Art History Courses

Details below are subject to change. Please confirm all information in the official Course Schedule.
 

Spring 2022 Teaching Formats

Online
Instruction mode "Internet" in course schedule. The course is taught entirely online and does not require in-person activities on campus.

Online with Required In-Person Component
Instruction mode "Hybrid or Blended" in course schedule. The course is a hybrid format that blends online instruction and required in-person activities on campus. Students may be divided into smaller groups for in-person instruction and will be advised by their instructor as to which days to report on campus.

In-Person
Instruction mode "Face-to-Face" in course schedule. The course is taught entirely in-person.

Spring 2022 Courses

ARH 301
Introduction to the Visual Arts

This survey course explores art and human creativity. The class stresses visual literacy by examining how and why art is made. We shall examine both famous and less well known examples of painting, sculpture, prints, and architecture, among other arts, as we investigate the many roles that art plays in different world cultures.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

Donato Loia
TTH 8–9:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

Dr. Moyosore Okediji
TTH 9:30–11
Teaching Format →  Online

Dr. Deirdre Smith
TTH 2–3 + Discussion Section
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 302
Survey of Ancient through Medieval Art

Why did somebody scratch a chain of impeccably drawn diamonds on a chunk of red stone 77,000 years ago? Was the Egyptian Sphinx as enigmatic in antiquity as it is today? Why did the Greeks need images? Why did Islam negate figuration in its sacred spaces of worship? Why were the medieval cathedrals laden with cute but ominous monsters? There are no easy answers to these questions but works of art are fun to look at and think about. A chronological survey of the visual arts from the Stone Age to the end of the Medieval Period, this course will focus on major achievements of painting, sculpture, and architecture and on their roles as vehicles of expression for individuals and societies alike. Artistic creations have always enshrined a gamut of experiences and mental states: emotions, desires, fears, frustrations, power, repulsion, propaganda, memory, nostalgia, and play, to name but a few. Our goal will be to examine precisely how these elements were expressed in individual cultures, how they changed over time, and whether or not their messages are still recoverable today. Although major emphasis will be given to the western world, non-western developments will also be considered.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

Dr. Penelope Davies
MW 4–5 + Discussion Section
Teaching Format →  In-Person

Dr. Stephennnie Mulder
TTH 11–12 + Discussion Section
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 303
Survey of Renaissance through Modern Art

Art is a language: how do we decode its meaning, its intent, and its extraordinary effect on us, the viewers? In this course, we explore an astonishing array of Western art and architecture. Our course begins c. 1250, in the early Renaissance of Western Europe, and concludes with global artistic trends and issues that are at the heart of the art world in 2020. While we will concentrate on the familiar media of painting, sculpture, and architecture, we will also be looking at manuscripts, drawings, prints, photography, the decorative arts, garden planning, ceramics, earthworks, and installation art.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

Dr. Louis Waldman
MW 11–12 + Discussion Section
Teaching Format →  Online with Required In-Person Component
(Please contact the instructor for further details on type/frequency of in-person instruction.)

Kaila Schedeen
TTH 5–6:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

FA 260
Medicine, Art, and Art History

Many U.S. medical schools (including UT’s Dell School) have partnered with museums to develop circumscribed museum-based courses for medical students, designed to sharpen powers of observation, build empathy, foster teamwork, enhance cultural sensitivity, and promote wellness. FA 260 introduces students to such programs, while maintaining a focus on art history (which they typically overlook) as set of disciplinary practices that can bolster and meaningfully deepen the med school objectives. The seminar will meet both in the Blanton Museum and the classroom, in consideration of a wide range of artworks and of diverse “source” materials, including YouTube videos; short articles in newspapers, magazines, medical journals; primary texts; and scholarly art historical writing.

Regular reading and short writing assignments/projects and teamwork; no exams and no book purchases necessary. This course is open to all majors, without prerequisite.

Dr. Susan Rather
W 12–2
Teaching Format →  Online with Required In-Person Component
(Please contact the instructor for further details on type/frequency of in-person instruction.)

ARH 321
Problems in Art Historical Research

Restricted to Art History Majors.


How do we as art historians and emerging art historians create art history from fragments? How do we define art? How do we define history? This course will focus on Nineteenth Century European painting and photography. Students will work together in small groups before writing their individual papers.

