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Bard Graduate Center
Online Catalogue 2016–2017
Andiron with Psyche. Made by Pierre-Phillippe Thomire after design by Charles Percier, 1809. Chased and gilt bronze, Château de Fontainebleau, inv. F 943 C
  • Upcoming Open Houses


  • 11.14.2016 6:00 PM BOSTON

  • Please see the Bard Graduate Center website for more information and to register for open houses.
  • Upcoming Deadlines

  • 12.12.2016
  • Final examinations week
  • 12.12.2016
  • Winter break; No classes
  • 01.06.2017
  • Applications due for fall 2017
  • 01.16.2017
  • Martin Luther King Jr. holiday
  • 01.17.2017
  • Spring classes begin
  • 01.23.2017
  • Add/Drop period ends (5PM)
  • 02.07.2017
  • PhD admissions interviews
  • 02.13.2017
  • MA admissions interviews
  • 02.27.2017
  • Mid-term examination week
  • 03.03.2017
  • Commencement applications due; Doctoral dissertations due
  • 03.06.2017
  • Spring break; No classes
  • 04.03.2017
  • MA qualifying papers due
  • 04.14.2017
  • Spring term regular classes end
  • 04.17.2017
  • Make-up week
  • 04.19.2017
  • Advisement coffee hour with faculty
  • 04.20.2017
  • Registration for fall 2017
  • 04.24.2017
  • Reading week
  • 04.28.2017
  • Qualifying Paper Symposium
  • 05.01.2017
  • Finals week
  • 05.10.2017
  • Spring language exams
  • 05.27.2017
  • Commencement
3

A Letter from the Director

weber

Bard Graduate Center opened its doors in the fall of 1993. In that first catalogue I expressed my conviction that “the aspirations and habits of civilization are revealed through the decorative arts, which are fundamental to the lives of all individuals,” and my hope that the Center would help “advance the recognition of the decorative arts as one of the primary expressions of human achievement.” Since then, Bard Graduate Center has more than fulfilled these original aspirations, uniting innovative degree programs with path-breaking museum exhibitions to create a new context for the study of a significant portion of the artistic heritage of human history. As we have added new faculty and new foci, we have also broadened our horizons and our self description. Our even more ambitious aim now is to become the leading center for the study of the cultural history of the material world. Bard Graduate Center’s first two decades were truly amazing. And all of us here—faculty, staff, and students—eagerly look forward to what the next decades will bring. We hope you will want to join us.

signature_susanweber
Susan Weber
Founder and Director

4

A Letter from the Dean

We have much to look forward to as we begin our twenty-fourth year. The Director’s hope, expressed in the very first of these annual bulletins, that the institution would become a destination for all those wishing to understand the central role played by the decorative in human societies both most ancient and distant, as well as most recent and to hand, has surely been fulfilled. The scope of the “decorative” itself has been expanded to include not only objects of obvious and high aesthetic intentionality, but also those of everyday use, in which notions of decoration merge into those of “design” and both, at a further remove, to “material culture.”

The centrality of the object as both source and question has remained the hallmark of Bard Graduate Center. In classes, many of which meet in the galleries and storerooms of our neighboring, and partner, institutions, the object is always to hand. In the ever-expanding digital dimension of our teaching, 3-D scanning and printing allow us to engage with artifacts in ways utterly impossible in prior years. And, finally, the Focus Project, now in its eighth year, ensures that every semester a new faculty-curated, course-research-derived-exhibition starts, a second continues its curricular trajectory, and a third opens in our Gallery. This project blurs the boundary between the domains of professor and curator and so prepares our students for the bilingual world in which they will need to operate.

We are also now in our fourth full year of our new curriculum, “Cultures of Conservation,” generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  New courses, seminars, and faculty will bring conservators and the knowledge about materials and techniques they possess into our classrooms and intellectual space.

2016–17 also marks the third year of a five-year collaboration with the Chipstone Foundation, including temporary loans from Chipstone to our newly established Object Lab. True to the experimental nature of both institutions, these loans will help anchor student-curated exhibition projects that test the received boundaries of museum display and exhibition-related research.

Taken together, these initiatives help us deliver the material promise of our mission, to study the cultural histories of the material world.

signature_miller
Peter N. Miller
Dean and Professor

5

An Introductory Note

This catalogue contains updated information for the 2016-17 academic year. Inside, you’ll find our academic calendar, a current course list, faculty biographies, tuition and housing costs, and admissions information, as well as information for applying online for admission in the fall of 2017. You should still consult our website (www.bgc.bard.edu) for full course descriptions, degree requirements, and general information about Bard Graduate Center.

I hope you will find the information we provide in this catalogue of use as you begin the process of applying to our institute. Please review all of the information in these next pages carefully and know that you are very welcome to contact me directly at the Academic Programs Office at any point if you should have questions. I may be reached at elena.simon@bgc.bard.edu.

I also encourage you to attend one of our open houses, at which members of our faculty and staff, as well as current students, are available to answer questions, lead tours of our building, and talk about financial aid and admission procedures. The fall 2016 dates are October 9th and 23rd, and November 7th and 13th. Our open houses begin promptly at 11 AM with the exception of the November 7th open house, which begins at 6 PM. All four will be held at 38 West 86th Street. Please call 212-501-3019 to confirm the date and make a reservation.

Choosing a graduate school is a serious matter, but the process of admission should never be an ordeal. Please feel comfortable asking me any questions you may have as you go through the process.

We host an Accepted Students Day each March. Accepted students are welcome to join us for a full day of information and classes and to meet faculty and current students.

I look forward to hearing from you.

EPS Signature
Elena Pinto Simon
Dean for Academic Administration, Student and Alumni Affairs

6

Teaching. Research. Exhibitions.

20140220BGC0002_small 20140217BGC0398-(1)_small GAL_Spring-2012_04_small

Bard Graduate Center, founded in 1993, is a postgraduate research institute based in New York City that supports teaching, research, and exhibitions devoted to studying the cultural history of the material world.

Learning from objects is at the heart of our curriculum, and our students do this through small, seminar-style courses taught by an international faculty who come from diverse academic backgrounds. It is continued outside of the classroom walls, whether in visits to collections, conservation labs, or artists’ studios to experience objects from the maker’s perspective, in our internship program, which provides our students with practical experience at institutions all over the world, and  also in our international study program done at the end of each spring semester.

An affiliated broad range of research programming, from weekly seminars to symposia to digital initiatives to publications, built upon a superb library collection in the areas of decorative arts, design history, and material culture, aims to shape advanced inquiry into the study of the human material past. Three new exhibitions per year in our gallery include two that are curated by faculty as part of their teaching portfolio. These Focus Project shows give our students an invaluable opportunity to be involved with an exhibition from its intellectual conceptualization to its realization.

Whether going on to academia or a career as a museum professional or in a related field, our programs produce scholars who are able to unite the object-centered vision of the curator with the question-driven horizons of the professor.

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Fall 2016

08.01.2016
Move-in day, new students to Bard Hall

08.22.2016
Orientation begins for all new students; Language placement exams held

08.23.2016
Language classes begin

09.02.2016
Orientation classes end; Language exams held

09.05.2016
Labor Day Holiday

09.06.2016
Fall classes begin

09.12.2016
Add/Drop period ends

09.16.2016
Last day to withdraw from classes (with partial refund)

10.09.2016
Open House (11am)

10.10.2016– 10.14.2016
Mid-term examination week

10.23.2016
Open House (11am)

11.07.2016
Open House (6pm)

11.10.2016
Open Houses in Boston and Chicago (6 pm)

11.13.2016
Open House (11am)

11.14.2016
Advisement coffee hour with faculty

11.16.2016– 11.18.2016
Registration for spring term

11.23.2016
Fall term regular classes end

11.24.2016– 11.25.2016
Thanksgiving holiday

11.28.2016– 12.02.2016
Make-up week

12.05.2016– 12.09.2016
Reading week

12.05.2016
Fall language exams

12.12.2016– 12.16.2016
Final examinations week

12.12.2016– 12.16.2016
Winter break; No classes

 

Spring 2017

01.06.2017
Applications due for fall 2017

01.16.2017
Martin Luther King Jr. holiday

01.17.2017
Spring classes begin

01.23.2017
Add/Drop period ends (5PM)

02.07.2017– 02.09.2017
PhD admissions interviews

02.13.2017– 02.17.2017
MA admissions interviews

02.27.2017– 03.03.2017
Mid-term examination week

03.03.2017
Commencement applications due; Doctoral dissertations due

03.06.2017– 03.10.2017
Spring break; No classes

04.03.2017
MA qualifying papers due

04.14.2017
Spring term regular classes end

04.17.2017– 04.21.2017
Make-up week

04.19.2017
Advisement coffee hour with faculty

04.20.2017– 04.21.2017
Registration for fall 2017

04.24.2017– 04.28.2017
Reading week

04.28.2017
Qualifying Paper Symposium

05.01.2017– 05.05.2017
Finals week

05.10.2017
Spring language exams

05.27.2017
Commencement

10

Introduction

20140217BGC0254_med

The first year of study in the Master of Arts program includes an intensive mandatory orientation period held in August. In both the fall and spring terms, students register for four courses (12 credits), including the two-semester Survey of the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, and the one-semester core course Approaches to the Object. During the summer between the first and second year, students complete their three-credit internship. Also between years one and two is the Bard Travel Program. All first-year students travel abroad with faculty for two weeks to study objects in situ. Travel, hotel, and entrance fees for this trip are paid for by Bard Graduate Center. Students complete the remaining credits of coursework during the fall and spring semesters of their second year. In the fall semester of their second year, students research their Qualifying Paper, which is completed and submitted in the spring. The Qualifying Paper is supervised by a member of the faculty and read by a second faculty member. MA diplomas confer a degree in Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture.

All MA degree candidates complete an internship that provides practical experience in an institutional or commercial setting. Students often fulfill this requirement during the summer between the first and second years of study, after the Bard Travel Program. Our students have been placed at more than 200 cultural and commercial institutions, including the Brooklyn Museum; Christie’s; The Frick Collection; the George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art; the Hearst Museum of Anthropology; the Hispanic Society of America; Historic Hudson Valley; the Lower East Side Tenement Museum; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden; the Museum of the City of New York; the New Jersey Historical Society; the New-York Historical Society; Sotheby’s; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; The Walters Museum; the Wolfsonian – Florida International University.

In addition, there are a number of competitive internships abroad. Among these are opportunities in the UK at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Hampton Court, and Waddesdon Manor. In France, students have completed internships at the Musée du Louvre, Paris and the Musée Carnavalet, Paris, amongst other locations.

Trips outside the classroom are important features of the Master’s curriculum. They range from examining museological procedures at exemplary institutions or manufacturing processes in contemporary industries to the two-week long Bard Travel Program described above, open to all registered students.

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Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree

For Students Starting in the Fall of 2017: Students receive the Master of Arts degree in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture after successfully completing the following requirements:

Reading Knowledge of French, German, Italian, or Spanish MA students are required to take a language exam during the August Orientation Session and to satisfy the language requirement by May of their first year of full-time study.
no credit

August Orientation Session
Research, Library, and Digital Workshops; Language Classes

no credit

Survey of the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture I and II
(2 semesters)

6 credits

Approaches to the Object
(1 semester)

3 credits

11 Elective Courses
Two electives must cover periods before 1800, and a third must be a non-Western course. Students may fulfill this requirement with an Independent Study.

33 credits

Internship

3 credits

Qualifying Paper

3 credits

Total

48 credits
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Requirements for the Doctoral Degree

(For those starting the program in the fall of 2014, and thereafter)

In the fall of 1998, Bard Graduate Center formally initiated its doctoral program, the first of its kind in North America, after approval by the New York State Board of Regents. Doctoral diplomas confer a doctorate in Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is awarded upon successful completion of these requirements:

For all students:

Reading knowledge of two languages from among French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
One of these may, upon successful petition to the faculty, be replaced by another language relevant to the dissertation area. Incoming PhD students are required to take a language exam during the first week of orientation in August.

For doctoral students who enter with an MA in decorative arts, design history, material culture from Bard Graduate Center:

Courses (4 electives)
12 credits

Directed Readings
(3, proposed in preparation for exams)

9 credits

Doctoral Dissertation

6 credits

Total

27 credits


48 credits transferred  for a total of 75 credits required for the doctoral degree

Full-time doctoral students who must complete 27 credits take four elective courses in the fall semester of their first year. In the spring semester, students prepare for their qualifying examinations by taking three directed reading courses. At the end of the first year, students must take and pass examinations in three fields.  Exams are written and are held early in the designated exam week.  The written exams are followed by an oral exam covering all three areas, held later in the same week. By October of their second year, students must have their dissertation proposal approved. Full-time students must complete the dissertation by the end of their fourth year. For an updated guide for satisfying all requirements consult the Academic Programs Office. All entering students will be issued a new Student Handbook with the latest revisions at orientation in the fall.

For doctoral students who enter with MA degrees from other institutions:

24 credits can be transferred from another MA program upon successful petition to the faculty. This is the maximum amount accepted from any outside degree.

Courses (12, including Survey I and II and Approaches)
36 credits

Directed Readings
(3, proposed in preparation for exams)

9 credits

Doctoral Dissertation

6 credits

Total

51 credits


24 credits transferred from an external MA program for a total of 75 credits required for the doctoral degree

Full-time doctoral students who must complete 51 credits usually take eight courses (four each semester) in their first year, including the two-semester Survey of the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, and Approaches to the Object. Incoming students who have previously taken an equivalent course or courses may petition the faculty committee for a waiver; those courses would then be substituted by additional electives. In their second year, students take four elective courses in the fall term, and three directed readings in preparation for the qualifying exams in the spring term. At the end of the second year, students must take and pass examinations in three fields.  The three exams are written and are held early in the designated exam week in the spring semester. The written exams are followed by an oral exam covering all three areas, held later in the week.  By October of the third year, students must have their dissertation proposal approved. Full-time students must complete the dissertation by the end of their fifth year. For an updated guide for satisfying all requirements, consult the Academic Programs Office. All entering students will be issued a new Student Handbook with the latest revisions at orientation in the fall.

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PhD Qualifying Examinations

The PhD qualifying examinations cover three fields of study, each examined in writing during exam week of the spring semester of years one or two, as above. In addition, there is one oral exam held later in exam week that covers all three fields and is chaired by the combined examining committee. The field examinations are intended to ensure that the student has broad knowledge of three distinct areas of study relevant to his or her proposed work. The student may select all three fields from a list of subject areas defined chronologically, geographically, by medium, by theme, or by other concepts determined by the Graduate Committee. Alternatively, the student may choose two fields from a list and a third field from an area of individual interest, subject to review and approval by the Graduate Committee.

The selected field must be a clearly defined area of scholarly inquiry, which may be related to the area in which the student’s dissertation topic is likely to be concentrated. The directed readings courses serve to define each area, including the bibliographies for the exam. The leader of the directed reading for each area, with the consultation of the Director of Doctoral Studies (DDS), is responsible for composing, administering, and evaluating the field examinations. Check with Academic Programs for the exact dates each year. Students who do not pass the written portion of an exam may take it one additional time, if approved by the committee and the DDS. A student may not proceed to the oral exam unless all the written sections have been passed. All three examinations must be successfully completed by the end of the first year of full-time doctoral study if the student is an internal candidate for the PhD, or by the end of the second year of full-time study for students with an MA from another institution.

Once qualifying examinations are passed, all doctoral students follow the same track: all dissertation proposals must be submitted by October of the year following the exams. Once the topic is approved, all students are considered full-time and have two and a half years to research, write, and complete the PhD. The total length of the doctoral program is thus four years for students entering with MAs from Bard Graduate Center, and five years for students entering with MAs from elsewhere.  For information about leaves of absence, extensions, etc., please consult both the doctoral FAQ in this catalogue and the Student Handbook, which will be available at orientation. Funding for students is for four years, subject to annual review for satisfactory progress. PhD students are also required to apply for outside funding the year after passing their qualifying exams. For details, consult the student handbook and the doctoral FAQ.

We welcome student questions about any or all of these procedures as they go through the admissions process. In addition, a variety of workshops for doctoral students are held during the academic year.

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Master of Philosophy and Doctoral Dissertation

Master of Philosophy
Bard Graduate Center awards an MPhil degree to those doctoral students who have completed all course work, language requirements, and qualifying exams, and who have an approved doctoral dissertation proposal on file. The degree certifies that the student has completed all work except the dissertation. It is a degree received en route to the PhD. Students must apply for the MPhil degree in the Academic Programs Office by early March of the year they intend to receive the degree, and they must receive approval from the Director of Doctoral Studies to be cleared for the degree.

Doctoral Dissertation
The doctoral dissertation should make a significant contribution to the understanding of the decorative arts, design history, and material culture. Bard Graduate Center assists students in seeking financial support for dissertation work, including funds for travel, archival research, and fellowships. The student is responsible for keeping the members of the Dissertation Committee informed of progress and for soliciting advice and guidance as needed.

Dissertation Proposal
The process of selecting a dissertation topic and writing the dissertation is as follows:

  1. After consulting with the Director of Doctoral Studies, the student nominates a dissertation committee consisting of three individuals, including a dissertation advisor who is a member of the full-time faculty. Normally, at least two committee members are drawn from Bard Graduate Center faculty.
  2. The student undertakes a feasibility study in order to determine the availability and accessibility of research resources, such as objects or archives necessary to the successful completion of the dissertation within the set time limits. This may involve a preliminary research trip to relevant sites of objects or archives.
  3. The student prepares a dissertation proposal that demonstrates that he or she is familiar with the relevant literature and existing research, shows cognizance of appropriate methodologies, and suggests how the proposed dissertation will contribute to the scholarly discourse on the chosen topic. The student should include a dissertation outline, laying out the envisaged structure, a preliminary bibliography, listing primary and secondary sources, and a proposed timeline of work to be undertaken. The proposal is submitted to the Graduate Committee for discussion. The Graduate Committee makes the final decision on approval of the dissertation proposal.

Presentation and Defense of the Dissertation
All three members of the Dissertation Committee must approve the completed doctoral dissertation. The student presents and defends the dissertation orally.

Note: Enrolled doctoral students should consult the Student Handbook for the most recent guidelines for the PhD program and defense procedures. For more specific information about the procedure for a defense, please consult with the Academic Programs Office and the Director of Doctoral Studies. All guidelines listed here are correct as of press time, but the Graduate Committee reserves the right to change a particular regulation as needed. A student should always consult with both the Director of Doctoral Studies and the Academic Programs Office before taking exams or presenting a dissertation proposal or defense.  Students who began the doctoral program before fall, 2014 have another series of protocols to follow to complete their degree.

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Doctoral FAQ

Are there any required courses for doctoral students?
All doctoral students must take Approaches to the Object (in their first term) and the year-long Survey course, unless they have completed these courses as part of their MA. If an external student has had the equivalent to required classes in their MA program, they may petition the faculty for the requirement to be waived. In addition, all doctoral students take three directed readings in their final semester of classes to prepare for qualifying exams.

Have field exam topics changed?
No; the list of field exam options has not changed and is listed on our website.

When are exams held?
All doctoral exams are held during finals week at the end of the spring term.

What is the format of the exams?
Students must sit three written field exams early in the week, and one oral exam covering all three areas on Thursday or Friday of exam week.

Does the program only accept full-time students?
Part-time enrollment may be permitted on a case-by-case basis, but without eligibility for funding. Part-time status applies only while taking courses and exams; once past exam stage, all students follow the same track to completion.

What if someone starts as a full-time student and then decides to shift to part-time?
Any departure from full-time status must be done by petition and entails the loss of funding. Similarly, students who begin as part-time and switch to full-time are not subsequently eligible for funding. All awards are determined at the time of entry into the program and contingent on maintaining full-time status.

Will there be workshops for students to help decide their areas for exams and directed readings and on how to prepare a dissertation proposal?
Yes; the Director of Doctoral Studies will lead a workshop every year. Students are also always advised to consult regularly with the DDS for additional help with this and other PhD issues.

Are there opportunities for doctoral students to teach, and are all doctoral students required to do so?
Yes; there are opportunities for doctoral students to teach, both as teaching assistants and as competitively selected doctoral teaching fellows, who offer their own graduate seminar. There are further undergraduate teaching possibilities at Bard College. Doctoral students are not required to teach, nor can it be guaranteed, but it is strongly encouraged as part of professional training.

Students are required to apply for outside funding in either their second (for internal MAs) or third (for external MAs) year. How does this impact their aid packages?
We require students to apply for outside grants as part of their funding package. In most cases, students receiving outside awards will be able to keep their internal funding, but we examine each instance on a case-by-case basis.

Will there be a workshop for students on applying for grants?
Yes; the DDS and invited guests will lead an annual workshop open to all doctoral students.

Are leaves of absence possible? If a leave is approved, is funding held for the student?
Leaves are granted upon petition only in cases of documented major illness. If approved, the BGC will hold funding during an official leave of absence.

What are the time limits for the degree?
Internal students who have completed the MA will have four years to complete the doctoral degree; external students arriving with any other MA will have five years to complete the doctoral degree.

Are extensions possible?
You may petition for an extension of one year, and no more than two. Students should refer to the guidelines in the BGC student handbook, as well as consulting with the DDS. A limited amount of reduced funding may be available on a competitive basis for students who can demonstrate that they will complete the degree within one year.

When do doctoral students register for classes?
Doctoral students register before MA students each semester and are given priority in their choice of classes.

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Below is a list of courses offered at Bard Graduate Center in recent years. Please note that not all courses are offered each semester.

Filter by:

500
Survey of the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture I

500 Survey of the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture I

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

This two-semester, team-taught course, required of all entering MA students, and PhD students who have not taken a course deemed comparable, traces major historical developments in the decorative and applied arts, landscape design, and material culture from antiquity to the present. Weekly lectures familiarize students with significant forms, materials, sites, styles, designers, and craftsmen, while introducing a variety of scholarly approaches to recovering meaning from material artifacts through a study of function, technology, iconography, and patronage. Small-group discussion seminars provide opportunities for closer analysis of selected objects, readings, and themes. At the end of the two-semester sequence, students will have a working visual and historical vocabulary of significant designed/ manufactured objects and spaces from a wide range of civilizations and periods, and a better awareness of the areas they might pursue at the BGC. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

Fall 2016

501
Survey of the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture II

501 Survey of the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture II

PROFESSOR:

Freyja Hartzell

This two-semester, team-taught course, required of all entering MA students, and PhD students who have not taken a course deemed comparable, traces major historical developments in the decorative and applied arts, landscape design, and material culture from antiquity to the present. Weekly lectures familiarize students with significant forms, materials, sites, styles, designers, and craftsmen, while introducing a variety of scholarly approaches to recovering meaning from material artifacts through a study of function, technology, iconography, and patronage. Small-group discussion seminars provide opportunities for closer analysis of selected objects, readings, and themes. At the end of the two-semester sequence, students will have a working visual and historical vocabulary of significant designed/ manufactured objects and spaces from a wide range of civilizations and periods, and a better awareness of the areas they might pursue at the BGC. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

502
Approaches to the Object

502 Approaches to the Object

PROFESSOR:

Aaron Glass

Deborah L. Krohn

This fall-term course is required for all entering MA students, and PhD students who have not taken a course deemed comparable. Reflecting the Bard Graduate Center’s multidisciplinary nature, this course reveals the intellectual scaffolding behind the terms “decorative arts,” “design history,” and “material culture,” equipping students to make informed and viable choices in the use of objects as scholarly evidence. It introduces incoming students with diverse backgrounds to the puzzles and possibilities of interdisciplinary, object-based scholarship across a broad chronological and geographical scope, while investigating the taxonomic categories and associated institutions that drive the construction of knowledge about things, including art, architecture, design, technology, science, print culture, and digital media. Drawing on the varied expertise of BGC faculty and guests, it also highlights a wide range of methodologies and texts drawn from art history, archaeology, history, anthropology, sociology, cultural geography, literary criticism, material culture, cultural studies, conservation, and philosophy. Presentations will be followed by breakout discussions led by the two course instructors. Course assignments will include individual written papers and presentations, as well as team projects. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

Fall 2016

509
History of European Textiles

509 History of European Textiles

PROFESSOR:

Michele Majer

As a highly sought-after commodity in world trade, textiles offer the possibility for a multifaceted study: art history; social, cultural, and economic history; and technology. This survey focuses on European production from the late medieval period to the 1925 Art Déco exhibition in Paris. The potent influence of Far and Middle Eastern textiles on the output of the West after the opening of trade relations between Asia and Europe will also be discussed. Major groups of textiles examined include Italian Renaissance velvets; 17th- and 18th-century Italian and French laces and woven silks; Tudor and Stuart embroidery; 18th- and 19th-century English and French printed cottons; and printed and woven fabrics of the Arts and Crafts, art nouveau, and Art Déco movements. The use of textiles in clothing and interiors as indicators of wealth, status, and taste is considered throughout. Field trips include the Ratti Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cora Ginsburg Antique Textile Gallery. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Fall 2011

522
Arts of the Baroque

522 Arts of the Baroque

PROFESSOR:

Jeffrey L. Collins

This foundation course studies Europe and its colonies during the 17th century, an era of internal conflicts, external expansion, and national consolidation that proved a boom time for the arts. In Catholic areas, the Church still spent lavishly, allowing artists to become the protégés of popes, kings, and princes. Elsewhere, a surging market economy helped a rising bourgeoisie establish its position through luxury consumption. Taking a purposefully broad view, the course surveys developments in painting, sculpture, architecture, garden design, urbanism, interior decoration, furniture, metalwork, and textiles, testing the thesis that baroque artists achieved a new synthesis or unity by fusing media previously practiced and experienced separately. After developing key visual and interpretive tools, the class examines artistic innovations in Rome and their repercussions from Spain to southern Germany. The focus then shifts to Louis XIV’s France, culminating in the vast palace and gardens of Versailles. The third area of study is the northern and southern Netherlands, major producers, consumers, and traders of the arts. Here, period paintings are important documents of domestic life, and students will study how to interpret them. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Fall 2011

523
Ornament, Primitivism, and the Idea of Decoration

523 Ornament, Primitivism, and the Idea of Decoration

This seminar explores the interrelated roles of ornamentation and primitivism in the construction of Western notions of decoration. Concentrating on the period from the late 18th to the 20th century, students examine how theories of ornamentation were formed in relation to the concept of the “primitive.” Although the discourse of embellishment was established well before the modern era, it takes on new significance in the context of imperialism and industrialization in the 19th century. In addition to examining closely the key texts in their intellectual and cultural contexts, including works by Semper, Riegl, Jones, and Loos, students look at the ways in which non-Western and unindustrialized cultures provided a visual and ideological basis for the idea of decoration. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

526
Arts of China (Decorative Arts of Later Imperial China, 1000-1900)

526 Arts of China (Decorative Arts of Later Imperial China, 1000-1900)

PROFESSOR:

