Program Planning / Seminar Application

All courses listed below are subject to change. Courses are being added and edited so please confirm course information as well as (day/time/location), by visiting the Columbia online course directory.


AHIS BC1002 Introduction to Art History II
The second part of the Introduction to Art History goes from about 1400 to 2015, circles the world, and includes all media. It is organized around one theme for each lecture, and approximately 100 works of art. Visits to New York museums and discussions sections are crucial parts of the course. 4 Credits E. Hutchinson, M/W 2:40-3:55, Barnard Hall 304

AHIS UN2119 Rome Beyond Rome
This course will approach the art of the Roman empire from two vantage points. In its first half, it will consider it from the inside. Through a regional survey of the art and architecture produced in the provinces of the Roman empire between the 2nd c. BCE and the 4th c. CE, it will focus on the mechanisms by which models emanating from Rome were received and adapted in local contexts (so-called “Romanization”), as well as on the creative responses that the provincials’ incorporation into the empire elicited. The second half of the course will consider the art of the Roman empire from the outside, i.e., from the perspective of its neighbors in the Middle East and in Africa, as well as its self-proclaimed successors and imitators. On the one hand, we will see how ancient states such as the kingdom of Meroë and the Parthian empire, or regions such as the Gandhara, interacted with the visual culture of Rome and its empire. On the other, we will explore the degree to which the classical roots of the modern colonial empires in Asia, Africa, and the Americas both managed and failed to shape the visual cultures that these empires developed. Discussion section required. 4 Credits F. de Angelis, M/W 2:40-3:55, Schermerhorn 614

AHIS UN2500 Arts of Africa
Introduction to the arts of Africa, including masquerading, figural sculpture, reliquaries, power objects, textiles, painting, photography, and architecture. The course will establish a historical framework for study, but will also address how various African societies have responded to the process of modernity. 3 Credits Z. Strother, M/W 10:10-11:25, Schermerhorn 832

AHIS UN2405 20th Century Art
 The course will examine a variety of figures, movements, and practices within the entire range of 20th-century art—from Expressionism to Abstract Expressionism, Constructivism to Pop Art, Surrealism to Minimalism, and beyond–situating them within the social, political, economic, and historical contexts in which they arose.  The history of these artistic developments will be traced through the development and mutual interaction of two predominant strains of artistic culture: the modernist and the avant-garde, examining in particular their confrontation with and development of the particular vicissitudes of the century’s ongoing modernization.  Discussion section complement class lectures.  Course is a prerequisite for certain upper-level art history courses.
4 Credits. B. Joseph, T/TH 2:40-3:55, Schermerhorn 501

AHIS UN2604 Arts of China, Japan & Korea
Introduces distinctive aesthetic traditions of China, Japan, and Korea--their similarities and differences--through an examination of the visual significance of selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts in relation to the history, culture, and religions of East Asia. 3 Credits Hae Yeun Kim, M/W 2:40-3:55, Schermerhorn 934

AHIS UN2317 Renaissance Architecture
This course examines the history of architecture between roughly 1400 and 1600 from a European perspective outward. Employing a variety of analytical approaches, it addresses issues related to the Renaissance built environment thematically and through a series of specific case studies. Travelling across a geographically diverse array of locales, we will interrogate the cultural, material, urban, social, and political dimensions of architecture (civic, commercial, industrial, domestic, ecclesiastical and otherwise). Additional topics to be discussed include: antiquity and its reinterpretation; local identity, style, and ornament; development of building typologies; patronage and politics; technology and building practice; religious change and advancements in warfare; the creation and migration of architectural knowledge; role of capitalism and colonialism; class and decorum in domestic design; health and the city; the mobility of people and materials; architectural theory, books, and the culture of print; the media of architectural practice; the growth of cities and towns; the creation of urban space and landscape; architectural responses to ecological and environmental factors; and the changing status of the architect. Discussion section required. 4 Credits M. Waters, T/TH 10:10-11:25, Schermerhorn 612