Fulfills →  Writing flag

Dr. Michael Charlesworth
MW 11:30–1
Teaching Format →  In-Person


How do we as art historians and emerging art historians create art history from fragments? How do we define art? How do we define history? This course considers various approaches to art historical research by reading a wide range of texts and working in groups to define questions encountered when we seek to expand the canon and refine research strategies. We will especially consider ways to engage in looking at non-Western traditions by exploring certain exhibitions from the past and currently on view in Texas museums. Students will work in groups and also independently on a chosen research question.

Fulfills →  Writing flag

Dr. Janice Leoshko
TTH 2–3:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 322
Issues in Exhibitions and Collections of Visual Arts: Textile Arts of the Indigenous Americas

Are textile arts considered fine arts? Are they part of art museum collections? How are Indigenous textiles from the Americas displayed and described in museums around the world? This course examines the ethical implications of these questions while exploring the textile holdings of the Art and Art History Collection (AAHC) at UT Austin, examining 19th century hand-woven Navajo textiles from the US Southwest, ethnographic collections of huipiles and other clothing from the Maya region, and Pre-Columbian cloth from the Andean cultures of South America. Working with objects from UT’s collections, students learn about manufacture from weaving and dyeing technologies, about social and ritual meaning from symbolism and iconography, and about gender, power, and the economic value of hand-crafted cloth in ancient societies. Through course readings on archaeological, anthropological, and iconographic studies of ancient textile traditions, both in the Americas and in comparative global perspective, students develop a critical assessment of the ethical issues concerning exhibitions and collections of Indigenous American textiles. This course is a discussion-based seminar focused on scholarly literature, and a hands-on lab centered on textiles in the AAHC. Student can expect to produce weekly written assignments and a semester-long digital humanities project. This course fulfills a requirement in the “Objects, Collections, Preservation” strand for the certificate in the Bridging Disciplines Program in Museum Studies.

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Americas for Geographic Areas and any one of the Time Period requirements.

Dr. Astrid Runggaldier
MW 1–2:30
Teaching Format →  Online with Required In-Person Component
(Please contact the instructor for further details on type/frequency of in-person instruction.)

ARH 327N
Art and Politics in Imperial Rome

This survey of the public art of Rome begins with Augustus’ accession to power (27 BCE) and ends in the late antique period in the early fourth century CE. Lectures are concerned with state or imperial works of architecture and sculpture in Rome, assessed within their cultural, political and topographical contexts as vehicles for propaganda, commissioned and designed by the political elite, often as a means of retaining power and suppressing dissent. Politics and power changed the face of Rome through these monuments, which in turn provided sculptural, architectural and urbanistic models that influenced western cultures for centuries to come.

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Europe & Mediterranean for Geographic Areas and Prehistoric–400CE for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Penelope Davies
MW 11:30–1
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 328M
Modern Middle East History in 100 Objects

Objects, “things” — whether mundane, everyday household items or great works of art and architecture patronized by merchants, religious leaders, or rulers — have had a profound impact on the course of history. Indeed, recently historians have begun to speak of a “material turn” within the field — a movement away from a purely text-based model of understanding the past. This model acknowledges that things can often reveal a more nuanced and rich picture of past lives, in particular, allowing us to understand how ordinary people lived. And yet, history is often still taught as though our only source of knowledge about the past comes through texts. This course will be a survey of the history of the modern Middle East, from 1500-present, looking in particular at the art of the three great “Gunpowder Empires:” the Ottomans in Anatolia and the eastern Mediterranean, the Safavids in modern Iraq and Iran, and the Mughals in the Indian subcontinent, taught by a close examination of the meaning and significance of 100 objects. Together, these sometimes-allied/sometimes-warring empires ruled over a third of the earth in their day. We’ll also take our inquiry forward in time to examine modern and contemporary art and objects from the Middle East. The objects will range from buildings to manuscripts to weapons and will come from diverse contexts, including archaeological investigations, museum collections, and European Church treasuries. Yet all of them will tell a vivid story about the people of their time.

