VAPA Courses

The courses below fulfill the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) requirement of the undergraduate Core Curriculum.

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

Spring 2022 Teaching Formats

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.

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. Douglas Cushing
MW 11–12 + Discussion Section
Teaching Format →  In-Person

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

ARH 327R
Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans

Fulfills →  VAPA / Global Cultures flag

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

Dr. John Clarke
TTH 9:30–11
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 / Cultural Diversity flag

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
Teaching Format →  Hybrid — Partially taught as a Web-based course

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

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