Course Descriptions: Art History

Click here for a printable flyer of the Fall 2019 Art History course offerings!


Undergraduate Level Courses
(100 to 400-level)

AH 100: Introduction to Art and Art History: GREAT MONUMENTS, BOLD INTERPRETATIONS
Instructor TBD, M/W/F, 10:00–10:50am, CRN: 27410
Elise Archias, M/W/F, 1:00–1:50pm, CRN: 31612
Blake Stimson, M/W/F, 2:00–2:50pm, CRN: 42789

Influential interpretations of historic monuments of art and architecture considered through four distinct ways of seeing: the “believing eye,” the “analytic eye,” the “alienated eye,” and the “market eye.” Students will develop and enhance their visual literacy to better prepare for an increasingly cross-cultural world. Creative Arts course.

AH 110: World History of Art and the Built Environment I
Andrew Finegold, M/W/F, 12:00–12:50pm, CRN: 10114 + discussion
Comprehensive overview of world art, architecture, and visual culture of ancient and medieval societies from prehistory to 1400 CE. Creative Arts course.

AH 122: History of Chicago Architecture
Mikolaj Czerwinski, T/R, 11:00am–12:15pm, CRN: 32181
This course explores the development of Chicago as the center of architectural and urban innovation since the early 19th c. until the present day. It focuses on its architecture: its residential, commercial, and public buildings as well as its infrastructure: the railroads, transit systems, and highways. While we will explore the role of well-known architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the history of urban and architectural form, we will consider more quotidian innovations in engineering, communication, and manufacturing such as the steel frame. Creative Arts and Understanding the Past course.

AH 160: Art Since 1960: WHAT’S NEXT?
Blake Stimson, M/W, 6:00–7:15pm, CRN: 23943
In biennials, art fairs, galleries and pop-ups around the world since 1960, the idea of art has congealed into a single homogenous style. Referred to as "contemporary" rather than "modern," it is assumed to be Global rather than Eurocentric. We will ask why art has turned out as it has, what it means, and whether it will be changed by you. Creative Arts course.

AH 180: Intro to Museum & Exhibition
Karen Greenwalt, T/R, 9:30–10:45am, CRN: 38682 + 38683
This class will explore museums and exhibitions through a variety of readings, field trips, lectures, films, case studies, and more. Throughout the semester, we will consider the theoretical and practical functions of museums, and students will learn how to analyze, interpret, and engage with an art exhibition. Students will be encouraged to think critically about how museums construct narratives, both art historical and national, and to understand the socio-political contexts of exhibitions and our responses to them. Creative Arts and Understanding the Individual and Society course.

AH 204: Greek Art and Archaeology
Karen Ros, M/W/F, 2:00–2:50pm, CRN: 10122 / 10124 (Honors)
Contributions of archaeological excavations to the study of ancient Greece, 600 BC to 31 BC. Architecture, sculpture and painting in their social and historical contexts. Same as CL 204, and HIST 204. Creative Arts and Understanding the Past course.

AH 232: History of Film I: 1890 to World War II
Martin Rubin, T/R, 5:00–7:00pm, CRNs 10130+10128
History of film from its beginnings in the 1890s up to World War II. Same as ENGL 232 and MOVI 232. Recommended: ENGL 102.

AH 235: History of Design I: 1760-1925
Jonathan Mekinda, T/R, 11:00am–12:15pm, CRN: 10143 / 10145 (Honors)
Survey of industrial and graphic design from the Industrial Revolution to 1925. Same as DES 235. Prerequisite(s): 3 hours of Art History at the 100-level or consent of the instructor.

AH 260: European Art, 1750–1900
Nina Dubin, T/R, 11:00am–12:15pm, CRN: 10154 / 10155 (Honors)
This course surveys modern European art from the rise of paintings of everyday life in eighteenth-century Paris to the heydey of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Creative Arts course.

