University of Oregon

Department of the History of Art and Architecture

400, 500 and 600 Level Courses

Below is an historical listing of History of Art and Architecture courses. Please note that many courses that may be of interest are taught as "experimental courses" and/or as "seminars" and may not be included in official course listings. For a list of course offerings specific to a given academic term please consult the University of Oregon Class Schedule.
 

Offerings vary and reflect the interests of faculty members. Courses recently taught under this heading include:

Medieval Rome

The course explores the art, architecture, urbanism, and topography of the city of Rome during the Middle Ages. We examine the radical transitions that Roman artists, architects, and patrons confronted during the course of a revolutionary millennium spanning from 300 to 1,300 CE. During the seminar, students will be asked to evaluate primary and secondary sources, to posit hypotheses and elaborate theories based upon observations drawn from the physical evidence of medieval Rome.

Format: Seminar 

 

 

 


Art “After” Feminism

The title of this seminar—Art “After” Feminism—is a deliberate provocation in an era that has been described as post- feminist. Far from dismissing the paradigmatic importance of feminism in relationship to cultural production however, this course will evaluate the place of feminism “after” the feminist art and activism of the 1960s and 1970s. In recent years, a series of exhibitions and events in New York, Los Angeles, and elsewhere have reconsidered the feminist legacy in contemporary art in ways that are not necessarily limited to women, and outside of what have conventionally been considered “feminist” issues. This course will begin by considering the revisionist feminist critiques of the 1980s and 1990s which re-evaluated art and aesthetics in relationship to what lies outside the frame of representation. We will examine the ways in which gender is currently addressed by artists, museums, and the academy and explore the interconnectedness of practice and theory through case studies of specific artists, artworks, and exhibitions. Students from all disciplines are welcome.

Format: Seminar


Interrogating Sustainable Architecture

This seminar seeks to lend a critical and historical perspective to the place of sustainability in post- war architectural discourse. From the modernist dream of a “machine for living” to the more recent vision of a “living machine”, the course will trace evolving conceptions of the relationship between architecture and environment. At a time when often vaguely-defined catchwords such as “ecological”, “green”, and “sustainable” have become popular mantras in both professional architecture and the popular media, the seminar will not only establish a historical background for recent debates, but also aims at interrogating architectural conceptions of nature in the post-war period. Students can expect to examine a wide range of media, including buildings, films, photographs, and writings, as well as explore topics such as climate control, critical regionalism, tropical architecture, the passive solar house, wastelands, inflatables, adobes, domes, and outer space. A special component of the course will revolve around the University of Oregon’s own rich history in sustainable design.

Format: Seminar


The Parthenon Frieze

The course examines perhaps the most controversial work of ancient Greek sculpture: the long frieze that decorated the top of the inner room (or cella) of the Parthenon. In addition to scrutinizing the iconography and possible subjects of the frieze, the course will set the imagery into the historical, social, and religious contexts of Athens during the age of Perikles.

Format: Seminar


Portraiture

This seminar investigates portraiture as a genre. Seemingly the most straightforward category of art, portraits have increasingly been considered as complex in representation. The course will cover both the theory and practice or portraiture from the Renaissance to the present, but with particular emphasis on works and artists from the 18th Century to present. Topics include the problem of "likeness"; the social role of the portrait; portraiture's stylistic conventions and iconographic devices; the portrait studio. For the final paper and presentation students may work on examples from any period or culture in any medium; sculpture, photography, or painting.