François Louis

This introduction to the material environment of China’s political and intellectual elite during the last four imperial dynasties (Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing) surveys the history of ceramics, metalwork, jade, silk, furniture, and lacquerwork. The discussion of representative artifacts touches on a wide range of issues, including collecting and ideas of self-cultivation, taste, and decorum; imperial and aristocratic consumption; the iconography and social function of pictorial ornament; art production within an increasingly commercial environment; and international trade and the resulting cultural exchange. Some classes are held in museums or galleries. 3 credits. Satisfies non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

530
English and American Ceramics

530 English and American Ceramics

PROFESSOR:

Kenneth L. Ames

This semester the course focuses on household ceramic ware produced in Great Britain from the seventeenth century to the dawn of the twentieth. During that period, Britain grew from a provincial emulator of Continental and Asian products to a world leader in ceramic manufacturing and marketing. Because the United States has always been one of Britain’s major markets, the course also provides a window into patterns of domestic ceramic use in this country. In addition to gaining familiarity with prominent classes of wares and relevant bibliography, students will craft a virtual exhibition centered on a single British ceramic object. Visits to local institutions or auction houses as appropriate. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

539
Mode and Manners in the Eighteenth Century, 1675–1804

539 Mode and Manners in the Eighteenth Century, 1675–1804

PROFESSOR:

Michele Majer

This seminar examines 18th-century fashionable dress within the context of the social, cultural, and political history of the period. The emphasis is on France as leader in the creation and dissemination of high style, with consideration of clothing in other European countries. Topics include dress as status and the mechanics of the clothing and textile trades; the influence of stylistic trends, such as the rococo and neo-classicism, and of personalities, such as Madame de Pompadour; the use of dress in portraiture; the importance of dance in social life; the salon and the role of women in French society; the emergence of fashion culture and the fashion press as aspects of increasing consumerism; the politicization of dress during the French Revolution; and the return of sartorial finery with the coronation of Napoléon I. Readings include Fanny Burney’s Evelina(1778). 3 credits. (satisfies pre-1800 requirement)

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

542
Ancient Ceramics and Glass

542 Ancient Ceramics and Glass

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

Among the large number of ceramic and glass artifacts surviving from antiquity are some of the finest objects ever made, including such masterpieces as the Euphronios krater and the Portland vase. Ancient ceramics and glass objects were both functional and decorative and, in many cases, remain unsurpassed for the beauty and originality of their form, technique, and design. This seminar covers topics ranging from the earliest Neolithic wares of the ancient Near East to the blown glass and ceramic vessels of the Roman period. Subjects of interest include the technology of pottery and glass fabrication, important local styles and their development, and the various uses to which pottery and glass have been put.  Highlights of the Bronze Age include the elegant Kamares ware from Minoan Crete, the invention of the potter’s wheel, and the earliest glass vessels from the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt, for which the manufacturing process can be reconstructed based on ancient cuneiform texts. Special attention is paid to the history of ancient Greek vase painting and to studies in connoisseurship that have contributed to our knowledge of potters, painters, and the development of style in the art of ancient Greece. Vases by black-figure artists such as the Amasis Painter and Exekias were followed by the “bilingual” productions of the Andokides workshop, culminating in the work of the masters of Attic red figure, including Euphronios and the Berlin Painter. The case of the Euphronios krater, formerly in New York and now in the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome, will serve as a prime example in a discussion of the cultural property debate. 3 credits. Satisfies non-Western or pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

544
The Rediscovery of Antiquity

544 The Rediscovery of Antiquity

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

The Western Roman Empire fell to the Goths in the 5th century, but the classical tradition prevailed, transformed by its successors to meet the requirements of each new age. Beginning with the rediscovery of ancient art and literature in the Renaissance, this course traces the search for the past in the adventures of the Grand Tour, exotic journeys of early travelers to the Near East, the 18th-century explorations at Pompeii and Herculaneum, Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign, the 19th-century excavations of the great cities of Assyria, and the Homeric epics. The reaction of the West was expressed in the neoclassical and Egyptianizing styles of the 18th and 19th centuries and ultimately in modern art and design. These movements are explored through the study of regional and national styles by examining works in various media and by utilizing publications, prints, and drawings in New York collections to introduce students to the materials that influenced the architects, artists, and designers who sought to emulate the arts of the ancient world. 3 credits. (satisfies pre-1800 requirement)

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

554
Art Nouveau in Europe

554 Art Nouveau in Europe

Art nouveau, an attempt to reform and renew the complete design of daily life in fin-de-siècle Europe, has been perceived as pivotal in the transition from a historicist 19th-century tradition to modernist ideals of the 20th century. This course investigates major designers and architects; concepts of organicism, technology, and craft revivals; Gesamtkunstwerk and the interior; and methodological and historiographical issues of interpretation. Broader aspects of social life at the fin de siècle, including feminism, nationalism, and movements such as socialism and anarchism, provide the context for inquiry. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2011

562
Politics and Design of World’s Fairs

562 Politics and Design of World’s Fairs

The world’s fair is a unique manifestation of the age of modern industrial capitalism. As fabricated environments staged to sell impressions and manipulate desire, world’s fairs (or expositions universelles and great exhibitions) encompassed grand schemes of planning and national and corporate pavilions, in addition to displays of machines, commodities, and people. This seminar ex­amines the history, design, and theory of the world’s fair in Europe and America, from the Great Exhibition in 1851 to exhibitions in the 1950s and 1960s, including the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs in 1925. The course explores topics such as mass production and design reform, the spectacle and politics of display, imperialism, and the construction of popular taste. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Spring 2012

565
Twentieth-Century Fashion

565 Twentieth-Century Fashion

PROFESSOR:

Michele Majer

This seminar presents a cultural study of European and American women’s dress from the Belle Époque through the 1970s. Within a chronological framework that traces the evolution of the silhouette and the work of major designers, we explore the changing forces impacting fashion during this period.  Along with theoretical readings that offer theoretical interpretations of fashion, issues to be examined include changing ideals of feminine beauty as manifested by the use of cosmetics and understructure; the influence of film, historicism, contemporary art, and sport culture on style; the advent and significance of fashion photography; developments in clothing manufacture and the introduction of synthetics; the rise of the American designer and the ready-to-wear industry in the mid-century; the “youthquake” phenomenon and counterculture clothing in the 1960s and 1970s,  and the demise of French fashion leadership and the resurgence of haute couture in the 1980s. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

566
Rites of Passage: Arts of Marriage and Childbirth in the Italian Renaissance

566 Rites of Passage: Arts of Marriage and Childbirth in the Italian Renaissance

PROFESSOR:

Deborah L. Krohn

During the Renaissance, life’s milestones were marked in celebration and commemoration by the creation of what we would consider works of art.  In this seminar we will examine the various rites and rituals that were performed around the key moments of birth and marriage, and the works which serve as records of these ceremonies, from deschi da parto, or birth trays, to cassoni, or marriage chests, and a variety of objects exchanged as part of the dowry.  We will look at works in a variety of media. We will also examine texts which narrate these events in the words of Renaissance men and women, from Alberti’s writings on the family to letters, court records and notarial documents which provide insights into the institutions which dominated social life, including the church, the town and the hospital.  Many of the secondary readings are representative of current trends in social and economic history, and we will discuss the relationship of this field with material culture and decorative arts.  There will be at least two museum visits.  Assignments for this seminar will include short presentations, a short midterm paper and presentation, and a final research paper and presentation. 3 credits.(satisfies pre-1800 requirement)

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

567
Art and Material Culture of the Tang Period, 618-907: Famen Temple

567 Art and Material Culture of the Tang Period, 618-907: Famen Temple

PROFESSOR:

François Louis

The Tang period coincided with the apogee of medieval culture in China. Over the past millennium, this era has conjured up images of martial grandeur, vast territorial expansion, and multicultural tolerance; of China’s richest flowering of Buddhism, but also of its severest suppression; of thriving intellectualism that gave rise to China’s most celebrated poets; and of an aristocratic material culture dominated by metropolitan fashion and international trade. This course seeks to give a picture of the period’s aesthetics, crafts industries, and luxury consumption. At the center of our investigations are artifacts excavated in 1987 from the pagoda of the Famen Temple. This preeminent archaeological find preserves hundreds of imperial donations accompanying four Buddha relics, including gold and silver, porcelains, Middle Eastern glass, and silk textiles. It sheds light on issues of international style and trade, Buddhist ritual and beliefs, as well as imperial workshops and patronage. A field trip to a museum and an auction house are included. 3 credits. Satisfies non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

568
American Silver

568 American Silver

PROFESSOR:

Kenneth L. Ames

A survey of silver produced in the United States from the seventeenth century to the early twentieth. Students examine the most significant artisans, designers, and manufacturers; the major styles; and both typical and exceptional forms of silver and electroplated hollowware and flatware produced in each era for domestic, ecclesiastical, and presentation purposes. Visits to local collections, galleries, and exhibitions are arranged. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

573
Graphic Design in Europe, 1890-1945

573 Graphic Design in Europe, 1890-1945

PROFESSOR:

Paul Stirton

Graphic design, in the sense that we now understand it, developed in the late nineteenth century out of the needs of a new mass society and the enhanced capabilities of printing technologies. This course will consider the forces that shaped European graphic design in the period, paying particular attention to such issues as advertising, propaganda, style and the larger theories of design that were discussed and disseminated through contemporary journals. While the course will address a broad spectrum of designers working within various national traditions, particular emphasis will be paid to German, British and Russian/Soviet graphics. Individual case studies, to be researched by students within the larger framework of the historical survey, will allow for detailed analysis of such topics as First World War propaganda, London Transport Advertising, Pelikan Ink Design, Soviet film posters, and typefaces and national identity. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

584
Survey of European Ceramics, 1400-1900

584 Survey of European Ceramics, 1400-1900

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

This seminar offers a thorough examination of European ceramics from the fifteenth to the late nineteenth century. It will investigate the evolution of different ceramic techniques and materials, and study the social uses and cultural meanings their products inspired, both within the rituals of courtly life and within more modest domestic contexts. We will follow the tin-glaze tradition, which originated in medieval Persia, spread within the Islamic world to Spain and thence to the great maiolica centers of the sixteenth-century Italy. Study of the Renaissance and early modern traditions of faience or lead-glazed earthenware and stoneware will be followed by study of the history of porcelain, from its origins in China and the Far East to the heyday of its European development in the eighteenth century factories of Meissen and Sèvres. The gradual industrialization of ceramic production in the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries will be studied through the such paradigmatic examples as Wedgwood and Minton and in the context of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century patterns of taste and consumption.The subsequent reaction to industrial production, exemplified in the Arts and Crafts Movement in England will be traced in the revival and persistence of studio traditions that continue to the present. There will be frequent trips to museums and collections. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

591
American Furniture of the Nineteenth Century

591 American Furniture of the Nineteenth Century

PROFESSOR:

Kenneth L. Ames

A chronological survey of furniture produced for household use in the United States in a period of extraordinary growth, diversity, and change. Sessions examine examples of work by the most significant artisans, designers, and manufacturers; the major styles, from American Empire and the Aesthetic movement to American Renaissance and Arts and Crafts; technological and industrial developments and responses to them; the changing relationship of American furniture to that produced in Europe and elsewhere; regional vernaculars, variations, and alternatives; key texts; and the impact of shifting cultural values and patterns of domestic life. Visits to local collections and institutions are arranged. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

593
American Furniture of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

593 American Furniture of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

PROFESSOR:

Kenneth L. Ames

Of all the early American decorative arts/household furnishings, furniture holds the greatest mystique. It has been actively preserved, collected, bought and sold, studied, and written about for well over a century and remains the cornerstone of the Americana marketplace. This course provides a survey of domestic furniture made and used in colonial and early Federal America, with emphasis on New England and the Middle Atlantic region. It examines major forms, styles, regional centers, and makers; objects both canonical and vernacular; and the historiography of scholarship in the field. Class project this semester is creation of our own in-house concise introduction to the subject, limited to 100 culturally resonant objects. Visits to institutions and auction houses as appropriate. 3 credits. satisfies the pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

594
The Material Culture of Childhood

594 The Material Culture of Childhood

Although it is now taken for granted, the concept of childhood is a relatively recent invention. From the late 17th century, specific ideas about raising, educating, clothing, and entertaining children reveal shifting perceptions regarding the early years of life. By the 19th and 20th centuries, the middle classes embraced the idea of childhood with near cultic fervor. This seminar investigates the construction of childhood in theories of development and through the vast material culture designed for children. In addition to the writings of, among others, Locke, Rousseau, Dewey, Fröbel, and Benjamin, the broad variety of material culture, including furniture, illustration, clothing, silver, ceramics, toys, television, and film, is examined. Other themes include concepts of innocence and gender, and shifting patterns of consumption. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

601
Western Furniture: From Antiquity to 1830

601 Western Furniture: From Antiquity to 1830

PROFESSOR:

Susan Weber

This survey course traces the evolution of furniture design and production from antiquity to the 1830s. Outstanding examples of furniture from Europe, America, and China are discussed in terms of style, materials, and construction techniques. Emphasis is placed on the work of important designers, craftsmen, and patrons. The social, political, and economic conditions that spawned changes in domestic furniture design are discussed, as well as the relation of furniture to architectural settings. Field trips to New York museums and auction houses will be part of this course. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

Fall 2016

606
The Colonial Revival

606 The Colonial Revival

PROFESSOR:

Catherine Whalen

This seminar focuses on the Colonial Revival in the United States, a complex cultural phe­nomenon succinctly described as “national retrospection” that began during the early re­public and has persisted ever since. Chronologically, the course spans from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the US Bicentennial in 1976, with special attention to the revival’s heyday from circa 1880 to 1940. The Colonial Revival takes many forms, encompassing decorative arts, architecture, landscape design, painting, sculpture, graphic arts, literature, photogra­phy, and film. Key practices include forming collections, staging commemorations, and preserving historic sites. Situated within the oft-cited historical context of industrializa­tion, urbanization, and immigration, the Colonial Revival intersects discourses of regionalism, romantic nationalism, nativism, progressivism, modernism, and antimodern­ism. Further points of consideration include the relationship to the Arts and Crafts movement and comparable revivals in the Americas and Europe. Readings empha­size historiography, primary sources, and recent scholarship. Visits to museum collections required. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

613
Ancient Jewelry and Metalwork

613 Ancient Jewelry and Metalwork

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

This seminar covers topics in jewelry and metalwork from the earliest remains of personal adornments in the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods to the ornate jewelry and plate made and used in Roman imperial times. The beginnings of ancient metallurgy, the technology of metals, and ancient jewelry-making techniques are examined. References in ancient texts are used to provide information about jewelry and metal objects that were noteworthy in antiquity but no longer survive. Collections of finds from the great excavated sites are discussed, including those from the Royal Cemetery of Ur; the royal tombs of Alaca Hüyük; the treasure of Priam from Troy; the royal shaft graves at Mycenae; the tomb of Tutankhamen; the sites of Gordion, Hasanlu, Marlik, and Nimrud; Greek sanctuaries and burial sites; Scythian, Celtic, and Etruscan tombs; and the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. 3 credits. (satisfies non-Western requirement or pre-1800 requirement)

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

Fall 2016

621
The Renaissance Discovery of the World: Collecting and Collections in the Early Modern Era

621 The Renaissance Discovery of the World: Collecting and Collections in the Early Modern Era

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

This course explores habits of collecting in Europe from about 1500 to 1650, tracing the development of the Kunstkammer and the cabinet of curiosities in the age of discovery and the opening up of new worlds to European experience. It and examines how the collecting of natural and artificial objects fortified princely power, transformed the nature of both aesthetic and scientific experience, and shaped the sensibility of intellectuals. Emphasis is placed on the great courtly collectors of central Europe, including the Wittelsbach Dukes of Bavaria, the Dukes of Saxony, and the various Habsburg rulers. Particular attention is given to the collection of Emperor Rudolf II in Prague, whose amassing of objects, both natural and manmade, coincided with his patronage of natural philosophers, alchemists, astronomers, and other seekers of knowledge. The changing relationship between art, nature, and science, embodied in early modern collections, is used to chart the shift from a medieval to a recognizably modern understanding of the processes of nature and of man’s place in the world. Knowledge of French and German is an advantage but not essential. 3 credits.  (satisfies pre-1800 requirement)

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

Fall 2016

627
Western Luxuries and Chinese Taste

627 Western Luxuries and Chinese Taste

PROFESSOR:

François Louis

This seminar explores the intercultural dimensions of China’s material culture. Starting from the premise that cultural change is driven in part by intercultural exchange, the class looks at the reconfigurations of Chinese material culture. How were the local craft industries affected by international trade and international politics? How did China’s design traditions respond to the import of exotic luxuries, the foreign demand for export goods, and the presence of foreign craftsmen, merchants, missionaries, and diplomats? Up to the seventeenth century, China defined the “West” mainly as Central Asia, India, Persia, and the Arab world. By the seventeenth century, interactions with Europe become more prominent. After surveying developments from the Middle Ages to the Ming era this class will focus on the Qing era (seventeenth-early twentieth c.). Particular emphasis will be given to the study of the Qing court. 3 credits.  Satisfies the non-Western requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

632
Topics in Ancient Furniture

632 Topics in Ancient Furniture

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

Beginning with the earliest indications of furniture in the Neolithic period, a history of ancient furniture is reconstructed from existing evidence, including ancient texts and depictions of furniture in ancient art, with special reference to the great collections of Egyptian, ancient Near Eastern, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman furniture recovered in archaeological excavations. Furniture made from metal, stone, and wood has survived, along with the ivory and metal fittings that were once attached to wood furniture that has long since deteriorated. Ancient wood­working techniques can be identified from these remains, and the creative mentality of ancient cabinetmakers can at times be discerned. Highly esteemed in antiquity, ancient furniture was influential in more recent periods as well; the furniture that inspired Egyptianizing and neoclassical styles is studied, along with styles that flourished but disappeared before the beginning of the Middle Ages. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 or non-Western requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

646
Interiors in China

646 Interiors in China

PROFESSOR:

François Louis

“Ah, when a man constructs a house, embellishes it with fine furnishings, and dwells therein, he finds it difficult to avoid an attitude of proud self-satisfaction. Since each of the things here is the finest of its kind, how can I not feel outwardly at ease and inwardly in harmony, my body at peace and my mind joyful.” Bo Juyi (772–846)

The intellectual’s dwelling for study and recreation alluded to in these lines by one of China’s most celebrated poets will be but one of the various types of Chinese living spaces which this seminar intends to examine. We will look at the social norms as well as at the cosmological, philosophical, and political convictions that governed the layout, design, and especially furnishing of domestic and ritual spaces. But we also look carefully at furniture itself. Throughout the course we will be concerned with issues of gender and domesticity, luxury consumption and the negation thereof, ritual and propriety, cosmology and “nature,” ornament, and taste. Attention will also be devoted to concepts of rusticity and the interaction between interiors and landscape design. The course covers material dating from the tenth to the twentieth centuries, but the focus is on the later centuries. It will hopefully include two field trips. 3 credits.Satisfies non-Western requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

655
Markets to Manners: Cooking and Eating in Early Modern Europe

655 Markets to Manners: Cooking and Eating in Early Modern Europe

PROFESSOR:

Deborah L. Krohn

The expansion of the world in the early modern period led to many types of revolutions, among them that of the dining table, which was closely tied to that of the printing press and the garden. New markets and the advent of printed cookery books led to the prolif­eration of prescriptive literature aimed at a broad audience, from country homemakers to the chefs of princes. This course examines the relationship between foodstuffs, the objects created to serve and display them, and the vast literature of prescription that appeared to suggest ways to prepare and serve food. Comestible gifts and the vessels employed to transport or serve them became instrumental in the maintenance of diplomatic relations between neighbors and nations. Readings include relevant texts of Norbert Elias, Fernand Braudel, and Stephen Mennell, as well as primary texts such as the 14th-century Viandier by Taillevent; Le Menagier de Paris; Chiquart’s Du fait de cusine; and other early recipe compendia, including De honesta voluptate from 15th-century Rome. Course requirements include class reports and a research paper. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Spring 2012

Fall 2016

691
Nineteenth-Century Fashion

691 Nineteenth-Century Fashion

PROFESSOR:

Michele Majer

Focusing on France as the capital of style, this seminar examines the significance of fashion during a period of major political, economic, and social change. The course traces the interrelationship of clothing and culture, beginning with the establishment of the Consulate in 1799 and ending with the Paris Exposition of 1900. Topics include luxury in dress as part of Napoléon I’s imperial agenda; the dandy and the courtesan as sartorial, social, and literary types; the rise of the middle class and the concomitant proliferation of fashion periodicals and etiquette manuals; Charles Frederick Worth and the establishment of haute couture; the growth of ready-made clothing and the department store as manifestations of bourgeois consumerism; aesthetic dress and the dress reform movements in Britain and the United States; and the emergence of the New Woman in the fin de siècle. Readings include novels by Balzac and Zola. Field trip to the Cora Ginsburg gallery to look at nineteenth-century garments. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

Fall 2016

693
Craft and Design in the USA, 1945 to the Present

693 Craft and Design in the USA, 1945 to the Present

PROFESSOR:

Catherine Whalen

This seminar examines the shifting boundaries of craft and industrial design in the United States from World War II to the present. In the postwar era’s expanding consumer economy, craft and industrial design flourished, and the terms “craft” and “design” were materially and rhetorically interwoven within interpenetrating academic, museum, and commercial settings. But their meanings increasingly diverged during the 1960s and 1970s, as craftspeople seeking cultural authority and economic viability sought to position themselves as artists. During the 1980s, in turn, design practitioners re-engaged with craft as commodity via high design. These fluctuating professional parameters coincided with widespread amateur engagement in aesthetic production, often absent from design history. Topics addressed include the impact of technology, the interrelationship of modernism and postmodernism, and craft and design vis-à-vis popular culture, social movements, globalization, and sustainability. Individual designers, craftspeople, firms, and groups will be discussed, along with thematic case studies. Sources considered include objects, exhibition catalogues, period writings, and recent criticism. Visits to museum collections required. The final assignment for the course is to conduct an oral history interview with a maker for the Bard Graduate Center Craft Art and Design Oral History Project. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

695
The Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean: Methods of Material Culture in the Twentieth Century

695 The Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean: Methods of Material Culture in the Twentieth Century

PROFESSOR:

Peter N. Miller

The Mediterranean was not only the center of European civilization for a very long time, it has been at the center of the revolution in twentieth-century historiography that put material evidence and the forms of its narration at the core of the historian’s practice. From Pirenne’s Mohammed and Charlemagne (1935) at the birth of Annales history through Braudel’s Mediterranean in the Age of Phillip II (1949) to Goitein’s Mediterranean Society (1966-88) and Wickham’s Reframing the Middle Ages (2005), historians interested in things have been attracted to the Mediterranean. In this course we study this revolution in which advances in knowledge are linked to advances in method; improved answers to better, more interesting questions. In terms of content we explore the history of the sea’s civilizations from the eighth to the eighteenth centuries. Especial attention will be paid to the way in which the Mediterranean has served as a crossroads of commerce and communication, as well as a laboratory for cultural historians of the material world. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

697
A Cultural History of Gardens in China and Japan

697 A Cultural History of Gardens in China and Japan

PROFESSOR:

François Louis

This seminar introduces the role of gardens in Chinese and Japanese culture. Students examine the history of individual gardens and explore the aesthetic, political, and social environment of their owners. The seminar focuses upon the connection between gardens and ideals of paradise, reclusion, authority, political representation, Confucian virtue, recreation, and self-cultivation through the arts and meditation. A garden’s design is determined by aesthetic and horticultural considerations, but equally important to an understanding of East Asian design choices are cosmological, geomantic, and religious convictions, as well as allusions to historical and legendary events and to famous personages and their literary heritage. Hence, paintings, prints, and a variety of literary works (including treatises on gardening) serve as guides. The study of extant gardens concentrates on examples in Suzhou, Beijing, and Kyoto. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 or on-Western requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Fall 2016

730
The Social Lives of Things: The Anthropology of Art and Material Culture

730 The Social Lives of Things: The Anthropology of Art and Material Culture

PROFESSOR:

Aaron Glass

This course will survey anthropological theories of art and material culture with a cross-cultural purview and a concentration on indigenous societies in the colonial period. We will examine numerous disciplinary approaches—functional, symbolic/semiotic/structuralist, aesthetic, economic, historical, and political—to the study of objects, and discuss ways of bringing them into articulation, both with one another and with indigenous perspectives. After a brief historical introduction to early anthropological theories of decorative art and exchange, the class will focus on contemporary approaches framed around such key phrases as cultural biography, objectification, materiality, social agency, art worlds, cultural production, colonial economies, cultural brokerage, regimes of value, tourist art, primitive art, conservation, and repatriation. Students will apply the range of approaches to a single object or discrete set of objects throughout the semester as a way to test the theories in practice. The course should prepare students to bring a wide array of theoretical and methodological perspectives to the study of things—from tools to clothes, from souvenirs to fine arts—among diverse global cultural communities. Depending on your final research project, this course can satisfy the non-Western distribution requirement. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

Fall 2016

731
Late Antique/Early Medieval Material Culture and the Making of Europe

731 Late Antique/Early Medieval Material Culture and the Making of Europe

PROFESSOR:

Ittai Weinryb

The purpose of this course is twofold. First, the course will serve as an historical and cultural introduction to the making of early medieval Europe, from the decline of the Roman Empire to the year 1000. Second, by focusing on the structural and social change experienced in Western Europe, the course will center on the development of new forms of wearable objects such as jewelry, dress, and ceremonial textiles. This change will be examined within the larger context of the development of the early medieval habitus. Here we will study the advances in architecture, monumental decoration, and furnishings as the background for the production of jewelry and garments. Finally, both the development of Christianity as the predominant religion of Europe and the development of Islam and the Byzantine Empire will improve understanding of the role of Art and culture in early medieval Europe. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Spring 2012

732
Design Reform in Britain: From Pugin to Mackintosh

732 Design Reform in Britain: From Pugin to Mackintosh

PROFESSOR:

Paul Stirton

Fired by a concern that British exports were suffering in the international market, the British government launched a campaign in the 1830s to improve the quality and design of manufactured goods. This began a debate that touched all aspects of British life for the next century, embracing issues of politics, religion, morality, and health, as well as questions of design and craftsmanship. This course will examine the views of some of the leading participants in this debate: A.W.N. Pugin, Owen Jones, Henry Cole, John Ruskin, Christopher Dresser, E. W. Godwin, William Morris, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Themes to be addressed will include design education, the Gothic Revival, international exhibitions, the Aesthetic movement, the Arts and Crafts movement, the New Art, and the Glasgow Style. Design reform has come to dominate histories of 19th- and early 20th-century design. One of the aims of the course, however, will be to question the role of theorists in shaping popular taste and to assess the extent to which “reform values” reflect only a partial (if influential) view of British design in the period. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2011

733
The Exhibition Experience: Design and Interpretation

733 The Exhibition Experience: Design and Interpretation

PROFESSOR:

Deborah L. Krohn

The special exhibition, where objects are grouped together for a limited time for a particular purpose, has become a key component of the contemporary museum experience. But in a larger sense all exhibitions, whether temporary or permanent, tell stories, communicate meaning, and establish values by presenting objects and ideas in ways that are always mediated by design. This course will use the upcoming Bard Graduate Center/ Metropolitan Museum collaborative exhibition “Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” which will open on April 3, 2013, as a case study through which to examine the ways exhibition curators and designers construct historical and didactic narratives by juxtaposing selected objects, texts, and digital images. Since one of the challenges of the Hoentschel project has been to track the changing ways that furniture and domestic objects have been used and displayed over their history, we will give particular focus to current strategies of exhibiting furniture and furnishings in museum period rooms and historic properties. Classes will be led by exhibition curators Ulrich Leben and Deborah Krohn, with guest appearances by other BGC staff involved in the show. Classes will take place at BGC, with field trips to local collections. Assignments will include the preparation of a “mock exhibition,” including interpretive components, using Google SketchUp, on a topic to be chosen in consultation with the instructors. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

History and Theory of Museums

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

738
Readings in Design History

738 Readings in Design History

In this seminar we will examine the historiography and current literature in the field of Design History. With the establishment of the field in the 1970s, scholars broke with traditional art historical emphases on elite production and connoisseurship. As Design History expanded, it has come to encompass a wide variety of questions about production, consumption, gender, and materiality. Beginning with the foundation texts and ending with the current scholarship, we will explore the seminal texts and organizations and journals that have contributed to the practice of design history as a scholarly field. We will also discuss design history’s role in relation to studies in the decorative arts, material culture, and the current debates around design culture, design criticism, design studies and design history’s ongoing relationship with art history. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

740
Native Arts of the Northwest Coast

740 Native Arts of the Northwest Coast

PROFESSOR:

Aaron Glass

This seminar introduces the indigenous arts of the Northwest Coast of North America from historical and contemporary perspectives. We will look at a full range of media and object types—quotidian, ceremonial and commercial—within changing socio-cultural and aesthetic contexts. We will also discuss colonialism as a factor in artistic transformation, and the use of material culture as historical evidence for shifting intercultural relations. Material will be approached from a number of perspectives: the indigenization of foreign materials, motifs, and ideas, as well as the adaptation of Native forms to commercial markets; the development of anthropology and art history, and the history of collection and exhibition; the revaluing of objects in the 20th century as “primitive art;” and the complex relationship of contemporary art with its material precursors. Our goal will be to understand indigenous objects within local histories of cultural production and use, as well as global histories of reception and recontextualization. Opportunities for close examination of objects will be provided, and students will be encouraged to develop original research in local museum collections and archives—especially the American Museum of Natural History. 3 credits. satisfies non-Western requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2012

748
The Sea Inside: Art and Material Culture of the Mediterranean World 1050-125

748 The Sea Inside: Art and Material Culture of the Mediterranean World 1050-125

PROFESSOR:

Ittai Weinryb

Since the publication of Fernand Braudel´s The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II in 1949, the disciplines of history, anthropology and art history have benefited greatly from the discussion of the Mediterranean world as a localized geographical environment, a circumscribable laboratory for the study of artistic change, interaction and even cross-cultural artistic collaboration. Drawing on this geographical framework and challenging historical method, the seminar will focus on the synchronic and discursive concepts behind the notion of Mediterranean art and material culture. Focusing on the Latin West and mainly on medieval Italy the seminar will deal with the period sometime known as the Long Twelfth-Century: from the conquest of Salerno by Robert Guiscard to the coronation of Fredrick Hohenstaufen. Medieval Italy, and especially southern Italy will serve us as a lithmus paper with which we will raise questions, agree and disagree about what we would like to label as art and material culture of the Mediterranean world.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2011

763
The Monument: Designs and Meanings

763 The Monument: Designs and Meanings

PROFESSOR:

Jeffrey L. Collins

Monuments, from the Latin monere, are literally things that warn or remind by offering enduring and often imposing physical messages addressed to contemporaries and to posterity. This seminar investigates monuments and memorials as both cultural and aesthetic endeavors, considering continuities and change in form and meaning across place and time. Monuments may commemorate individuals, groups, actions, events, or even abstract ideas, and to study them requires attention to the histories of art, design, urbanism, politics, patronage, reception, conservation, and the relation of word and image. Students will investigate memorials from antiquity to the present, with a special focus on examples in New York City, many of which draw on a repertory of historical models ranging from obelisks, pyramids, and triumphal arches to commemorative columns, statuary, and gardens. Particular attention will be given to recent debates about monuments’ purpose, form, materials, location, and constituencies; particularly in the case of war memorials and martyria, official commemorations become the site of vigorous contests and disagreements. Because monuments are almost always intended to endure over time, we will examine the challenges of preserving, repairing, adapting, or repurposing them as materials decay and the surrounding contexts change. We will also investigate the boundaries between “private,” often funerary, monuments and “public” ones designed to join the urban fabric, as well as the emergence of counter- or protest monuments and other commemorative strategies designed to question or subvert a monumental language. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

764
The Material Culture of New York City: The Nineteenth Century

764 The Material Culture of New York City: The Nineteenth Century

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

This course introduces students to the study of the material culture of New York City in the nineteenth century—its built environment, cultural landscape, and decorative arts industries. Students will examine the historical and cultural context of New York as a center of post-revolutionary manufacturing, as an arena of racial and ethnic traditions and conflicts in the mid-nineteenth century, and as an emerging national capital of culture in the late nineteenth century. The course will be organized around a series of historical spaces: the artisan’s workshop and the early national port city; the nineteenth-century town house, tenement house, and apartment building; emerging factory spaces for the production of culture, such as the furniture and publishing industries; cultural spaces of consumption, such as Barnum’s American Museum, Brady’s Daguerreian Studio and the 1853 Crystal Palace; the building of Central Park and the contest over urban public space; and late nineteenth-century spaces for display, such as the department store, the art museum, and the amusement park. The course will involve visits to several museum collections. Students will be asked to complete several short papers, create a class presentation, and contribute to a final collaborative digital exhibition project. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2016

772
The Aesthetic Movement: Designing Modernity, 1865–1905

772 The Aesthetic Movement: Designing Modernity, 1865–1905

PROFESSOR:

Paul Stirton

This course examines manifestations of modernity in British design, from the Aesthetic movement of the 1860s to the New Art tendencies of about 1900, with reference to interior decoration, furniture design, dress, graphics, stained glass, metalwork, and ceramics. Emphasis will be placed on such figures as E. W. Godwin, James McNeill Whistler, Christopher Dresser, Oscar Wilde, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and their contributions to concepts of modernity in design and “artistic” taste. Theoretical and philosophical debates relating to style, design, and dress reform will be studied through the writings of various 19th-century authors. Issues to be addressed include the expression of spirituality, gender relations, and individualism through the design of objects and spaces; the role of the new art and architectural press; modernity and the city; the development of “artistic” manufactures, galleries, and retail outlets; performance and parody; the literature of design reform and household taste; artists’ and collectors’ houses; the aesthetics of orientalism, internationalism, and regionalism. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

Fall 2016

774
The Material Culture of New York City: The Twentieth Century

774 The Material Culture of New York City: The Twentieth Century

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

In this course we will study of the material culture of New York City in the twentieth century, its built environment, cultural landscape, and decorative arts industries. Students will examine the rise of the metropolitan region, industrialization and deindustrialization, and the city as an arena of racial and ethnic traditions and conflicts. The course will be organized around a series of historical spaces: the immigrant city and the Lower East Side; cultural spaces of consumption and their relation to gender; the early twentieth-century skyscraper and commercial space; the mid-twentieth-century urban reconstruction projects of Robert Moses; and the postwar urban crisis and neo-liberal “revitalization.” The course will involve visits to several museum collections. Students will be asked to complete short papers, create a class presentation, and create a final project “video essay.” 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

775
In Focus: Envisioning Nineteenth-Century New York

775 In Focus: Envisioning Nineteenth-Century New York

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

Nineteenth-century New York City was a visual experience, a spectacle for resident and visitor alike. Students in this course will develop an experimental Focus Gallery exhibition using engravings, lithographs, daguerreotypes, stereoviews, and woodcuts among other objects to promote an understanding of how New York City entered visual and material consciousness in the nineteenth century. We will consider New York as a case study of how urban manufacturers as well as residents made sense of the city and its new spatial organization through these forms. Broadway stood at that emerging visual corpus as well as being the site of the commercial activity.  Students will learn about these visual genres along with the various publishing technologies through hands-on work at various local collections so that we can acquaint ourselves with those materials, explore various visual genres, and make a selection of themes and materials for exhibition. We will consider what the theme of the exhibition should be, what materials should go into the exhibition, and how do we communicate our understanding of the visuality of nineteenth-century New York through the exhibition medium.  We will also be working on an accompanying digital component. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

778
Islamic Art and Material Culture from Early Islam to the Ottoman Period

778 Islamic Art and Material Culture from Early Islam to the Ottoman Period

PROFESSOR:

Abigail Krasner Balbale

This course will explore the great diversity of cultural production across the Islamic world from the seventh to the eighteenth century. It will introduce students to Islamic traditions, culture, religious practices, and society through the investigation of Islamic art and architecture. Objects and structures will be examined through a variety of interdisciplinary methodologies and through studies of iconography, function, and patronage. The goal of the course is to understand Islamic art, architecture and material culture as the visual expression of the civilization creating it, as well as what makes and defines them as ‘Islamic’. Students will have the opportunity to give presentations on certain topics and objects. Visits to collections of Islamic art are planned. 3 credit. Satisfies non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

Fall 2016

781
The Early Modern Book: Cookbook as Case Study

781 The Early Modern Book: Cookbook as Case Study

PROFESSOR:

Deborah L. Krohn

This course is an introduction to two related emergent fields: history of the book, and culinary history. Though historians in many fields have been looking seriously at the history of books for a couple of generations, there has been comparatively little research on cookbooks and the social and economic implications of their diffusion during the Renaissance. In conjunction with the “coming of the book” and the diffusion of print culture at the end of the fifteenth century, the knowledge of food, its preparation, and service moved from the realm of tacit, artisanal understanding to a more scientific and rational set of precepts and codes. Paralleling transformations in areas such as agriculture, botany, metallurgy and other scientific fields, cooking became subject to empirical standards that underlie both texts and images in various books published between the end of the fifteenth and the end of the seventeenth century. These are the temporal parameters of the material we will look at. The first half of the course will be devoted to readings from classic studies in book history such as Elizabeth Eisenstein’s 1979The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, Febvre and Martin’s The Coming of the Book, and the works of Adrian Johns among others. We will then proceed to survey the most important cookbooks and recipe collections as they entered print at the end of the 15th century. Finally, we will look at the impact of illustration, which was to become an essential component of recipe collections and manuals in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There will be visits to local print and book collections, short reports, and a final research paper. Knowledge of one European language is strongly encouraged. 3 credits.satisfies pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

793
The Grand Tour

793 The Grand Tour

PROFESSOR:

Jeffrey L. Collins

Beginning in the seventeenth century, a growing stream of influential Europeans traveled south in a ritual journey now known as the Grand Tour. This Bildungsreise, often conceived as the capstone of a young man’s (and occasionally woman’s) formal education, was designed to expand the traveler’s historical, economic, political, and cultural reference points while honing or reorienting his or her aesthetic tastes. Following an often standardized itinerary including Paris, the Alps, Venice, Florence, Rome, and Naples, these travelers (as well as the tutors, artists, and assistants who accompanied them) formed a vector for intellectual and cultural exchange that helped transform European art and thought. This seminar examines the Grand Tour as both a historical and artistic phenomenon, asking why travelers went, what they saw, whom they met, what they acquired, and how their experience transformed their vision of the world. Drawing on New York collections, we will study the Tour’s visual and material culture, including not just the souvenirs purchased by rich northerners but the concomitant objects, rituals, and spaces—from elegant salons to fireworks displays and new public museums—created by their hosts. We will also examine the Grand Tour’s lasting visual and material legacy, from the spread of new styles and patterns of patronage to the cultivation of new forms of living and thinking that increasingly unified Europe. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Fall 2011

795
Exhibiting Culture/s: Anthropology In and Of the Museum

795 Exhibiting Culture/s: Anthropology In and Of the Museum

PROFESSOR:

Aaron Glass

Over the past two centuries, the museum has emerged as one of the primary institutional venues for intercultural encounter mediated by objects. Practices of both collection and display have been central to the imagining and valuing of various kinds of cultural others, and to the construction and communication of knowledge about the world’s peoples. This course will examine multiple historical and theoretical points of articulation (and disarticulation) between the museum and the discipline of anthropology. Topics include: the place of the “exotic” curio in early European and colonial collections; the rise of natural history and social evolutionary paradigms for exhibiting non-Western objects; the development of professional anthropology in the museum; popular forms of ethno-spectacle (e.g. the world’s fair and cinema) and the lasting tension between education and entertainment; debates surrounding “primitivism” and avant-garde interest in non-Western art; nationalism and sovereignty in the wake of decolonization; and contemporary anthropological and ethnographic studies of museums as sites of cultural production and contest. Through critical readings, discussions, and museum visits, students will come to better understand and appreciate the dynamics of collecting, studying, and displaying the art and material culture of the world’s peoples. Opportunities to work closely with collections and institutions will be encouraged (especially the American Museum of Natural History). 3 credits. (based on research paper topic, satisfies non-Western requirement)

AREAS OF FOCUS:

History and Theory of Museums

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

799
Domestic Material Culture of Nineteenth-Century America

799 Domestic Material Culture of Nineteenth-Century America

PROFESSOR:

Kenneth L. Ames

The emphasis in this course is on investigating certain aspects of the dominant culture of the United States of the nineteenth century through selected examples of its household material culture. Our task, in part, is to identify objects of heightened cultural significance or resonance, objects that offer insights, perhaps not immediately apparent, into prominent cultural constructs or concerns of the era. Our method is one of triangulation, seeking intersections or overlay of objects with concurrent words and images. The words are period fiction and non-fiction; the images are paintings of the period. How each of these classes of cultural production illuminates the others remains to be discovered.   Relevant to our inquiry are questions about what objects people then understood as iconic. Also germane are considerations of the ways our own ideological orientations, values, and aesthetic preferences may structure or distort study of the nineteenth century. Short classroom presentations and substantial written paper required. 3 credits. 

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

801
Other Europes: Design and Architecture in Central Europe, 1880-1956

801 Other Europes: Design and Architecture in Central Europe, 1880-1956

PROFESSOR:

Paul Stirton

This course offers a different view of European-wide tendencies in design and architecture by examining a remarkable body of work that has often been ignored in conventional accounts of the period. Focusing on the visual and material culture of Central Europe (in particular Hungary, Romania, Poland and Czechoslovakia), this course will explore issues of national identity, the vernacular and modernity as expressed in a range of architecture, design, dress and craft items. Encompassing both urban and rural centers, it explores how the particular political and cultural conditions of Central Europe shaped such design activities. Much of the course will be concerned with the movements of National Romanticism and Modernism, and with the relationship between regional, national and international tendencies in this politically turbulent era. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

802
The Arts of the Kitan-Liao Empire (907–1125)

802 The Arts of the Kitan-Liao Empire (907–1125)

PROFESSOR:

François Louis

Over the past three decades a number of sensational archaeological finds have drawn scholarly attention to the long neglected Kitan-Liao empire in northern China. The finds show that the non-Chinese Kitan elite built a so­phisticated and unique court culture, which not only adapted Chinese models but itself became a model for other non-Chinese elites, most notably the Tangut Xi-Xia, farther west. The presence of the powerful Kitan empire, moreover, redefined contemporaneous understanding of what it meant to be Chinese, especially among the intellectuals of the neighboring Song dynasty in central and southern China. This seminar examines the main archaeological Liao sites in order to examine notions of cultural and political identity and cultural exchange. Themes to be explored include the forced migration of artisans and other conquered people, diplomacy and the exchange of luxury goods such as silk and silver, the commercial and ritual uses of ceramics, nostalgia for the past and the rise of antiquarian collecting, Western imports, and the importance of Buddhism for Liao material culture. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 or non-Western requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

Fall 2016

820
Chinese Ceramics

820 Chinese Ceramics

PROFESSOR:

François Louis

This course provides an introduction to the his­tory of ceramic production and apprecia­tion in China. The focus is on fine stoneware and porcelain vessels dating from the ninth century to the present, but the course also familiarizes students with the important earthenware traditions— Neolithic vessels, tomb statuary, and archi­tectural ceramics. We will be concerned throughout this class with issues of consumption, col­lecting, and authentication. We also address the methods and limits of interpreting orna­ment on ceramic vessels and discuss tech­nological and stylistic innovation in light of economic and political changes. Some classes will be held in museums and one at the auction house. 3 credits.satisfies pre-1800 or non-Western requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

823
American Consumer Culture

823 American Consumer Culture

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

Catherine Whalen

This seminar explores the history of consumer culture in the United States from the 18th-century consumer revolution to e-tail. Topics include the development of trademarks, packaging, branding, advertising, and marketing; shopping spaces and practices; corporations; mass consumption; gender/sexuality, race/ethnicity, economic inequality, and selfhood and citizenship in consumer society; moralizing discourse; and consumer resistance. Sources considered include goods and services, retail venues, advertisements, prescriptive literature, novels, film, television, and the Internet, as well as cultural commentary and recent scholarship. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

827
Issues in the Study of Ancient Art

827 Issues in the Study of Ancient Art

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

François Louis

Ancient artifacts are precious documents of the past, providing access to the lives of the people who made and used them. Their association with the great cultures of antiqui­ty has given them a powerful authority, which has been utilized to support a wide range of ideologies. Ancient objects have been used throughout history to legitimatize autocratic rule, defend cultural supremacy, and con­struct national identities. The role of antiqui­ties today is hardly less ideologically charged. Colonialism and other forms of political conquest have enhanced the importance of antiquities far beyond contemporary national borders. As a result, attitudes toward ancient art and artifacts are now often in conflict, re­sulting in ethical, political, and legal debates regarding ownership, trade, and study. This seminar addresses the history of the collect­ing of ancient art and the diverse ideologies surrounding antiquities today. Students ex­plore the motives and mechanisms that have driven archaeological and academic explora­tion, private collecting, and public display of antiquities, in their respective countries of discovery and internationally. The class also addresses issues of nationalism, the forma­tion or affirmation of national identities, and cultural heritage preservation, including the history of national archaeological programs and legislation concerning the protection of cultural property, such as the UNESCO conventions. Emphasis is on the arts of the ancient Mediterranean, Near East, Central Asia, and China, and their reception in Western Europe and the United States in the 20th and 21st centuries. The course includes field trips to auction houses, galleries, and museums. 3 credits. satisfies the non-Western or pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

832
English Silver

832 English Silver

PROFESSOR:

Kenneth L. Ames

An introduction to the dominant classes of silver objects made in England from roughly 1500 to 1900 and to the dominant concerns of those who have been devoted to their study.  This course familiarizes students with the wonders of the English system of hallmarks, basic silver-working technology, the core bibliography of the field, and the broad patterns of four centuries of silver production in a country on course to become the most powerful in the world.  Studies of representative objects from both courtly and domestic settings illuminate changing patterns of taste in styles, forms, and decorating techniques, as well as document expansion of silver ownership from the upper classes to the middle.  Major names in the history of English silver play a part in the course but greater emphasis is on social and cultural developments in England and the relationship of silver objects to other classes of material culture.  Comparative examination of Irish objects illustrates the impact of England on the silver of one of its nearest colonies.  Some hands-on study; one area museum visit.  Student in-class presentations and written paper. 3 credits. (satisfies pre-1800 requirement)

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

833
Modern Textiles, 1850-1970

833 Modern Textiles, 1850-1970

PROFESSOR:

Michele Majer

This course traces the development of furnishing and dress textiles in Europe and the United States from the highly naturalistic and revival styles of the mid-nineteenth century through 1960s postmodernism and pop art, and stu­dents investigate the artistic, social, cultural, and economic contexts of textile production, marketing, and consumption during the period. Major reform movements, stylistic trends, and the work of leading designers are examined vis-à-vis the significance of furnishing textiles in the creation of unified interiors, both domestic and commercial. In the realm of dress fabrics, students look especially at the contribution of avant-garde artists to both high-end and mass production. Particular attention is also paid to the rapidly evolving technological advances that dramatically affected fibers and weaving, dyeing, and printing processes. Two field trips are planned. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

834
American Collectors and Collections

834 American Collectors and Collections

PROFESSOR:

Catherine Whalen

This seminar explores the history, theory, and practice of collecting in the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present. Both individual and institutional collections are discussed, with special emphasis on theoretical and methodological approaches to studying private collections. Close attention is paid to how collectors select, arrange, and sequence objects, as well as the meanings they invest in them and how, in turn, they articulate them to a variety of audiences. The course takes the formation of collections of American and European fine and decorative arts as its starting point. Student projects may focus on other types of collections, including but not limited to non-Western art, books and manuscripts, costume, memorabilia, ephemera, and natural history specimens. Topics addressed include hierarchies of value, systems of knowledge, authenticity, ethics, history and memory, identity formation, consumerism, and nationalism versus internationalism. Also considered are the roles that collectors and dealers play in creating markets and driving scholarship. In addition to collections themselves, sources examined include past and present cultural commentary on collecting in prescriptive literature, novels, poetry, film, television, and biographical and autobiographical writings. Students will conduct interviews with collectors. Visits to museum collections required. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

844
Interpretation of the Artifact in the Age of New Media

844 Interpretation of the Artifact in the Age of New Media

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

New media are changing the way we do research, write, and present information. This course will explore the interpretation of objects in the context of the emergence of new media. Students will critically examine such topics as the use of digital museum collections and other modes of databases; the develop­ment of virtual exhibitions and other forms of object interpretation; historical simulations and 3-D visualizations along with gaming; the emergence of handheld technologies, such as cell phones and podcasts for museum visits and walking tours; the use of GPS and other mapping technologies for studies of cultural landscapes and tourism; and studies of how people learn in a digital environment. This course will be conducted in a lab environment so students will also look at how these technol­ogies are created and do hands-on work with various types of software. Finally, readings will include critical interpretations of these devel­opments by such scholars as Lev Manovich, James Gee, Henry Jenkins, and others. The class will have visitors from the museum and software development worlds, and students will be expected to do hands-on work in the lab and complete a final digital project based on their own interests. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

Fall 2016

845
American Craft, Design, and Folk Art in the 1920s and 1930s

845 American Craft, Design, and Folk Art in the 1920s and 1930s

PROFESSOR:

Catherine Whalen

This seminar explores the intersection of design, craft, and folk art in the United States during the interwar years, specifi­cally focusing on converging and diverging conceptions of these categories of cultural production. Topics addressed include the interrelationship of modernism and antimod­ernism; mass vs. limited or one-off produc­tion; the amateur/professional divide; and canon and discipline formation, including the role of collectors, museums, educa­tional institutions, and government agencies. Particular attention will be paid to issues of nationalism and internationalism, social movements, and popular culture. Sources considered include objects, exhibition catalogues, period writings, and recent criti­cism. Student visits to museum collections are required. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

846
Objects of Knowledge: Renaissance Ornament and Society in Northern Europe, 1500-1650

846 Objects of Knowledge: Renaissance Ornament and Society in Northern Europe, 1500-1650

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

This course is devoted to exploring the themes and subjects of figurative ornament that animated the surfaces of the decorative and applied arts of the northern Renaissance. It will examine how crafted objects reflected, embodied or proclaimed definable social and cultural values and expressed the tastes and interests of different social groups in an age of growing secularization, of reformation in matters of religion, of humanism in education and ethical life, of overseas commercial expansion in the cities, and territorial consolidation among the European rulers. In the wake of the Protestant Reformation, in particular, the ornamental arts filled a number of gaps, economic, aesthetic and psychic, into which creative energies, cut off or diverted from the traditional outlets in religious art, freely flowed. The course will be organized into a number of themes, to include Cosmography, History, Ethics, Myth, and Nature. It will draw on some of the most the dazzling achievements of Renaissance craftsmanship in a number of different media that will include metalwork, cabinet making, carving in wood, ivory and other exotic materials, glass, ceramics, textiles, and scientific and mechanical instruments. Above all, the course seeks to draw out connections between aesthetic and social experience and claim the sphere of ornament as an important medium that communicated various kinds of knowledge about the world: the structures of power and authority, shared ethical systems, historical ties of community and kinship, as well as, more broadly, engaging with the period fascination with the natural world and of man’s place within it. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

847
Fashion and Theatre, ca. 1780-1920

847 Fashion and Theatre, ca. 1780-1920

PROFESSOR:

Michele Majer

This course explores the reciprocal relationship between fashion and the theatre in France, Britain and the US from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Before the advent of film around 1900, the theatre played a significant role in social and cultural life; theatres proliferated during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, drawing audiences from a wide socio-economic spectrum. Plays—whether set in the present or the past—reflected contemporary social, cultural and political issues and attitudes, and there was a rich exchange between the theatre and wider literary and artistic movements. We consider theatres themselves as an important arena of display where members of the audience, particularly women, went to see and be seen, and costumes worn on the stage by leading actresses—including contemporary fashions and historic and exotic dress—often launched new styles. Although actresses’ morality was suspect during most of this period, they were important trendsetters whose visibility increased dramatically as a result of the growth of the fashion press and of publications devoted to the theatre as well as the introduction of photography. By the turn of the twentieth century, these performers were prominent figures in the emerging cult of celebrity; their images, in both on- and off-stage dress, and their lifestyles were frequently featured in magazines such as Le ThéâtreThe Sketch,Vogue, and Vanity Fair and circulated in widely disseminated post cards. We also look at the contribution of well-known artists and couturiers who designed theatrical costumes and fashion itself as a topic in the theatre, particularly the “fashion plays” of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a time of heightened commercialization of both these areas. Each week, we will focus on a specific play as the starting point of our investigation. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

849
Visual and Material Cultures of the Middle Ages: An Introduction

849 Visual and Material Cultures of the Middle Ages: An Introduction

PROFESSOR:

Ittai Weinryb

This course is a broad of examination of the material remains of medieval culture through two interpretive prisms: that of visual culture and the other of material culture. The attempt of the survey is to offer an introduction to medieval society through a close analysis of metalwork, textiles, painting, sculpture and architecture. Trade routes and pilgrims’ paths will serve as backgrounds to the focused study of the objects in question. Key concepts such as spolia, appropriation, devotion and conversion will be contextualized through the study of “things.” By using modern social and cultural theories we will better understand the middle ages and its culture. Scheduled field trips to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters, and the Pierpont Morgan library will offer close examination of actual objects within the context of the museum and the rare book library. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

850
Ancient House and Garden

850 Ancient House and Garden

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

This seminar will explore the ancient world in terms of its people and the circumstances in which they lived—by examining their civic and domestic architecture, the land they cultivated and enjoyed, and the kinds of objects they found useful and beautiful.  Excavations at the Neolithic sites of Göbekli Tepe, Çayönü, Çatalhöyük, and Hacılar have revealed evidence of early architecture, interiors, furniture, metalwork, and pottery, as well as the beginnings of agriculture, advanced technology, and the “genealogical patterns” that form the basis for much of the design and pattern that would persist for millennia. Bronze Age cities and cemeteries of the Near East, Egypt, and the Aegean provide a fuller picture, with excavations at sites such as Ur, Troy, Amarna, Knossos, and Mycenae yielding a wealth of information. The first millennium BCE saw the rise of the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian empires, the kingdom of Phrygia, and the Scythian tribes, with their cities, temples, and tombs providing detailed insight into early Iron Age life. Finally, the Greeks and then the Romans extended their territories to the east and west, through war and colonization, leaving material remains that reveal much about their art and culture. Excavations in the region of Mt. Vesuvius have uncovered complete houses, gardens with plant remains intact, furnishings, and items of adornment from the late Republic and early Roman Empire. The class will visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art to study ancient objects and a New York botanical garden, to see the kinds of plants grown and used in antiquity. 3 credits.Satisfies non-Western or pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

851
The Occult and Its Artifact in the Middle Ages

851 The Occult and Its Artifact in the Middle Ages

PROFESSOR:

Ittai Weinryb

Miracle, magic, apotropia and efficacy are just a few of the terms that embedded the Middle Ages with supernatural activity. This seminar explores the place and environment of magic in medieval society. We will ask what is regarded as magic in Middle Ages, how one defines miracle, and what objects and tools one needs in order to make magic. We will also ponder the relation between magic and nature, magic and cosmos, and magic and self. Talismans, amulets, garments, manuscripts and metalwork are only a few of the objects that will be used to help us understand the relation between magic, society and culture of the Middle Ages. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

858
Ex Voto: Participation and Patronage in Medieval Europe

858 Ex Voto: Participation and Patronage in Medieval Europe

PROFESSOR:

Ittai Weinryb

An ex voto is a votive offering to a saint or deity. It is given as a token of gratitude for a miracle performed and in some cases it is offered as a vow. The ex voto is the most basic and fundamental form of material exchange between humans and deities. In its essence the ex voto is a material object that celebrates an immaterial event, a physical object that commemorates or expects supernatural activity. In a sense, ex voto is the basic form which the religious devotee participate in the religious ritual. This seminar is set to explore the relationship between humans and deities in medieval Europe through the basic act of material exchange. Issues relating to medieval religious patronage, participation of donors and devotees will be considered as the basis for the seminar, as well as theories from fields of religion studies, economy, and anthropology, which will serve to examine and further our understanding of the unique phenomenon of the ex voto. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

859
Interface Design: Material Objects and Immaterial Culture (Focus Gallery Course)

859 Interface Design: Material Objects and Immaterial Culture (Focus Gallery Course)

This course will consider the materiality and design of the digital interfaces that are an increasingly important part of our daily lives. Perhaps the most important paradigmatic shift to take place in the Information Age has been the shift of cultural production from analog to digital technologies. Digitization has magnified the separation of media texts from their physical delivery media, thereby changing the material foundations of cultural production. Media texts have, in a sense, become immaterial, as they can much more easily be digitally produced and reproduced and then transmitted across any of a number of different platforms. Students will investigate how interface design impacts the materiality of these platforms and how the design of hardware and software shapes our experiences with the immaterial culture of the Information Age. The course will focus on changes to the design of personal computing over the last thirty years and the ways in which daily experiences with digital technologies are shaped by the materiality of modern interfaces. Topics to be covered include: a brief look at the material experience of non-computing interfaces such as televisions, radios, and even the book; the importance of design in the field of personal technology and the cultural phenomena surrounding gadgets such as the iPod and Kindle; the impact of computer and computer peripheral design on leisure and work spaces; and the ways in which interfaces influence and shape creativity and freedom of experience in apparent and hidden ways. The course will include assignments that will expose students to the collaborative and creative as well as intellectual aspects of digital design.

