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2009-2010 CLA Catalog


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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

Course Listings

Art and Art History: Art History

ARTH 113 (IT) Introduction to Chinese Art History (1)

This course is intended to introduce major protagonists, monuments and themes of Chinese art, architecture and visual culture. The chronological scope is vast, from prehistory to the present, and it is therefore a selective survey focusing on particular artistic traditions in depth, chosen from the major periods of Chinese history. Examples include prehistoric art, bronze ritual vessels, the renowned terra-cotta army, Buddhist sculpture, landscape painting, imperial architecture, scholars' gardens, Tibetan Buddhist art, art of the Cultural Revolution, and contemporary experimental art. The creation, reception and diffusion of selected art forms over time will be examined and interpreted using various analytical perspectives (such as formal, functional, iconographic, and expressive) in order to better appreciate their significance in a Chinese cultural context, and in relation to the history of Western interaction with Chinese art.

 Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

  • Offering: Annually
  • Professor: Greenwood

ARTH 114 (IT) Introduction to Japanese Art History (1)

This course is intended to introduce major protagonists, monuments and themes of Japanese art, architecture and visual culture. The chronological scope is vast, from prehistory to the present, and it is therefore a selective survey focusing on particular artistic traditions in depth, chosen from the major periods of Japanese history. Examples include prehistoric art, Shinto architecture, early Buddhist art and architecture, art of Heian court, narrative handscroll painting, Kamakura Period sculpture, Zen and the arts, castles, gardens, Ukiyo-e prints, Meiji period decorative arts and Nihonga, and experimental art. The creation, reception and diffusion of selected art forms over time will be examined and interpreted using various analytical perspectives (such as formal, functional, iconographic, and expressive) in order to better appreciate their significance in a Japanese cultural context, and in relation to the history of Western interaction with Japanese art.

 Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

  • Offering: Annually
  • Professor: Greenwood

ARTH 115 (IT) Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Art History (1)

This course is the first in a three-semester series intended to introduce the major protagonists, monuments and themes of Western art, architecture and visual culture. Chronologically, it will explore the production of architecture and artworks in diverse media from approximately 25,000 BCE to about 1300 CE, from the Paleolithic to the Gothic period. The course explores the visual cultures of prehistoric Europe, and Ancient Near East Egypt, Greece, Eturia, Rome and Byzantium, as well as Early Christian and Medieval Europe. The course will provide foundational skills of visual analysis as well as archaeological and historical interpretation in order to critically locate and understand the creation, reception and diffusion of visual codes, styles and techniques in an era prior to the modern conception of fine art. Some specific themes that will be explored include the representation of fertility and the female form. the commemoration of the dead, the employment of portraiture to convey political power, the creation of images of the divine, the use of the human body as a vehicle of expression, and the construction of sacred spaced.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

  • Offering: Annually
  • Professor: Nicgorski

ARTH 116 (IT) Introduction to Renaissance and Early Modern Art (1)

This course is the second in a three-semester series intended to introduce the major protagonists, monuments and themes of Western art, architecture and visual culture. Chronologically, it will explore the production and reception of artworks from the 14th to the end of the 18th century from the Early Renaissance to the Napoleonic period, the age of Neoclassicism. Special attention will be paid to formal, compositional and structural analysis of important artworks, in an attempt to establish a critically-based connection between styles, techniques and historical conditions. The course will also explore critical issues such as how art functioned in relation to religion or under the different systems of power, or why certain iconographies were more prominent than others in specific social contexts. Given the introductory approach of this class, the artistic production of certain masters (such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Canova) will be examined in a more detailed way, in order to examine the complex interplay of personal choices and normative patterns related to the process of creation of a visual artwork.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

  • Offering: Annually
  • Professor: De Mambro Santos

ARTH 117 (IT) Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art (1)