Students will learn basic skills of visual analysis and object analysis, and will gain an introduction to theories of seeing and interpreting works of art and architecture –essential skills in today’s increasingly visually-based information economy. At the end of the course, students will not only have a clear sense of the histories of the great early modern Islamic dynasties and modern nation states and their various Muslim, Christian, and Jewish subjects, but will also be able to use works of art and architecture, aswell as everyday objects, as an effective tool of analysis.

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Middle East & Africa for Geographic Areas and 1500–Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Stephennie Mulder
TTH 12:30–2
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 329T
Art in the Age of Dante and Giotto

In this course, we focus on the rich artistic and architectural history of late medieval Italy (1200–1400), an era closely associated with the great poet Dante and the artistic achievements of the age’s most famous artist, Giotto. Geographically, we explore the art of late medieval Rome, Pisa, Assisi, Siena, Florence, and the imperial court of Frederick II in southern Italy. Artistically, we examine the work of artists as diverse as Arnolfo di Cambio, Giovanni Pisano, Pietro Cavallini, and the prodigiously talented Lorenzetti brothers, as well as the anonymous creators of frescoes at sites as varied as Assisi, Pisa, and Sant’Angelo in Formis.

Through lectures, discussions, and group work, we learn that the art of the era is inextricably linked to the tumult of this pivotal moment in Italian history, much of which is chronicled in Dante’s encyclopedic account. While we as a class focus on the extraordinary artistic output of the later middle ages in Italy, the continuing battles between church and state, the rise of the wealthy bourgeois merchants, and the devastating plague of 1348 ensures that we also delve into social, economic, and cultural issues of the era, punctuated by occasional readings (in English) from Dante.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Europe & Mediterranean for Geographic Areas and 400–1500CE for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Ann Johns
TTH 2–3:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 339Q
Modernism in American Design and Architecture

Cross-listed with AMS 330

This lecture course is intended to provide a broad knowledge of major issues in the history of American design and architecture from about 1880 to the present. The central assumption of the course is that our environments both shape us and reflect what manner of people we are. The word design is understood to include all elements of the built environment, ranging from the smallest artifacts and products through buildings (whether vernacular or elite) to the shape of suburban and urban landscapes. Students are encouraged to consider design in the context of social and cultural history, and as it relates to issues of functionality, civic responsibility, and community engagement on both regional and global levels. Among topics to be considered are methods of cultural analysis of material artifacts; the rise, triumph, and fall of functionalism and the International Style; the emergence of uniquely American varieties of commercial design in a consumer society; the interactions of technology, economics, and design; the impact of the automobile on all levels of design; the rise of postmodern design and deconstructive architecture as counters to the modernist tradition; and design for the information age. Among problems to be considered and discussed are tensions between tradition and novelty, between functional and expressive theories of design, between elite ideologies and popular desires, and between European and American design. Although lectures are well illustrated, this is not an image memorization course. Rather, students will need to develop critical thinking skills about what design means in society through the analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of material presented and discussed in class, through reading assignments, through a paper that emphasizes individual inquiry and analysis, and in exams. AMS 330 satisfies the core curriculum requirement in Visual and Performing Arts; if you register under ARH 339Q or URB 352, consult with your major advisor to be certain you receive proper credit.

Fulfills →  VAPA

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Americas for Geographic Areas and 1500–Present for Time Period requirements

Dr. Jeffrey Meikle
TTH 11–12:30

ARH 341P
Contemporary Latin American Art

It is an exciting moment of heightened visibility for postwar & contemporary Latin American art in the United States. This course will take advantage of the University’s rich collections, including a major exhibition of Colombian artist Oscar Muñoz at the Blanton, to study artwork first-hand. We will examine South American art and critical debates from 1945 to the present in particular depth and – taking advantage of new research, to which you will contribute – redress the exclusion of Caribbean and Central American art from the study of art of Latin America. Particular attention will be paid to transnational artistic exchanges, including the role of new art institutions, such as the São Paulo and Havana Biennials. We will consider Latin America-based artists in their distinct contexts and in relation to broader political, social, and economic forces, including violent dictatorial governments, boom and bust economic cycles, and the Cold War and its aftermaths.

