Course Descriptions


Fall Quarter

Dept Course No and Title Instructor
This course will provide an introduction to the art, architecture and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean from the formation of the Greek city states at the beginning of the first millennium BCE to the transformation of Roman visual culture in the fourth century CE with coming of Christianity. The first half of the course will concentrate on the main developments of Greek art within city states such as Athens and Sparta and its later transformation under Alexander the Great and his Successors. The second half will survey the development Roman art from its early Italic and Etruscan origins, through the rise of the empire under Augustus, Hadrian and Trajan to Constantine the Great. In addition, this course considers the changes Greek and Roman visual cultures underwent as they served non-Greek peoples, including the impact of Greek visual culture on Mesopotamia, Iran and India after Alexander through both conquest and trade. No background in the time period or discipline is expected and therefore this class will also serve as an introduction to interdisciplinary study of art history, archaeology, mythologies and religions of the Classical World. A number of art historical methodologies will be introduced in order to provide students the tools to think as art historians and incorporate related visual and textual evidence meaningfully into their writing.
What is an image? How do images operate? What do images do? Focusing on the central role of images in contemporary culture as mediators and active participants in issues of race, gender, sexuality, and socialization, this course pays close attention to how these basic questions about images and their socio-cultural powers in the age of social media can be inform by historical works of art from antiquity to the early modern period. Each course will be structured through a series of central image collisions. These collisions serve as critical comparisons between two representative images (one from a distant past and another from a near present), which exemplify the tensions and themes addressed by the course. For example, medieval cults around images will be collided with contemporary fandoms and their practices, representations of minorities in the Classical world will be collided with modern representations of minority groups in film, and images of early modern trade and discovers will be collided with contemporary manifestations of globalization and social networking.
This course will explore the art and archaeology of the eastern Iranian world and northern India under the Kushan Empire (ca. 1st century BCE - 375 CE). The Kushan dynasty founded one of the largest and most powerful empires in the ancient world, which encompassed present-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India. The course will begin by exploring earlier developments under the Achaemenids, Seleucids, Indo-Greeks, Scythians and Parthians in the region. It will then track the ruling dynasty's early roots in Central Asia as the nomadic Yuezhi tribal confederacy moved into Bactria and established a trans-Hindu Kush empire. The course will consider how the Kushans selectively engaged earlier Persian and Hellenistic royal, visual and architectural traditions in building their empire. We will also consider the development of the 'Greco-Buddhist' art of Gandhara and east-west exchanges on the Eurasian land routes (aka the Silk Road) and the role the dynasty played in shaping or leveraging them.
Photography has served as an extremely versatile and expressive medium of Japanese visual culture.  We will study photographic responses to and documentation of such varied phenomena as surrealism, war, and environmental pollution. Photography itself underwent dramatic transformations in Japan from the daguerrotype to the digital, and Japanese corporations were at the forefront of many of these technological developments. This course emphasizes the role of photography in building and expanding modern and contemporary Japanese social experience.
This course is a history of painting and pictures in later imperial China from the Song through the Qing dynasties (1000-1900 CE). Focusing on art works and images as historical, cultural, and social documents, we will examine art as an instrument of power, a tool for social and religious rituals, an expression of social status, a medium for political protest, and as a product for the marketplace.
This course will explore some of the world’s great religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Islam) and their artistic traditions, challenging modern notions of religious and national identities. Beginning with the Guptas’ aesthetic legacies in the architecture, sculpture and painting of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (South Asia), we will continue with the dissemination of religious ideas and artistic practices in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam (Southeast Asia) in the 8th-10th centuries. The course will also examine the dispersal of Islam in South Asia, beginning with the settlement of early Muslim commercial communities in the 8th century, continuing with the Islamic Sultanates of the 12th-15th centuries, and culminating in the magnificence of the Mughal Empire (1526-1857).
Investigates the history of African American art with a focus on the politics of representation. Begins with the arrival of Africans to the British colonies and ends with the modern New Negro Movement. Material culture and fine art are explored.
Explores depictions of and by African Americans through photography.  Examines the history of photography in relationship to African American culture through a variety of media from early daguerreotype processes to digital imagery.
No detailed description available.
Increasingly destructive and numerous wild fires in California and elsewhere demand a rigorous reassessment of the aesthetics of fire, past and present. How do recent images of fire in photography, painting, anime build on and depart from historic prototypes? How do fire image makers distinguish between contradictory associations with cooking hearth, beguiling metaphor and myth, or apocalyptic destruction? This seminar will explore the changing modern and contemporary anatomy and iconography of flame in Japanese and American visual cultures.

For the most up-to-date information, check the Schedule of Classes.