Format: Seminar

Offerings vary and reflect the interests of faculty members. Courses recently taught under this heading include:

Global Currents in Contemporary Art and the Venice Biennale

This interdisciplinary course will introduce students to the exciting global world of contemporary art with a special focus on present-day art from around the world as showcased in the celebrated Venice Biennale art exhibition. The beginning of the course will outline major currents in postwar art and culture within the once-dominant European and North American contexts. This history will lay the groundwork for our comparative investigations of post-1980 art on a regionally-specific global scale throughout the remainder of the course. We will study art in each cultural region of the world, ranging across Western, East and Central Europe, North and South America and the Caribbean, Oceania, Africa, and the Middle East. Our central case study will be the Venice Biennale art exhibition. We will experience the most recent region-based Biennale “virtually” through first-hand accounts and photographic documentation, illustrated and annotated exhibition catalogs, online exhibition content (images, readings, maps, archives, etc.), and student-led research projects. In addition to examining the art on display, we will use this exhibition to explore contemporary social, economic, and political topics such as globalization, national identity, cultural politics and tourism, and the impact of new technologies. Finally, we will explore how this transnational non-Western moment is related to critiques of the Western canon, national identity, and the discipline of art history itself.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

 

Contemporary Art in the 1960s-1970s

This course is an introductory survey of major artistic developments in North America and Western Europe during the 1960s-1970s. It will address the ambitions and contexts of pop art, minimalism, conceptual art, feminist art, performance art, video art, land art, and more. Special attention will be paid to the role of the mass media as well as the use of media technologies in artistic production. This course will also introduce students to critical and methodological issues in art history. Students will develop skills in viewing and writing about art and will be introduced to critical frameworks for relating art to social, cultural, and political concerns.

Format: Lecture/Discussion


Ancient Sculpture and the Italian Renaissance

It is often taken for granted that the rediscovery of the thought, literature, and art of Greek and Roman antiquity was one of the forces that drove European art and culture from the Medieval "Dark Ages" into the Renaissance. This formulation, popular in handbooks until fairly recently, is in fact very crude. Still, there is no question that the study of the art of antiquity occupied Renaissance artists to a particularly high degree, and that many used ancient works as models and exemplars. The course begins with a broad survey of the nature of ancient Greek and Roman art and will then explore the extent to which ancient art survived the end of antiquity and was known in Medieval Italy. It will conclude with a series of "case studies," presented by the students, that explore in detail the impact ancient Greek and Roman art, mythology, and iconography had specifically upon the sculptors of Proto-­‐Renaissance and Renaissance Italy.

Format: Lecture/Discussion


Art of the Eccentrics

Wondrous, crazy, drunken, one-of-a-kind, awakened, hermit, river folk, playful, creative, geeky; traditional Japanese discourses on art include many ways of describing what one might loosely define as the eccentric. What or who were “eccentrics?” This course will explore the concept of the “strange” in Japanese art. Each session will focus on one keyword traditionally used to express “eccentricity” of one form or another. We will examine works (or artists) that were closely associated with these terms, including: Buddhist sculpture, calligraphy and painting of Zen monks, doodles and doodle-like satirical painting, performing art of nô and kabuki, mad verses and pictures of literati, “creative” prints, female artists of the early 20th century, and manga- and anime-inspired contemporary works. We will explore the positive and negative connotations of the concept of eccentricity. By understanding what made these works or artists eccentric, we can conversely define the “norm” or “mainstream” at a given moment in the history of Japanese art, flashing out the fundamental issues of expected social and gender roles, economic vs. cultural hierarchy, and heterodoxy vs. orthodoxy.

Format: Lecture/Discussion


Indian Painting

This course has been designed to cover the major trends of Indian painting from its earliest extant remains until the 20th century. It will first consider the wall paintings of Ajanta (5th century AD), and the early manuscript traditions within Buddhism and Jainism. The court paintings of the Mughals and the Rajputs (16th – 19th century) will be a major area of attention. In particular we will examine how artists working under Rajput and Mughal patronage further developed the art of miniature painting through the creative interaction of different traditions. The student is expected to recognize the various styles of Mughal and Rajput painting and explain their development and changes. The course’s later topics include Modern painting (Bengal School and Raja Ravi Varma), and the major artists of the post-Independence era, such as M.F. Husain and F.N. Souza.