Fulfills →  Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Americas for Geographic Areas and 1500–Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Adele Nelson
MW 10–11:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 345L
Diaspora Visions

Border crossing by cultures and groups from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean islands has generated the production of images by immigrants, exiles, and nomads in alien lands. With examples drawn from various continents, class investigates art across borders in the contexts of the cultural circumstances that produced the diasporas. Students will investigate the arts of voluntary, forced, colonial, distant, and recent diasporas. Illustrations will draw on images, music,and videos.

Fulfills →  Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Diaspora & Transcultural for Geographic Areas and 1500–Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Moyosore Okediji
TTH 12:30–2
Teaching Format →  Online

ARH 347L
Mesoamerican Art and Culture

This course surveys the art, architecture, and material culture of a number of the ancient civilizations of Precolumbian Mesoamerica that flourished in what are now the modern countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. The course spans the time of the Olmec through that of the Aztecs, or from the 2nd millennium BC through the arrival of the Spanish in 1519. The goal of this course is to provide students with a general knowledge of the history, ritual traditions, and belief systems of ancient Mesoamericans, as expressed through sculpture, painting, architecture, archaeological remains, and ancient writing systems.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Americas for Geographic Areas and 400–1500CE for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Julia Guernsey
TTH 12:30–2
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 347N
Aztec Art and Civilization

This course examines the rich visual culture of the Aztecs, covering roughly four centuries of development before the arrival of Spanish in 1519 CE, and into the first century of the early Colonial era. The focus will be on the study and interpretation of architecture, stone sculpture, and pictorial documents from this timespan, centered on the Mexica capital of Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City). Major themes include the nature of religious art, cosmology and the visual display of state power and rulership. Students will learn details of Aztec symbolism and iconography, as well as elements of Nahuatl language and hieroglyphic writing. The class will also look at the important role of indigenous artisans in the creation of new artistic cultures in early New Spain.

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Americas for Geographic Areas and 400–1500CE for Time Period requirements.

Dr. David Stuart
TTH 2–3:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 366N
Modern Art and the Legacies of Romanticism

The shadow of Romanticism extended well into the 20th century, and the older movement contributed significantly to the shape of modernism, directly and indirectly. Romanticism’s legacies may be identified within modern art by way of congruities, resonances, and rejections alike. Such attitudes and incidences may be recognized in individual works of art, in artistic movements and practices, and in the commentaries of critics and historians. We may, for instance, identify traces of Romanticism in the Blue Rider Expressionists’ utopianism, in the Dadaists’ interest in the irrational, and in the New York School’s efforts, reinforced by critics, to define themselves against the 19th-century movement. Romanticism prefigured the Surrealists’ fascination with dreams and the grotesque, and it anticipated the mystical views of numerous artists and an interest in higher consciousness—often linked to newer ideas of the fourth dimension. This class seeks an understanding of the development of modernism using Romanticism as a lens (one among the many possible).

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Europe & Mediterranean or Americas for Geographic Areas and 1500–Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Douglas Cushing
MW 4–5:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 366P
The Readymade and Its Legacies

This course begins with a discussion of Marcel Duchamp’s readymades, such as Bicycle Wheel (1913) and Fountain (1917), and follows the implications of Duchamp’s provocative gestures into the present. The readymade opens the possibility for art to be produced by the selection, nomination, and re-contextualization of already existing objects, rather than a set of traditional skills for creating imitations of such objects. The readymade has been mobilized by scholars to rethink both the history of artmaking, and the status of the art object and the commodity in modernity. From Duchamp, we will trace an avant-garde and neo-avant-garde lineage of practices including assemblage, appropriation, conceptual, and installation art, primarily from Europe and the United States, that shows how the readymade began as a challenge to the nature and culture of art and artmaking and has since become a strategy for constructing all manner of political and poetic statements.

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Europe & Mediterranean or Americas for Geographic Areas and 1500–Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Deirdre Smith
TTH 3:30–5
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 370
The Art of Maya Cosmology

This course will examine the religion and worldview of the ancient Maya from a visual and artistic perspective. Through monumental sculptures, architecture, paintings and portable media, Maya artisans crafted innumerable representations of their cosmos and the human place within it. Students will learn a number of fundamental aspects of Maya art and visual culture, as well as the basic methods of iconographic analysis in the Mesoamerican context. The course will look especially as at the natures of various gods, mythological narratives, and the visual poetics that oriented these topics in a wider cosmology. Some background in Mesoamerican art and culture is encouraged, but by no means required.