AHIS UN2612 A History of China in 27 Objects
This course introduces twenty-seven significant monuments and objects comprising a selective overview of 4000 years of traditional Chinese culture. Through these twenty-seven objects, we will think about historical currents, consider materials (clay, stone, bronze, lacquer, paper, silk, ink, and wood), how things were made, how these objects were used among the living, and why some of them were buried with the dead. Because analogy and metaphor is fundamental to Chinese language, we will examine visual symbols, auspicious imagery and rhetoric of resistance that had their origins in literature. The goal of the course is to raise awareness of visual clues in Chinese art and to establish basic visual literacy. After successfully completing this course you will be better able to articulate a research question, read more critically, write a visual analysis, and impress friends and family as you name a painting used in restaurant décor. 3 Credits A. Murck,
T/TH 1:10-2:25, Schermerhorn 807

AHIS UN2901 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture
Introduction to 2000 years of art on the Indian subcontinent. The course covers the early art of Buddhism, rock-cut architecture of the Buddhists and Hindus, the development of the Hindu temple, Mughal and Rajput painting and architecture, art of the colonial period, and the emergence of the Modern. 3 Credits C. Gorant, T/TH 10:10-11:25, Schermerhorn 934

AHIS UN3230 Medieval Architecture
Medieval Architecture provides an opportunity to study buildings belonging to the one-thousand-year period from the fourth century to the Late Middle Ages. We will focus particularly upon issues of representation—how buildings have been described in words and depicted in images, exploring the stories created to link buildings together into a continuous narrative. 3 Credits M. Bernstein, T/TH 11:40-12:55, Schermerhorn 612

AHIS UN3234 Medieval Art II
This lecture course is intended for students with little or no background in medieval art.  It provides an introduction to a period of one thousand years (fourth to fourteenth centuries) employing a dialectical interaction between memories of the imperial past and the dynamic, forward-moving force of “Gothic.”  We will survey all aspects of artistic production, with especial emphasis upon architecture and monumental sculpture.  In the last part of the term we will turn to some of the principal themes of medieval art, focusing upon objects accessible to the students in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cloisters.  4 Credits G. Bryda, MW 1:10-2:25, Schermerhorn 612

AHIS UN32XX Medieval Architecture
Course Description To Come
4 Credits M. Bernstein W 10:10-12:00, Schermerhorn 930

AHIS UN36xx The Japanese Buddhist Temple
Course Description To Come
4 Credits M. McKelway W 4:10-6:00, Schermerhorn 832

AHIS BC3682 Early Modernism and the Crisis of Representation
The artistic phenomenon that came to be called Modernism is generally considered one of the most pivotal in the history of late nineteenth and twentieth century art. This course studies the emergence and development of Modernism in all of its complexity. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which Modern artists responded to the dramatically changing notions of space, time and dimension in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. What impact did these dramatic changes have on existing concepts of representation? What challenges did they pose for artists? To what extent did Modernism contribute to an understanding of the full consequences of these new ideas of time and space? These concerns will lead us to examine some of the major critical and historical accounts of modernism in the arts as they were developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The course will focus specifically on the interrelationships between modernism and the expanding mass cultural formations of the industrial societies in Europe to address a wide range of historical and methodological questions. These include the emergence of modernism in the arts, the collapse of previous modes of representation, the development of new technologies of cultural production, the elaboration of the utopian projects of the avant-gardes, the unfolding of abstract art, the materialization of the readymade, as well as the transformation of concepts of artistic autonomy and cultural institutions. We will first investigate key modernist concepts developed in the late nineteenth century, as well as the crucial work of some of the artists of that moment. This will lead to an examination of the unfolding and consolidation of Cubism in the first decade of the twentieth century, followed by the development of Synthetic Cubism early in the 1910s. The third part of the course will study the impact of Cubism on artistic production in the following decade, focusing primarily on the Italian artists of Futurism, the German avant-garde in the context of Weimar culture, Dadaism, and the Russian and Soviet avant-gardes in the 1910s and 1920’s 4 Credits A. Alberro,
T/TR 4:10-5:25, Location TBA

Please note: 4000 level lectures are known as “BRIDGE LECTURES” and are introductory graduate courses open to advanced undergraduates.

