Art History Course Lists

 

Spring 2018 Courses (PDF)

   

Fall 2017 Courses (PDF)

Complete List of Courses (PDF)



SPRING 2018 Courses

*This list is subject to change. For the most up to date information (including offerings and pre-requisites), please visit the UW Timetable at:

https://registrar.wisc.edu/schedule_of_classes_students.htm


Art History 103 (crosslisted with Religious Studies 200): Religion and Art

Why do Catholics traditionally light candles before statues of the Virgin Mary, and Buddhists burn incense in the presence of statues of the Buddha, while other religious groups including Muslims and Protestant Christian condemn the veneration of figural images as idolatrous? Why do still other religious groups make a point of destroying images? Why do so many religious traditions devote so much attention to building commemorative monuments for the dead ranging from the pyramids in Egypt to Indian burial mounds on our own campus?  And what makes a particular place such as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem both sacred and contested space among different religions?  These are some of the questions we seek to answer in an introductory course concerning the role of art, architecture and material objects in mediating sacred presence, ritual and belief in religions around the globe from antiquity to the present. 
(Dale | MWF 9:55 – 10:45 | L160 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 201: History of Western Art I: From Pyramids to Cathedrals
This course examines the arts and cultures of Europe and the Mediterranean basin before the Renaissance. We explore canonical works such as the pyramids at Giza, the Parthenon in Athens, the Venus di Milo, Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, the Book of Kells, the Great Mosque at Cordoba, Chartres cathedral, and Giotto's Arena Chapel. But we also define art broadly, to encompass the material culture of everyday life, including jewelry, ceramics, and textiles. We consider the social and historical contexts of art and artistic production - art and imperialism, ethnicity, technology, religious ritual and belief, and myth and storytelling. These explorations address basic human concerns: death and the afterlife, desire and the body, self-definition and portraiture, power and propaganda, monstrosity and the supernatural, the divine and the sacred. We develop crucial skill sets: critical visual analysis, contextual interpretation, research methods and resources, historiography, and oral, written and digital communication. Students will apply these skills in assignments focused on works of art in the Chazen Museum. (Cahill | MWF 11:00 – 11:50 | L160 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 202: History of Western Art, II, Renaissance to Modern Art
Come explore the many reasons that art has been produced and the vast array of forms it has taken in the western world during the past 500 years. Examining famous and iconic artworks by the likes of Michelangelo, Vermeer, Van Gogh, and Warhol, the class will consider the relationship between artists and their cultures--clothing, personal relationships, medicine, religious or social beliefs, scientific discoveries, or desires and taboos. Lectures will explore what motivated, inspired, awed, and frightened artists in different places and at points in time.

We will learn skills to enable us to intelligently describe and interpret works of painting sculpture, architecture, photography and decorative arts. We will also think about the meaning of this art to us today in our media-saturated age. Students will also mount an online exhibition on a topic of their choice at the end of the semester. (Andrzejewski | TR 9:30 – 10:45 | L160 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 203: Survey of Asian Art
This course will give an overview of the major artistic traditions in East, South and Southeast Asia from roughly the 11th century B.C. to the 19th century. It will cover a wide range of media- sculptures, paintings, prints, textiles, ceramic, and gardens. Students will examine art through both cross-cultural frameworks and culturally specific lenses. The course will not only provide students with a basic understanding of the greatest artistic achievements and movements in Asia, but also carefully analyze the historical, political and religious contexts that gave rise to these works of art.
(Li | TR 1:00 – 2:15 | L160 Elvehjem Building)


Art History 304: The Art and Archaeology Rome
This class explores the art and archaeology of ancient Italy, the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire from the Iron Age to Late Antiquity. (Cahill | MWF 8:25 – 9:40 | L140 Elvehjem Building)

 

Art History 320: Italian Renaissance Art
This survey of Italian Renaissance Art covers nearly three centuries of artistic change in the arts on the Italian peninsula and in the leadership of a cultural phenomenon called "The Renaissance." It will address works of painting, sculpture, and architecture by preeminent masters such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Brunelleschi, and many more.
(TBD | TR 2:30 – 3:45 | L140 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 350: Love, War, and the Emergence of the Modern World: Nineteenth- Century Painting in Europe.
Why are the Impressionists so popular? How did Napoleon use art to create his empire? Why is Munch’s
Scream screaming? How did Queen Victoria navigate restrictions on women? Did Van Gogh really cut off his ear?

