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Theory and Method in the Study of Architecture and Art

Theory and Method in the Study of Architecture and Art

This seminar is open to graduate students, and is intended to offer a synoptic view of selected methodologies and thinkers in art history (with some implications for architecture). It is a writing-intensive class based on the premise that writing and editing are forms of critical thinking. The syllabus outlines the structure of the course and the readings and assignments for each week. The discipline of art history periodically surges into "crisis." The demise of formalism as a guiding tenet, or connoisseurial appreciation as a general guide, plunged the field into confusion during the 1970s when the battle raged over "social histories of art" or "revisionism;" in the late 1990s the debate was staged between "visual studies" versus "normative art history." The course takes this confusion as itself worthy of study, and seeks to make available some of the new methodologies that have emerged over the past two decades. The ultimate goal is to bring students closer to discovering their own individual methods and voices as writers of art historical prose. In broader terms, we will attempt to understand the historiography of visual art and images more broadly. Our efforts will be predicated on the conviction that art history can serve as a generative discipline for all humanistic disciplines, and even those that style themselves as "Bildwissenschaft" (or "image-science").


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