AHIS W4110 Modern Japanese Architecture
This course will examine Japanese architecture and urban planning from the mid-19th century to the present. We will address topics such as the establishment of an architectural profession along western lines in the late 19th century, the emergence of a modernist movement in the 1920's, the use of biological metaphors and the romanticization of technology in the theories and designs of the Metabolist Group, and the shifting significance of pre-modern Japanese architectural practices for modern architects.  There will be an emphasis on the complex relationship between architectural practice and broader political and social change in Japan. 3 Credits J. Reynolds, MW 10:10-11:25, Location TBA

All undergraduate seminars are open to CU and Barnard undergraduates but require instructor’s permission. Interested students must submit an application to be considered for enrollment. Admission is at the instructor's discretion.
The Deadline for Barnard Art History Seminars is Thursday, November 7th at noon. Visit the Barnard Art History website (Program Planning and Forms) to download an application.

The Deadline for CU Department of Art History and Archaeology undergraduate seminars is Thursday, November 14th.  Each CU AH undergraduate seminar will have its own link to an online application form.  See the Columbia Art History website for further info.

AHIS UN3414 Approaches to Contemporary Art
Selected readings in nineteenth-century philosophy, literature and art criticism with emphasis on problems of modernity and aesthetic experience. Texts include work by Diderot, Kant, Coleridge, Hegel, Emerson, Flaubert, Ruskin, Baudelaire, and Nietzsche. 4 Credits B. Joseph, TH 10:10-12:00, Schermerhorn 930

AHIS UN3446 Contemporary Queer Art Practices: Subculture, Sexuality, and the Politics of Performance
This seminar examines contemporary queer art practices, in conjunction with theories of gender, sexuality, subculture, and race. Through the close analysis of artworks, films, performances, theater, and television this seminar will question and consider the ways in which queer art practices can be a form of subversion, critique, and resistance. The political implications of performance will be considered by focusing on queer artistic practices, such as drag, which resist, refuse and rethink the constructions of gender.
4 Credits, L. Werier T 12:10-2, 832 Schermerhorn Hall

AHIS BC3842 Design Designing
Everything we contact has been designed. Design makes and unmakes desires on a global scale. It organizes our lives—from the way we move to the interface that tracks our movements. We’ve trained for the end for a while now, apocalypse is announced on every image channel. In a world, soon impossible to physically inhabit, the things we consume now consume us. The stakes have never been higher. To make a new world, we must use design. Our planet need not be disposed. It is an infrastructure for another one. To make contact with it we need to understand design as a value system for propelling possibility, not possession. The designed world requires new relation to things and fullness of use. As we read, write, experience and make our own projects, Designing Design helps us: acquire intimate knowledge of how we got here, recognize our historical allies and foes, and foster imagination and intelligence to live and make responsibly. This course requires no prior design experience. 4 Credits, Studio/Seminar I. Haiduk, T 10:10-12:00 plus T 12:00-1:00 conference hour Locations TBA, Visual Arts Studio, Diana Center 402 

AHIS BC3928 Looking at the Dutch Golden Age
This course meets at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is devoted to close examination of real art-works in a museum context. This year’s focus is on Dutch art of the seventeenth century, one of the most celebrated chapters in the history of art. Students will be exposed to seminal art historical texts on the period, at the same time as they receive exposure to connoisseurship, conservation, and technical art history. 4 Credits A. Eaker, M 10:10-12:00, Metropolitan Museum of Art