This course will also be the beginning platform for a focus gallery exhibition currently planned for Spring 2015. Student research will be aimed towards formulating and answering questions that will be central to that exhibition and will play a part in gathering information on a collection of objects that will be considered for the final exhibition checklist. We will also keep in mind possibilities for exhibition design as the course progresses, especially in light of considering gallery spaces as interfaces and the challenge of integrating digital interfaces into exhibitions, which are already complex knowledge-building structures. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

860
Qualifying Paper

860 Qualifying Paper

Second-year MA students who will graduate in May register for this final paper in the spring semester. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

863
Objects of Colonial Encounter

863 Objects of Colonial Encounter

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

Aaron Glass

Colonial encounter involves the meeting of diverse peoples, often on unequal terms, in a variety of sites and mediated by myriad cultural forms. This course will focus on the material culture of encounter in a series of North American colonial landscapes. Moving from East to West (from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, through the Woodlands and Plains, to the Southwest and Northwest Coast) and from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, we will examine the material record for evidence of intercultural exchange and mutual (often ambivalent) appropriations between indigenous peoples and settlers. Case studies may touch upon transformations in the fields of clothing and fashion, architecture, picturing the landscape, weaponry, transportation, geographical survey and governance, ceremonialism, ethnography, film and photography, tourism, and popular culture. Through close study of material and visual culture, we will examine the process of intercultural contact and exchange to understand the social practices and political strategies, the discourses and silences produced by colonial encounters on ever-shifting geographical and cultural frontiers. Study of primary materials in area museums will be encouraged. Depending on your final research project, this course can satisfy the non-Western distribution requirement. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

865
Material Itineraries: Anthropology of Collecting Expeditions, 1890s – 1930s

865 Material Itineraries: Anthropology of Collecting Expeditions, 1890s – 1930s

The focus of this course is the content development and design of a BGC Focus Gallery exhibition tentatively entitled Collected en Route: The Vernay-Hopwood Chindwin Expedition of 1935 which will open in 2013. The expedition traversed Northern Burma for three months, amassing biological and ethnological collections for the American Museum of Natural History. The museum’s objects and associated documentation, drawn together from several scientific departments, reveal the expedition party’s encounters with the ethnic peoples, biota, and landscapes of the Upper Chindwin River area. In preparation for the exhibition, students will research a poignant selection of ethnographic objects, specimens, and photography taken en route, and the provisions party members carried as comforts from home, scientific technologies, and exchange items on their journey. Students will gain first-hand experience researching and writing exhibition text, and knowledge of the range of current literature on the anthropology of expeditions. This course is open to new students to join. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2011

866
Transalpine Renaissances

866 Transalpine Renaissances

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

Deborah L. Krohn

Covering the period between 1400 and 1650, with an emphasis on comparisons between Italy, Germany, France, England, and the Low Countries, this survey course examines arts and ideas in a variety of media, including both the decorated interior and the built environment. After an introduction to the concept and meaning of the Renaissance, we will move through a series of themes that will encompass major monuments of decorative arts and design such as: Florence of the Medici; Burgundian Court Art; Mannerism in France: Fontainebleau; Tapestry comes to Florence, Ceramic Arts: Maiolica and the Pursuit of True Porcelain; The Rise of the Portrait and Burckhardt’s Individual; Inside and Outside: Villa Culture and the Cultivation of Nature; The Printing Press as an Agent of Change; Humanism, Civility and Domestic Culture; Courtly Collecting. The class will be taught seminar style and there will be a research paper and at least one oral report. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Fall 2011

867
Visual Cultures of Knowledge: History and Style of Technical Images (A Focus Gallery Course, part I)

867 Visual Cultures of Knowledge: History and Style of Technical Images (A Focus Gallery Course, part I)

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2011

868
Scenic Design in Western Theatre: From the Modern to the Postmodern (1870-present)

868 Scenic Design in Western Theatre: From the Modern to the Postmodern (1870-present)

Over the past 150 years society has seen a dramatic change in the way that we conceive of, produce, and consume culture. During this period, the development of technology and society’s relationship with that development has played an important role in the subject material of cultural works as well as in aesthetic styles and new modes of cultural production. This course will address how these changes in Western culture impacted theatrical scenic design consider how theatre artists responded to the impact and availability of new technologies and to the changing sociocultural environments within which these artists were working. After a brief interrogation into what exactly scenic designers do and the role of the designer in the theatrical process, the course will consider theoretical and aesthetic shifts throughout Europe and the United States as well as changes in modes of theatrical production. Amongst the writers and designers covered in the course will be Richard Wagner, Edward Gordon Craig, Robert Edmond Jones, Bertolt Brecht, Josef Svoboda, Robert Wilson, and the Wooster Group. The course will cover artistic movements such as symbolism, futurism, constructivism and theatrical genres ranging from Broadway theatre to multimedia performance and performance art. In addition to traditional reading, discussion, and research, students will get a chance to experiment with the composition of materials in order to express a visual metaphor based on a play of their choice, much as a scenic designer would. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2011

869
Georges Hoentschel: Collector, Designer, and Architect in Belle-Époque Paris (Exhibition Tutorial)

869 Georges Hoentschel: Collector, Designer, and Architect in Belle-Époque Paris (Exhibition Tutorial)

PROFESSOR:

Deborah L. Krohn

Open only to currently participating students continuing with the preparation of the catalogue and exhibition. 3 credits or for non-credit. Please talk to Ulrich Leben or Deborah Krohn if you are planning to register for this class.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

History and Theory of Museums

SEMESTER:

Fall 2011

870
London - New York - Paris: Duveen Brothers and the Market for Decorative Arts between 1880 and 1940

870 London - New York - Paris: Duveen Brothers and the Market for Decorative Arts between 1880 and 1940

PROFESSOR:

Charlotte Vignon

This course will explore the exodus of decorative arts from Europe to the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century by providing an in-depth study of three key figures who contributed to this phenomenon: Joel, Henry, and Joseph Duveen of Duveen Brothers, the prestigious international art firm established in London and New York at the close of the nineteenth century, and in Paris in 1908. Beginning with the examination of the strategies employed by Duveen Brothers to monopolize the American art market and become the preeminent dealers of their time, the course will explore the Duveen Brothers’ dealings in Chinese porcelains, eighteenth-century French decorative arts, and medieval and Renaissance art as well as the firm’s activities in the area of interior decoration. Questions of authenticity and restoration will also be addressed. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

History and Theory of Museums

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

871
Thinking with Things in North America

871 Thinking with Things in North America

PROFESSOR:

Ivan Gaskell

Most historians are only comfortable using written sources, yet documents form only a small proportion of surviving material traces of the past. How can we use a wide range of material things to write history? Drawing on anthropology, art history, history, museum studies, and philosophy, this course seeks to develop skills needed to mobilize material things to understand the American past. Students will use the practical examination of particular objects from New York collections to explore American historical themes, such as colonialism, patriotism, and the beginnings of mechanization. Yet achieving excellence also entails considering underlying issues. These include the conflicting claims of indigenous and Western thought systems, the relationship between nature and artifice, prototypes and representations, persistence and mutability, and the tangible and intangible attributes of things. Emphasis is on both the hands-on and theoretical skills needed to produce history from material things, whether written, exhibited, or on the Web. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2012

872
Design and Interior Architecture in Germany, 1700-2000

872 Design and Interior Architecture in Germany, 1700-2000

This course will investigate Germany as a center for the decorative arts (including interior decoration and furniture) between 1700 and 2000. It aims to situate the German decorative arts as a creative force in the crosscurrents of European culture and taste. Religious divisions between the Catholic regions in southern and western Germany and the Protestant regions of the east and north caused differences in political structures, which in return impacted style and taste. The eighteenth century saw a strong influence of French aristocratic art, which found individual interpretation in the German provinces, since the French prototypes were too expensive and were merely known through drawings or printed documents. Through the migration of craftsmen from Germany to the great capitals of Europe such as London, Paris, and Petersburg, and later the United States, German craftsmanship affected production in all these countries. The sober and elegant forms of the Biedermeier Period of the nineteenth century displayed new attempts at creating a purely German style and had varying degrees of international success. The Jugend movement and the Bauhaus school established successful designers and creators who brought their vision abroad when many were forced into emigration after 1933. The 1920s saw a multitude of engaging and non-conventional design solutions, many of which have been completely forgotten. The dark years of the Third Reich were followed by a research of reconciliation and connection with international trends, which often were realized only with the modest means of a country that had lost the war. The main artistic currents and centers for the creation and the manufacture of fine furniture, art objects, and porcelain (Augsburg, Dresden, München, Dessau and Berlin) will be presented and discussed. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

873
Exhibiting Technical Images (A Focus Gallery Course, part II)

873 Exhibiting Technical Images (A Focus Gallery Course, part II)

This seminar is the second part of the Visual Cultures of Knowledge Focus Gallery course.  It is conceived as a tutorial that will be structured around questions of curating—the transformation of an idea and its objects into a coherent exhibition display.  Pictures and objects found in the office of recently deceased Cambridge-based scientist Benoît Mandelbrot, a mathematics professor at Yale, a noted researcher in various fields, and a former employee of IBM, will provide much of the material we’ll work with. Internationally renowned as a popularizer of chaos theory and fractals, Mandelbrot was one of the leading figures in the field of contemporary technical images. The exhibition will draw extensively from the archival resources of computer graphics, but also drawings, mixed media, polaroids, films, and small sculptures. The objects relate to manifold topics such as early digital aesthetics, science and pop culture, programmed simulations of nature (i.e. ’data landscapes’), their postmodern reception, variation and repetition, the question of authorship, computer graphics as material objects, the cross section of analogue and digital media, images without beholder, or ‘the waste of science,’ and the aesthetics of chance in relation to early computer art. We will also have the opportunity to discuss early digital image production with one of the programmers who worked with Mandelbrot in the 1970s. The course is open for new students. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2012

874
The Material Culture of Women in Nineteenth-Century America

874 The Material Culture of Women in Nineteenth-Century America

This course explores the cultural and material history of women in the United States during the 19th century.  How does the material record provide us with evidence for the perceived or actual roles of women in this period? How (and why) does the history of women as told through material culture look different from history as told through traditional documentary sources? Beginning after the American Revolution with the ideals of Republican motherhood, the course will move both thematically and chronologically through topics including changing ideas about women’s educational and vocational opportunities, the complicated reality behind the idea of “separate spheres”, and the importance of women’s consumer power.  Special attention will also be paid to women’s roles as agents of social change and to the material evidence of traditionally marginalized groups of women.  Readings will span the genres of women’s history, material culture, and the decorative arts and will include Joan Scott’s “Gender as a Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” works by historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich,  and a variety of exhibition catalogues and monographs.  Period sources, including Uncle Tom’s CabinGodey’s Ladies’ Book, and The American Woman’s Homewill provide an important window into the lives and concerns of 19th-century women. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

875
Design in Film and Television: Sets, Costume, Titles, Advertising, and Films about Design

875 Design in Film and Television: Sets, Costume, Titles, Advertising, and Films about Design

PROFESSOR:

Pat Kirkham

This course aims to introduce students to design in relation to film and television, with special reference to the USA. The areas to be studied include set/production design; costume design; posters and advertising; title sequences; inter-titles, and films made by and about designers. Most of the films studied will be what are known as mainstream theatrical releases; i.e., made by the large studios with major stars, but ‘independent,’ experimental and business films, as well as films from other countries, will be referred to as relevant. The televisions programs and series studied will range from popular sitcoms to educational television. For class presentations students will be able to roam from the earliest days of cinema to the latest digital special effects. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2012

876
Tangible Things: Observing, Collecting, Sorting

876 Tangible Things: Observing, Collecting, Sorting

PROFESSOR:

Ivan Gaskell

The objective of this course is to use object-centered historical and interdisciplinary research to advance the conception of a future exhibition drawn from the many collections at Harvard University. Buried in storage within Harvard’s museums are relics of “international experiences” —moments of wonder, envy, conflict, and appropriation—that extend over more than three centuries. They expose the intellectual assumptions and the political and economic forces that have shaped American encounters with the world. Treating divisions among the arts, the humanities, and the sciences as permeable, the seminar will investigate how collecting and categorizing tangible things have progressively shaped social, intellectual, and cultural boundaries in American society. The seminar will be conducted in parallel with a seminar at Harvard University convened by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. The two seminars will confer electronically, and (funding permitting) will hold two joint residential weekend workshops, one in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and one in New York City. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

877
Picturing Things: Photography as Material Culture

877 Picturing Things: Photography as Material Culture

PROFESSOR:

Aaron Glass

Catherine Whalen

Although photography is usually approached as a visual medium of image production and reproduction, photographs are also objects with their own unique material properties. They not only depict the material world, they also help constitute it. As a particular type of image/object, photographs have specific modes of production, circulation, and consumption, and have scholarly potential beyond critiques of “representation” alone. This course surveys the history, theory and methods of treating photography as material culture, focusing on materiality and the evidentiary potential of the photographic image as object. We’ll begin with the early history of diverse photographic technologies and foundational readings on photographic practice. Chronological and topical sections will cover such issues as Victorian portraiture, corporeality and biography; seriality, narrative and performance; the photographic archive as index, record and system; museological contexts for photography of/as fine art or ethnography; colonialism and the imaging of race and ethnicity; non-western engagement with the medium; the snapshot, tourism and amateur photography; the still and moving image in early cinema; the rise and propagation of documentary photography; the generation of iconic images; advertizing, popular culture and fashion; architectural photography; and digital imaging and the challenge of dematerialization. Along the way, we will pay close attention to the dynamics of power, genre and ethics across gender, class, racial, cultural and national lines. Through critical discussion of texts, close examination (and production) of photographic objects, in-class presentations and fieldtrips, this seminar course will help prepare students to engage with the photographic object as a resource for historical scholarship and as a cultural product in its own right. 3 credits. 

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

878
French Furniture – Paris, 1650-1830

878 French Furniture – Paris, 1650-1830

The course will investigate how the city of Paris became the pre-eminent European center for artistic production and a trendsetter in the field of the decorative arts from the second half of the seventeenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The mainstream fashionable styles which had a direct influence on design, such as Rococo, Chinoiserie, Orientalism, Egyptian style, Anglomania, and others, will be presented in order to understand the defining ornament vocabulary of each and its impact on the fabrication of objects. The availability of new techniques and precious materials in the largest European capitals had a strong influence on decorative arts production. Examples of objects in various media, employing materials such as silver, steel, porcelain, glass, mirrors and exotic woods will be inspected. Due to the influx of very highly skilled craftsmen migrating to Paris in order to find employment, the city became a major center for fine furniture making. French furniture production during this period is unique within Europe in that many pieces can often be identified as the work of individual masters whose workshops developed a personal style. The evolution of the French lifestyle and the discovery of privacy led to the creation of many new models and types of furniture, which will be discussed in accordance with their original use and role in interiors. The well- documented royal furniture commissioned by furniture administration of the French court will be discussed as exemplars of craftsmanship and design. The seminar will focus on the stylistic evolution of French furniture. It can be taken as complementary class to the course “From Versailles to Fifth Avenue,” on the later history of collections of French furniture and decorative arts. The course will be complemented by study sessions at the Metropolitan Museum and sales rooms. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

879
Media and Materiality: How Technology Shapes Media and Media Shape Culture

879 Media and Materiality: How Technology Shapes Media and Media Shape Culture

The story of media is the story of mankind extending his reach through technology. The invention of the printing press has allowed us to easily fix knowledge in a format that could be exchanged, shared, and sent far away. Photography allows us to take a moment in time and space, capture it and store it. And, the digital era has seen us take information, break it into pieces of data, and then reassemble that data into new forms of knowledge. With each stage of increasing technical complexity, the relationship between materials and culture becomes more complicated, reflecting the role that technological delivery media play in shaping our experience of knowledge, information, and/or data. This course will consider the centrality of material things in the experience of culture by assessing the impact of different manifestations of media artifacts, such as books, film, records, tapes, disks, etc., on cultural development. Along with readings, discussion, and presentations, the class will include a study of the characteristics of different delivery media via object analysis and comparative media screenings. Readings will include work by Walter Benjamin, Marshall McLuhan, Bruno Latour, Lisa Gitelman, Yochai Benkler, Matthew Kirschenbaum, etc. Students in the course will tell the story of cultural change, media and materiality by working together to construct an interactive digital timeline (along the model of the Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History) that will consist of entries about different delivery media and their relative impact. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

880
Archaeological Approaches to Material Culture

880 Archaeological Approaches to Material Culture

Archaeology is a discipline dependent on and defined by the analysis of material culture. Frequently working without written sources, archaeologists study ancient societies through the tangible and fragmentary remains of the past. Drawing on case studies covering a broad temporal and geographical range, this course explores the methods employed by archaeologists to examine all aspects of human behavior in the past. In addition to introducing students to both visual and non-visual/compositional analyses of the form, function and production of varied classes of archaeological material (ceramics, textiles, stone tools etc.), this course considers how scholars use these methods to reconstruct past social organization, ideologies, economies, gender and ethnic identities, and so forth. Utilizing literature written over the past century, the course also traces shifts in archaeological perspectives on the relationship between people and things, from the ‘pots equal people’ notion dominant in the early/mid twentieth Century, through post-Processual debates about the role of material culture in creating and transforming social worlds, to recent discussions defying the very concept of material culture as inanimate object. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

881
Pleasing the Crowd: Public History and the Material Culture of the American Circus

881 Pleasing the Crowd: Public History and the Material Culture of the American Circus

This course explores the cultural and material history of popular entertainment in New York City, using the Bard Graduate Center’s fall 2012 exhibition, Circus and the City, as its point of departure. The course will look at the historiography of popular entertainment in the United States, examine issues relating to the conception and design of interpretative historical exhibitions, and offer students the opportunity to handle and analyze objects. Selected readings will include the exhibition catalogue, The Circus Age by Janet Davis, James and Lois Horton’s Slavery and Public HistoryAmerica’s Instrument by James Bollman and Philip Gura, and other works that offer insights into the intersection of popular entertainment, material culture, and public history. The class will also visit several local museum exhibitions and collections and required assignments include a few short papers, an in-class presentation, and a final project. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

882
Ethnography and the Material World

882 Ethnography and the Material World

PROFESSOR:

Aaron Glass

Ethnography, as the practice of cultural description, is associated primarily with anthropology although it is a method taken up by many other disciplines. The term generally refers to two related approaches to scholarly research: the practice of fieldwork as a means to gather data; and a particular genre of “writing-up” that privileges rich (or what Clifford Geertz called “thick”) first-hand description. This course is a primer on both aspects of ethnography and offers an intensive workshop for students to engage with the methods of fieldwork (participant observation, interviews and transcription, apprenticeship, audio-visual recording) and modes of scholarly narration. We will read a few ethnographies of the material world (from object production and circulation to consumption); discuss various methods and the ethics of research; and conduct primary fieldwork exercises with communities in or near New York City. This course will provide students with the tools to conduct research on vibrant objects in living communities. Students are encouraged to work on topics relevant to their graduate research interests, qualifying papers, and dissertations. Depending on your final research project, this course can satisfy Non-Western distribution requirement. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

883
Damage, Decay, Conservation (Mellon Curriculum)

883 Damage, Decay, Conservation (Mellon Curriculum)

PROFESSOR:

Ivan Gaskell

Few human-made things last in their original form. Things change. Some are inherently unstable, whether physically or chemically. Some are purposefully modified. Some are damaged by human action, either accidental or intentional. This seminar focuses on issues arising from human intervention in changed artifacts from many societies and time periods. We shall investigate Western conservation practice in various contexts, including museums, the art trade, and sacred sites. How do changes to tangible things occur, and what are those changes? What forms of examination facilitate intervention? What are criteria for intervention? Whose values affect the definition of these criteria? Whose values might be in conflict with those that promote intervention? What agendas (such as nationalism, tourism promotion, reconstruction after armed conflict) affect conservation and restoration decisions? How responsive are conservation institutions to theoretical and ethical concerns? We shall pursue these puzzles through theoretical texts, case studies, and visits to conservation laboratories. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

Cultures of Conservation

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

Fall 2016

884
Weaving through the Past and into the Present: 10,000 Years of Andean Textiles

884 Weaving through the Past and into the Present: 10,000 Years of Andean Textiles

Visitors to the Andes today are met with a rich visual landscape. This is particularly manifested in the textile arts of the region, which are renowned for their distinctive styles and elaborate decorative motifs. In an area noted for its environmental and climatic extremes, weavers utilize alpaca, llama and vicuna wool to meet basic human needs. Beyond their functional value, however, textiles have long played an important role in mediating social relations, and in asserting identities and ethnic affiliations. Adopting a broad geographic and temporal approach, this course draws on both archaeological and ethnographic evidence to examine continuity and change in Andean textile traditions. Beginning with the antecedents to textile production in basket weaving 10,000 years ago, the class works chronologically through the textile traditions of the major pre-Columbian cultures. It then moves into the ethnographic present to consider how weavers today both build on and modify pre-Hispanic traditions and styles, as well as how textile arts are affected by global markets, by tourism in the region and by the growing number of institutions and NGOs designed to revitalize ‘traditional’ weaving practices and goods. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 or non-Western requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

885
Antiquarianism: History, Theory, Future

885 Antiquarianism: History, Theory, Future

PROFESSOR:

Peter N. Miller

The scholarly encounter with the material world was first mediated by antiquities. The study of material antiquity in the Renaissance established a series of categories and expectations for the exploitation of material evidence. The course begins c. 1450 with an exploration of antiquarianism in Italy and continues through the heyday of antiquarianism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Then we turn to the relationship between the study of antiquities and the beginning of cultural history around 1800. The next part of the course looks beyond the academic disciplines to look at the way in which this sort of study, in which materiality led to broader reflection on civilization, fed into art and literature in the twentieth century. Finally, we will confront the question of the future of antiquarianism. In an age of hyper-linking, fragments and digital curation, would the style of antiquarianism better match the future than the long-form narratives of the classic history-writing of the nineteenth century? Viewed from present, looking backward and forward, we will come to reflect on the nature of historical scholarship in Euro-America over the past 500 years. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

886
Exploring the Frick's Collection of Decorative Arts: Perspectives of Art Historians, Curator, and Conservators (Mellon Curriculum)

886 Exploring the Frick's Collection of Decorative Arts: Perspectives of Art Historians, Curator, and Conservators (Mellon Curriculum)

PROFESSOR:

Charlotte Vignon

This course is an in-depth study of the outstanding collection of decorative art at The Frick Collection, which includes French and Italian Renaissance furniture, sixteenth-century Limoges enamels, eighteenth-century French furniture, Asian and European ceramics, watches and clocks. Held at The Frick Collection, the course will offer a unique opportunity for the students to examine closely works of art and engage in a dialogue with curator Charlotte Vignon and conservators Joe Godla and Julia Day on questions of attribution, authenticity, technique, conservation and restoration. New interpretations and scholarships will also be discussed as well as the issue of museum display. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

