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Course Descriptions

ARTH 60 The Arts of China

This course provides a selective introduction to the major artistic developments in the history of Chinese art. Topics include: ritual bronzes and jades of the Shang and Zhou periods; funerary art of the Han dynasty; Buddhist arts of the N. Wei, Sui and Tang dynasties, various painting traditions from Han through Qing dynasties, city planning and domestic architecture of the Ming and Qing dynasties, early twentieth-century modernism, socialist realism of the 60s and 70s, and contemporary experimental art.


ARTH 63 Sacred Art and Architecture of Japan

This course examines Shinto and Buddhist architectural, sculptural, painting and print traditions from the prehistoric to the early modern era. The emphasis will be on the relationship of these arts to the doctrinal, ritual, social, and political contexts in which they were created and utilized.


ARTH 64 The Japanese Painting Tradition

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the Japanese painting tradition from the prehistoric era to the early twentieth century. The intention is to define the unique aesthetic experience offered by Japanese sacred and secular painting by surveying a broad range of themes, formats, and styles. It will explore, in particular, the dynamic between indigenous sensibilities and the traditions Japanese artists borrowed from continental Asia and the West. By focusing on patronage and studio practice, students will acquire a broad understanding of the social, political, and cultural processes that underscored important developments in the painting tradition.


ARTH 65 Japanese Prints

This course surveys the Japanese print tradition from its inception in the seventeenth century through the advent of modern prints in the early twentieth century. The range of visual material includes courtesan imagery, actor prints, erotica, illustrated fiction, warrior images, comic prints and landscapes. Emphasis will be on the relationship between the prints and the political, social, and cultural milieu in which they circulated. This course will include applications of recent critiques and theoretical approaches from fields as diverse as sexuality and gender studies, mass culture and media studies, aesthetics of popular arts, and the sociology of consumption.


ARTH 66 The Camera in Nineteenth-century Asia

This course examines the history of photography and its use by colonial governments, anthropologists, commercial photographers, and tourists in nineteenth-century Asia. It will also take into account indigenous uses of photography that both conform with and react against Western uses of the medium. Readings include a mixture of core texts often used in the study of photography in general, and a broad selection of essays focused more specifically on photography in Asia. While the primary focus of the course is on photographs, consideration is also given to the diffusion of photographic images into other media including news publications, government documents, academic studies, travelogues, guidebooks, and museum displays. The course is organized and presented as a series of case studies each of which raises specific historical and critical issues. Students will be expected to master key issues and arguments and apply this knowledge to their own research.


ARTH 67 Contemporary Arts of Asia

Exploring developments since WW II and especially art produced after 1980, this course examines the contemporary art of Asia from a variety of historical and critical perspectives. The focus is primarily on Japan, China, and Korea. Some consideration will be given to artists working in Taiwan, Hong Kong, South and Southeast Asia. Lectures, readings and discussions range across broad themes such as identity, globalization, trans-nationalism, and feminism and include examination of both traditional and new media. Case studies explore several high-profile individual artists. This course is designed to equip students with the critical skills necessary to appreciate, discuss, and analyze contemporary Asian art.



Last Updated: 2/9/10