AHIS BC3984 Curatorial Positions 1969-Present
Contemporary exhibitions studied through a selection of great shows from roughly 1969 to the present that defined a generation.  This course will not offer practical training in curating; rather it will concentrate on the historical context of exhibitions, the theoretical basis for their argument, the criteria for the choice in artists and their work, and exhibitions’ internal/external reception.  4 Credits V. Smith T 2:10-4:00, Location TBA

AHIS BC3989 Reframing Old Masters
This course historicizes the medium of painting and the institutional frame of the art museum in order to posit new solutions for presenting Old Master painting.  At an art historical juncture in which medium-specificity and national traditions are increasingly rare and at a political juncture attuned to unequal histories of race, class and gender, how to engage with these works?  What is the potential for subverting longstanding assumptions about the role of art by reframing the Old Masters through innovative juxtaposition, installation and interpretation by contemporary artists, curators and the public?  This course, led by a curator in European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, takes place primarily at the museum.  Assignments take the form of acquisition and exhibition proposals. 4 Credits D. Pullins T 10:10-12, Metropolitan Museum of Art

AHIS UN3444 Reflectivity in Art and Film
This seminar will explore a range of individual works of Western art from the 16th century to late 20th century in which the tension between illusionism and reflexivity is foregrounded. It will focus on well-known paintings and films in which forms of realism and verisimilitude coexist with features that affirm the artificial or fictive nature of the work or which dramatize the material, social and ideological conditions of the work’s construction. Topics will include art by Durer, Holbein, Velazquez, Watteau, Courbet, Morisot, Vertov, Deren, Godard, Varda, Hitchcock and others. Readings will include texts by Auerbach, Gombrich, Brecht, Jameson, Barthes, Didi-Huberman, Bazin, Lukacs, Mulvey, and Daney. 4 Credits J. Crary T 2:10-4:00, Schermerhorn 832

AHIS UN3012 Restitution or Repatriation?
Heated debates over restitution or repatriation of cultural heritage are reshaping museum practice and the law itself. It is an issue that has or will affect every branch of art history. Many museums have already become embroiled in the question of “who owns antiquity?” or who owns goods seized by the Nazis. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) (1990) has mandated the return of thousands of individuals, funerary artifacts, and cultural objects to Native American tribes. In particular, this seminar is timed to assess the impact of the report released in Nov. 2018 in France recommending a policy of “swift” and permanent repatriation of African cultural heritage acquired during the colonial period to concerned nation states. The course will put into conversation histories drawn from diverse fields in the hope of developing some principles to negotiate competing moral and political claims
4 Credits Z. Strother T 4:10-6:00, Schermerhorn 806

AHIS UN3612 Body, Camera, Action: Japan in Conversation with the Global Avant-Garde
In December 1986 in Paris, Center Georges Pompidou opened the exhibition, “Japan of The Avant-Gardes 1910-1970,” that traced the history of various avant-garde movements in Japan. How has the “avant-garde” been defined within and beyond Japan? What are some of the differences in how that term – as well as any related terms – have been used in Japan? What were the key terms and key moments in defining the term and how useful are they? To answer these questions, we should assess the specific medium of “performance art,” which came to embody the constellation of meanings under the umbrella of avant-garde in and beyond Japan from the 1910s to the 1970s. Looking back, we can see that much of the art making has been defined by this medium, regardless of the form it takes. In this course, we will trace the discursive space of performance art through the notion of the body and its relation to an image, whether projected by the performer, captured by a camera, or codified into a text. We will discuss the works that break with the forms of traditional dance and theater on the one hand, and intersects with areas such as film, photography, literature, and visual arts, on the other hand. Some of the themes will include the ideological repressions of gender and sexuality, the collision of the artistic subjectivity and the state, the visibility-invisibility of the body in the atomic and news media age, the intersection of public space and common memory. We will assess the issue of performance documentation, particularly the necessity to review the status of a “document” for researching, archiving and exhibiting purposes as well. Finally, we will explore what the New York art scene has to offer in relation to our course by visiting art galleries, artist studios, and performance venues. 4 Credits D. Melnikova W 12:10-2:00, Schermerhorn 806

Bridge seminars are open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Interested students must submit an application in order to be considered for enrollment. Admission is at the instructor’s discretion. Students must fill out and submit their Spring 2020 bridge seminar applications by TBD.

