Introduction to African Art

Survey of the arts of Africa and the African Diaspora from 10,000 B.C. until the present. Students will explore the intersections between aesthetics, economics, and politics by studying a wide range of objects, including ceramics, masks, paintings, and architecture. The range of historical and cultural contexts includes ancient African kingdoms, twentieth century Pan-African movements, and the contemporary, globalized art market. 


Introduction to African American Art

Survey of the visual arts of African Americans from 1600 until the present. Students will learn about the artistic traditions that Africans sustained and invented during the Middle Passage and enslavement, and will analyze the work of late nineteenth-century African American painters and sculptors in relation to writings of W.E.B. Du Bois.  They will study historic artistic movements such as the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement, and explore recent contemporary art by African Americans in media such as film, video, and performance.


Introduction to Contemporary Art

By drawing on methods that have risen to prominence in art history since its “global turn,” this course emphasizes the historical and cultural contexts of intersecting currents in contemporary art. Students will analyze the diverse artistic, discursive, and economic practices that have constituted contemporary art around the world since 1980. While studying artists from six continents, the class also will examine the venues in which contemporary art is exhibited. Topics will include artists in Port-au-Spain, Trinidad and Nsukka, Nigeria; public art in Marfa, Texas and Moscow, Russia; biennials in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Venice, Italy; and art fairs in Basel, Switzerland and New Delhi, India.


Textiles and Fashion of Africa and the African Diaspora

Investigates the impact of cultural exchange, industrialization, and globalization on textiles and fashion produced and worn in Africa and the African Diaspora. Students will learn both technical and theoretical analytic methods through the hands-on study of artworks in museums and personal collections.  Students will learn basic weaving, and there will be other options for the fabrication of textiles or garments. Topics studied will include: Kente cloth and nationalism; waxprint cloth and globalization; Hip hop music and global fashion; and African fashion and haute couture.


Contemporary Art of Africa and the African Diaspora

Examines the complex and global histories of modern and contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Students will explore conceptions of African modernity and consider how African nationalism, the Black Arts Movement, Pan-Africanism, and anti-Apartheid struggles emerged and interacted through artistic expressions. They will learn how postcolonial theoretical and curatorial interventions of the 1990s and 2000s brought contemporary Africa and Diaspora art to the attention of a broader popular and art world audience. Artworks will include photography, film, installations, and performance art by artists based in the African continent, the Americas, or Europe.


Museum Worlds

Explores the global history of art museums from the sixteenth century to the present. Students will learn about the precursors to public art museums, including curiosity cabinets and royal collections. Students will examine how nationalism and colonialism shaped the institutionalization of museums, and they will analyze the proliferation of art museums around the world since the mid-twentieth century. Case studies will include: The Louvre, Sir John Soane's Museum, the Tokyo Imperial Household Museum, the Boubou Hama National Museum of Niger, and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.