History and Theory of Museums

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

887
Courtly Culture in the Medieval Mediterranean

887 Courtly Culture in the Medieval Mediterranean

The lands surrounding the Mediterranean in the middle ages were divided among multiple claimants to authority, and rulers of each successive dynasty often legitimated themselves through cultural production. This course examines a number of medieval courts, and focuses on the architecture, luxury objects, poetry and ceremonial rituals produced in them. We will employ a comparative approach that considers the cultures of Mediterranean courts in the period from the eighth century to the fourteenth. We will begin by examining the Hellenistic legacy of Late Antiquity, and will study the courts of Latin Christendom, Byzantium and the Islamic world that laid claim to this heritage. Courts studied will include those of Byzantine Constantinople, Umayyad Cordoba, Crusader Jerusalem, Fatimid and Mamluk Cairo, Norman Palermo, the Italian city-states and others. We will focus particularly on exchange among these courts (including diplomatic missions and the trade of goods and slaves) and the development of an international courtly culture. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

888
Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800

888 Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800

PROFESSOR:

Jeffrey L. Collins

Beginning in the sixteenth century, the golden age of European overseas navigation brought about the flowering of an abundant textile trade. Textiles and textile designs made their way around the globe, from India and Asia to Europe, between India and Asia and Southeast Asia, from Europe back to the east, and eventually to the west to the colonies of the Americas. Trade textiles blended the traditional designs, materials, and skills of the cultures that produced them, as well as some of the aesthetic preferences of their consumers. As such, they offer a chance to explore broad networks of cultural and material exchange and the specific local conditions in which such objects were made and used. This seminar, run at the Metropolitan Museum in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name, takes trade textiles as its theme, offering participants a chance for close and sustained study of the objects on view and of the historical patterns they exemplify. Meetings will take place in the exhibition galleries and the Met’s Antonio Ratti Textile Center, where students will gain experience with the close analysis of objects, using trade textiles in the collection to write both catalogue-style entries and a longer research paper modeled on an article for an academic journal such as Textile History. Guest instructors include exhibition curators Amelia Peck (American Wing) and Melinda Watt (European Sculpture and Decorative Arts), in addition to other co-curators and specialists. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

891
The England of William Kent

891 The England of William Kent

PROFESSOR:

Jeffrey L. Collins

William Kent (c. 1685-1748) was a dominant artistic figure of his age, active as a painter, architect, and designer of landscapes, interiors, and interior furnishings from sofas to silver. His life also spans important milestones in British history, from the Glorious Revolution of 1688 through the Act of Union of 1707, Marlborough’s defeat of Louis XIV in 1714, the installation of the Hanoverian dynasty, and the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48). This seminar, coinciding with the BGC exhibition William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain, aims to place Kent’s work in historical and conceptual context. Using the exhibition as a touchstone, participants will explore the arts in England from 1680 to 1750, studying topics including the impact of Huguenot and Continental artists and craftsmen in the entourage of William and Mary; the urban development of London; the English Baroque; Italianate decorative painting under Antonio Verrio, James Thornhill and others; Colen Campbell, Lord Burlington, and English neo-Palladianism; the English landscape garden; William Hogarth and the St. Martin’s Lane Academy; portraiture and the conversation piece; the British Rococo; Chinoiserie and exoticism; the Grand Tour and collecting; and the Britain’s colonial and mercantile expansion overseas. Meetings will take place in the classroom and in the galleries, with participants taking the lead in presenting selected objects to the group and organizing thematic visits to the exhibition. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

892
The Arts of the Table in Postwar America

892 The Arts of the Table in Postwar America

This course examines the arts of the table and spaces used for dining in America from 1945 to the present. We will explore the ceramics, metalwork, glassware, textiles, furniture, table decorations, and interior spaces used for dining along with their broader cultural and social contexts. We will study the theories, practices, and designs of important postwar modern designers including Russell Wright, Eva Zeisel, Ben Seibel, Raymond Loewy, and Charles and Ray Eames. We will explore the concept of timelessness and the role of historicism and period modern in designs for the table through important producers and retailers like Tiffany & Co. and spaces for dining by decorators like Billy Baldwin and Albert Hadley. The Postmodern table and the contemporary table will be investigated through architect designers including Robert Venturi, Frank Gehry, and Robert A. M. Stern and through firms like Knoll and SwidPowell. We will also take a thematic approach and look at everyday dining, dining and transportation, and dining in public venues. This course allows students to explore their own interests through a variety of short assignments, presentations, ethnographies, analyses of primary sources and objects, and a research project.  3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

893
Al-Andalus

893 Al-Andalus

PROFESSOR:

Abigail Krasner Balbale

Al-Andalus, as Spain was known in Arabic during its period of Muslim rule from 711-1492, was one of the longest-lasting sites of encounter among medieval Jews, Christians, and Muslims. This class focuses on the cultural history of this encounter. We will examine objects including manuscripts, ivories, metalwork, ceramics, and silks, as well as architecture including synagogues, mosques, churches, and palaces. Alongside these objects and spaces, we will consider medieval written sources, including chronicles, poetry, and the texts of treaties and diplomatic documents. Oftentimes, political and religious texts deal with religious difference polemically, even as poetry and material culture betray a fascination with the artist or patron’s ostensible enemies. Our discussion considers the different perspectives written and material sources provide, and will analyze how scholars have addressed these challenges. We will also examine the people, ideas, goods, and technologies that successively transformed al-Andalus and its neighbors, and will discuss to what extent al-Andalus should be seen as exceptional in the context of Europe and of the broader Islamic world. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

Fall 2015

894
Objects of Belief: Religion and the Arts of Northern Europe 1450-1600

894 Objects of Belief: Religion and the Arts of Northern Europe 1450-1600

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

This course examines the transformation of the visual and material culture of late medieval Christianity brought about by the upheavals in beliefs, religious practice and social organization ushered in by the Protestant Reformation. It will begin by examining the rich material culture of the late medieval church and its spiritual, social and economic underpinnings, particularly in regard to relic worship, pilgrimage, and the cult of the saints. It will trace the concomitant rise in lay spirituality in the fifteenth century, which, under the impulse of the reforming ideals of theDevotio Moderna in the Netherlands and the renewed momentum of Erasmian humanism of the early sixteenth century, gathered pointed ideological force with the Protestant Reformation’s rejection of the cult of saints. Case studies drawn from the German-speaking territories, the Netherlands, and England will address such themes as iconoclasm and the consequent new forms of public worship, concentrating on continuities as well as the ruptures with Catholic tradition as the relationships between the material and the spiritual were reconfigured; the effects of evangelical beliefs upon the habits and rituals of domestic and civic life, upon ecclesiastical and domestic spaces, personal possessions, habits of dress and adornment, as the home, as much as the Church, became an important locus of spiritual and moral instruction; and more broadly, the material dimensions of Protestant attitudes to the written word and the book, natural philosophy, ethics, history, literature, and aesthetics and the wider implications of Protestantism upon Western culture. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

895
Cultures of Conservation: From Objects to Subjects – On Sites, Rites, and Paradigms

895 Cultures of Conservation: From Objects to Subjects – On Sites, Rites, and Paradigms

What is conservation?  Simplistic as it may seem, this question has many possible answers. From the contemporary perspective, conservation no longer aims simply to prolong its objects’ material lives but is seen as an engagement with materiality—that is, with the many specific factors determining how objects’ identity and meaning are entangled with the aspects of time, the environment, ruling values, politics, economy, conventions, and culture. Accordingly, this course explores diverse cultures of conservation derived from anthropological-humanistic, aesthetic, and scientific approaches. Centered around the conservation of a variety of artworks and artifacts, our discussion will examine the challenges of traditional and contemporary materials and the so called ‘new’ and technology-based media. We will explore the conservation cultures of multiple institutions and stakeholders, and examine the historical conditions that have shaped conservation discourse and theory, especially as reflected in the split between scientific and humanistic cultures and the move from objects to subjects. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

896
Court Culture Compared

896 Court Culture Compared

PROFESSOR:

Ittai Weinryb

Most of the material culture produced in the lands surrounding the medieval Mediterranean owes its existence to the rise and development of the medieval court. In this seminar, we will examine the cultural milieus of Islamic, Byzantine and western European courts as well as the people, rituals and objects that constituted them. In so doing, we will develop a comparative model for the understanding of the function, life and aspirations of the medieval court. Focusing on materials ranging from ivories to textiles, from regalia to water-clocks, courtly figures from astrologers to eunuchs, emotions such as love and hate, as well as pastimes including hunting, lute playing and dancing, this course will illuminate the material ideals and ideas behind the medieval court in the Islamic and Christian worlds. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement or, based on research paper, the non-Western requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

897
“Cultural Conservation”: Preserving Place and Practice (Mellon Curriculum)

897 “Cultural Conservation”: Preserving Place and Practice (Mellon Curriculum)

The term “conservation” is often associated with art objects, historic buildings and sites, or ecological resources such as water. But what about “cultural conservation?” The field of folkloristics—the study of creative expression in everyday life—has both embraced and contested the concept of “cultural conservation.” Recognizing and supporting vernacular creative practices, folklorists investigate the relationships between individuals and their material and social environments in order to understand how and why cultural forms are created, adapted, maintained, or abandoned. In this course, we will consider local, state, national, and international efforts to identify and sustain community-embedded forms of creative expression and cultural practice. We will examine the goals and implications of “cultural conservation” in three contexts: the built environment (buildings, sites, religious/ritual architecture, urban landscapes), the natural environment (ecosystems, agricultural and rural landscapes), and the cultural environment (museums, rituals, festivals). Site visits will be a core element of the course and will include extended work at The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where we will examine the Museum’s curatorial and conservation practices, as well as at public folklore/folklife projects throughout New York City, including City Lore, the Eldridge Street Synagogue, and the folk arts programs of the Brooklyn and Staten Island Arts Councils. In each case, will examine how folklorists, cultural activists, and community members are working to address issues of social inequality and cultural empowerment in their neighborhoods through interaction with their physical environments; and how different parties understand and apply such concepts as “heritage,” “tradition,” “preservation,” and “community” in the “conservation of culture.” Over the course of the semester, students will develop a final paper or project about place-based practices of preservation. They will present their research to the class as it develops, and are encouraged to incorporate ethnographic or multimedia elements (virtual exhibitions, podcasts) into their work. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

898
In Focus: Warburg as Curator

898 In Focus: Warburg as Curator

PROFESSOR:

Peter N. Miller

This course, initiating a sequence leading to a Focus exhibition of the same name, will provide an introduction to the thought of Aby Warburg (1866-1929), the influential founder of the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg (after 1933 the “Warburg Institute”). During the 1920s, a decade when he published nothing, he delivered a series of lectures, accompanied by illustrated panels. How these functioned will be the subject of the upcoming exhibition. In this course, emphasis will be placed on Warburg’s broader theory of culture and on existing curatorial strategies. Student contributions to the project will focus on this latter dimension. Reading knowledge of German helpful. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

History and Theory of Museums

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

899
The Culture of Prints in Modern Europe

899 The Culture of Prints in Modern Europe

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

The advent of printing techniques signaled a watershed in European visual culture. This course will follow the development of printmaking in Europe from the first simple woodcuts to its apogee as a sophisticated art form in the sixteenth century. We will study the technical and aesthetic developments of the three main types of print, woodcut, engraving and etching, as well as issues of workshop practice and organization, to discover how by the mid-century, the production of and market for prints had expanded exponentially and the medium had acquired the status of an independent art form and an established set of critical values by which to judge it. A second aspect of the course will be to consider the massive cultural impact of prints across Europe as cheap and easily transportable models of design and ornament for the decorative and applied arts. Another component will be to explore the extent to which the replicated image helped revolutionize the transfer of knowledge in early modern Europe: how via printed books, maps and scientific objects and manuals, visual representation, as much as the written word, actively facilitated the conceptualization of ideas and framed scientific discourse. The course will include trips to local print collections and libraries. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

900
From Versailles to Fifth Avenue: Collecting French Period Furniture and Objets d’Art

900 From Versailles to Fifth Avenue: Collecting French Period Furniture and Objets d’Art

From the moment of their manufacture and original installation, French eighteenth century furniture and objets d’art often have lived adventurous histories, which were influenced by political events as well as different owners. After presenting the canvas from where the objects came and for whom they were originally destined in eighteenth-century Paris, the course presents the history of a selection of important objects that today are found in relevant collections or museums and the histories of how they got there. Concentrating on objects such as furniture, gilt bronze and porcelain with dominantly Parisian provenance, we will investigate the main routes of circulation and collecting. Relevant collections during the nineteenth century dominated by collectors such as Prince Anatole Demidoff, Sir Richard Wallace or the Rothschild family will be encountered. Landmark art sales will be looked at and the later trend will be investigated, which in a constant but steady move brought many art objects to museum collections in the U.S. from Fifth Avenue to Santa Monica. This course will familiarize students with a great variety of objects as well as their histories and the formation of collections. The study and analysis of auction catalogs, and the presentation of the objects within, will be part of allocated subjects for papers. Questions of possible differences between choices for private and public collections will be addressed. We shall also address questions of different ethics of conservation, enhancement or embellishment of objects in due course of their transits. The course should enable the participating student to assess a collection, its content and its place in comparison and in time. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

History and Theory of Museums

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

901
In Focus: Beyond the Object Principle: Object - Event - Performance - Process (Mellon Curriculum)

901 In Focus: Beyond the Object Principle: Object - Event - Performance - Process (Mellon Curriculum)

The emergence of new forms of artistic expression in the 1960s and 70s has introduced new perspectives not only to museum presentation and collection practice, but also to conservation. Conservation philosophies and principles have been increasingly challenged by shifting paradigms of what once was acknowledged as the unique, singular, or authentic ‘object.’ As a result, today’s museum curators and conservators must adopt a diversified approach in order to engage seriously with new forms of cultural heritage that change our conception of the object and its relation to world, transfiguring our understanding of what and how it once was. This course will employ the prisms of art, cultural and conservation theories to focus on the challenges of conserving and presenting artworks and artifacts that may be better understood as events, performances, and processes. We will reevaluate the meaning of the ‘conservation object’ by exploring its relation to conceptions of time, archive and identity. We will go so far as to ask whether the terms of material conservation of a physical, evidential object may still be sustained in the face of the fleeting, transient and heterogeneous forms of contemporary media. So rather than asking ‘what is conservation?,’ which was subject matter of the Fall semester, we will ask what conservation was, meaning, whether, and to which degree, the term retains its validity. Are we ready to break off to the new horizons of non-material preservation of, for instance, aesthetic experience? These and other questions will be discussed through examples of works created in the context/attitude of Fluxus, Intermedia, performance, event, film, video, ephemera and foodstuff. The participants will be asked to prepare oral presentations and submit a term paper or virtual presentation. The course is conceived as a preparation for the Focus Gallery Project. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

History and Theory of Museums

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

902
In Focus: Envisioning Nineteenth-Century New York II

902 In Focus: Envisioning Nineteenth-Century New York II

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

This exhibition design course will continue work on the Focus Gallery project “Envisioning Nineteenth-Century New York,” investigating the visual experience and spectacle of nineteenth-century New York City. Students will work on the exhibit design and texts. Broadway will anchor the gallery presentation as we research and write about several visual entrepreneurs located along the avenue, such as Mathew Brady (a producer of daguerreotypes), Edward Anthony (stereoviews), Currier & Ives (lithographs), and Harper Brothers (woodcuts in Harper’s Weekly). We will use a workshop format to develop the materials for the gallery exhibit, the digital interactives in the gallery, and the accompanying digital exhibition. Open to all students. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

903
In Focus: The Interface Experience Design Tutorial

903 In Focus: The Interface Experience Design Tutorial

The last thirty years of computing have been defined by the ascendance of the personal computer, a device that has brought the power of computation out of laboratories and corporate technology centers and into the purview of the individual user. Those decades have seen major technological advances in both hardware and software, as computers have gotten smaller, faster, more powerful, and more complex in their capabilities. In fact, so much has happened so quickly, and its effect on everyday life so widespread, dramatic, and transformative, that we often forget how fundamentally our interactions with these machines have changed over time. The Interface Experience Focus Gallery project aims to historicize the experience of personal computing by considering computers as material culture objects deeply embedded in cultural and design history. Through tactile and experiential interactions, visitors to the exhibition will be prompted to think about what devices they have used in their computing past and how the use of those machines has impacted their daily life. This course will provide students with an opportunity to participate in the conceptualization, execution, and design of the exhibition and its various interactive features. Projects include refinement of the object list, development of experience scripts for in-gallery computing interactions, prototyping of both in-gallery and web-based design features, and hands-on work with numerous computers and other devices collected for the exhibition. Students will participate in conversations with BGC exhibition staff and outside application developers working on the project. No technological proficiencies or previous courses are required, and students of all comfort levels with computers are encouraged to register. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

904
The Art of Eighteenth-Century Gilt Bronze

904 The Art of Eighteenth-Century Gilt Bronze

PROFESSOR:

Charlotte Vignon

An in-depth study of French eighteenth-century gilt bronze, this course will offer a unique opportunity to closely examine works of art and engage in a dialogue with Curator Charlotte Vignon. Questions of production, technique, patronage, attribution, and authenticity will be addressed. Students will study several important artists and craftsmen, including André-Charles Boulle and Pierre Gouthière—their lives, production, and workshop practices, as well as their influence on the changing style and role of gilt bronze in eighteenth-century France. The class will be held at The Frick Collection. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

905
Commerce and Culture in the Modern City

905 Commerce and Culture in the Modern City

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

Modern cities transformed economic power into cultural capital. We will look at this process through the study of the built environment, art and commerce, the cultural industries, museums and cultural institutions, along with city views in print and photographic form. This course will focus on three cities —: London in the eighteenth century, New York in the nineteenth century, and Tokyo in the twentieth.  Students will give presentations on other cities of their choice in the final weeks of the course.  We will pay special attention to questions of the visuality and spectacle of the city to take advantage of the fall Focus Gallery exhibit “Visualizing 19th Century New York.” Students will prepare a final project on the city of their choice, in either paper or digital form. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

906
Vernacular New York: Architecture/Landscapes/Tradition

906 Vernacular New York: Architecture/Landscapes/Tradition

This course examines the vernacular structures and landscapes of contemporary New York as expressions of individual and shared histories, cultural values, social customs, and religious beliefs. We study the construction, adaptation, reconstruction, destruction, and preservation of built and natural environments as performances of identity, expressions of creativity, tools of communication, and modes of resistance and acceptance. From the vantage point of folklore and material culture studies, we analyze how the form and function of urban spaces and structures reflect, nurture, or disrupt the beliefs and practices of their builders and users. Case studies include a New York City tenement apartment building (we will have on-site work at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum), community-constructed displays/museums, street altars and yard shrines, city streets as routes for religious ritual and procession, and the urban waterfront. We employ both material and ethnographic analysis to discern the intangible practices and meanings embedded in these places. Students will produce a final paper or project based on a type of vernacular architecture or landscape and present their research to the class at various stages of progress. Ethnographic and multimedia components are welcome. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

907
Textiles of China and Japan: Highlights from the Ancient World to the Early Twentieth Century

907 Textiles of China and Japan: Highlights from the Ancient World to the Early Twentieth Century

This seminar will survey the textiles of China and Japan in a generally chronological sequence and with an episodic focus on highlights of the extremely long period it covers. (The two cultures have an extremely close relationship, especially in the medieval period, and Chinese textiles must be understood to achieve an adequate understanding of Japanese textile history.)  By the end of the course, students will have a basic grounding in the woven textile structures of Chinese textiles and the dye techniques of Japanese textiles. Making use of textiles and visual materials of various sorts (ranging from Chinese tomb figures to Japanese prints, paintings, pattern books, and literary works), the class will explore various textile types and issues of their interpretation. Students will give brief reports on readings and objects and contribute to in-class discussions. The culminating project, a class presentation followed by a paper, should reflect the students’ own areas of interest, as related to East Asian textiles. (For students unable to read East Asian languages, consultation with the instructor will be necessary to assure that enough material for the project is available in Western languages.) 3 credits. Satisfies non-Western or, depending on final research project, pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

908
Artists, Craftsmen, and the Pursuit of Nature in Renaissance Europe

908 Artists, Craftsmen, and the Pursuit of Nature in Renaissance Europe

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

Deborah L. Krohn

This class will explore the manifold responses to the natural world by Renaissance artists and craftsmen during a period when the medieval, theologically-bound universe was giving way in the face of momentous new discoveries—of new worlds, peoples, animals and plant forms—and the traditional Ptolemaic worldview was challenged by the new heliocentric cosmos of Copernicus. The course will examine the ways artists and craftsmen documented nature’s physical qualities, charted its extent, explored its structures, and expressed its qualities and meanings in poetic and allegorical form. Themes will include the emergence of landscape and pastoral, villa culture, garden and grotto design, the aesthetics of mimesis and naturalism, the early collecting of naturalia, cartography and mapping, and the role of the artist / draughtsman in the emerging natural sciences. The course will include visits to museums and collections and will require a research paper. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement. This class will explore the manifold responses to the natural world by Renaissance artists and craftsmen during a period when the medieval, theologically-bound universe was giving way in the face of momentous new discoveries—of new worlds, peoples, animals and plant forms—and the traditional Ptolemaic worldview was challenged by the new heliocentric cosmos of Copernicus. The course will examine the ways artists and craftsmen documented nature’s physical qualities, charted its extent, explored its structures, and expressed its qualities and meanings in poetic and allegorical form. Themes will include the emergence of landscape and pastoral, villa culture, garden and grotto design, the aesthetics of mimesis and naturalism, the early collecting of naturalia, cartography and mapping, and the role of the artist / draughtsman in the emerging natural sciences. The course will include visits to museums and collections and will require a research paper. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

909
On the Road in the USA

909 On the Road in the USA

PROFESSOR:

Kenneth L. Ames

Although our views may be a bit less sanguine today, the automobile once seemed the best of inventions in this democratic land. It promised new freedoms, new opportunities, and new experiences, all increasingly available to the many. This course explores the complicated impact of the car on Americans’ lives during the course of the twentieth century, with particular attention to vacation travel and tourism and the material culture that emerged to serve them.   Starting with a brief overview of the evolution of the automobile in the U.S., the course examines the development of roads, parkways, and highways; the petroleum industry and gas stations; billboards and signage; tourist homes, cabins, and motels; diners, car hops, and fast-food vendors; trailers and mobile homes; destinations, both natural and decidedly artificial; and travel souvenirs and memorabilia.  Student projects determined in consultation with the instructor.  3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

910
The Antiquarian Foundations of Contemporary Design Thinking

910 The Antiquarian Foundations of Contemporary Design Thinking

PROFESSOR:

Peter N. Miller

What is design thinking? Where does design thinking come from? How is design thinking human-centered, and how might we make it even more so? This seminar answers these questions with a dramatic assertion: that knowledge of the past, and specifically, past scholarship, as modeled in the work of antiquarians from the seventeenth century onwards, is essential for understanding and developing the most innovative of contemporary design thinking and practice. This seminar explores the historical practice of antiquaries as a paradigm for the contemporary design thinking that is focused on the temporal nature of human relationships with things, as well as using a design orientation a means of generating insight into antiquarian practice. Calling this component of design “antiquarian” is more valid than calling it “historical” because “history” is what happened in the past, whereas antiquarianism is about the past-in-things that remains alive in the present. If the connection between antiquarianism and design is material pasts and memories then we could describe designers as neo-antiquarians—as those who experience, and help us experience, the past through things. Design thinking, understood from this perspective, is necessarily archaeological and represents what prior generations called “the liberal arts” — the belief that knowledge from and about the past is important for living well in the future. The course will be taught as simultaneous video-linked seminars by Shanks at Stanford and Miller at the BGC. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

911
From Ditch to Nitch: Making the Vatican Museum

911 From Ditch to Nitch: Making the Vatican Museum

PROFESSOR:

Jeffrey L. Collins

Public museums as we know them today were invented in eighteenth-century Europe in tandem with new ideas about the cultural value, social purpose, appropriate setting, and intended audience of art and historic artifacts. But how, where, and why did these protomodern museums take shape? What practical and conceptual operations were required to create an eighteenth-century museum, and how did they intersect with wider scientific, political, economic, and aesthetic concerns? This seminar investigates these questions by focusing on eighteenth-century Rome, a crucible of modern museology, and particularly the Pio-Clementino museum of classical antiquities, nucleus and ancestor of today’s Vatican Museums. We will use this and related case studies to explore the history of collecting and display in Italy; changes in the art market and new notions of cultural patrimony; shifts in patronage and the invention of new bureaucratic and institutional structures; the growing interest in Greco-Roman antiquity and the development of “Neoclassicism”; and the role of the Grand Tour in catalyzing and diffusing new cultural ideals. The seminar will also function as a workshop for my current book project on the changing fortunes, forms, and meanings of an important nucleus of ancient statuary as it moved from a clandestine excavation near Tivoli in 1774-5 through installation at the Vatican, transfer to Paris under Napoleon, and return to Rome after the Battle of Waterloo. By reconstructing how and by whom these prized artifacts were unearthed, identified, acquired, restored, displayed, contextualized, published, reproduced, confiscated, and ultimately repatriated, the project illuminates both the history of museums and the diverse and sometimes conflicting understandings of antiquity at the dawn of the modern era. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

History and Theory of Museums

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

912
Curatorial Practice and American Art at the Metropolitan Museum: A Chipstone Foundation-Bard Graduate Center Collaboration

912 Curatorial Practice and American Art at the Metropolitan Museum: A Chipstone Foundation-Bard Graduate Center Collaboration

Two curatorial departments at the Metropolitan Museum—the American Wing, and the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas—are both in the early stages of planning major gallery reinstallations. BGC is partnering with the Chipstone Foundation and both curatorial departments to examine the process as it occurs. Participants will focus on works of decorative art from the Americas in both departments, their variety, their material and cultural character, their relations with other artworks in the museum’s collection, and the roles they might play in new installations. The seminar will ask fundamental questions: What is American art? What are its boundaries? Should two museum departments, each of which looks after artworks from the Americas, relate their respective collections, and, if so, how? What novel exhibition strategies of the kind encouraged by the Chipstone Foundation might be appropriate in planning new displays? Participants will discuss these and other issues with curators from both museum departments, conservators, and the staff of the Chipstone Foundation. There will be regular seminar sessions at the museum, and multiple opportunities to examine artworks firsthand. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

913
The Arts of Design in France, 1780-1815: Interiors, Objects, and Fashion between the Revolution and the First Empire

913 The Arts of Design in France, 1780-1815: Interiors, Objects, and Fashion between the Revolution and the First Empire

PROFESSOR:

Michele Majer

The course explores the artistic developments that affected interiors, furnishings, and fashion in a dramatic period of change that ushered in modern Europe. After surveying the situation in France during the years before the storming of the Bastille, we will examine various cultural and aesthetic currents including neoclassicism, historicism, and exoticism. Rather than treating the period as a single unit, as is often the case, we will treat the decade leading up to the Revolution, the Revolution itself, the Directoire and Consulat, and the Empire as distinct periods dominated by discrete political events and power shifts. In each of these periods, we will focus on the work of leading designers and architects and their collaborative relationships with their patrons. We will also consider new types of consumers who emerged during this time of social upheaval, eager to show off their recently acquired wealth by commissioning and purchasing high-end goods in the latest styles. Recent research has spurred a growing interest in this tumultuous and highly influential twenty-five-year span, and course readings from secondary as well as primary sources will allow us to connect both the taste and methods of fabrication at the turn of the nineteenth century with the present day. As both professors are currently conducting research projects on this period, new aspects and discoveries in one of the most lively and dramatic eras for fashion, furniture, and object design will be presented for discussion. Classes will be complemented by field trips in NYC. 3 credits. Based on research project, the course can satisfy the pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Spring 2015