AHIS TBD Gothic Nature
4 Credits G. Bryda
W 4:10-6:00, Schermerhorn 930

AHIS UNTBD Architectures of Data
4 Credits Z. Çelik
M 2:10-4:00, Schermerhorn 930

AHIS GU4585 The Early Mosque: Shaping Sacred Space
This seminar deconstructs the early sacred public space in Islam, namely the mosque. It dissects it into its major zones and focuses on major items defining these zones. The varied spaces, like the niche of prayer (mihrab), pulpit for the imam (minbar), prayer area (musalla), the ablution fountain, inner court (rahba), outer court (ziyada), minaret, entrance façade, and even specific major objects like the Quran stand (kursi), mihrab lamp (misbah), and the Quran, will be discussed separately in each meeting. Despite this deconstruction process of studying the mosque, an approach that clearly aims at dissection and segmentation, holistic methods of understanding mosques will be taken too. The seminar aims at understanding how these spaces interact and create visual and sensuous experiences in time and space. Special discussions will focus on ‘iconic’ mosques of the early world of Islam (like the mosque of the Prophet in Medina, the Friday mosques of Damascus and Cordoba, or the sacred space of the Ka’aba, the Black Stone, of Mecca), on the integration of other public institutional spaces into this building complex, like the mausoleum (maqbara), quran school (madrasa) and hospital (maristan), and on the specificity of the so-called international and diaspora mosques today. 4 Credits A. Shalem T 4:10-6:00, Schermerhorn 930


AHIS BC3960 Art History Senior Thesis Seminar
Independent research for the Barnard Art History majors written senior thesis. Students develop and write their senior thesis in consultation with an individual faculty adviser in art history and participate in group meetings scheduled throughout the senior year. Limited to senior art history majors, does not require an application. 4 Credits R. Deutsche T 6:10-8; Diana Center 501/502



ARCH UN3117 Modern Architecture in the World
How has architecture been “modern”? This course will introduce students to this contentious and contradictory concept emerging across the world during a time in which ideas and tools similar to ours were used for seeing and ordering constructed environments and architectural thinking. It introduces students to the history of modern architecture as an art of building as well as a discursive field, whose historical consciousness played a part in its historical development. Students will learn about the following things (via the structures and institutions through which they were recorded): Architecture as made, thought, and taught—as enmeshed with power and ideas, social concerns, intellectual and public debates, and diverse forms of cultural production Makers, thinkers, and organizers of the designed or built environment material ends and means of extraction, refinement, trade, labor, and construction sites, institutions, media, events, and practices which have come to hold meaning in architectural discourse cultural concerns with the future and the past as a basis for architectural theory modernity, modernism, and modernization as drivers for past events as well as their historical narration the conceptual writing practices of history, theory, criticism, and revision. The course is structured chronologically, but rather than presenting a survey of buildings, events, and people, it encourages experiential learning around episodes that informed the development of the built environment and the architecturally “modern.” Students will gain hands-on practice in researching and writing architectural history, theory, and criticism: skills that lie at the basis of conceptual architectural practices. The components of the course are designed to accommodate multiple styles of learning. These include weekly class lectures and small-group student-led discussions of assigned readings, research and writing assignments designed to allow students to pursue individual interests and develop different types of skills, class visits to Avery Library to work with the collections and specialists, and a class excursion to Philadelphia to visit sites relevant to the historical period we are studying. Critical thinking and reading skills are required for this course, but there are no prerequisites. Anoo Siddiqi, 3 Credits Undergraduate Lecture: T/TH 1:10-2:25 Location TBD. Required course for majors and minors in Architecture, Architectural History and Theory, Design. Fulfills elective requirement for majors and minors in Art History

