Art History Courses, Fall 2020: Graphic Novels, Americans, Objects and more

Submitted by Joe Lucchesi Professor of Art History
March 30, 2020 - 2:20 pm

Below are NEW details on Art History (ARTH) courses we're excited to offer in Fall 2020. This info will soon be available on the searchable online course schedule. Please register and join us!

ARTH 250.01 Comics and Graphic Novels

This introductory course to the theory and history of comics and graphic novels explores their use in many different genres, including memoir and journalism, as a way to think through contemporary issues in American culture. Reading materials will include comics and graphic novels as primary sources, in conversation with scholarly writings that generate deeper levels of discussion, as these cultural forms are assessed using new interpretive lenses. Topics covered include not only the content of the primary source comics and novels themselves, but also the role of legislators, social psychologists, and parents’ groups in attempting to regulate comics, and the work to subvert restrictions like the Comics Code with an alternative economic model and set of social norms typified by underground comics. The course will also consider fan culture, transmedia narratives, and counterpublics as students consider the role of comics in the 21st century. This hybrid course will combine in-person instruction and virtual components. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in Arts. No prerequisite.    

MW 2:40-4:30pm


ARTH 350.01 American Self-Fashioning

This course explores the cultural forms deployed by Americans in asserting their "American" identity, from the eighteenth century to the present. Historian Stephen Greenblatt uses the term "self-fashioning" to describe the process of constructing one's identity and public persona according to a set of socially acceptable standards, and the conscious effort to strive to imitate a praised model in society. The course will undertake a close interdisciplinary examination of how the consumption of visual and material culture creates an overall sense of "Americanness" as well as unique cultures of taste that form social subgroups. Materials discussed will be a mix of "high" and vernacular cultural forms that include objects, architecture, film, fashion, literature, music, and foodways. For Art History majors, this course satisfies a requirement in Art and Identities. Prerequisite is one of the following: ARTH 100, one 200-level ARTH course, or consent of instructor.

MW 12:00-1:50pm


ARTH 440.01 Art in the Round: Sculpture in SMCM’s Fine Art Collection

This advanced seminar explores art historical analysis and interpretation through hands-on work with sculpture in the Fine Art Collection. Working with the Director of the SMCM collection, students will practice object research and managing art collections. Group discussion and written assignments will develop the student's ability to conduct advanced research and to read and write critically about sculpture in context. Students will engage in various forms of art historical writing intended for different audiences, including spotlight posts on Boyden Gallery and Fine Art Collection’s social media, label writing, and scholarly interpretation. The final project for this course will be a student-designed online exhibition published on the Boyden Gallery website and online platforms. This course fulfills a Museum Studies minor requirement. Prerequisite is one of the following: One ARTH course, MUST 200, or consent of the instructor. 

TTH 6:00-7:50pm