This course is the third of a three-semester series intended to introduce the major protagonists, monuments and themes of Western art, architecture and visual culture. Chronologically, it will explore the production and reception of artworks from the beginning of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century, from Romanticism to Post-Modernism. It will explore the increasing proliferation of images and the new ways they are conceived and diffused in different historical contexts, from the visions of German Romanticism to the aesthetic challenges addressed by contemporary artists working in a new, global scale. A substantial part of the class will be dedicated to the historical analysis of significant movements of European avant-gardes in the early 20th century, from the visual redefinitions of time-and-space inaugurated by Cubism to the exploration of the new territories of art and psychology undertaken by Surrealist masters. Discussions will also focus on the articulate ways in which art functions in relation to society, popular culture, and mass media in order to better understand how the dominions of creativity and visual communication affect us today.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

  • Offering: Annually
  • Professor: Staff

ARTH 225 Monographic Studies in Art History (1)

The course will be organized according to one of three different modalities: first, to explore the works of a single artist belonging to a specific context; second, to analyze the characteristics of a certain period or movement in Art History in order to critically examine historiographical categories (such as "Gothic," "Renaissance," or "Modernism"); third, to investigate in detail a monument or a complex of monuments from structural, material and historical viewpoints. Conceived as a 200-level course, the class will focus on advanced lecture-based meetings as well as on group discussions in which various methodologies (from Iconology to Semiotics) will be applied. Consequently, one of the central goals of the course will be to provide a more sophisticated set of hermeneutic tools and an appropriate terminology of research to students. The choice among artists, movements and monuments will vary in accordance with the interests of student and faculty. This class may be repeated for credit with different topics.

Prerequisite: A 100-level art history course

  • Offering: Annually
  • Professor: Staff

ARTH 257 (TH) Architecture in America (1)

This course presents a history of the development of American architecture from Colonial times to the present. Emphasis is placed on architectural styles and the relationship of style of historical periods and cultural assumptions. Focus is on the interplay of European architectural history with New World developments and transformations. The second half of the course heavily emphasizes late 19th and 20th century developments in Chicago, one of this nation's great architectural centers.

Mode of Inquiry: Thinking Historically

  • Offering: Alternate springs
  • Professor: Hull

ARTH 259 (TH) Western Medieval Art and Architecture (1)

This course explores the development of the mostly Christian art and architecture of Western Europe during the Medieval period from its beginnings in the late Roman Empire to its most grandiose expression in the great Gothic cathedrals. Emphasis will be placed on the historical, social and political context of this artistic development. Issues to be considered include the impact of Western Medieval art of Byzantine art and culture, of the Crusades and the pilgrimage routes, and of the emergence of the monastery and the university. The role of patronage and women in the art and architecture of this period will also be discussed.  Other specific topics that will be covered include the art of the Early Christian catacombs, Hiberno-Saxon manuscript illumination, Charlemagne's palace chapel at Aachen, the Bayeus Tapestry, the pilgrimage church of St. Pierre at Moissac, and the sculptural program of Chartres Cathedral.

Mode of Inquiry: Thinking Historically

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Professor: Nicgorski

ARTH 263 (TH) Baroque and Neoclassical Visual Culture (1)

This course will explore the development of visual arts, architecture, and the increasing circulation of different kinds of images in Europe, as well as in other continents, from the beginning of the seventeenth century until the late eighteenth century. Particular attention will be dedicated to the analysis of specific artistic phenomena (for instance, the influential diffusion of Caravaggio's style in Europe, the appearance of new religious iconographies in the colonial areas, and the growing activity of European artists in other geographic regions, such as China and Japan). The course will also investigate the emergence of a new concept of art in the second half of the eighteenth century in relation to the poetics of Neoclassicism and the debates inaugurated by the theories of the Picturesque and the sublime.

Recommended: A 100-level art history course.

Mode of Inquiry: Thinking Historically

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Professor: De Mambro Santos

ARTH 267 (TH) Renaissance Visual Culture (1)

This course will cover important topics related to the production, reception and circulation of artworks, as well as other typologies of images, from the fourteenth century to the beginning of the seventeenth century, in the attempt to analyze significant problems connected to the making of Renaissance visual culture. By following recent methodological approaches such as Postcolonial criticism, Semiotics, and Gender Studies, this course will intentionally extend the geographic boundaries usually adopted by Renaissance scholars in order to explore the world of art and the increasing process of visual dissemination on a more global scale. The objects of the historical investigations, therefore, will not be exclusively centered in the forms of art produced in Europe, but also centered in the visual culture present in different colonial areas.

