Fall 2019 MUSE Course Descriptions

MUSE 400: Showcasing Movement Graphics
Aaron Hughes, Tuesdays, 11:00am–1:30pm, CRN: 43535
Showcasing Movement Graphics is a seminar focused on the development and execution of an exhibition of political graphics by members of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, a decentralized network of thirty artists from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico committed to social, environmental, and political engagement. Over the past decade Justseeds has produce thousands of political graphics with and for grassroots movements. Through the course students will learn about the history of movement graphics, explore novel ways to exhibit political prints, and gain first hand experience of working with artists/activists, installing an exhibition, developing educational materials, and hosting public programs. 

This course will take advantage of Justseeds’ powerful archive along with the rich history of political art in Chicago and primary source materials to expose students to a diverse history of movement graphics. Throughout the course students will use an array of strategies and techniques in program development and execution. This course will focus on giving students hands-on experience of working on exhibition development including research, design, installation, promotion, and programing. Furthermore, the course will expose students to working with contemporary artists committed to social justice. 

An emphasis will be placed on teamwork in exhibition development and execution. This course will employ readings, lectures, class discussions, guest speakers, and field trips to enable a discourse around the history of movement graphics and its meaning in a contemporary context. 

The class will be taught by artist, activist, curator, veteran, and Justseeds member Aaron Hughes. 

MUSE 400: Worldview: Museums Addressing Social Issues Across the Globe
Anthony D. Stepter, Thursdays, 11:00am–1:30pm, CRN: 43540
This course explores connections between Chicago and sites across the globe by exploring how museums and cultural institutions are addressing social issues. Through visits to museums, guest lectures, skype sessions, and research, this course will make visible the ways that Chicago is connected to international issues including migration, immigration, emerging feminisms, anti-colonialism, racism/reparations, accessibility, technology, and labor. The class is geared toward upper-level undergrads, but open to graduate students as well.

This class is designed to help students explore the ways that museums address social issues by looking at how those issues are dealt with in the United States as compared to examples and practices in other parts of the world. For example, we will look at how museums are being forced to consider their colonial pasts by studying protests in the US, attempts to address colonial pasts in Belgium, and strategies being employed by indigenous curators in Canada. We will not only read about these international variations, but also visit sites in Chicago, and hear from local professionals working around these issues in order to connect these global concerns back to our commutes here in Illinois.

MUSE 532: Museum Collections.
Jennifer Scott, Fridays, 1:00pm-3:30pm, CRN: 43541
Practical, theoretical and institutional settings of the museum and exhibition professions. Students meet in seminar environments, read and discuss core texts and ideas; travel to representative exhibition and cultural heritage sites. Course Information: Extensive computer use required. Previously listed as AH 532. Prerequisite(s): Approval of the Department.
MUSE 543: Writing for Exhibitions.
Dr. Lucy Mensah, Mondays, 6:00pm-8:30pm, CRN: 43534
Practicum in producing texts for sites across physical and virtual museum and exhibition environments, from labels to exhibition catalogs. Includes digital and virtual exhibition venues. Prerequisite(s): Approval of the Department.
MUSE 545: Museum Genres, Practices, and Institutions.
Therese Quinn, Wednesdays, 6:00pm-8:30pm, CRN: 43539
History of museums, cultural heritage sites, other sites of preservation and exhibition; includes discussion of contemporary sites of virtual display. Field trips to multiple cultural sites in the Chicago area. Prerequisite(s): Approval of the Department.
MUSE 546: Critical Frameworks for Visitor Studies
Cecilia Garibay, Mondays, 3:00–5:30pm, CRN: 43533

This course examines equity-focused perspectives for visitor studies. An important aspect of museum practice, visitor studies has significantly contributed to our understanding of audiences and in informing the development of more visitor-centered experiences. However, visitor studies has also typically reflected the dominant perspectives and cultures of museums that can replicate inequities. This course surveys critical frameworks and methods in visitor studies that can support museums toward more inclusive practices.

Students will examine the rich body of practices and methods in visitor studies for conducting audience research and exhibit/program evaluation and supporting data-informed decision-making while also considering visitor studies’ limitations and ways it may inadvertently reproduce dominant values, systems, and practices. The course will introduce approaches to visitor studies and evaluation linked to critical frameworks and methods that are power-sensitive and justice-centered. We will also explore the roles and positionality of researchers/evaluators.

Class readings and discussions will be complemented by on-site visits to local museums to further explore ways that visitor studies and evaluation can either uphold existing power structures or work toward more equitable systems.

MUSE 546: Critical Race Theory and Contemporary African American Art
Dr. Lucy Mensah, Wednesdays, 12:00–2:30pm, CRN: 43538
How can we analyze the formal and thematic elements of 20th and 21st century African American art through the lens of Critical Race Theory (CRT)? This question will drive the lectures, readings and discussions in this seminar. Students will learn about the core principles of CRT and the movement’s critique of the incongruence between the United States’ legal idealism and the lived, political realities of African Americans. With this knowledge, students will be encouraged to examine the overlap between CRT’s philosophy and the corrective measures African American artists’ have taken to achieve visibility and to advance political, economic, and cultural parity.