Fall 2017 Courses

The class will begin with a consideration of the beginnings and definition of art history and then move on to a survey of different methods or approaches, considering a new method each week beginning with stylistic/formal analysis and moving on to methods that consider meaning and context. Common readings will consist of historiographical overviews, theoretical explanations, and practical applications of each method; students will present summaries and critiques on selected additional readings for class discussion. Students will be asked to write a synopsis of each method defining its goal, basic process, terminology, and evidence. In addition, they will write short essays that will apply some of the methods in assigned projects drawing from a range of historical and geographic periods. We will also spend several nights discussing the role of ethics in art history. Unlike other graduate seminars that produce an in-depth research paper, this class will produce a portfolio of shorter writings that focus on processes. The course will also be held jointly with ARTH 211 (undergraduate majors and minors).

This course fulfills the Theory and Methodology core requirement and is required for all newly admitted students.

ARHS 500 - 01 Methods & Approaches to Art History Mondays, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dr. Andy Barnes & Dr. Heather Shirey OEC 414

The period between the Civil War and the turn of the twentieth century is a fascinating coming-of-age era in the history of the United States. Postwar reconstruction, accelerating immigration, changing gender roles, and continuing industrialization and urbanization profoundly changed the American experience. In the world of art, these decades saw the emergence of many sophisticated and talented painters. This seminar will examine current scholarship on the acclaimed painters of the era, including Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Albert Bierstadt, John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, John La Farge, George Inness, and William Harnett. We will also consider pertinent issues of the era such as Americans training or living in Europe; portraiture of gilded-age gentility; crafting the image of the American West; trompe l’oeil painting; and the impact of the rise of illustrated journals. 

ARHS 520 - 01 American Painters of the Gilded Age Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dr. Craig Eliason OEC 414

This seminar will examine the historical development and present state of collection practices and exhibition culture of Chinese objects in China and the West. The course will begin with an exploration of the cultural history of the accumulation and display of objects in dynastic and Republican China. We will then focus on the emergence of the idea of Chinese art in the West in the late 19th-mid 20th century and its interpretation by private collectors and within museums. In the final section of the course, students will analyze the strategies and effects of the heritage, historical, commemorative, private, and ethnographic museums that have appeared across China since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Aesthetic, intellectual, ethical, and political issues will be addressed in each section. These will include: traditional collecting practices in late-Imperial China; private collectors and the development of museums in Republican China; the effects of officially sanctioned pedagogy in state-funded, ideologically-oriented museums; the diverse approaches to display strategies and effects utilized in contemporary Chinese museums; early European and Western collectors; constructions of the 'Orient,' 'Chinoiserie,' and 'China' in object choice and display culture of the West; and the production of meaning and value to Chinese objects by contemporary European and American museums.

Students are not expected to have a background in Chinese studies. All readings will be in English.

This course fulfills the Non-Western/Non-European requirement. This course fulfills the Museum Studies requirement.  

ARHS 530 - 01 Collecting and Displaying Chinese Objects Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dr. Elizabeth Kindall OEC 311

“I really strongly believe that going to the museum should not be like going to the dentist. It should not be something that you have to do or that you’re dragged to do. And it really should be a place that’s open to the kind of learning that you want…the museums that I see as most successful and people want to be at, want to go to, are places that give them experiences they can’t have anywhere else.” –Nina Simon

Why do museums matter in the 21st century? This course provides students with the framework to investigate the critical issues facing museums today. Students will explore the practical skills necessary for successful careers in museums and consider the ways in which new audiences, technology, and innovative programming shape the museum field. This course will include opportunities for dialogue with museum professionals, hands-on projects, and field trips to apply museum studies theory to the visitor experience. Course readings, discussions and projects will address the ways in which museums have changed over time and how these changes have led to reinterpreted core values of museums in the present day. Museum missions, practices, and resources will be interwoven with a discussion of audience, social objects, and blockbuster exhibitions.

This course meets the Museum Studies requirement. 

ARHS 570 - 01 Museum Studies: Visitors, Trends, and Exhibitions Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dr. Jayme Yahr OEC 414

Spring 2018 Courses

Working directly with the collections of UST’s American Museum of Asmat Art, this seminar explores the theoretical, ethical, and practical issues surrounding the exhibition of the arts of the Asmat and other indigenous peoples.  Using Asmat art as a case study, it will explore the broader literature and issues surrounding the collection and display of works from the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Americas and the representation of their arts and cultures in both Western and indigenous museums and cultural institutions.  As part of the course requirements, students will collaborate in the research and development of an actual exhibition for the American Museum of Asmat Art, which will provide hands on experience with, and insights into, the intellectual and practical aspects of curating museum exhibitions.  

ARHS 536 Collections, Colonialism and Controversy: Exhibiting Non-Western Art Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dr. Eric Kjellgren OEC 414

This seminar will investigate the arts in Spain and its American colonies, focusing, in particular, on the role that cultural entanglement played in its long developmental course, from Romano-Celtic, through Mozarabic, to Hispano-Flemish. It will also look at how these hybridized forms were then transmitted to (and later translated by) the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and the role that Spain’s colonies played in the grand florescence of the Baroque during Spain’s Golden Age.

ARHS 515 Art of Spain and Its Colonies: From Hybridity to the Ultrabaroque  Wednesdays, 5:30 - 8:30 pm Dr. William Barnes OEC 414

How are the power dynamics between Europeans and Africans reflected and shaped by artistic representation? What is the role of art in establishing ideas of “self” and “Other?” How and why do stereotypes take shape, and what power to artists have to unravel them? Examining art from the 15th century to the present produced by both African and European artists, this seminar allows for a critical analysis of a wide body of imagery.

ARHS 535 Viewing Each Other: Africans and Europeans and Artistic Representation Thursdays, 5:30 - 8:30 pm Dr. Heather Shirey OEC 414


Summer 2018 Courses

This interdisciplinary course will introduce students to the diversity of contemporary British culture, focusing primarily on the art and literature produced in the multicultural metropolis, London. By visiting a range of sites, including multiethnic neighborhoods, museums, public squares, and community centers, students will understand the complex interactions of gender, sexuality, race, and class within contemporary London. “Power to the People” will allow students to explore the multiple ways in which communities across London have created their own art in their own spaces and written back to the dominant logic of Empire and Colony. This course will provide a strong grounding in postcolonial and migrant theories of art and culture, while also offering a cross-disciplinary perspective on the intersections between social change, popular resistance, and creative work.

This course is aimed at undergraduate and graduate English and Art History students.

“Power to the People” is structured around three seminar meetings on campus in Saint Paul and seven days of coursework on the ground in London (nine days, including travel time). 

Learn more about course structure and faculty at our course webpage.