Recommended: A 100-level art history course.

Mode of Inquiry: Thinking Historically

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Professor: De Mambro Santos

ARTH 270 (TH; 4th Sem Lang Req) Roman Art and Architecture (1)

This course offers a comprehensive study of Roman civilization through its artistic and architectural monuments beginning with its roots in the Etruscan and Greek past, through the varied stylistic idioms of the Empire, to its gradual transformation in the Constantinian era, the prelude to the new Christian civilization of Byzantium. Topics include the Villa of the Mysteries, the Ara Pacis Augustae, the column of Trajan, Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli, and the Arch of Constantine. A special emphasis will also be placed on art historical methodology (i.e., which questions are posed, what evidence is cited and how meaning is construed) and on exploring issues of gender and private patronage as well as imperial propaganda and social policy.

Mode of Inquiry: Thinking Historically

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Fourth Semester Language Requirement

  • Offering: Alternate springs
  • Professor: Nicgorski

ARTH 271 (IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Greek Art and Architecture (1)

This course explores the development of historical Greek sculpture, painting, and architecture from its beginnings (ca. 1200 B.C.E.) to the end of the Hellenistic period (31 B.C.E.). Central themes include the Greek interest in mythological narrative, and the pursuit of idealism, naturalism, and ultimately, the expression of raw emotion. The classic expressions of Greek architecture, in their stylistic unity and variety, will also be studied, especially the way buildings serve different functions with a very limited architectural language. The course will address the role of archaeology in providing these artifacts with physical contexts and chronologies that enhance our knowledge of the material and our understanding of ancient Greek culture. Ancient literary sources will also be examined in order to place this material in its full religious, social, and political context.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Fourth Semester Language Requirement

  • Offering: Alternate falls
  • Professor: Nicgorski

ARTH 275 (IT) Art Literature and Criticism (1)

This course will provide a set of interpretive tools and hermeneutic principles in order to critically analyze textual sources directly related to the dominion of Art History, from Antiquity to Modern period. The class will focus primarily on the study of significant primary sources, such as Vitruvius' influential book on Architecture or the Natural History by Pliny the Elder, as well as on different medieval treaties on art. The central part of the course, however, will be dedicated tot he philological analysis and the historical exegesis of Renaissance art treaties written by either humanists or artists such as Leon Battista Alberti, Cennino Cennini, Leonardo de Vinci and Giorgio Vasari. The class will also explore later sources (from seventeenth century France and Holland to eighteenth century England and Germany), in the attempt to establish the basis for an epistemological distinction between Art Literature and Art Criticism as complementary fields of research, equally indispensable for any historically-based investigation on art and visual culture.

Prerequisite: ARTH 100-level course

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

  • Offering:
  • Professor: De Mambro Santos

ARTH 344 (W) American Art and Culture (1)

This writing-centered course explores the development of art and its changing significance in American culture from colonial times to the mid-twentieth century. Emphasis is on painting and prints (and to a lesser extent sculpture) as these developed from English colonial roots. Course themes include the effect of artistic domination of England and Europe on the colonial arts, the development of an "American approach" to creating and appreciating art and the de-emphasis but gradual acceptance of the arts as a means to "define" America, to romanticize (or criticize) its expansion, to celebrate its past, or to offer an introspective alternative to public, patriotic reality.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Alternate springs
  • Professor: Hull

ARTH 345 Advanced Topics in Art History (1)

This course will provide specialized study in areas and themes of art history from different periods that are usually not included in the curriculum, or directly addressed in other courses (for instance, the representation of human body in Renaissance art, the development of the art market in 18th century England, falsifications and restorations in the art, etc.). As a 300-level class, the course will be primarily concerned with the development of more articulated methods of analysis and historical interpretation in order to allow students, on the one hand, to enlarge significantly their critical terminology and, on the other hand, to develop their metacritical skills. In other words, the acknowledgement of previous scholarly publications and a deeper recognition of current theories of art criticism will become central issues within their course, in the attempt to increase students' awareness of the historicity and the epistemological grounds of their own work. This class may be repeated for credit with different topics.

Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level art history course.

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Professor: Staff

ARTH 347 Islamic Law in Theory and Practice (1)

This course introduces students to the basics of Islamic Law; its history, its derivation, and efforts toward legal reform in the modern period. This course seeks to deconstruct Western depictions of Muslim law as rigid and coercive. It addresses the questions: Are there mechanisms for adaptation and reform in the face of changing times and varying geographical contexts? How does Islamic Law relate to Muslim conceptions of morality and spirituality?

  • Offering: Annually
  • Professor: Khan

ARTH 351 (W) Christian Iconography (1)

This writing-centered seminar presents a global overview of the development of Christian iconographic themes in artworks from the Early Christian period up to the present day. Diverse media including painting, sculpture, film, etc., will be considered in the study of one or more selected themes such as the Nativity, the Crucifixion, or St. Nicholas. Includes classic readings by the foremost scholar of iconographic studies and Christian art (e.g., Erwin Panofsky, Gertrude Schiller, Thomas Mathews, Hans Belting, David Freeberg, Margaret Miles, etc.) as well as readings in primary texts (e.g., the New Testament, the Christian apocrypha, and mystical literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance). Emphasis on writing (including a final research paper) as well as discussion and presentation skills.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-Centered

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Professor: Nicgorski

ARTH 357 Twentieth Century Art (1)

Painting and sculpture of the 20th century in Europe and America. Emphasis on the nature of modernism and the role of the avant garde in Europe. American developments after 1940.

  • Offering: Fall
  • Professor: Hull

ARTH 362 (W) Theories and Methodologies of Art History (1)

This course seeks to provide an overview of the history of art history. Its main subject will be art history as a specific field of research in the attempt to understand its epistemological boundaries as well as its ramified network of connections with other disciplines, such as Literary Criticism, Anthropology, Semiotics, Social History, Philosophy, Gender Studies, and Film Studies. The course will thereby survey the various methodological approaches to art history in an interdisciplinary way, starting with a close examination of traditional art historical tools and concepts of analysis: style, form, iconography. It will explore art history as a literary genre since the sixteenth century and as an academic discipline from the nineteenth century until the so-called "linguistic turn" in the 1960s. Particular focus will also be dedicated to theoretical questions that arise in the interpretation of contemporary art and culture. Case studies will provide a set of concrete examples of practical applications of each method, in order to introduce specialized terminologies and to explore critical ways of thinking.

Prerequisite: A 200-level art history course

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-Centered

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Professor: de Mambro Santos

ARTH 372-373 Independent Study in Art History I and II (.5 or 1)

Reading and conference for advanced students in art history.

  • Offering: On demand
  • Professor: Staff

ARTH 496 (W) Art History Senior Seminar  (1)

This course is exclusively devoted to the process of research and writing of the final thesis for Art History majors. It is, therefore, the epistemological continuation of ARTH 362W (Theories and Methodologies of Art History). The class will consist of weekly meetings in which students will discuss topics, methods and interpretive issues directly related to the writing of their thesis, in order to acknowledge the gradual advancement of their individual research. To that purpose, students will be required to prepare, within specific deadlines, drafts of their work to be read and critiqued by their thesis advisors. As a logical consequence of this pedagogical agenda, class meetings, as well as office hours, will be primarily dedicated to the discussion of issues relating to the preparation of the written thesis, such as bibliographical matters, historical clarifications, critical suggestions, and methodological assessments. At the end of the semester, as a formal conclusion of the course, students will be required to deliver an oral presentation of their thesis in which they are expected to critically present the most significant results of their research.

Prerequisites: ARTH 362W, Art History major, senior standing.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Spring
  • Professor: Staff