Explore the century that gave us our modern world: light bulbs, steam engines, reproductive technologies, the mass media, phonographs, telegraphs, telephones, factories, the middle class, globalization, condoms, antisepsis, even computers! A time of paradigm shifts in Western ways of understanding the world, the nineteenth century gave us the ideals of the French Revolution, the concept of childhood, Freudian psychoanalysis, Marxism, and Darwinian evolutionary theory, among other new ideas.  The nineteenth-century legacy also includes darker aspects of modernity related to its privileging of white middle-class men, such as colonialism and racial and sexual inequalities. 

This survey course asks how artists responded to and participated in an era of rapid change not unlike our own. Topics include French, British, and German art movements, focusing on Romanticism Pre-Raphaelitism, Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and photography, with a thematic focus on issues of gender, race, and the important political and philosophical questions of the era.  First Year Students Welcome – just write nrmarshall@wisc.edu for permission to enroll. (Marshall | MW 2:30 – 3:45 | L150 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 373 (crosslisted with Religious Studies 373): Great Cities of Islam
This course explores the foundation and development of seven great cities in the history of Islam: Mecca, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Cairo, Istanbul, Isfahan, and Delhi. In examining each city in depth, we will study the iconic architectural projects and urban developments that transformed each city from the time of their foundation through the contemporary context. Integrating historical and religious studies, along with contemporary popular culture, this course highlights the changing nature of Islamic identity and what it means to be an “Islamic city.”
(Pruitt | T/R 9:30 – 10:45 | L140 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 407 (crosslisted with English 444): Topics in Nineteenth-Century European Art: From Fairies to Steampunk: The Victorian Imagination Then and Now in Art and Literature
Steampunk. Sherlock. Victoria’s Secret.
Popular culture continually reinvents and reimagines Victorian Britain. This upper-level, discussion-based class explores aspects of nineteenth-century art and literature that have proven the most persistent and captivating for contemporary society. Through images and texts we will investigate many of the big ideas, inventions, and events that changed the way we understand our world, including imperialism and the birth of race theory, urbanism, evolution, technology-enabling global communication, industrialization, and democratic struggle. Escapism from this turmoil of modernity led in turn to the proliferation of fantastic art and literature, celebrating the unseen world of fairies and ghosts; imagining the future; inventing the marriage plot (and its alternatives); and pondering altered states of consciousness through drug use and mesmerism or spiritualism. Art movements include Pre-Raphaelitism, Social Realism, and Aestheticism. The conclusion of the course will take us into our own current preoccupation with the nineteenth century, covering steampunk, Neo-Victorian literature and projects such as reproducing Victorian food, clothing, or ways of living. (Marshall | M/W 4:15 – 5:30 | L166 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 413 (crosslisted with Religious Studies 400): Art and Architecture in the Age of the Caliphs
The tenth century CE marked a period of drastic change in the Islamic world, as the unified Islamic caliphate splintered into three rival dynasties: the Sunni Iraqi Abbasids, Spanish Umayyads, and the Shi'ite Fatimids in Egypt. This course considers this turning point in the history of Islamic culture through the lens of art and architectural patronage. Course themes include the role of sectarian identity (Shi'ite vs Sunni); the incorporation of Christian and Jewish culture; the relation between the court and urban populations; and the meaning of ornament and style in Islamic art.
The course will also explore contemporary visual interpretation of the caliphate: from the propaganda of ISIS to cultural heritage debates in Spain, Egypt, and the U.S. (Pruitt | T/R 11:00 – 12:15 | L150 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 430: Topics in Visual Culture: The Wake of Postmodernism

Postmodernism, despite its name, is not that which comes after modernism, but a theory with a powerful impact on the Humanities and the Social Sciences. This course will define the features of postmodernism and see its lasting, and peculiar, effects in contemporary art. Indeed, if postmodernism questions the difference between the virtual and the actual, and if postmodern theory suggests that there is no reality but in images, contemporary art is a vital site for testing out its complex theories about life in the digital age. The aim of this course is to help student critically think through postmodernism, to question in far-reaching claims, and to apply it to the dissonant scene of contemporary art. (McClure | M/W 2:30 – 3:45 | L140 Elvehjem Building)

 

Art History 431 (crosslisted with Gender and Women’s Studies 449): Topics in Theory: Queer Theory, Visual Culture