914
In Focus: Frontier Shores—Ethnography, Colonialism, and Oceania from the Eighteenth to the Early Twentieth Century

914 In Focus: Frontier Shores—Ethnography, Colonialism, and Oceania from the Eighteenth to the Early Twentieth Century

The late nineteenth century saw the application of the growing discipline of Anthropology as both a powerful tool of colonial control as well as an ideological justification for it. This theme will be explored in detail in the context of Oceania—the vast region encompassing Australia, New Zealand, and the tropical Pacific islands. This course will be the first of two In Focus courses leading to the 2016 BGC exhibition, and is essential foundation for students wishing to participate in that. As a major component of the course, material culture from the region will be used as an analytical tool for the themes, cultures, and encounters discussed. Beginning with the voyages of Cook, and ending with the decline in the so-called armchair period of Anthropology in the early twentieth century, the course will examine cross-cultural contact and the contest for power between indigenous and non-indigenous people, processes of “othering,” and the manufacture of authenticity. Many of the indigenous people of Oceania were perceived in mainstream European scientific thought as inhabiting the lowest tiers of humanity, considered stagnant, incapable of change, savage, and doomed to perish. Although these notions have long since been discredited, their impact on the development of anthropology, colonial policy, and national identity will be explored in detail. This will illustrate respective historic and cultural features, the inter-relations between differing peoples, as well as the development of anthropological thought in Oceania. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2015

915
History and Material Culture: New Directions

915 History and Material Culture: New Directions

PROFESSOR:

Ivan Gaskell

This seminar participates in the preparation of the Oxford Handbook of History and Material Culture, edited by Ivan Gaskell and Sarah Anne Carter. The editors’ goal is to contribute to shaping the future practice of material culture history. Thirty-three international scholars discussed their ideas at a workshop at the BGC in May 2014. They have since drafted chapters that challenge the boundaries of material culture history. The manuscript is due for submission in April 2015. By discussing selected drafts with their authors by video link, and commenting on chapters-in-progress, the seminar will not only examine overarching puzzles of method and principle, but will contribute to the future direction of worldwide material culture history from Paleolithic to Punk. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2015

916
History, Culture, and Material Culture of Wine, 1700-2000

916 History, Culture, and Material Culture of Wine, 1700-2000

PROFESSOR:

Kenneth L. Ames

People have been making and drinking wine for thousands of years. It is not surprising, then, that wine has a material history that is equally rich and complex. Wine has long been intimately connected to agriculture, industry, and commerce. It has been and remains the mainstay of regional economies in France, Italy, California, and elsewhere, yet is also an immense multinational business and cultural phenomenon. Wine is associated with rituals and celebrations, serves as a marker of social distinctions, and is variously viewed as healthful or dangerous. It can be fabulously expensive or dirt cheap. Whatever the price, wine is alcoholic and has the potential to induce altered states. This course traces the history of wine over the last three centuries, primarily as played out in Europe and the United States. Emphasis is on wine as an iconic form of material culture at the center of a constellation of ancillary objects—bottles, corks, corkscrews, labels, wine coolers, wine glasses, decanters, etc., all with their own historical narratives. The course also explores the histories of canonical wines, the phenomenon of wine tourism, and the recent interest among philosophers in the aesthetics of wine. Some tasting involved. Requirements include short classroom presentations and a substantial course project. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Spring 2015

917
In Focus: Revisions—Art, Materiality, and Continuity in Fluxus (1960s-70s)

917 In Focus: Revisions—Art, Materiality, and Continuity in Fluxus (1960s-70s)

This course interrogates the materiality of artworks and artifacts created in the spirit of Fluxus and other avant-garde aesthetic movements of the1960s and 70s, with a special emphasis on Nam June Paik’s first Fluxfilm, Zen for Film (1962-64). Participants will engage with the planning and development of the upcoming Focus Gallery exhibition and its digital components. Among the questions asked will be how the knowledge about materiality redefines visual knowledge; how change affects what the artwork is; and how ideas of appropriation, replication and re-enactment pose alternative ways of thinking about the continuing life of artworks. We will examine the ways in which the archive (as a conceptual space and a place of consignation), document, and trace partake in the life of the artwork from an array of perspectives. We will seek to identify the conditions that affected the curatorial, presentation and conservation cultures, leading to the emergence of a multifold character of the artwork, evident in its many manifestations. While largely practically oriented, this course combines methods of art history, material culture studies, philosophy, and the theory and practice of conservation. Participation in the previous courses, particularly “Beyond the Object Principle” (Spring 2014) is welcomed, yet not obligatory. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Cultures of Conservation

SEMESTER:

Spring 2015

918
Material Culture and Social Life in the Early Modern Home, 1500–1700

918 Material Culture and Social Life in the Early Modern Home, 1500–1700

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

This course explores the development of domestic space across a wide social spectrum from the urban burgher in the mercantile centers of northern Europe to the landed gentry and nobility of England, whose “prodigy houses” of the later sixteenth century offered an extraordinary expression of a new domestic and civil ideal of living. The course will chart changing notions of personal comfort and forms of social signification among these disparate communities, and set the various accoutrements of living, including furniture and furnishings, interior architecture, metalwork, ceramics, glass, and the other decorative features and accessories of domestic life—within the broader moral, political, ideological and economic frameworks of the societies that produced them. These frameworks will include the humanist-driven theories of the household as a place for the inculcation of the virtues and education deemed necessary for private and public life; the particular role of women in the running of the home; and, more broadly, the family as the political bedrock of the state. In the wake of the Reformation, the domestic realm took over many of the impulses behind traditional church decoration and became in effect, a new locus of moral instruction. The objects with which contemporaries chose to surround themselves were thus often charged with ethical meaning, not just symbolically through their decoration, but also dynamically, in terms of social usage. In an age of increasingly codified social behavior, when good conduct and manners were assuming importance in the expression of moral character, the artifacts of domestic living and the social rituals which developed around them, took on a new importance in the expression of personal and familial virtue. Knowledge of German, French, or Dutch is an advantage but not essential. 3 credits.Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Spring 2015

919
Ocean, Seaside, Beach, and Pool: Episodes in the History of Watery Recreation and Amusement

919 Ocean, Seaside, Beach, and Pool: Episodes in the History of Watery Recreation and Amusement

PROFESSOR:

Kenneth L. Ames

A seminar in cultural history exploring Westerners’ (and especially Americans’) changing attitudes toward and engagements with the sea over the last three centuries. Potential topics include the history of seascape painting; the enduring appeal of Venice; the development of seaside resorts; the ocean in Victorian literary imagination; the lure of the cottage at the shore; seaside architecture; yachts and yacht clubs; the great era of the ocean liner; the beach at Waikiki; amusement parks, boardwalks, and salt water taffy; beach parties, beach umbrellas, beach movies, beach bums; bathing suits, bathing beauties, sun tans, and sun glasses; spring break in Fort Lauderdale; surfing culture and surfing music; the contemporary cruise ship phenomenon; and popular twentieth-century writings (Jacques Cousteau, Rachel Carson, Kon-Tiki, Robert McCloskey, and others.) Short classroom presentations, 20-page research paper. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

General/Materials Surveys

SEMESTER:

Fall 2015

920
Curating from the Crypt: The Permanent Collection Exhibition

920 Curating from the Crypt: The Permanent Collection Exhibition

PROFESSOR:

Elissa Auther

This course is organized around the scholarly and curatorial work involved in the re-installation of the permanent collection galleries at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in the fall of 2015. Course readings, discussions, site visits, and applied exercises will introduce students to the project from conception to realization as we shadow MAD’s chief curator and other museum staff essential to the project. The objectives of the course are multiple and include introducing students to current debates about the creative activation of permanent collections; studying the unique history and evolution of MAD’s permanent collection; considering the relationship between institutional mission and object selection; distinguishing between competing curatorial styles of display and storytelling; and evaluating the way interpretive text is integrated into exhibition design. Course meetings will take place at MAD, BGC, and other sides as needed. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

History and Theory of Museums

SEMESTER:

Fall 2015

921
The Material Culture of the Caliphate

921 The Material Culture of the Caliphate

PROFESSOR:

Abigail Krasner Balbale

The caliphate emerged in the seventh century as a form of political succession to the Prophet Muhammad that aimed to lead the spiritual community that had united under his authority. Within decades, the institution was contested by rival parties with radically different understandings of its parameters. Should the caliph be the arbiter of righteous spiritual activity, or a political ruler on the model of pre-Islamic kings and emperors? Should the caliph inherit his position, or be elected by his peers based on his piety? These arguments played out differently across the growing territories under Islamic rule and have recently reemerged with the so-called Islamic State, whose minting of Islamic coins echoes earlier strategies of caliphal legitimation even as their destruction of Iraq and Syria’s cultural heritage departs radically from historical attitudes. This course examines the visual and material culture of the many groups that have claimed the caliphate, from the first caliphs until the present. We will focus on objects associated with the Prophet Muhammad and the early caliphs (many of which had long afterlives), as well as coins, manuscripts, luxury objects, inscribed textiles, palaces, and mosques made by or for later caliphs. Close examination of these objects and spaces reveals the intersection of religion, political power, and material culture, and sheds light on the emergence of a conception of “Islamic art.” A visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art is planned. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2015

922
In the Footsteps of Franz Boas: Native Arts of the North Pacific and the Legacy of the Jesup Expedition

922 In the Footsteps of Franz Boas: Native Arts of the North Pacific and the Legacy of the Jesup Expedition

PROFESSOR:

Aaron Glass

In the late nineteenth century, scholars vigorously debated the Asian origins of North America’s Indigenous people and their material culture. Riding the wave of such interest, the American Museum of Natural History sponsored one of the most ambitious endeavors in the history of anthropology—the Jesup North Pacific Expedition (1897-1902). Franz Boas, the museum’s new curator, coordinated the work of numerous scholars, field agents, and Indigenous assistants, who together collected thousands of Native objects and assembled ethnographic records in diverse media (including field notes, anthropometric measurements, drawings, maps, photographs, and wax cylinders). Boas mobilized the vast collections and field data—especially materials relating to biological diversity and the historical diffusion of cultural forms—to mount a devastating critique of Victorian social-evolutionary thought and to install the first museum exhibits built around his emerging theories of cultural relativism. This course will trace the activities, collections, and legacies of the Jesup Expedition as a framework for studying the arts of Indigenous Northwest Coast, Arctic, and Siberian people, many of whom consult the museum’s holdings in support of current cultural revitalization efforts. We will work with staff at AMNH who are currently engaged in conservation or digitization projects on Jesup objects and photographs, and students will have the opportunity to pursue primary research in the museum’s collection and archives. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2015

923
Against Nature: Domesticating Modernism in Nineteenth-Century Europe

923 Against Nature: Domesticating Modernism in Nineteenth-Century Europe

PROFESSOR:

Freyja Hartzell

We often think of “modernism” in design as a particular style or look, exemplified, perhaps, by architecture and objects of the 1920s. This course instead proposes the nineteenth century as the primary period of modernization in European design: the time when new materials, technologies and forms were adopted and adapted to define the experience of modernity. Developing its theme from Joris-Karl Huysmans’s 1884 novel Against Nature, in which an aristocratic aesthete withdraws from public life to design an artificial, interior retreat minutely calculated to affect his sensory experience, the course invites students to explore modernism in both private and public space as a nineteenth-century construction, with special emphasis on the interaction of nature and artifice in design. Like the iron-and-glass greenhouse, whose unnatural conditions superseded Nature’s laws, the modern homemaker—with access to new products, as well as new ideas about hygiene, comfort, and psychology—could design a controlled interior to rival and even replace the outer world. The selection, arrangement, and cultivation of material objects and cultural ideas developed, over the course of the century, from privilege to pastime for middle-class consumers. From the 1820s through the 1890s, the design of these modern “luxuries” was in constant debate due to conflicting theories of aesthetics and ethics; the display of novel or exotic objects at World’s Fairs; growing fascination with machines; and even nostalgia for regional vernaculars. Addressing this network of ideas, people, and things, we will investigate nineteenth-century modernism as a spectrum of new formal and ideological possibilities from which designers and dwellers had to choose. Focusing on developments in Britain, France, and Germany, we will consider the negotiation of the natural and artificial in the work of prominent figures like K. F. Schinkel, Christopher Dresser, and Victor Horta, as well as lesser-known designers and firms. Primary readings will include texts by Gottfried Semper, William Morris, and Émile Gallé, as well as accounts of interiors in period fiction. Readings will intersperse recent critical literature with historical critiques of nineteenth-century material culture, such as Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2015

924
Gothic Visions: From the Visigoths to Post-Punk

924 Gothic Visions: From the Visigoths to Post-Punk

PROFESSOR:

Paul Stirton

Ittai Weinryb

As a descriptive term, “Gothic” is one of the most protean and elusive in the history of design and material culture, applied variously to architecture, decorative arts, novels, horror films, and youth subcultures, to say nothing of the historical period c. 1150 to 1500 in Europe that is sometimes called “The Gothic World.” None of these descriptors address the early Medieval peoples who inspired the term, although it was the subsequent distaste for the Visigoths and Ostrogoths that gave “Gothic” its associations with barbarism, evil, ignorance, and the supernatural. The “Gothic” has been applied to all manner of objects and images throughout two millennia, occasionally as a term of abuse, at other times a celebration and a mark of praise.

It has even been regarded as the national style in each of France, Britain and Germany. What it means to be “Gothic” has the most intrinsic link to the manner in which Europeans conceived of the world surrounding them, and how they chose to define themselves. In many instances, the “Gothic” was a term used to break away from more common cultural trends such as Romanesque, Neoclassicism, or Pop. Thus, the aim of this course is to examine the sources of Gothic artifacts, and to trace the changing meanings associated with the style from the early medieval period to the youth subcultures of the twenty-first century. 3 credits. Based on research paper topic, this course can satisfy the pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2015

925
In Focus II: Design and Ritual in Imperial China

925 In Focus II: Design and Ritual in Imperial China

PROFESSOR:

François Louis

This seminar is designed to prepare the Fall 2016 Focus Gallery exhibition, which will be centered around what appears to be the oldest illustrated book on Chinese material culture: a long-neglected dictionary from the tenth century entitled Illustrations to the Three Rites Classics, or Sanli tu. The book discusses and illustrates over 370 ritual objects mentioned in the Confucian Classics, ranging from ceremonial dress, musical instruments, and archery equipment to court insignia and a wide range of sacrificial utensils. Tasks of this seminar include finalizing the exhibition concept and title, drawing up a checklist of items for display and researching these in depth (the exhibits will mostly date from the eleventh to the early twentieth century), the development and authoring of an online digital component for the exhibition, and the refining of the text of the print publication. The class is open to all students. Knowledge of Chinese, German, or French will come in handy but is not a prerequisite. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2015

926
Bauhaus, Before, and Beyond: German Design from Munich Secession to Ulm School

926 Bauhaus, Before, and Beyond: German Design from Munich Secession to Ulm School

PROFESSOR:

Freyja Hartzell

Decades before the opening of the Bauhaus School in 1919, German design asserted its remarkable power and presence, endowing everyday things with a unique agency within the social, cultural, and political landscape of modern Germany. This course surveys the development of German design, domestic architecture, and interiors from the Munich Secession of 1892 through the closing of the Ulm School of Design in 1968. It emphasizes the active role that design played during this tumultuous and transformative period in German cultural politics, focusing particularly on the critical discourse and pedagogical theory that developed around objects and environments of everyday use. While the course positions the Bauhaus as a pivotal point in the history of design, it encourages students to expand their vision of German design and its theory by looking “before” to institutions such as the Debschitz School in Munich, and “beyond” to the Ulm School. Moving from Jugendstil, to the Deutscher Werkbund, to Weimar culture, to Postwar design, we will consider how visions of regionalism, nationalism, and a collective “past” informed the development of modern design in Germany, and, finally, how the pivotal German concept of Sachlichkeit – objectivity, matter-of-factness, or “thingliness” – inflected each new incarnation of German modernism. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2015

927
Issues in Modern Latin American Design

927 Issues in Modern Latin American Design

This seminar focuses on six regional centers (Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Caracas, Lima, Havana, and Mexico City) most important for the practice and development of design in Latin America between ca. 1920 and 1980. The course investigates the diverse ways Latin American designers contributed to the processes of modernization by creating novel design repertoires or by adapting and interpreting international trends to the realities of their specific regional and national contexts. The class introduces students to major designers and design movements while investigating key problems that define modern design in Latin America, including state sponsorship of ambitious national development plans (desarrollismo); new trends in technology transfer and manufacturing; changing gender roles, both among consumers and designers themselves; the emergence of class as a key term of political and economic debate; rapid regime change and/or revolution; and shifting/contested concepts of national identity. Historical and theoretical readings, ranging from primary texts to recent critical interpretations, will help us explore how local design avant-gardes throughout Latin America embraced modernism both as a rhetorical strategy and as a distinct and “progressive” visual and material culture. This course allows students to explore their own interests through a variety of short assignments, presentations, and a research project. Classes will be complemented by field trips in NYC. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2015

928
In Focus: The 1853 New York Crystal Palace

928 In Focus: The 1853 New York Crystal Palace

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

The New York Crystal Palace of 1853 (formally the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations) was the first world fair held in the United States, housed in an impressive cast-iron structure on the site of Bryant Park. Like its namesake in London, the Crystal Palace showcased an enormous range of manufactured consumer goods and technological marvels of the age. We will explore the Crystal Palace alongside competing venues including A.T. Stewart’s Marble Palace, daguerreian “saloons,” and P.T. Barnum’s American Museum, to better understand how New York became a center of urban culture and consumption. Students in this course will develop an experimental Focus Gallery exhibition on this topic. We will work to locate and research surviving objects that were featured in the 1853 exhibition, along with contemporary souvenirs, publications, lithographs, daguerreotypes, stereoviews, and wood engravings that diffused images and/or memories of the event. We will consider what the theme of the Focus Gallery exhibition should be, what materials should be displayed, and how to craft an exhibition that best communicates our understanding of the commercial culture of nineteenth-century New York. We will also be working on accompanying digital components, such as in-gallery interactives and a digital publication. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2015

929
In Focus II: Entangled Frontiers

929 In Focus II: Entangled Frontiers

This course will continue the themes of the first In Focus class (Frontier Shores), exploring the nature of cross-cultural exchange, power relationships, and the construction of cross-cultural identity in Oceania from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Specifically, Entangled Frontiers will focus on the production of research and written material for the 2016 In Focus exhibition of the same name. This includes curatorial involvement through the production of exhibit labels, the selection of visual elements (such as photographs, sketches, maps), and the creation of essays and other contextual elements for the exhibition. Students who take this course will be very involved in the design and planning of many aspects of the exhibition, taking a practically oriented approach to the material and delivering focused and relevant research on the exhibition themes. This course will also involve some contextual study of the historical practices of museums and empires, the exercise of power through anthropology, and indigenous accommodation, agency, and ways of resistance. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Fall 2015

930
Colors in China and Japan: Objects, Cultures, and Conservation

930 Colors in China and Japan: Objects, Cultures, and Conservation

This seminar explores the materiality of colors in Chinese and Japanese objects. Focusing on the colors of blue, qing (blue-green), and red, this seminar surveys the production and application of colors in various mediums, including paintings, prints, ceramics, and textiles. The key issues are: how were colors produced, circulated and used in relation to the aesthetic, cultural and religious expressions in the objects? What were the social and cultural significance of particular colors in specific historical periods? What are the challenges and techniques to preserve colors in different mediums? This course aims to develop students’ sophisticated methodology to discuss the materiality of colors through interdisciplinary approaches to art history, technical art history, and conservation science. This course will be complemented with field trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to engage in dialogues with conservators on paintings, textiles, and ceramics, and with scientists on colors. All the case studies are from Chinese and Japanese contexts, but students are encouraged to develop final paper topics that involve transcultural interactions between East Asia and other regions. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Cultures of Conservation

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

931
News from Nowhere: Design and Utopia

931 News from Nowhere: Design and Utopia

PROFESSOR:

Freyja Hartzell

What is the fundamental purpose of design?  At some level, all design—in its various capacities as theory, practice, and object—aims to change the world in which we live, and with it, our experience of living.  Design is, by nature, utopian. Framing its questions around the fundamental ambivalence of “utopia”—implied first in Thomas More’s 1516 socio-political fiction, Utopia, and much later in William Morris’s post-Revolutionary novel, News from Nowhere of 1890—this course explores a variety of ways in which design not only engages with but actually defines the term’s dual Greek roots: eutopia (“the good place”) and utopia (“no place”). Each class session will unfold around a specific theme, combining material ranging roughly from 1750 to today, with topics including: “The Tiny House: Aristocratic Retreat to Alternative Lifestyle”; “Gesamtkunstwerk: The Total Environment and its Critics”; “Body Politics: Eugenics, Dress Reform, Anthropomorphism, Ergonometrics”; “News from Nowhere: Artists’ Colonies and Craft Communities”; “The Garden City: Living Green”; “Future-Past: Modernism and Nostalgia”; “Technotopia”; and “Dystopian Design.” Students are encouraged to pursue original research projects that problematize the relation of design and utopia within their own fields of interest. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

932
The American Civil War: Art and material Culture

932 The American Civil War: Art and material Culture

PROFESSOR:

Ivan Gaskell

This course examines the intersection between 1861 and 1865 of internecine conflict, involuntary African immigration and enslavement, and Indian genocide. Discussion will focus on the role material culture and visual representation played in the prosecution of warfare, and continue to play in its remembrance. Participants will analyze varied material, from clothing to entire landscapes, photographs, illustrated magazines, ceramics, and statuary. Classes will be devoted to photography for reportage and portraiture, the treatment of the wounded and the dead, public and domestic statuary, intimate possessions of citizens, slaves, and Natives, conflicts between colonists and Natives, and commemoration and re-enactment. The lives, possessions, and representations of women are as important as those of men. Envisaged field trips to museums and sites include the Armory of the 7th New York Regiment, Green-Wood Cemetery, and the mid-nineteenth-century African American community of Weeksville. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

933
Women at Home: Women as Producers, Consumers, Designers, and Critics of the American Domestic Interior, 1820-1920

933 Women at Home: Women as Producers, Consumers, Designers, and Critics of the American Domestic Interior, 1820-1920

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

This seminar investigates the multiple roles women played in creating the American home in the “long” nineteenth century. Women were not only key figures in reconfiguring the domestic environment in this period, but they were also active participants in many of the growing trades that produced an expanding range of consumer goods for the home, such as decorative home furnishings, clothing, and prints. After the Civil War, women also sought to gain economic autonomy in their new roles as designers, creators, and critics of specifically “artistic” goods for the home. We will work with the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (where we will meet regularly, in addition to BGC), as well as with primary sources including periodical literature, fiction, and design manuals. Topics include the development of parlor culture, the rise of department stores, the role of tastemakers and household manuals, and the growing independence of women through creative work. Assignments will include wiki postings, class presentations, and a final paper with a digital option. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

934
Telling the Sogdian Story: A Smithsonian Digital Exhibition Project

934 Telling the Sogdian Story: A Smithsonian Digital Exhibition Project

PROFESSOR:

Abigail Krasner Balbale

The Sogdians amassed great wealth through the transcontinental trade known as the Silk Road, and sponsored a flowering of civilization in their homeland, the area around Samarkand in present-day Uzbekistan. They were also purveyors of culture to their imperial neighbors, transporting objects, craftsmen, artists, religious scholars and texts that would transform regions from Europe to Japan during the period from 550 BCE until approximately 1000CE. This project-based course, team-taught with Prof. Kimon Keramidas of NYU’s Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Humanities and Social Thought, will investigate how best to use digital media to create a fuller, multi-faceted portrait of the Sogdians. As part of an ongoing digital exhibition project at the Smithsonian Institution’s Asian museum of art—the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery—aimed at increasing awareness of the Sogdian culture’s importance in the region, students will work to find ways to tell the story of how the Sogdians’ adaptability and mobility allowed them to influence the art and culture of people across Asia without the traditional trappings of empire wielded by the adjacent Persian, Chinese, and Byzantine empires. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 or non-Western requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

935
In Focus II: The 1853 New York Crystal Palace

935 In Focus II: The 1853 New York Crystal Palace

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

This exhibition design course will continue work on the Focus Gallery project “The New York Crystal Palace,” looking at the visual experience and the spectacle of the first world’s fair held in the United States in 1853.  We will investigate the experience of fair visitors and ask how the Crystal Palace related to the city’s commercial and cultural life.  Students will work on the exhibit design and texts. We will use a workshop format to develop the materials for the gallery exhibit, the digital interactives in the gallery, the audio/visual program for a mobile device, and essays for the accompanying digital exhibition publication. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

New York and American Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

936
Viceregal America: Visual and Material Cultures

936 Viceregal America: Visual and Material Cultures

PROFESSOR:

Jeffrey L. Collins

This course explores the visual and material cultures of Spain and Portugal’s territorial possessions in the New World from the arrival of Europeans in the late fifteenth century through political independence in the early nineteenth century. Emphasis will be given to the legacies of cultural contact and the adaptation of European traditions to new circumstances in the Spanish viceroyalties of New Spain, Peru, New Granada, and Río de la Plata, and in the Portuguese captaincies, viceroyalty, and, later, kingdom of Brazil. Topics include the visual and material legacies of conquest, collaboration, and resistance; the repurposing and transformation of indigenous materials and manufacturing techniques; and the movement of materials, trade goods, and artisans throughout the Spanish and Portuguese global empires. We will investigate the role of the Americas as a conceptual and mercantile link between Asia and Europe; the contribution of Africans and their descendants in colonial society and culture; the role of the arts in religious and domestic rituals; the continuing interest in European models and the diversification of regional styles throughout Ibero-America; and the usefulness of “hybridity” as an interpretive term for New World objects and cultures. The course will make use of New York museums and collections, and participants will take an active role in defining and presenting areas of special research interest. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Early Modern Europe

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

937
Ancient and Ethnographic Costume and Textiles

937 Ancient and Ethnographic Costume and Textiles

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

Textiles and clothing have been items of value—and important markers of identity—since earliest times, featuring patterns that have carried through eight thousand years or more, intact and full of meaning. This seminar will explore the history of ancient costume and textiles from their first manifestations in the Near East through the rich clothing and adornment of the Roman Empire—as well as the survival of ancient types and designs in remote areas of the world that still utilize traditional technologies. These enclaves of traditional arts, crafts, and customs are fascinating in and of themselves, and also provide clues to the ways ancient peoples dressed and regarded adornment. Since textiles are organic, not many have survived from antiquity outside Egypt, where fine linen cloth is extant in quantity. Examples have been found elsewhere, however, from Anatolia to Siberia, as well as in the bogs of northern Europe, and depictions in art provide an understanding of the types and styles of clothing in use. Carbonized fragments from the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük reveal the kinds of materials and weave structures employed for the earliest textiles, and figurines of the period are the first indication of the “genealogical patterns” that form the basis for much of the design and pattern that would persist for millennia. Loom weights and tools excavated at numerous sites indicate the widespread presence of weaving, where the wooden looms no longer exist. Students will choose from these and other topics for a research paper and presentation. The class will visit the Antonio Ratti Textile Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, to see examples of ancient textiles; we will learn about the conservation of textiles and see a weaving demonstration at the Textile Arts Center. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 or non-Western requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Archaeology, Anthroplogy, and Material Culture