Format: Lecture/Discussion


Symbolism & Decadence

Symbolism and Decadence, the elusive yet pervasive tendency in turn-­‐ of-­‐the-­‐century European painting, sculpture, decorative arts and literature, will be the main subject of this course. Student can expect to read French, German and Russian Symbolist poetry (in translation) while studying manifestations of Symbolism in painting and sculpture (Rodin, the Nabis group, Munch, Klimt, Schiele). Some parallel developments in the decorative arts (Art Nouveau and Jugenstil) and performing arts (Loie Fuller) will also be considered. Central questions include the link between Symbolist iconographies and new formal techniques in art and literature; inter-­‐mediality and the notion of Gesammtkunstwerk; the link between art forms and debates in contemporary psychology and culture; and the extent to which turn-­‐of-­‐the-­‐century aestheticism contributed to the rise of modernism and the formation of the historical avant-­‐ garde.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

The course examines in detail Greek sculpture and vase-painting in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. Emphasis is placed upon the major artistic programs undertaken at Olympia in the Early Classical period and on the Athenian Acropolis during the Periklean era, as well as on the careers and oeuvres of such artists as the Polygnotos, Polykleitos, Pheidias, Praxiteles, and Lysippos. While placing the art of the period in its social, political and philosophical context, the course also focusses on such issues as the representation of the human form, the theological and ideological functions of architectural sculpture, and the transition to Hellenistic art at the end of the fourth century.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

Class Size: 35

Prerequisites: ARH 204, 322, or Consent of Instructor

This course will examine the evolution of Gothic architecture in the Paris Basin between ca. 1130 and ca. 1280. Analysis will center primarily on issues relating to the design and structure of large-­‐scale churches serving monastic, collegiate and cathedral communities. The various ways Gothic churches were build, financed, decorated, furnished and used in Christian ritual will also be considered.

Format: Lecture

This upper-division seminar-style course focuses on a particular theme within Renaissance and/or Baroque Art and gives it sustained treatment. Students develop their own independent research projects on related subjects. Course topics differ from year to year, and sometimes are selected to coordinate with major campus events like museum exhibitions. Recent topics have included “The Art and Life of Caravaggio,” “The Cross-Cultural Encounter in Renaissance and Baroque Art,” and “Giuseppe Vasi and Eighteenth Century Rome.”

Format: Seminar

This class examines the international phenomenon of Romanticism in Europe from 1789 to 1848. In part it is a comparative study of the different forms the movement took in England, Germany, and France. At the same time, the course covers the shared artistic, literary, and philosophical bases for this era's exaltation of individuality, originality, and the place of emotion and feeling in modern life. Focus is given to the ways artists addressed or avoided the increasing impact of the Industrial Revolution; political issues ranging from slavery to the role of women in society; the place of art in a changing world. Artists to be considered range from William Blake and J.W. Turner in England, C.D. Friedrich in Germany, and Gericault and Delacroix in France.

Format: Lecture

Prerequisites: ARH 351 or instructor's consent.

Changing topics in art and critical theory in Europe and the United States from 1940 to the present. ARH 354 recommended preparation.

Sample course: Issues in Contemporary Art & Theory From 1985 to the Present

This course is an exploratory survey of the major debates and discussions that have framed contemporary art since 1985. Because the historicization of the time period and its artistic production is still in flux, the artists and artworks discussed throughout the course are organized by theme, rather than by artistic genre or movement. The course themes reflect key theoretical questions that have emerged in art since 1985, so that this course will also serve as an introduction to postmodern critical theory. Students will develop skills in viewing and writing about contemporary art and will be introduced to critical frameworks for relating art to social, cultural, and political concerns.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

This course examines the development of architecture in Europe from c. 1790 to 1890. It touches on dramatic changes in design theories, on the impact of the introduction of new building materials, on the rise of new building types, and on the impact of explosive urban growth.

