A new Art History course, “Islamic by Design: Ornament in Islamic Visual Culture,” will be offered in spring semester 2011.

Course description:

The collective visual culture of the temporally and geographically wide-ranging mosaic of Islamic societies is famous for its tradition of ornamentation. This course will explore the hypothesis that from the very inception of Islamic visual culture to its modern-day manifestation, ornament has had an important functional role in the human response to and understanding of visual culture. Through a balanced combination of theoretical and formal analysis, students will consider ornament’s creation and practical function; the transformation of surfaces and its effect on reception and meaning; and ornament’s broader social function as a marker of class, power and privilege, faith, gender and exoticism. A key skill students will acquire is the ability to make a visual analysis of an object whose primary feature is its ornament.

This course will fulfill the Fine Arts and Human Diversity requirements of the core curriculum by addressing gender, religion and class.

The course, ARTH 291-02, will run 9:35-10:40 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Room 203, O’Shaughnessy Educational Center. The instructor is Nassim Rossi. For more information contact the Department of Art History, 962-5560.