This course introduces key concepts in queer, queer of color, trans, and crip theory through visual practices and tactics that challenge the terms of visibility and what and how we see across art and media. The mobilization of the very words “queer” and “crip” negotiate shame and stigma by occupying and reworking terms of injury and often signal a certain "bad attitude.” In its critical questioning of assumptions regarding norms, queer embraces deviance and indeterminacy. In its focus on performance and discourse production, the practice of queering also attends to the intersectional analysis of sexuality, that is, the imbrication of questions of desire and identification with embodiment, gender, class, ability, and race. Queering is an activity of questioning, a critical and creative practice of turning taken-for-granted tropes that makes strange the assumed "naturalness" of binary systems. To queer is to affect the ethical and political activation of speculative theorizing and aesthetics. The work of queering also involves a self-critical approach to one’s own discursive and visual production. Throughout the course, we will be forging links between queer theorization about visual culture, interventions in the archive, and critical tactics of queering. (Casid | T/R 1:00 – 2:15 | L140 Elvehjem Building)

 

Art History 479: Art and History in Africa
Using a “streaming” model of art history & history proposed by the late Professor Jan Vansina, this class will explore the various ancient rivers of art & visual culture in West Africa – Nok, Igbo Ukwu, Ife, Owo, Benin, Jenne, Kanem-Bornu, and especially the enigmatic Lower Niger Bronze Complex – during an era (2800 BP – 500 BP) of major city-states, kingdoms, and empires. We will assess the visual, oral, and cultural evidence for sources, convergences, diffusions, and independent inventions as we attempt to re-construct the richness and diversity of artistic traditions in this region. (Drewal | M/W 4:00 – 5:15 | L150 Elvehjem Building)


Art History 500: Proseminar Topics Course: Affect and Contemporary Art

Affect, a psychological term which may be loosely defined as disposition, has gained currency within contemporary critical discourse in the Humanities. In particular, the idea that the same image, language, or law can be repeated but appear as affectively different, or that affective differences might work against normative power structures, has held certain political potential for scholars in a wide range of fields. At the same time, because contemporary art deals with disposition nearly always, and because contemporary art often exaggerates its affect (exploring states of melancholy, mania, and the deadpan, for instance) this seminar will test how contemporary art might augment and extend the notion of affect, while making important distinctions between affect and other qualitative phenomena such as mood and tone. (McClure | Wed. 4:30 – 6:30 | 120 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 515: Proseminar in Medieval Art: Race, Alterity and Cultural Appropriation in Medieval Art
Recent white supremacist rallies throughout America have misappropriated medieval or pseudo-medieval symbols and heraldry, and promoted false myths of ethically pure medieval nation states to support their own racist ideologies.  This seminar critiques these claims, using art, architecture, literature and material/visual culture as the lenses for exploring the complexity of attitudes found in the cultures of medieval Europe and the Mediterranean rim between late antiquity and the fifteenth century.  Primary focal points of the course will include: religious conflict and proselytization in the late Roman Empire; the Convivencia (cohabitation) of Christians, Jews and Muslims in Medieval Spain; the blending of Byzantine, Islamic and Italian culture in Norman Sicily and Venice; Reinventing the Roman in Romanesque Europe; Crusader Art and Medieval Colonialism; Black Africans and Jews in the Court of Frederick II; the mapping of alterity in the Monstrous Races and World Maps; caricature in the iconography of religious intolerance in late medieval Northern Europe; recent white supremacist myths of the Middle Ages. (Dale | Wed. 4:00 – 6:00 | L170 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 576: Proseminar in Chinese Art: Visualizing Chinese Opera

The passion for opera throughout China from tenth century to present day was not restricted to the stage but permeated the visual and material landscape of everyday life, from the court on down. Operatic characters and stories were favored as pictorial and decorative motifs across the full spectrum of visual mediums from tomb carvings, temple murals and scroll paintings to popular prints, to illustrated books and commercial advertisements, from architectural deco to appliques on furniture, from carved utensils, ceramics, textiles to photographs and films.  These materials have been usually employed as visual evidence in the study of the history of Chinese opera; however, this proseminar inquiries into the unique characteristic of theatrical images as pictorial motif. (Li | Tues. 4:00 – 6:00 | L170 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 602: Museum Studies: Interpreting Historic Ceramics
This mixed undergraduate/graduate class is the second in a two-semester curatorial studies sequence.  The first class produced an exhibition in the Chazen Museum. This semester, we will try out differing interpretation techniques, such as advertising, public programming, virtual exhibitions, catalog writing, and exhibitions in ancillary spaces. Previous semester course participation is preferred.
(Martin | Tues. 4:00 – 6:00 | L166 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 603: Curatorial Studies Colloquium