Format: Lecture

Prerequisites: ARH 315 or 451/561 strongly recommended

This course examines the development of architecture from 1892 with a primary focus on Europe, as well as the exportation of European architecture paradigm throughout the world and the regional reaction to them. The class covers developments of various polemical styles, structural development, and aspects of urban planning and social policy.

Format: Lecture

This course examines the development of American architecture during the colonial period up to about 1815 and the development of a consciously American architectural expression. It touches on vernacular architectural traditions in Spanish, French, Dutch, and English settlements, as well as vernacular forms introduced by other later immigrant groups. Also covered is the history of American urban development.

Format: Lecture

This course examines the development of the architecture of the United States from roughly 1790 to 1910, including such subtopics as stylistic evolution, the search for a recognizable “American“ Architecture, the development of new building materials, construction methods, and building economics, the impact of architectural publication, and the rise of the architectural profession.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

Prerequisites: Strongly recommended: ARH 315 or ARH 464/564 or ARH 4/561.

This course covers the development of architecture, building technology, and urban planning in the United States from 1890 to the present, examining the work of selected architects, and dealing with the recurrent use of historic imagery by American architects.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

This course traces the evolution of design history from Antiquity to the Renaissance. In this course, interior environments will be explored in relation to their social, political, cultural and architectural contexts. Special thematic lectures, interspersed throughout the term, will focus on world culture and the transmission of ideas between continents and cultures that shaped thinking about interior space. Importantly, by highlighting domestic and vernacular spaces, this course intends to expand upon the traditional emphasis on pyramids, cathedrals and temples in order to provide students with a fuller sense of the genealogy of contemporary interior architectural space.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

This course provides a historical and analytical review of interior architecture from the end of the Renaissance through the beginning of the 19th century. Interior environments will be explored in relation to their social, political,cultural and architectural contexts. The focus of this course will be on world culture and the transmission of ideas between continents and cultures that shaped thinking about interior space. Special thematic lectures, interspersed throughout the term, will explore how notions of race, gender and identity developed in response to this cultural contact and how notions of the feminine, the masculine, the exotic and the "other" impacted the development of historic interiors.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

This course provides an historical and analytical review of interior architecture from the Progressive Era through the end of the 20th century. We will investigate the major stylistic movements of this time period, such as Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modernism and Post Modernism, and explore interior environments in their social, political, and cultural contexts. These contexts include, among others, the Great Migration, the World Wars, urbanization, the New Deal, and The Women's Rights Movement.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

History of Landscape Architecture explores the heritage, tradition, theory and ideology of landscape design. This course focuses on the idea of the garden, begins in antiquity and ends in the early Renaissance. Three themes are central. House and Garden: exploring the relationship of structures, especially residential dwellings, to the land. City and Country: As garden and landscape design explores the meaning of these two locales as cultures, ways of being and places. Humans and Nature: The subject of landscape design is the relationship between humans and nature. Our understanding or our place in nature is manifested in our design of landscapes.

Format: Lecture

History of Landscape Architecture explores the heritage and tradition of landscape design. This class explores the garden traditions of Italy, France and Great Britain. Three themes are central. House and Garden: exploring the relationship of structures, especially residential dwellings, to the land. City and Country: As garden and landscape design explores the meaning of these two locales as cultures, ways of being and places. Humans and Nature: The subject of landscape design is the relationship between humans and nature. Our understanding or our place in nature is manifested in our design of landscapes.

Format: Lecture

Landscape and garden imagery, ranging from early decorative patterns and monumental paintings to so-called “scholar’s gardens,” plays an important role in the visual culture of China. Traditionally, such imagery has been interpreted primarily from the standpoint of Daoism and naturalistic philosophy, though recent scholarship has begun to reinterpret these representations from other points of view. This course will offer a broad overview of the historical development of landscape and garden themes in Chinese art, and will examine attempts to recover the shifting socio-political contexts within which such motifs evolved.

