and Bridge Seminars

UNDERGRADUATE SEMINARS: 3000-level courses 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. BRIDGE SEMINARS: 4500-level courses open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Applications are due in August for fall courses, and January 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 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 2021: AHIS UN3410
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3410 001/12539 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Branden Joseph 3 11/12

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

Spring 2021: AHIS UN3444
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3444 001/12542 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Jonathan Crary 4 10/12

AHIS UN3316 Mediterranean Maps. 4.00 points.

How do maps construct, rather than represent, territories, identities, pathways, and temporalities? From esoteric personifications of the continents to portolan nautical charts, this seminar investigates maps of the Mediterranean Sea and its borderlands from 1300-1700. We will probe cartographic visualization systems to understand what kinds of perspectives and orientations specific maps presumed, invited, or denied. Topics include port city commerce, wayfinding and navigation, the rise of Mercator's projection, and mapping shifting boundaries. At the heart of this course is the Mediterranean itself, which we will trace west with colonial expeditions beyond the present-day strait of Gibraltar

Spring 2021: AHIS UN3316
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3316 001/12538 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Diana Mellon 4.00 5/12

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.

Spring 2021: AHIS UN3433
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3433 001/12560 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Zainab Bahrani 4 5/12

AHIS GU4521 Sin and Sodomy. 4.00 points.

For the unrepentant sins of their inhabitants God had Sodom and Gomorrah, the ignominious twin cities from Genesis, shattered to smithereens. Throughout the Middle Ages, the tale was invoked to justify harsh judgment of mortal sins of the flesh and “unnatural” sex acts, in particular those occurring between members of the same sex. This bridge seminar focuses on the church’s desire to control the potential of human sexuality to subvert its order of “natural” law. Through historical texts and artworks from the period, we will analyze the wide diversity of medieval attitudes toward non-normative sex and eroticism in a variety of contexts, from the construction of the phenomenon of sodomy in early and high medieval exegesis, the eradication of pre-Christian fertility rituals in northern and eastern Europe, the playful undermining of gender roles in secular medieval romances, to illicit accounts of public sex in pleasure gardens and bath houses, and monumental hellscapes rendered with graphic visualizations of sexual violence. Moving chronologically through the Middle Ages, we will end by addressing modern questions surrounding the sexuality of Jean the Duke of Berry and Albrecht Dürer, and Hieronymus Bosch’s fixation with butt play. Discussion will be informed by critical readings in queer theory, feminism, and gender studies by Jack Halberstam, David Halperin, Susan Stryker, to name a few, and by medievalists employing these methods, such as Roland Betancourt, Caroline Walker Bynum, Michael Camille, Dyan Elliott, and Robert Mills

Spring 2021: AHIS GU4521
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4521 001/12543 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Gregory Bryda 4.00 10/12

AHIS GU4760 Great Waves: Arts of the Floating World. 4.00 points.

“Pictures of the Floating World” (Ukiyo-e) constitute one of the most significant developments in the history of Japanese art, and one that would have a profound impact on the history of art in Europe and the west in the early modern period. These images were created on all pictorial formats, from scroll paintings and painted fans to woodblock prints, wooden posters, lanterns, and kites. Because these images pervaded so many different media, Ukiyo-e images offer a unique lens through which to examine the role art in an early modern society as well as the very nature of that society. Our course will focus primarily on the woodblock print, a popular pictorial form that was accessible to broad sectors of society, and will focus on woodblock prints created in the city of Edo between 1700 and 1860. The course will be shaped around three approaches: brief weekly lectures to introduce prominent images and themes; discussion of readings that offer critical perspectives; and if possible, direct examination of works of art in the collections of Columbia University and other institutions and collections in New York

Spring 2021: AHIS GU4760
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4760 001/19165 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Matthew McKelway 4.00 2/15