ARTH 110 Course Information

Our core introductory art history course breaks from the tradition of the western survey course that emphasizes chronology, style, slide tests, and European art.  Rather, this class focuses upon issues and problems in the arts, particularly how the arts express cultural, religious, and social ideas and issues.

Individual sections will examine a variety of broad themes such as the human body, archaeological investigation, and religious architecture. Each class will have five distinct learning units with associated assignments.  Rather than emphasizing memorization and slide tests, these classes will focus upon papers and oral presentations and assignments that seek to solve problems involving the arts.

The content of individual sections will vary considerably according to the expertise of the instructor. Click on the instructor's name below to see a synopsis of the content for each of the five learning units in her or his sections.

All sections of 110 meet both the fine arts requirement and the human diversity requirement of the core curriculum.


Unit 1:  Visual Mechanics: How Art Works

Unit 2:  Four Great Cultures of Ancient Mesoamerica

Unit 3:  Roman Architecture

Unit 4:  Survivor: Asmat 

Unit 5:  Coventos and the Colonization of Mexico


Unit 1:  Mayan Culture

Unit 2:  The Sacred

Unit 3:  The Secular – Art to Market

Unit 4:  Women’s Art

Unit 5:  Art and Identity in the Globalized World


Unit 1:  Contemporary Land Art

Unit 2:  Traditions of Landscape Painting in China and Europe

Unit 3:  The Iconography of Buddhism

Unit 4:  Class Structure, Religious Strife, & European Baroque Painting

Unit 5:  Contexts of West African Art


Unit 1:  Ancient Near East and Egypt; personal statuary in promotion of authority

Unit 2:  Women artists from the Renaissance to the twentieth century; the resourceful navigation and influence of a male-dominated sphere

Unit 3:  Reformation to the Counter-Reformation; Western European art in propagation of Christianity, with an eye to gender and politics

Unit 4:  16th to 18th-century China and Japan; hierarchy and gender delineated through architecture, calligraphy, screens and prints

Unit 5:  African Art; architecture, masks and carvings in promotion of royal, ancestral and gender power


Unit 1:  Buddhist Art: The Silk Road, India, China and Japan

Unit 2:  Architecture of the Gods: Hindu Temples, Shinto Shrines, Imperial Palaces and Gentry  Gardens

Unit 3:  Images of the Mind: Chinese Landscape Painting

Unit 4:  Empresses, Eunuchs, and Cigarette Girls: Gender and Art

Unit 5:  East and West: Artistic Intersections


Unit 1:  Native American Art

Unit 2:  Arts of China

Unit 3:  The American Environment in the 19th and Early 20th Century

Unit 4:  Women Artists

Unit 5:  African Art


Unit 1:  Renaissance and Baroque Art

Unit 2:  Victorian Art and Architecture in 19th-Century England and South Africa

Unit 3:  Art and Power of Africa and its Diaspora

Unit 4:  Post-Colonialism and Contemporary African Art

Unit 5:  Contemporary Public Sculpture and Architecture


Unit 1:  Art and Architecture of the Ancient Near East and Egypt

Unit 2:  Mesoamerican Art and Architecture

Unit 3:  The Art and Architecture of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome

Unit 4:  Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture

Unit 5:  The Early Art of India, China, and Japan


Unit 1: Prehistory and the First Civilizations

Unit 2: The Middle Ages (400-1400): Jewish, Christian and Islamic Art and Architecture

Unit 3: The Human Body: in Art

Unit 4: The Human Body: as Art

Unit 5: Women Artists: An Historical Survey


Unit 1: Art and Political Portraiture

Unit 2: Art at Risk: War and Destruction

Unit 3: The Mexican Revolution

Unit 4: African Kingdoms

Unit 5: African American Art


Unit 1: Cultural Explorations of the Home

Unit 2: Sacred Architecture

Unit 3: Landscape as an Artistic and Architectural Element

Unit 4: Identity and Power in Art

Unit 5: Engineering the Built Environment


Unit 1: First Civilizations (Sumer, Assyria, and Egypt), exploring how architecture and art reflect the political, social, and religious power of the elite.

Unit 2: Arts of Africa, learning about African cultures as well as ethics in collecting and display of African art.

Unit 3: China, observing how religious and philosophical traditions shape aesthetics and art.

Unit 4: Ancient Greek and Mayan civilizations, examining how these cultures’ ceramics, sculptures, and architecture reflect intrinsic cultural values.

Unit 5: Modern Art, debating issues of style, materials, aesthetics, value, and display in consideration of how each individual defines “art.”