Format: Lecture

Prerequisites: ARH 208 or 384 or 386; or Instructor Permission

This course provides a through introduction to the history of Japanese woodblock prints, also commonly referred to as ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) prints, from their emergence in the mid seventeenth century to the present, based upon first- hand study of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s Japanese print collection. After two introductory sessions, each week will examine the works of major print designers coupled with relevant social and art historical themes. Technical developments, major genres, and master designers are explored within the context of the print’s relationship to the urban culture of early modern and modern Japan. Themes to be covered include salon culture, censorship, theatricality, travel culture, the construction of social roles, Western influence, and representations of modernity and war.

There is no language requirement for the class – all readings will be in English. To take full advantage of the collection at the museum, the course is organized thematically, rather than strictly chronologically. Therefore, a general understanding of early modern and modern Japanese history will be helpful, though not required.

Format: Lecture/Discussion

Offerings vary and reflect the interests of faculty members. Courses recently taught under this heading include:

Intention & Interpretation

What do you mean, what does it mean?

Format: SeminarWhat do you mean, what does it mean?

 

 

 

 


Vision and Visuality

This reading-intensive seminar will explore the critical stakes involved in looking: what it means to see, to be seen, and to determine what can be seen. To study visuality in relationship to art is to examine visual form alongside extra-aesthetic determinants, such as cultural institutions and psychic formations. In other words, we’ll push beyond the question of what we see to ask how various cultural and ideological systems determine why, what, and how we see. Regimes of visuality have competed in various cultures for millennia, and students are encouraged to write papers on any period of art history. In our attempt to historicize modern vision, we will specify both dominant practices and critical resistances. Taking the familiar notion of “Cartesian perspectivalism” as our starting point, we will go on to explore others that contradicted, displaced, and augmented it. Graduate students in all disciplines are welcome.

Format: Seminar


Text and Image

This seminar will explore various text/image relationships in the visual arts. The first part of the term will focus on examples from East Asia, where the place of writing on art—and as art—has long been theorized, though students will develop research topics that relate to their own areas of interest.

Format: Seminar

Offerings vary and reflect the interests of faculty members. Courses recently taught under this heading include:

The Museum and Its Objects

This course offers a broad historical and theoretical examination of "the museum" as a cultural institution. We will look at the origins of "the museum," the inception of modern museums in the age of Enlightenment, and trace the evolution of "the museum" across the modern period, to the present. We will consider exemplary institutions to examine topics including, but not limited to, the history of collecting and display, the rise of the public, nationalism and colonialism, museum architecture, and the aura of the object in the ages of mechanical and digital reproduction. For students not primarily interested in the early modern or modern periods, this course would be of interest in the sense that it would provide a chance to interrogate how the culture/period that interests you has been framed and represented by the (western) institution of "the museum." For example, the issue of cultural patrimony, particularly as it relates to ancient and non-western cultures, will be an important point of analysis. The course will follow the traditional seminar format: weekly class meetings focused on readings and ideas and coursework culminating with a research paper.

Format: Seminar

This graduate seminar is an introduction to the historiography, criticism, and theory of art history. Interdisciplinary in scope, it will examine approaches to the history, criticism, and theory of visual culture in relation to literary and psychoanalytical criticism, intellectual, cultural, and social history, cultural anthropology, etc. Students will become familiar with the principal tools and approaches of art history while also questioning them. Close readings of historical texts from Riegl to Baxandall will be accompanied by contemporary critical reassessments from political, postcolonial, and feminist viewpoints. Although the majority of texts under discussion will be from the post-­‐Renaissance western tradition, the course is designed to provide critical tools relevant to the study of both Western and non-­‐Western art and architecture. This reading-­‐intensive seminar will center around detailed discussion of themes and methods appropriate to historical and critical research in art history. The ultimate goal of the course is for students to begin to cultivate their own approach.

Format: Seminar