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

938
"Ornament and Crime": Decoration and Its Discourses from Late Antiquity to Today

938 "Ornament and Crime": Decoration and Its Discourses from Late Antiquity to Today

PROFESSOR:

Abigail Krasner Balbale

Freyja Hartzell

In his infamous 1908 essay “Ornament and Crime,” the Austrian architect Adolf Loos warned that although “the urge to decorate one’s face and anything else within reach is the origin of the fine arts . . . the evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornamentation . . . The modern person who tattoos himself is either a criminal or a degenerate.” As Loos suggests, decoration lies at the heart of artistic expression, yet it has also been demonized across centuries and geographies as sacrilegious, superficial, frivolous, deceptive, seductive, feminine, childish, naïve, foreign, primitive, invasive, subversive, irrational, uncontrollable, uncivilized, anti-intellectual, and anti-modern. Why? This team-taught course investigates global discourses on decoration from Late Antiquity to the present, including ornament’s contrasting deployment in “East” and “West,” its function as a site of cultural exchange, and its status as a marker of “self” and “other.” In the first half of the course, we will examine the ornamental vocabularies of Late Antiquity and the rise of the “arabesque,” the uses of ornament in the lands of the caliphate, and how objects and motifs from the Islamic world were adapted and redeployed in medieval and early modern Europe. The second half will consider the problem of ornament in the modern West, from eighteenth-century chinoiserie to nineteenth-century scientific and ethnographic approaches to decoration through the modernist “criminalization” of ornament, arriving finally at postmodern and contemporary interventions—and celebrations. Students will be encouraged to draw connections between ornament and cultural meaning in relation to their own experiences with and views on design. 3 credits. Depending on your final research project, this course can satisfy the pre-1800 or the non-Western distribution requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2016

940
The Material Culture of Jerusalem

940 The Material Culture of Jerusalem

PROFESSOR:

Ittai Weinryb

Taking advantage of an exhibition on medieval Jerusalem opening in September 2016 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this seminar, co-taught with Professor Cynthia Hahn of CUNY, considers the Holy City from antiquity to the present as a potent religious and geographical center for ideologies, art production, and exchange. Readings will range from classic art historical studies (including Richard Krautheimer’s work on the Holy Sepulcher and Oleg Graber on the Dome of the Rock) to recent approaches to the city’s material culture and the battle over who controls it (Annabel Wharton, Selling Jerusalem). Jerusalem’s three main faith traditions will be considered. Topics will include the fragmentary Jewish, Christian, and Muslim pilgrimage accounts; topographic mapping; holy sites such as the Temple Mount, the Tomb of Absalom and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher; the transport of souvenirs such as the city’s “sacred” soil or miniaturized models of sacred buildings to other parts of the medieval world; and the impact of political and military campaigns on the built environment. The course will include a tour of the exhibition guided by the curators, and we will welcome two visiting lecturers. Students will attend associated Met lectures and be encouraged to work on objects in the show. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2016

941
In Focus: The Making of the Early Codex and the Crafts of Late Antiquity

941 In Focus: The Making of the Early Codex and the Crafts of Late Antiquity

PROFESSOR:

Georgios Boudalis

This course, preparatory for the exhibition opening in fall 2017, focuses on the technical and stylistic relations between the making of the codex—the hand written and bound book in the format we know today—and different crafts of late antiquity, with the aim of establishing the codex’s technological sources and origin. We will first look at the different techniques and processes used until the tenth century to gather written leaves into a functional book, including their connection to the production of such mundane items as socks, shoes, textiles, and basketry. We will then examine the structural and decorative features of early bookbindings. Participants will help search for and select objects and images for the exhibition; help develop interactive digital and/or tactile components for visitors; and, last but not least, produce models of codices that will be included in the exhibition in order to help visitors understand their material, technical, and functional aspects. Although manual or craft skills are welcomed, this is not obligatory as all models and samples will be made under the supervision of the instructor. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Fall 2016

942
Tales of Seduction: Architecture and Design in Fiction

942 Tales of Seduction: Architecture and Design in Fiction

PROFESSOR:

Freyja Hartzell

What makes an object precious to us? How does a particular interior draw us in? Why does a certain architectural façade fascinate us? How does design weave itself into the landscape of our imagination? This course examines material objects, interiors, and buildings as actors or narrators in complex historical plots. These material “storytellers” deflect our attention from familiar narratives of their production towards the more obscure but perhaps more intriguing story of their reception and use. The course opens with Jean-François de Bastide’s The Little House (1748 ) and culminates with Simon Mawer’s The Glass Room (2009), a work of historical fiction set during the Second World War and constructed around Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Tugendhat House, completed in 1930. Through a variety of texts and writing assignments, students will endeavor to theorize how and why authors of both period fiction and more recent historical fiction have chosen to focus on material objects and environments in their work. Students will leave the course with an appreciation for fiction as a viable—and vibrant—component of historical research, as well as sense of how to employ it productively and responsibly in their work as historians. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2016

943
Craft and the Decorative in Contemporary Art

943 Craft and the Decorative in Contemporary Art

PROFESSOR:

Elissa Auther

This course focuses on contemporary artists working since 1995 who unapologetically use materials and techniques historically dismissed as mere craft or decoration. Whereas these terms and practices were once passé in the contemporary art world, today they garner critical attention with tags like “dangerously decorative,” “queer craft,” or “not your grandma’s embroidery.” This about-face in the art world’s relation to craft and decorative traditions will be explored through case studies of individual artists, social and political issues, race and gender, and techniques specific to particular media. Course readings and discussions will be supplemented by studio visits, and the course will shadow the preparation, design, and installation of MAD’s fall permanent collection exhibition focusing on the large-scale fiber works of Françoise Grossen. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2016

944
In Focus II: Ex Voto: Agents of Faith

944 In Focus II: Ex Voto: Agents of Faith

PROFESSOR:

Ittai Weinryb

This seminar continues the themes of the first In Focus class and will involve students in the researching, writing, and production of the exhibition catalogue as well as the organization of the exhibition Agents of Faith: Votive Giving Across Cultures, opening in the Bard Graduate Center Gallery in March 2017. An “ex voto” is a votive offering to a saint or a deity, given as a token of gratitude for a miracle performed and in some cases offered as vow. As part of ritual, votive objects present a deep-rooted, structural consistency across cultures, from archaic Greece to our era, from the Himalayan slopes to the forests of Brazil. Almost anything, regardless of size, weight, form, or original function, can become a votive object. Ultimately, the category refers to a subset of the material world in which a thing is not necessarily made to be a votive, but instead becomes charged with votive meaning once dedicated to a deity or deities. The seminar builds on the assumption that a shared conceptual framework underpins votive objects, and that by merit of their consecration they have become a category representing a special stage in the life of a material. Together we will explore the relationship between humans and deities through the basic act of material exchange. The seminar will consider the participation of donors and devotees, as well as theories from fields of religion and anthropology, which will serve to examine and further our understanding of the unique phenomenon of the ex voto. 3 credits.Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Global Middle Ages

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

Fall 2016

945
Collaboration: Perspectives on the Modernist Interior

945 Collaboration: Perspectives on the Modernist Interior

PROFESSOR:

Juliet Kinchin

The course is offered in conjunction with the exhibition Interior Propositions opening this fall at MoMA, an exploration of modernist interiors. Spanning three decades from the 1920s to 1950s, and highlighting recent major  acquisitions of design by Eileen Gray, Charlotte Perriand, and Lina Bo Bardi, this exhibition presents a series of interior ‘propositions’ drawn from the museum’s collection. Through evoking a series of innovative domestic spaces, exhibition displays, and retail environments, the aim of Interior Propositions is to explore the complex collaborative partnerships and processes that have shaped the modernist interior. Attention is focused on the networks—professional, commercial, institutional, and personal—through which revolutionary new tendencies in modern interiors were promoted, and their critical/popular reception. 3 credits.

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Modern Design History

SEMESTER:

Fall 2016

947
Excavation-Conservation-Display

947 Excavation-Conservation-Display

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

This special Mellon seminar will introduce students to the practice of archaeology, the science of archaeological conservation, and techniques of display. The course will examine the way an archaeological site is chosen and how it is dug, how the site is preserved, how artifacts are conserved after their excavation, and what the objects undergo on their way to display. The role of funding will be considered, as well as regulations imposed by source countries governing the excavation process. Case studies on the sites of Gordion and Çatalhöyük as well as the Pratt ivories from Acemhöyük in Turkey will address issues relating to methods of excavation, conservation/reconstruction, publication, and dating, as well as unexcavated objects in museums and private collections. Students will engage in individual research projects relating to major burial and city sites such as the tombs of Hetepheres, Sithathoryunet, and Tutankhamun in Egypt, the sites of Ur, Troy, Hasanlu, Nimrud, and Babylon in the Near East, the Orientalizing tombs of Etruria, and sites in Greece and elsewhere; students’ research on the history of excavation and conservation at these sites will be presented to the group. Meetings are held with field archaeologists, conservators, curators, and technicians at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other area institutions. The looting of ancient sites will be addressed in the context of scientific excavation, and a tour of antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum will end the course. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 or the non-Western requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

948
The Inca and Their Ancestors: Andean Objects, Technologies, and Issues of Conservation

948 The Inca and Their Ancestors: Andean Objects, Technologies, and Issues of Conservation

PROFESSOR:

Alicia Boswell

Best known for the rapid rise and fall of the Inca Empire, a more detailed narrative shows that the Andes region has an extensive prehistory of complex societies of more than three thousand years. This interdisciplinary seminar is a survey designed to introduce students to different Andean societies and technological innovations through the material culture itself. We will examine these Andean objects through a variety of lenses consulting writings from anthropology, archaeology, art history, and conservation science to understand the great achievements of Andean civilizations, including the construction of Inca stone buildings, the evolution of metal working, weaving, and other material types. This course brings conservation science into dialogue with humanist fields. We will discuss what each field contributes to our understanding of the object and technology, and what questions remain. The course will be complemented by visiting the Andean objects we are studying in local museums. Field trips are scheduled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other local museums offering the opportunity for close study of actual objects and to engage with conservators and curators about the technology, conservation, and presentation of these objects. As part of the course students will have the opportunity to create digital conservation projects through a virtual exhibit of Andean objects. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

949
Material and Materiality: Medieval Problems, Contemporary Answers

949 Material and Materiality: Medieval Problems, Contemporary Answers

PROFESSOR:

Ittai Weinryb

Questions pertaining to materials and materiality have become key to the study of medieval art and culture. With the understanding that interaction with the material object was achieved not only through the sense of sight but also through the other senses and by means of embodied relations between the viewer and the object, issues of the materiality and tangibility of the object have become crucial for the study of medieval art. Furthermore, developments in the field of history of science as well as the development of object-oriented theories have provided scholars with new means to contemplate the significance of material, process, and ritual in the work of the artisan and scientist. The interest in process has shifted the focus onto materials and onto the fabrication of knowledge generated by the interaction of practitioner and material object. Drawing further on these observations, the course will examine whether material and technique can serve as novel sites for experimentation and deliberation, and help explain artifacts in less traditional ways. The aim of this course is thus to examine notions regarding medieval materials as they are represented through artifacts and texts, and to consider their changing historical meaning through twenty-first century lenses. 3 credits. Based on research paper topic, this course can satisfy the pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

950
Cleaning Up in Early Modern Europe: Intellectual, Social, and Material History

950 Cleaning Up in Early Modern Europe: Intellectual, Social, and Material History

PROFESSOR:

Deborah L. Krohn

Notions of purity and cleanliness are deeply embedded within the arts and material cultures of early modern Europe. From the dialectic between stained and immaculate that is at the heart of Judeo-Christian beliefs, to the most practical recipes for stain removal from books of secrets, we will examine a broad variety of evidence to explore not only what clean meant, but its opposite—what was considered unclean or dirty. Primary sources may include the Bible, sumptuary laws, etiquette treatises, books of secrets, poetry and fiction, as well as manuscript illuminations, frescoes, paintings, prints, and textiles. We will move between the spiritual and the physical. How often did people bathe, and where? How did they deal with bodily smells and imperfections? How, when, and where did they wash their clothes, homes, and household linens? What materials were employed in cleaning? This research seminar will be structured around weekly readings and individual reconstructions of recipes for cleaning agents and cosmetics. Requirements: a class presentation, a reconstruction, and a final research paper of between 3,000 and 4,000 words. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

951
Reorienting Fashion: Dress, Culture, and East Asia

951 Reorienting Fashion: Dress, Culture, and East Asia

This seminar seeks to impart a broad understanding of the history and ideas of East Asian fashion from the seventeenth century to present, featuring a global perspective and transcultural approaches. The course will consist of two parts. The first part examines the role of fashion in the changing social, cultural, and political systems in China and Japan. We will discuss how certain styles and silhouettes came to embody new gender identities, manifest nationalism in an age of crises, and symbolize ethnic tradition as time went by. We will pay special attention to the issues of how interactions with the West and globalization led to sartorial modernity and reinvention of the tradition in East Asia. The second part explores the multivalent construction and meanings of “East Asian dress” in global art and fashion. Issues to be discussed include Oriental clothing as inspirations for Western artistic movements and dress reforms, cross-cultural dressing, Asian elements in contemporary fashion by both Western and Asian designers, and museum exhibitions of Asian and Asia-inspired dress. This session prepares students with diverse approaches and theories for analyzing cultural exchanges through fashion. The course will schedule one visit to the storeroom at the Met to study selected examples of historical garments. Interdisciplinary methodologies and approaches are encouraged. Students are welcome to develop final projects that focus on fashion in other regions of Asia and their roles in the global imagination. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

952
British Furniture, 1830-1915

952 British Furniture, 1830-1915

PROFESSOR:

Susan Weber

This course is a survey of the nineteenth-century design reform movement highlighting British furniture designers and theorists from the Gothic Revival to Art Nouveau. The parade of styles is examined in relation to industrialization, global influences, new marketing methods, and social changes. Major figures include A.W.N. Pugin, William Morris, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Museum and collections visits are part of the course. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

953
Seize the Stem! Art Nouveau in Europe

953 Seize the Stem! Art Nouveau in Europe

PROFESSOR:

Freyja Hartzell

In the late 1890s, French architect Hector Guimard—now best known for his sprouting, organic designs for the Paris Metro—coined the phrase “Reject the flower, seize the stem!” In this seminar, we will explore Art Nouveau, “the new style” often epitomized by the tendril form, in its various stylistic manifestations and cultural meanings across Europe at the fin de siècle. In addition to investigating the ways in which plant and animal forms served as inspirations for this self-consciously modern approach to architectural structure, the design of objects, and surface decoration, we will examine the social contexts within which the new style(s) developed, as well as larger historiographical and methodological questions regarding Art Nouveau’s place and meaning as a reform movement within the history of design. Class sessions will address issues specific to regional expressions of the style—mainly in Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain—as well as more thematic concerns and influences, including the rise of nationalism, new interest in local ethnography and the vernacular, the burgeoning of consumer capitalism, new developments in biological and psychological science, the Gesamtkunstwerk (total-artwork) and theatricality in design, as well as backlashes against and critiques of Art Nouveau’s so-called “whiplash curve” in both period and current scholarship. We will also devote a special class to fin-de-siècle Paris as a prelude to the Bard Travel Program trip in May. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

954
In Focus: Fabricating Power in Twentieth-Century Balinese Textiles

954 In Focus: Fabricating Power in Twentieth-Century Balinese Textiles

PROFESSOR:

Urmila Mohan

This is the first of two courses that culminate in a Focus Project exhibit and publication in Spring 2018. This course explores textiles produced on the predominantly Hindu island of Bali in the Indonesian archipelago as agentive objects that are worn, traded, collected and exhibited. The cloths form part of a rich South East Asian history of exchange, valued both for how they look and what they do. That is, they possess both physical and symbolic value that is transformed into power through direct contact and/or abstraction as images. Over the past century ‘Balinese textiles’ have become part of a network of relationships between Western expats, anthropologists, collectors, and tourists. The American Museum of Natural History houses textiles collected by the anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson during their fieldwork in Bali (1936-38). By focusing on these objects, we will explore the question “What is a ‘Balinese textile’?” and discuss how cloth from this island forms material and immaterial relationships as part of a global narrative. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

955
Craft and the Counterculture

955 Craft and the Counterculture

PROFESSOR:

Elissa Auther

This seminar focuses on craft in the American Counterculture of the 1960s and 70s as well as its legacy in contemporary creative practice. In the heady and hallucinogenic days of the 1960s and 70s, a diverse range of artists and creative individuals based in the American West broke the barriers between art and lifestyle and embraced the new hybrid sensibilities of the countercultural movement. Craft—as an ideology, a material practice, and a lifestyle—played a major role in this revolutionary cultural and political moment. The course will also include an examination of the recent revival of interest in countercultural artistic practice of the 1960s and 70s and its connection to the contemporary DIY movement, “craftivism,” and the rise of artisanal culture. Course readings will be drawn from a range of primary and scholarly sources, and the seminar will incorporate the exhibition, Counter Couture, a survey of historic countercultural fashion design traveling to the Museum of Arts and Design in the spring. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

IND
Independent Study

IND Independent Study

Independent study offers students the opportunity to pursue research in areas beyond the range of the standard curriculum. Through independent study, students further their knowledge of subjects introduced in their coursework or explore topics related to their qualifying paper or doctoral dissertation. Requirements are determined by the student and faculty sponsor, with approval of the Graduate Committee. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

INT
Internship

INT Internship

Internships are arranged through the BGC, the student, and the sponsoring institution. A wide variety of internships are available, including positions at museums, historic houses, galleries, publishing houses, and other arts organizations. The internship should relate to the student’s research interests. Upon completion of the project, the student submits a report of the work undertaken and the host institution provides an evaluation. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2017

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About Our Areas of Focus

Unique among American graduate programs, Bard Graduate Center studies the cultural history of the material world in all times and places, from distant antiquity to the developments of yesterday and tomorrow. Within this global sweep, our rich faculty resources and worldwide institutional partnerships make us particularly strong in the seven areas of focus listed in the following pages: New York and American Material Culture; Modern Design History; History and Theory of Museums; Early Modern Europe; Global Middle Ages; Archaeology, Anthropology, and Material Culture; and Cultures of Conservation, an Andrew W. Mellon-Funded initiative. Each of these areas draws on the special interests and expertise of several of our permanent faculty members, as well as postdoctoral fellows and visiting instructors from our New York cultural campus; each represents an area of study in which it is possible, though not required, to focus as part of a degree program. Rather than constituting defined or official tracks through our curriculum, these seven areas of focus offer students productive points of reference for a broad exploration of history through its tangible and material traces.

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24

New York and American Material Culture

Bard Graduate Center offers a rich range of programs and resources for the study of New York and American material culture from before European contact to the present. Drawing on faculty with expertise in American decorative arts, the history of art and architecture, craft and design history, museology, the history and theory of collecting, taste and aesthetics, cross-cultural encounter, anthropology, cultural landscapes, native peoples, visual culture, photography, digital humanities, and philosophy, this area offers a culturally inclusive, multi-disciplinary approach to the relationships between people and things.

Courses expose students to methodologies that include hands-on object study and connoisseurship; ethnography and oral history; folklore; and techniques of visual, material, spatial, and textual analysis. Faculty-student collaborations have included Focus Project exhibitions such as Objects of Exchange: Social and Material Transformation on the Late Nineteenth-Century Northwest CoastAmerican Christmas Cards, 1900-1960Visualizing 19th-Century New York; and Revisions—Zen for FilmDigital projects include Visualizing New York, a collaboration between Bard Graduate Center and the New York Public Library and the Bard Graduate Center Craft, Art and Design Oral History Project, an online digital archive of oral history interviews of contemporary craftspeople, artists, and designers.

Faculty who teach in this area include:

Ivan Gaskell
Aaron Glass
David Jaffee
Catherine Whalen

Recent courses include:

591
American Furniture of the Nineteenth Century

591 American Furniture of the Nineteenth Century

PROFESSOR:

Kenneth L. Ames

A chronological survey of furniture produced for household use in the United States in a period of extraordinary growth, diversity, and change. Sessions examine examples of work by the most significant artisans, designers, and manufacturers; the major styles, from American Empire and the Aesthetic movement to American Renaissance and Arts and Crafts; technological and industrial developments and responses to them; the changing relationship of American furniture to that produced in Europe and elsewhere; regional vernaculars, variations, and alternatives; key texts; and the impact of shifting cultural values and patterns of domestic life. Visits to local collections and institutions are arranged. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

606
The Colonial Revival

606 The Colonial Revival

PROFESSOR:

Catherine Whalen

This seminar focuses on the Colonial Revival in the United States, a complex cultural phe­nomenon succinctly described as “national retrospection” that began during the early re­public and has persisted ever since. Chronologically, the course spans from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the US Bicentennial in 1976, with special attention to the revival’s heyday from circa 1880 to 1940. The Colonial Revival takes many forms, encompassing decorative arts, architecture, landscape design, painting, sculpture, graphic arts, literature, photogra­phy, and film. Key practices include forming collections, staging commemorations, and preserving historic sites. Situated within the oft-cited historical context of industrializa­tion, urbanization, and immigration, the Colonial Revival intersects discourses of regionalism, romantic nationalism, nativism, progressivism, modernism, and antimodern­ism. Further points of consideration include the relationship to the Arts and Crafts movement and comparable revivals in the Americas and Europe. Readings empha­size historiography, primary sources, and recent scholarship. Visits to museum collections required. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

764
The Material Culture of New York City: The Nineteenth Century

764 The Material Culture of New York City: The Nineteenth Century

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

This course introduces students to the study of the material culture of New York City in the nineteenth century—its built environment, cultural landscape, and decorative arts industries. Students will examine the historical and cultural context of New York as a center of post-revolutionary manufacturing, as an arena of racial and ethnic traditions and conflicts in the mid-nineteenth century, and as an emerging national capital of culture in the late nineteenth century. The course will be organized around a series of historical spaces: the artisan’s workshop and the early national port city; the nineteenth-century town house, tenement house, and apartment building; emerging factory spaces for the production of culture, such as the furniture and publishing industries; cultural spaces of consumption, such as Barnum’s American Museum, Brady’s Daguerreian Studio and the 1853 Crystal Palace; the building of Central Park and the contest over urban public space; and late nineteenth-century spaces for display, such as the department store, the art museum, and the amusement park. The course will involve visits to several museum collections. Students will be asked to complete several short papers, create a class presentation, and contribute to a final collaborative digital exhibition project. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2016

799
Domestic Material Culture of Nineteenth-Century America

799 Domestic Material Culture of Nineteenth-Century America

PROFESSOR:

Kenneth L. Ames

The emphasis in this course is on investigating certain aspects of the dominant culture of the United States of the nineteenth century through selected examples of its household material culture. Our task, in part, is to identify objects of heightened cultural significance or resonance, objects that offer insights, perhaps not immediately apparent, into prominent cultural constructs or concerns of the era. Our method is one of triangulation, seeking intersections or overlay of objects with concurrent words and images. The words are period fiction and non-fiction; the images are paintings of the period. How each of these classes of cultural production illuminates the others remains to be discovered.   Relevant to our inquiry are questions about what objects people then understood as iconic. Also germane are considerations of the ways our own ideological orientations, values, and aesthetic preferences may structure or distort study of the nineteenth century. Short classroom presentations and substantial written paper required. 3 credits. 

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

823
American Consumer Culture

823 American Consumer Culture

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

Catherine Whalen

This seminar explores the history of consumer culture in the United States from the 18th-century consumer revolution to e-tail. Topics include the development of trademarks, packaging, branding, advertising, and marketing; shopping spaces and practices; corporations; mass consumption; gender/sexuality, race/ethnicity, economic inequality, and selfhood and citizenship in consumer society; moralizing discourse; and consumer resistance. Sources considered include goods and services, retail venues, advertisements, prescriptive literature, novels, film, television, and the Internet, as well as cultural commentary and recent scholarship. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

928
In Focus: The 1853 New York Crystal Palace

928 In Focus: The 1853 New York Crystal Palace

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

The New York Crystal Palace of 1853 (formally the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations) was the first world fair held in the United States, housed in an impressive cast-iron structure on the site of Bryant Park. Like its namesake in London, the Crystal Palace showcased an enormous range of manufactured consumer goods and technological marvels of the age. We will explore the Crystal Palace alongside competing venues including A.T. Stewart’s Marble Palace, daguerreian “saloons,” and P.T. Barnum’s American Museum, to better understand how New York became a center of urban culture and consumption. Students in this course will develop an experimental Focus Gallery exhibition on this topic. We will work to locate and research surviving objects that were featured in the 1853 exhibition, along with contemporary souvenirs, publications, lithographs, daguerreotypes, stereoviews, and wood engravings that diffused images and/or memories of the event. We will consider what the theme of the Focus Gallery exhibition should be, what materials should be displayed, and how to craft an exhibition that best communicates our understanding of the commercial culture of nineteenth-century New York. We will also be working on accompanying digital components, such as in-gallery interactives and a digital publication. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2015

932
The American Civil War: Art and material Culture

932 The American Civil War: Art and material Culture

PROFESSOR:

Ivan Gaskell

This course examines the intersection between 1861 and 1865 of internecine conflict, involuntary African immigration and enslavement, and Indian genocide. Discussion will focus on the role material culture and visual representation played in the prosecution of warfare, and continue to play in its remembrance. Participants will analyze varied material, from clothing to entire landscapes, photographs, illustrated magazines, ceramics, and statuary. Classes will be devoted to photography for reportage and portraiture, the treatment of the wounded and the dead, public and domestic statuary, intimate possessions of citizens, slaves, and Natives, conflicts between colonists and Natives, and commemoration and re-enactment. The lives, possessions, and representations of women are as important as those of men. Envisaged field trips to museums and sites include the Armory of the 7th New York Regiment, Green-Wood Cemetery, and the mid-nineteenth-century African American community of Weeksville. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

933
Women at Home: Women as Producers, Consumers, Designers, and Critics of the American Domestic Interior, 1820-1920

933 Women at Home: Women as Producers, Consumers, Designers, and Critics of the American Domestic Interior, 1820-1920

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

This seminar investigates the multiple roles women played in creating the American home in the “long” nineteenth century. Women were not only key figures in reconfiguring the domestic environment in this period, but they were also active participants in many of the growing trades that produced an expanding range of consumer goods for the home, such as decorative home furnishings, clothing, and prints. After the Civil War, women also sought to gain economic autonomy in their new roles as designers, creators, and critics of specifically “artistic” goods for the home. We will work with the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (where we will meet regularly, in addition to BGC), as well as with primary sources including periodical literature, fiction, and design manuals. Topics include the development of parlor culture, the rise of department stores, the role of tastemakers and household manuals, and the growing independence of women through creative work. Assignments will include wiki postings, class presentations, and a final paper with a digital option. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

24

Modern Design History

The industrial revolution and the huge expansion in “the world of goods” in Europe and North America offer a starting point for the history of modern design. However, this is not simply an exercise in social and economic history. The boom in consumerism created widespread anxiety about how things were designed, prompting questions about “good” and “bad” design, the proper values that should be encouraged, and what it meant to be “modern.” As a result, many designers and critics formed opinions that, with the expanding mass media, created a public and international discourse on the role of design in society. How can wallpaper foster good moral values? Why are certain materials and processes felt to be “honest,” while others are “corrupt” or “backward”? And, how do the things that surround us affect the way we live our lives?