This course introduces advanced undergraduate & graduate students to a broad range of questions related to curatorial work – the poetics, politics, and practicalities of exhibitions. The course is a series of sessions about curating a wide variety of materials: art, film, music, books, anthropology/culture, archeology, history, geology, zoology, dance, etc. Experts from campus, the city, and the region will engage with each other and with the class on the theories, objectives, and processes of conceiving, designing, and mounting exhibitions. (Drewal | Mon. 5:30 – 7:30 | L170 Elvehjem Building)


 

GRADUATE-LEVEL ONLY CLASSES

Art History 703: Curatorial Studies Colloquium

This course introduces advanced undergraduate & graduate students to a broad range of questions related to curatorial work – the poetics, politics, and practicalities of exhibitions. The course is a series of sessions about curating a wide variety of materials: art, film, music, books, anthropology/culture, archeology, history, geology, zoology, dance, etc. Experts from campus, the city, and the region will engage with each other and with the class on the theories, objectives, and processes of conceiving, designing, and mounting exhibitions. (Drewal | Mon. 5:30 – 7:30 | L170 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 704: The Art and Archaeology Rome

This class explores the art and archaeology of ancient Italy, the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire from the Iron Age to Late Antiquity. (Cahill | MWF 8:25 – 9:40 | L140 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 707: Topics in Nineteenth-Century European Art: From Fairies to Steampunk: The Victorian Imagination Then and Now in Art and Literature
Steampunk. Sherlock. Victoria’s Secret.
Popular culture continually reinvents and reimagines Victorian Britain. This upper-level, discussion-based class explores aspects of nineteenth-century art and literature that have proven the most persistent and captivating for contemporary society. Through images and texts we will investigate many of the big ideas, inventions, and events that changed the way we understand our world, including imperialism and the birth of race theory, urbanism, evolution, technology-enabling global communication, industrialization, and democratic struggle. Escapism from this turmoil of modernity led in turn to the proliferation of fantastic art and literature, celebrating the unseen world of fairies and ghosts; imagining the future; inventing the marriage plot (and its

alternatives); and pondering altered states of consciousness through drug use and mesmerism or spiritualism. Art movements include Pre-Raphaelitism, Social Realism, and Aestheticism. The conclusion of the course will take us into our own current preoccupation with the nineteenth century, covering steampunk, Neo-Victorian literature and projects such as reproducing Victorian food, clothing, or ways of living. (Marshall | M/W 4:15 – 5:30 | L166 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 749 (Sec. 001): Great Cities of Islam
This course explores the foundation and development of seven great cities in the history of Islam: Mecca, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Cairo, Istanbul, Isfahan, and Delhi. In examining each city in depth, we will study the iconic architectural projects and urban developments that transformed each city from the time of their foundation through the contemporary context. Integrating historical and religious studies, along with contemporary popular culture, this course highlights the changing nature of Islamic identity and what it means to be an “Islamic city.”
(Pruitt | T/R 9:30 – 10:45 | L140 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 749 (Sec. 002): Art and Architecture in the Age of the Caliphs
The tenth century CE marked a period of drastic change in the Islamic world, as the unified Islamic caliphate splintered into three rival dynasties: the Sunni Iraqi Abbasids, Spanish Umayyads, and the Shi'ite Fatimids in Egypt. This course considers this turning point in the history of Islamic culture through the lens of art and architectural patronage. Course themes include the role of sectarian identity (Shi'ite vs Sunni); the incorporation of Christian and Jewish culture; the relation between the court and urban populations; and the meaning of ornament and style in Islamic art.
The course will also explore contemporary visual interpretation of the caliphate: from the propaganda of ISIS to cultural heritage debates in Spain, Egypt, and the U.S. (Pruitt | T/R 11:00 – 12:15 | L150 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 800: Seminar Topics Course: Affect and Contemporary Art