AH 262: American Art to 1945
Marissa Baker, M/W, 9:30–10:45am, CRN: 34433 / 34435 (Honors)
This course will examine the connections between art and nationalism in the American context. We will consider how gender, class, and race, as well as encounters with diverse cultural traditions, have contributed to the formation and expression of American national mythology and identity. Creative Arts course.

AH 263: Latin American Colonial Art
Emmanuel Ortega, M/W, 9:30–10:45am, CRN: 41505 / 41507 (Honors)
This class is intended to be a survey of Latin American colonial art from from European invasion to independence. Painting, sculpture, “decorative art”, and architecture will serve as platforms to discuss issues of class, race and gender in Spanish colonial communities.  Creative Arts course and Exploring World Cultures course.

AH 275: South Asian Visual Cultures
Catherine Becker, T/R, 12:30–1:45pm, CRN: 29924 / 29925 (Honors)
From the well-ordered brick cities of the Indus Valley Civilization to Bollywood visions of the sweeping vistas of contemporary New Delhi, this introductory survey explores the art, architecture, and visual culture of South Asia. Creative Arts and Exploring World Cultures course.

AH 301: Theories and Methods in Art History
Nina Dubin, T/R, 2:00–3:15pm, CRN: 35368
This course acquaints students with the writings of prominent thinkers who have shaped the discipline of art history, as well as with the range of methods encompassed by the field.

AH 303: Writing Art History
Elise Archias, F, 11:00–11:50am, CRN: 39948
A one-unit course exploring, practicing, refining, and criticizing the various modes critics and art historians have found to capture aesthetic experience in words, keeping always in mind the question of how we want to write art history today.

AH 404: House and Home: Dwelling in the Early Modern
Martha Pollak, T, 3:30–6:00pm, CRN: (Undergrad) 25108 / (Grad) 25110
This seminar will explore the architectural design and interior decoration of the house between 1450 and 1750 in western European practice. Although few actual objects survive from the period, the visual record—in the form of drawings, prints, buildings, and paintings—offers abundant clues for an exploration of privacy and the role of art in the home.

AH 460: Abstract Art in the 20th Century: Key Readings, New Objects
Elise Archias, M, 3:00–5:30pm, CRN: (Undergrad) 34436 / (Grad) 36236
In this seminar we will consider some of the most compelling art historical arguments and artist’s writings about the meaning of twentieth century abstract painting, sculpture, and dance, and we will test these ideas’ and interpretations’ reach and usefulness for an expanding history of “global modernism” by bringing them into relation with examples that have received less analytical attention. For fuller description, write to

Graduate Level Courses (500-level)

AH 510: Historiography, 1750 to 1960: WHAT WAS ART?
Blake Stimson, R, 12:00–2:45pm, CRN: 10246
This seminar will take its start by turning away from what Theodor Adorno called the “abominable resignation of methodology.” We will raise the question of the meaning of art for German philosophy (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger, Adorno) and German/Germanic art history (Winckelmann, Wölfflin, Riegl, Warburg, Panofsky, Greenberg, Lukács, Hauser) in order to consider what an unabominable, unresigned non-method of art historical understanding might be.

AH 512: Art History Teaching Seminar
Andrew Finegold, F, 1:00–3:30pm, CRN: TBD
Theoretical and practical aspects of teaching in undergraduate courses in the history of the visual arts.

AH 531: The Sensorial City: Case Studies from South Asia
Catherine Becker, R, 3:30–6:15pm, CRN: 43870
How are the long histories of urban spaces experienced, envisioned, and shared? This seminar will examine how archi-tecture, cartography, painting, photography, and related story-telling traditions structure, disseminate, and, on occasion, erase the embodied experiences of a city. Our focus will be Delhi and other selected cities in South Asia.

AH 562: Cartographies of the Empire, the Visual Culture of Latin American Landscape 1492–1850
Emmanual Ortega, W, 6:30–9:15pm, CRN: 42290
This is a seminar designed to explore the ways in which the Spanish Empire defined its boundaries in the Americas. We will explore everything from maps, chronicles and mural painting to understand the ideological implications behind landscape painting during the colonial period.