Fulfills →  Global Cultures flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards Americas for Geographic Areas and Prehistoric–400CE for Time Period requirements.

Dr. David Stuart
TTH 11–12:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 374
Art, Identity and Racial Difference

This class will look at art work that explicitly or implicitly references identity and racial difference. How do we perceive ‘racial difference?’ This leads us of course, to the question, ‘how do we construct ‘race’’? In turn, this will lead us, within this class, to considering art that can be read as addressing racial matters. Given that ‘race’ is above all else an artificial construct, it nevertheless is one that dominates the ways in which our society functions. The dominant culture has constructed for itself a world in which to be whiteness is the ‘normal’ state of affairs, and to be ‘Black’ or to be perceived as Black signifies difference. How have artists responded to this state of affairs? Or, how can we read art by a range of practitioners, over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries, as either confirming or contradicting our attitudes to race? Certain Black artists might have made work that reflects a distinct pride in their skin color, ethnicity, ‘race’ or cultural difference. But certain other artists of color might well have been reaching for the ‘normal’ or the ‘universal’ in their depictions of Black people. Beyond this, artists of varying ethnicities might have been seeking to make interventions into such things as racism, national identity, citizenship, belonging, unbelonging, and so on. The class will also concern itself with additional questions such as how do we read race, racial difference and identity in art practices originating in majority Black countries such as Jamaica or South Africa? This class will explore tensions such as these, as reflected in art by a range of practitioners, from different parts of the world, from Australia to Europe to the Americas to the African continent. Artists to be studied include US practitioners such as Faith Ringgold, artists of Caribbean background such as Barrington Watson, and British artists of the African diaspora such as Chris Ofili and Godfried Donkor. The class will also look at the work of Australian artists if indigenous background, such as Fiona Foley.

Fulfills →  Global Cultures flag / Writing flag

For Art History majors, this course counts towards any one of the Geographic Areas and 1500–Present for Time Period requirements.

Dr. Eddie Chambers
MW 1–2:30
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 374
Objects of Inquiry: Critical Engagement in Museums

Cross-listed with VAS 371C

This course is designed to explore object-based inquiry in museums. It will focus on developing engaging conversations in museums that explore individual perspectives and experiences with objects. Students will engage in focused looking and object research as part of develop public dialogs around objects.

The course will also examine the history of art museums as public facing educational institutions and provide foundations of the theory and practice of museum education. Students will be asked to discuss assigned readings and conduct scholarly research on various aspects of museum education, including teaching and learning theories, audience characteristics, label writing, exhibition analysis, communication techniques, relationships between schools and museums, technology in the museum, and evaluation.

Students also will be given opportunities to talk with experts in the community such as museum education professionals, curators, and collaborating organizations.

Dr. Briley Rasmussen
W 2–5
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 375
Theories and Methods in the History of Art

This course, which carries Writing and Individual Inquiry Flags, provides an introduction to the discipline of art history and to some of the most significant methodological approaches and challenges to the study of art and visual culture. This course does not follow a lecture format but instead focuses on class discussion, active participation, and collaborative learning. Our goal is to become familiar with the fundamental characteristics and objectives of various methods and traditions in art history, and to create a productive environment in which to analyze, critique, compare, and utilize them. Because this class carries both Writing and Individual Inquiry flags, emphasis will also be placed on a series of written assignments and papers that enable the student to more fully research and explore a topic of particular art historical interest to her/him/them.

Prerequisite: ARH 321: Problems in Art Historical Research. Restricted to Art History Majors.

Fulfills →  Independent Inquiry flag / Writing flag

Dr. Julia Guernsey
TTH 9:30–11
Teaching Format →  In-Person

ARH 376
Independent Study: Art History

Individual projects to be completed under faculty supervision.

Requires consent of instructor to register.

Fulfills →  Independent Inquiry flag

ARH 379H
Art History Honors Thesis

Individual conference course in which student researches and writes a thesis.

Restricted to those participating in Art History Honors Program. Requires approval by Art History Honors Program Director to register.

Fulfills →  Independent Inquiry flag / Writing flag

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