Affect, a psychological term which may be loosely defined as disposition, has gained currency within contemporary critical discourse in the Humanities. In particular, the idea that the same image, language, or law can be repeated but appear as affectively different, or that affective differences might work against normative power structures, has held certain political potential for scholars in a wide range of fields. At the same time, because contemporary art deals with disposition nearly always, and because contemporary art often exaggerates its affect (exploring states of melancholy, mania, and the deadpan, for instance) this seminar will test how contemporary art might augment and extend the notion of affect, while making important distinctions between affect and other qualitative phenomena such as mood and tone. (McClure | Wed. 4:30 – 6:30 | 120 Elvehjem Building) 

Art History 802: Topics in the Transdisciplinary Study of Visual Cultures: Necrocene, Necropolitics, Necrolandscaping

Planetary apocalypse, global catastrophisms, and the deaths of the future; extractivist capitalism and accumulation by dispossession; species extinction; anti-black, anti-trans, anti-queer, anti-woman, anti-crip violence and fascisms in the everyday; climate-change super-storms; environmental racisms and slow death; mass incarceration and social death; persistent war and the “right to maim”; drone warfare without combat; surveillance and killing at a remove; the normalization of terror; exacerbated forms of vulnerability and exposure by the retractions of state supports; refugee crisis; neo-colonial displacements and unhoming; and the barely living on in the wake of traumas that are not over: the Anthropocene great tipping point of the sixth extinction set in the context of the undead histories of empire, colonization, slavery, and the cataclysms of contact might well be characterized as the Necrocene. In confronting the life and death stakes of this planetary convergence, this seminar concerns the materializing effects and force of images and imaging. Asking about the limits of representation and particularly the landscape-form for reckoning with the death-worlds in which we find ourselves, this seminar is dedicated to thinking the possibilities of aesthetics for ethics and politics at the limits of life. Asking such questions as how to think the disavowed connections between forms of violence and loss often held apart, how to make sense of what defies sense in terms of scale (both micro and seemingly beyond reckoning) and temporality (at once slow and accelerating?), how to think with the histories of not just biopolitics (Foucault) and the control of life itself but also with necropolitics (Mbembe) or the subjugation of life to the power of death, this seminar sets in critical and creative constellation a set of key texts from critical visuality studies, ecological aesthetics, critical geography and landscape studies, critical Anthropocene studies, phenomenology, social and political theory, psychoanalytic theory, trauma studies, queer theory, trans theory, crip theory and afro-pessimism. This seminar satisfies the requirements for the Ph.D. minor and M.F.A./M.A. certificate in visual cultures. There are no pre-requisites for the course and seminar participants are strongly encouraged to pursue their own areas of specialization and research interests for their final projects. (Casid | Tues. 4:30 – 6:30 | L166 Elvehjem Building)

 

Art History 815: Seminar in Medieval Art: Race, Alterity and Cultural Appropriation in Medieval Art
Recent white supremacist rallies throughout America have misappropriated medieval or pseudo-medieval symbols and heraldry, and promoted false myths of ethically pure medieval nation states to support their own racist ideologies.  This seminar critiques these claims, using art, architecture, literature and material/visual culture as the lenses for exploring the complexity of attitudes found in the cultures of medieval Europe and the Mediterranean rim between late antiquity and the fifteenth century.  Primary focal points of the course will include: religious conflict and proselytization in the late Roman Empire; the Convivencia (cohabitation) of Christians, Jews and Muslims in Medieval Spain; the blending of Byzantine, Islamic and Italian culture in Norman Sicily and Venice; Reinventing the Roman in Romanesque Europe; Crusader Art and Medieval Colonialism; Black Africans and Jews in the Court of Frederick II; the mapping of alterity in the Monstrous Races and World Maps; caricature in the iconography of religious intolerance in late medieval Northern Europe; recent white supremacist myths of the Middle Ages. (Dale | Wed. 4:00 – 6:00 | L170 Elvehjem Building)

Art History 876: Seminar in Chinese Art: Visualizing Chinese Opera

The passion for opera throughout China from tenth century to present day was not restricted to the stage but permeated the visual and material landscape of everyday life, from the court on down. Operatic characters and stories were favored as pictorial and decorative motifs across the full spectrum of visual mediums from tomb carvings, temple murals and scroll paintings to popular prints, to illustrated books and commercial advertisements, from architectural deco to appliques on furniture, from carved utensils, ceramics, textiles to photographs and films.  These materials have been usually employed as visual evidence in the study of the history of Chinese opera; however, this course inquiries into the unique characteristic of theatrical images as pictorial motif. (Li | Tues. 4:00 – 6:00 | L170 Elvehjem Building)