ARCH BC4xxxx  Colonial Practices
Coloniality is different from colonialism. Colonialism denotes a political and economic relation in which the Coloniality is different from colonialism. Colonialism denotes a political and economic relation in which the sovereignty of a nation or a people rests on the power of another nation, which makes such a nation an empire. Coloniality, instead, refers to long‐standing patterns of power that emerged as a result of colonialism, but that define culture, labour, intersubjectivity relations, and knowledge production well beyond the strict limits of colonial administrations. Thus, coloniality survives colonialism. It is maintained alive in books, in the criteria for academic performance, in cultural patterns, in common sense, in the self‐image of peoples, in aspirations of self, and so many other aspects of our modern experience. In a way, as modern subjects we breathe coloniality all the time and every day. —Nelson Maldonado-Torres
In this seminar, we will consider colonial practices through architectures, institutions, infrastructures, and territories. Material architectures of extraction, settlement, occupation, and development have been used to occupy territories—and thus take on a special character in deserts, oceans, and jungles, which resist colonial mapping—just as conceptual architectures have produced forms of “coloniality,” following Maldonado-Torres, occupying the mind and spirit as well as the physical world. The seminar asks students to explore colonial practices in institutional structures, cultural production, built architecture, settlement, and ecologies—as sites with which to feel and think. Students will lead discussion of shared readings, making presentations on concrete studies of the construction, destruction, maintenance, and use of architecture, infrastructure, and territories: for example, examining the figuration of Chiapas by the Zapatista movement, the colonization of space via launch sites in the Algerian desert, or the settlement of Indian coasts by abolitionist missionaries. Students are invited to bring their own historical objects of interest into the course, and should expect to follow deep inquiry into an independent research question. The thematic arrangement of empirical studies is intended to frame open questions, structuring a debate on colonial practices as a theoretical framework that takes seriously the im/possibility of decolonizing architectural history. Our discussions will be propelled by the work of artists and architects, scholarly histories of architecture, space, and territory, and critical as well as radical indigenous, black and brown consciousness, feminist, and anticolonial and decolonial theory. Using actual places as intellectual problems—around which colonial maps have been constructed, across which nomads and migrants have moved, and within which insurgents have configured—this course attempts to offer strategic positions from which to sense, write, and think with architecture. 4 points Anoo Siddiqi,
Undergraduate Bridge Seminar W 2:10-4:00 or 4:10 to 6:00 Location TBA  
Barnard studio courses are limited to 15 students with instructor’s permission. Instructor decides the roster on the first day of class.

AHIS BC2006/2008 Painting II/IV
This course will focus on individual and collaborative projects designed to explore the fundamental principles of image making. Students acquire a working knowledge of concepts in contemporary art through class critiques, discussion, and individual meetings with the professor.  Reading materials will provide historical and philosophical background to the class assignments.  Class projects will range from traditional to experimental and multi-media. Image collections will be discussed in class with an awareness of contemporary image production. 3 Credits I. Haiduk, W 2:10-6:00, Diana Center 402

AHIS BC3003 Supervised Photography Projects
A critique course in which students conduct independent projects in photography. Priority will be given to students who enroll in classes at the International Center of Photography (ICP).  Barnard College will cover ICP tuition for Barnard students. All others (CC, GS SOA) must pay ICP tuition themselves. 3 Credits J. Miller, M 11:00-12:50, Diana Center 402

AHIS BC3031 Imagery and Forms in the Arts
Operation of imagery and form in dance, music, theater, visual arts and writing; students are expected to do original work in one of these arts. Concepts in contemporary art will be explored. 4 Credits J. Snitzer, M 2:10-4:00, 4:00-5:00, Diana 402


AHIS BC3999 Senior Independent Projects
A requirement for senior Visual Arts Majors in which students develop their studio theses in consultation with faculty advisers. 4 Credits J. Miller, M 5:00-7:00, Senior Studios, 600 West 116th Street, 8th Floor