These and other questions underlie the teaching of modern design history, which allows students to concentrate on such disparate topics as new materials and technologies, questions of style and function, national identity, gender, and domesticity, as well as the conflicting tendencies of industrialization and handcraft. Studying design requires us to consider some of the fundamental changes in modern society over the past two centuries, and to engage with the vital questions of how and why our world looks the way it does.

Faculty who teach in this area include:

Freyja Hartzell
Michele Majer
Paul Stirton
Susan Weber
Catherine Whalen

Recent courses include:

565
Twentieth-Century Fashion

565 Twentieth-Century Fashion

PROFESSOR:

Michele Majer

This seminar presents a cultural study of European and American women’s dress from the Belle Époque through the 1970s. Within a chronological framework that traces the evolution of the silhouette and the work of major designers, we explore the changing forces impacting fashion during this period.  Along with theoretical readings that offer theoretical interpretations of fashion, issues to be examined include changing ideals of feminine beauty as manifested by the use of cosmetics and understructure; the influence of film, historicism, contemporary art, and sport culture on style; the advent and significance of fashion photography; developments in clothing manufacture and the introduction of synthetics; the rise of the American designer and the ready-to-wear industry in the mid-century; the “youthquake” phenomenon and counterculture clothing in the 1960s and 1970s,  and the demise of French fashion leadership and the resurgence of haute couture in the 1980s. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

573
Graphic Design in Europe, 1890-1945

573 Graphic Design in Europe, 1890-1945

PROFESSOR:

Paul Stirton

Graphic design, in the sense that we now understand it, developed in the late nineteenth century out of the needs of a new mass society and the enhanced capabilities of printing technologies. This course will consider the forces that shaped European graphic design in the period, paying particular attention to such issues as advertising, propaganda, style and the larger theories of design that were discussed and disseminated through contemporary journals. While the course will address a broad spectrum of designers working within various national traditions, particular emphasis will be paid to German, British and Russian/Soviet graphics. Individual case studies, to be researched by students within the larger framework of the historical survey, will allow for detailed analysis of such topics as First World War propaganda, London Transport Advertising, Pelikan Ink Design, Soviet film posters, and typefaces and national identity. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

693
Craft and Design in the USA, 1945 to the Present

693 Craft and Design in the USA, 1945 to the Present

PROFESSOR:

Catherine Whalen

This seminar examines the shifting boundaries of craft and industrial design in the United States from World War II to the present. In the postwar era’s expanding consumer economy, craft and industrial design flourished, and the terms “craft” and “design” were materially and rhetorically interwoven within interpenetrating academic, museum, and commercial settings. But their meanings increasingly diverged during the 1960s and 1970s, as craftspeople seeking cultural authority and economic viability sought to position themselves as artists. During the 1980s, in turn, design practitioners re-engaged with craft as commodity via high design. These fluctuating professional parameters coincided with widespread amateur engagement in aesthetic production, often absent from design history. Topics addressed include the impact of technology, the interrelationship of modernism and postmodernism, and craft and design vis-à-vis popular culture, social movements, globalization, and sustainability. Individual designers, craftspeople, firms, and groups will be discussed, along with thematic case studies. Sources considered include objects, exhibition catalogues, period writings, and recent criticism. Visits to museum collections required. The final assignment for the course is to conduct an oral history interview with a maker for the Bard Graduate Center Craft Art and Design Oral History Project. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

738
Readings in Design History

738 Readings in Design History

In this seminar we will examine the historiography and current literature in the field of Design History. With the establishment of the field in the 1970s, scholars broke with traditional art historical emphases on elite production and connoisseurship. As Design History expanded, it has come to encompass a wide variety of questions about production, consumption, gender, and materiality. Beginning with the foundation texts and ending with the current scholarship, we will explore the seminal texts and organizations and journals that have contributed to the practice of design history as a scholarly field. We will also discuss design history’s role in relation to studies in the decorative arts, material culture, and the current debates around design culture, design criticism, design studies and design history’s ongoing relationship with art history. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

772
The Aesthetic Movement: Designing Modernity, 1865–1905

772 The Aesthetic Movement: Designing Modernity, 1865–1905

PROFESSOR:

Paul Stirton

This course examines manifestations of modernity in British design, from the Aesthetic movement of the 1860s to the New Art tendencies of about 1900, with reference to interior decoration, furniture design, dress, graphics, stained glass, metalwork, and ceramics. Emphasis will be placed on such figures as E. W. Godwin, James McNeill Whistler, Christopher Dresser, Oscar Wilde, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and their contributions to concepts of modernity in design and “artistic” taste. Theoretical and philosophical debates relating to style, design, and dress reform will be studied through the writings of various 19th-century authors. Issues to be addressed include the expression of spirituality, gender relations, and individualism through the design of objects and spaces; the role of the new art and architectural press; modernity and the city; the development of “artistic” manufactures, galleries, and retail outlets; performance and parody; the literature of design reform and household taste; artists’ and collectors’ houses; the aesthetics of orientalism, internationalism, and regionalism. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

Fall 2016

847
Fashion and Theatre, ca. 1780-1920

847 Fashion and Theatre, ca. 1780-1920

PROFESSOR:

Michele Majer

This course explores the reciprocal relationship between fashion and the theatre in France, Britain and the US from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Before the advent of film around 1900, the theatre played a significant role in social and cultural life; theatres proliferated during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, drawing audiences from a wide socio-economic spectrum. Plays—whether set in the present or the past—reflected contemporary social, cultural and political issues and attitudes, and there was a rich exchange between the theatre and wider literary and artistic movements. We consider theatres themselves as an important arena of display where members of the audience, particularly women, went to see and be seen, and costumes worn on the stage by leading actresses—including contemporary fashions and historic and exotic dress—often launched new styles. Although actresses’ morality was suspect during most of this period, they were important trendsetters whose visibility increased dramatically as a result of the growth of the fashion press and of publications devoted to the theatre as well as the introduction of photography. By the turn of the twentieth century, these performers were prominent figures in the emerging cult of celebrity; their images, in both on- and off-stage dress, and their lifestyles were frequently featured in magazines such as Le ThéâtreThe Sketch,Vogue, and Vanity Fair and circulated in widely disseminated post cards. We also look at the contribution of well-known artists and couturiers who designed theatrical costumes and fashion itself as a topic in the theatre, particularly the “fashion plays” of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a time of heightened commercialization of both these areas. Each week, we will focus on a specific play as the starting point of our investigation. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

931
News from Nowhere: Design and Utopia

931 News from Nowhere: Design and Utopia

PROFESSOR:

Freyja Hartzell

What is the fundamental purpose of design?  At some level, all design—in its various capacities as theory, practice, and object—aims to change the world in which we live, and with it, our experience of living.  Design is, by nature, utopian. Framing its questions around the fundamental ambivalence of “utopia”—implied first in Thomas More’s 1516 socio-political fiction, Utopia, and much later in William Morris’s post-Revolutionary novel, News from Nowhere of 1890—this course explores a variety of ways in which design not only engages with but actually defines the term’s dual Greek roots: eutopia (“the good place”) and utopia (“no place”). Each class session will unfold around a specific theme, combining material ranging roughly from 1750 to today, with topics including: “The Tiny House: Aristocratic Retreat to Alternative Lifestyle”; “Gesamtkunstwerk: The Total Environment and its Critics”; “Body Politics: Eugenics, Dress Reform, Anthropomorphism, Ergonometrics”; “News from Nowhere: Artists’ Colonies and Craft Communities”; “The Garden City: Living Green”; “Future-Past: Modernism and Nostalgia”; “Technotopia”; and “Dystopian Design.” Students are encouraged to pursue original research projects that problematize the relation of design and utopia within their own fields of interest. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

25

History and Theory of Museums

This area of study approaches museums not only as repositories of objects to be analyzed with a historical lens, but also as complex social, economic, and even political institutions that must be approached from broad theoretical and contextual viewpoints. As princely and aristocratic collections of fine arts and natural history entered the emerging public sphere between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, they were asked to perform different functions for different constituencies and were accompanied by new paradigms of description, cataloguing, exhibition, and display. More recently, industrialization, colonialism, mass travel and tourism, and the emergence of new media have had profound implications for museums of all types—including those devoted to fine and decorative arts, ethnography and anthropology, and natural history and science.

Students choose from a variety of courses that might include topics in the history of collecting, the origins of museums as institutions, the conservation of objects, strategies of museum education and outreach, and the art market. Courses in this area span the temporal and geographic range of our faculty and the broad variety of objects studied at Bard Graduate Center. Rather than simply acquiring a particular skill set, our students emerge with the tools to think about the museum as a protean institution at the center of contemporary cultural policy.

Faculty who teach in this area include:

Jeffrey L. Collins
Ivan Gaskell
Aaron Glass
Deborah L. Krohn
Catherine Whalen

Recent courses include:

733
The Exhibition Experience: Design and Interpretation

733 The Exhibition Experience: Design and Interpretation

PROFESSOR:

Deborah L. Krohn

The special exhibition, where objects are grouped together for a limited time for a particular purpose, has become a key component of the contemporary museum experience. But in a larger sense all exhibitions, whether temporary or permanent, tell stories, communicate meaning, and establish values by presenting objects and ideas in ways that are always mediated by design. This course will use the upcoming Bard Graduate Center/ Metropolitan Museum collaborative exhibition “Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” which will open on April 3, 2013, as a case study through which to examine the ways exhibition curators and designers construct historical and didactic narratives by juxtaposing selected objects, texts, and digital images. Since one of the challenges of the Hoentschel project has been to track the changing ways that furniture and domestic objects have been used and displayed over their history, we will give particular focus to current strategies of exhibiting furniture and furnishings in museum period rooms and historic properties. Classes will be led by exhibition curators Ulrich Leben and Deborah Krohn, with guest appearances by other BGC staff involved in the show. Classes will take place at BGC, with field trips to local collections. Assignments will include the preparation of a “mock exhibition,” including interpretive components, using Google SketchUp, on a topic to be chosen in consultation with the instructors. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

795
Exhibiting Culture/s: Anthropology In and Of the Museum

795 Exhibiting Culture/s: Anthropology In and Of the Museum

PROFESSOR:

Aaron Glass

Over the past two centuries, the museum has emerged as one of the primary institutional venues for intercultural encounter mediated by objects. Practices of both collection and display have been central to the imagining and valuing of various kinds of cultural others, and to the construction and communication of knowledge about the world’s peoples. This course will examine multiple historical and theoretical points of articulation (and disarticulation) between the museum and the discipline of anthropology. Topics include: the place of the “exotic” curio in early European and colonial collections; the rise of natural history and social evolutionary paradigms for exhibiting non-Western objects; the development of professional anthropology in the museum; popular forms of ethno-spectacle (e.g. the world’s fair and cinema) and the lasting tension between education and entertainment; debates surrounding “primitivism” and avant-garde interest in non-Western art; nationalism and sovereignty in the wake of decolonization; and contemporary anthropological and ethnographic studies of museums as sites of cultural production and contest. Through critical readings, discussions, and museum visits, students will come to better understand and appreciate the dynamics of collecting, studying, and displaying the art and material culture of the world’s peoples. Opportunities to work closely with collections and institutions will be encouraged (especially the American Museum of Natural History). 3 credits. (based on research paper topic, satisfies non-Western requirement)

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

876
Tangible Things: Observing, Collecting, Sorting

876 Tangible Things: Observing, Collecting, Sorting

PROFESSOR:

Ivan Gaskell

The objective of this course is to use object-centered historical and interdisciplinary research to advance the conception of a future exhibition drawn from the many collections at Harvard University. Buried in storage within Harvard’s museums are relics of “international experiences” —moments of wonder, envy, conflict, and appropriation—that extend over more than three centuries. They expose the intellectual assumptions and the political and economic forces that have shaped American encounters with the world. Treating divisions among the arts, the humanities, and the sciences as permeable, the seminar will investigate how collecting and categorizing tangible things have progressively shaped social, intellectual, and cultural boundaries in American society. The seminar will be conducted in parallel with a seminar at Harvard University convened by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. The two seminars will confer electronically, and (funding permitting) will hold two joint residential weekend workshops, one in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and one in New York City. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

911
From Ditch to Nitch: Making the Vatican Museum

911 From Ditch to Nitch: Making the Vatican Museum

PROFESSOR:

Jeffrey L. Collins

Public museums as we know them today were invented in eighteenth-century Europe in tandem with new ideas about the cultural value, social purpose, appropriate setting, and intended audience of art and historic artifacts. But how, where, and why did these protomodern museums take shape? What practical and conceptual operations were required to create an eighteenth-century museum, and how did they intersect with wider scientific, political, economic, and aesthetic concerns? This seminar investigates these questions by focusing on eighteenth-century Rome, a crucible of modern museology, and particularly the Pio-Clementino museum of classical antiquities, nucleus and ancestor of today’s Vatican Museums. We will use this and related case studies to explore the history of collecting and display in Italy; changes in the art market and new notions of cultural patrimony; shifts in patronage and the invention of new bureaucratic and institutional structures; the growing interest in Greco-Roman antiquity and the development of “Neoclassicism”; and the role of the Grand Tour in catalyzing and diffusing new cultural ideals. The seminar will also function as a workshop for my current book project on the changing fortunes, forms, and meanings of an important nucleus of ancient statuary as it moved from a clandestine excavation near Tivoli in 1774-5 through installation at the Vatican, transfer to Paris under Napoleon, and return to Rome after the Battle of Waterloo. By reconstructing how and by whom these prized artifacts were unearthed, identified, acquired, restored, displayed, contextualized, published, reproduced, confiscated, and ultimately repatriated, the project illuminates both the history of museums and the diverse and sometimes conflicting understandings of antiquity at the dawn of the modern era. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

945
Collaboration: Perspectives on the Modernist Interior

945 Collaboration: Perspectives on the Modernist Interior

PROFESSOR:

Juliet Kinchin

The course is offered in conjunction with the exhibition Interior Propositions opening this fall at MoMA, an exploration of modernist interiors. Spanning three decades from the 1920s to 1950s, and highlighting recent major  acquisitions of design by Eileen Gray, Charlotte Perriand, and Lina Bo Bardi, this exhibition presents a series of interior ‘propositions’ drawn from the museum’s collection. Through evoking a series of innovative domestic spaces, exhibition displays, and retail environments, the aim of Interior Propositions is to explore the complex collaborative partnerships and processes that have shaped the modernist interior. Attention is focused on the networks—professional, commercial, institutional, and personal—through which revolutionary new tendencies in modern interiors were promoted, and their critical/popular reception. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2016

25
26

Early Modern Europe

Students wishing to specialize in the art and material culture of early modern Europe and the colonial Americas between ca. 1400 and 1800 will find a wide roster of thematically and methodologically diverse courses. This interdisciplinary concentration draws on the research interests of faculty from the fields of art and design history, intellectual history and historiography, anthropology, philosophy, and aesthetics. Object-based courses address aspects of craft production ranging from the elite to the ephemeral, including metalwork, textiles, woodworking, ceramics and print, while theoretically-driven topics include the history of object-based scholarship and the changing social, cultural, and ideological uses and understandings of objects in domestic and courtly cultures.

Specific concentrations include the history of the book, food history, the early history of collecting, the impacts of Europe’s overseas colonization and trade, cross-cultural exchange, and religion and the arts. Courses are often team-taught and/or tied to exhibition projects in which the students are actively employed. These include English Embroidery from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1580-1700:“Twixt Art and Nature” and Dutch New York Between East and West: The World of Margrieta van Varick. Recent and ongoing PhD topics include Renaissance armor and its nineteenth-century afterlife, the life and work of a seventeenth-century alchemist, and Tudor court ceremony and dress.

Faculty who teach in this area include:

Jeffrey L. Collins
Deborah L. Krohn
Peter N. Miller
Andrew Morrall
Susan Weber

Recent courses include:

601
Western Furniture: From Antiquity to 1830

601 Western Furniture: From Antiquity to 1830

PROFESSOR:

Susan Weber

This survey course traces the evolution of furniture design and production from antiquity to the 1830s. Outstanding examples of furniture from Europe, America, and China are discussed in terms of style, materials, and construction techniques. Emphasis is placed on the work of important designers, craftsmen, and patrons. The social, political, and economic conditions that spawned changes in domestic furniture design are discussed, as well as the relation of furniture to architectural settings. Field trips to New York museums and auction houses will be part of this course. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

Fall 2016

621
The Renaissance Discovery of the World: Collecting and Collections in the Early Modern Era

621 The Renaissance Discovery of the World: Collecting and Collections in the Early Modern Era

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

This course explores habits of collecting in Europe from about 1500 to 1650, tracing the development of the Kunstkammer and the cabinet of curiosities in the age of discovery and the opening up of new worlds to European experience. It and examines how the collecting of natural and artificial objects fortified princely power, transformed the nature of both aesthetic and scientific experience, and shaped the sensibility of intellectuals. Emphasis is placed on the great courtly collectors of central Europe, including the Wittelsbach Dukes of Bavaria, the Dukes of Saxony, and the various Habsburg rulers. Particular attention is given to the collection of Emperor Rudolf II in Prague, whose amassing of objects, both natural and manmade, coincided with his patronage of natural philosophers, alchemists, astronomers, and other seekers of knowledge. The changing relationship between art, nature, and science, embodied in early modern collections, is used to chart the shift from a medieval to a recognizably modern understanding of the processes of nature and of man’s place in the world. Knowledge of French and German is an advantage but not essential. 3 credits.  (satisfies pre-1800 requirement)

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

Fall 2016

763
The Monument: Designs and Meanings

763 The Monument: Designs and Meanings

PROFESSOR:

Jeffrey L. Collins

Monuments, from the Latin monere, are literally things that warn or remind by offering enduring and often imposing physical messages addressed to contemporaries and to posterity. This seminar investigates monuments and memorials as both cultural and aesthetic endeavors, considering continuities and change in form and meaning across place and time. Monuments may commemorate individuals, groups, actions, events, or even abstract ideas, and to study them requires attention to the histories of art, design, urbanism, politics, patronage, reception, conservation, and the relation of word and image. Students will investigate memorials from antiquity to the present, with a special focus on examples in New York City, many of which draw on a repertory of historical models ranging from obelisks, pyramids, and triumphal arches to commemorative columns, statuary, and gardens. Particular attention will be given to recent debates about monuments’ purpose, form, materials, location, and constituencies; particularly in the case of war memorials and martyria, official commemorations become the site of vigorous contests and disagreements. Because monuments are almost always intended to endure over time, we will examine the challenges of preserving, repairing, adapting, or repurposing them as materials decay and the surrounding contexts change. We will also investigate the boundaries between “private,” often funerary, monuments and “public” ones designed to join the urban fabric, as well as the emergence of counter- or protest monuments and other commemorative strategies designed to question or subvert a monumental language. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

781
The Early Modern Book: Cookbook as Case Study

781 The Early Modern Book: Cookbook as Case Study

PROFESSOR:

Deborah L. Krohn

This course is an introduction to two related emergent fields: history of the book, and culinary history. Though historians in many fields have been looking seriously at the history of books for a couple of generations, there has been comparatively little research on cookbooks and the social and economic implications of their diffusion during the Renaissance. In conjunction with the “coming of the book” and the diffusion of print culture at the end of the fifteenth century, the knowledge of food, its preparation, and service moved from the realm of tacit, artisanal understanding to a more scientific and rational set of precepts and codes. Paralleling transformations in areas such as agriculture, botany, metallurgy and other scientific fields, cooking became subject to empirical standards that underlie both texts and images in various books published between the end of the fifteenth and the end of the seventeenth century. These are the temporal parameters of the material we will look at. The first half of the course will be devoted to readings from classic studies in book history such as Elizabeth Eisenstein’s 1979The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, Febvre and Martin’s The Coming of the Book, and the works of Adrian Johns among others. We will then proceed to survey the most important cookbooks and recipe collections as they entered print at the end of the 15th century. Finally, we will look at the impact of illustration, which was to become an essential component of recipe collections and manuals in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There will be visits to local print and book collections, short reports, and a final research paper. Knowledge of one European language is strongly encouraged. 3 credits.satisfies pre-1800 requirement

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

846
Objects of Knowledge: Renaissance Ornament and Society in Northern Europe, 1500-1650

846 Objects of Knowledge: Renaissance Ornament and Society in Northern Europe, 1500-1650

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

This course is devoted to exploring the themes and subjects of figurative ornament that animated the surfaces of the decorative and applied arts of the northern Renaissance. It will examine how crafted objects reflected, embodied or proclaimed definable social and cultural values and expressed the tastes and interests of different social groups in an age of growing secularization, of reformation in matters of religion, of humanism in education and ethical life, of overseas commercial expansion in the cities, and territorial consolidation among the European rulers. In the wake of the Protestant Reformation, in particular, the ornamental arts filled a number of gaps, economic, aesthetic and psychic, into which creative energies, cut off or diverted from the traditional outlets in religious art, freely flowed. The course will be organized into a number of themes, to include Cosmography, History, Ethics, Myth, and Nature. It will draw on some of the most the dazzling achievements of Renaissance craftsmanship in a number of different media that will include metalwork, cabinet making, carving in wood, ivory and other exotic materials, glass, ceramics, textiles, and scientific and mechanical instruments. Above all, the course seeks to draw out connections between aesthetic and social experience and claim the sphere of ornament as an important medium that communicated various kinds of knowledge about the world: the structures of power and authority, shared ethical systems, historical ties of community and kinship, as well as, more broadly, engaging with the period fascination with the natural world and of man’s place within it. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

888
Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800

888 Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800

PROFESSOR:

Jeffrey L. Collins

Beginning in the sixteenth century, the golden age of European overseas navigation brought about the flowering of an abundant textile trade. Textiles and textile designs made their way around the globe, from India and Asia to Europe, between India and Asia and Southeast Asia, from Europe back to the east, and eventually to the west to the colonies of the Americas. Trade textiles blended the traditional designs, materials, and skills of the cultures that produced them, as well as some of the aesthetic preferences of their consumers. As such, they offer a chance to explore broad networks of cultural and material exchange and the specific local conditions in which such objects were made and used. This seminar, run at the Metropolitan Museum in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name, takes trade textiles as its theme, offering participants a chance for close and sustained study of the objects on view and of the historical patterns they exemplify. Meetings will take place in the exhibition galleries and the Met’s Antonio Ratti Textile Center, where students will gain experience with the close analysis of objects, using trade textiles in the collection to write both catalogue-style entries and a longer research paper modeled on an article for an academic journal such as Textile History. Guest instructors include exhibition curators Amelia Peck (American Wing) and Melinda Watt (European Sculpture and Decorative Arts), in addition to other co-curators and specialists. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

894
Objects of Belief: Religion and the Arts of Northern Europe 1450-1600

894 Objects of Belief: Religion and the Arts of Northern Europe 1450-1600

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

This course examines the transformation of the visual and material culture of late medieval Christianity brought about by the upheavals in beliefs, religious practice and social organization ushered in by the Protestant Reformation. It will begin by examining the rich material culture of the late medieval church and its spiritual, social and economic underpinnings, particularly in regard to relic worship, pilgrimage, and the cult of the saints. It will trace the concomitant rise in lay spirituality in the fifteenth century, which, under the impulse of the reforming ideals of theDevotio Moderna in the Netherlands and the renewed momentum of Erasmian humanism of the early sixteenth century, gathered pointed ideological force with the Protestant Reformation’s rejection of the cult of saints. Case studies drawn from the German-speaking territories, the Netherlands, and England will address such themes as iconoclasm and the consequent new forms of public worship, concentrating on continuities as well as the ruptures with Catholic tradition as the relationships between the material and the spiritual were reconfigured; the effects of evangelical beliefs upon the habits and rituals of domestic and civic life, upon ecclesiastical and domestic spaces, personal possessions, habits of dress and adornment, as the home, as much as the Church, became an important locus of spiritual and moral instruction; and more broadly, the material dimensions of Protestant attitudes to the written word and the book, natural philosophy, ethics, history, literature, and aesthetics and the wider implications of Protestantism upon Western culture. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

899
The Culture of Prints in Modern Europe

899 The Culture of Prints in Modern Europe

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

The advent of printing techniques signaled a watershed in European visual culture. This course will follow the development of printmaking in Europe from the first simple woodcuts to its apogee as a sophisticated art form in the sixteenth century. We will study the technical and aesthetic developments of the three main types of print, woodcut, engraving and etching, as well as issues of workshop practice and organization, to discover how by the mid-century, the production of and market for prints had expanded exponentially and the medium had acquired the status of an independent art form and an established set of critical values by which to judge it. A second aspect of the course will be to consider the massive cultural impact of prints across Europe as cheap and easily transportable models of design and ornament for the decorative and applied arts. Another component will be to explore the extent to which the replicated image helped revolutionize the transfer of knowledge in early modern Europe: how via printed books, maps and scientific objects and manuals, visual representation, as much as the written word, actively facilitated the conceptualization of ideas and framed scientific discourse. The course will include trips to local print collections and libraries. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

908
Artists, Craftsmen, and the Pursuit of Nature in Renaissance Europe

908 Artists, Craftsmen, and the Pursuit of Nature in Renaissance Europe

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

Deborah L. Krohn

This class will explore the manifold responses to the natural world by Renaissance artists and craftsmen during a period when the medieval, theologically-bound universe was giving way in the face of momentous new discoveries—of new worlds, peoples, animals and plant forms—and the traditional Ptolemaic worldview was challenged by the new heliocentric cosmos of Copernicus. The course will examine the ways artists and craftsmen documented nature’s physical qualities, charted its extent, explored its structures, and expressed its qualities and meanings in poetic and allegorical form. Themes will include the emergence of landscape and pastoral, villa culture, garden and grotto design, the aesthetics of mimesis and naturalism, the early collecting of naturalia, cartography and mapping, and the role of the artist / draughtsman in the emerging natural sciences. The course will include visits to museums and collections and will require a research paper. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement. This class will explore the manifold responses to the natural world by Renaissance artists and craftsmen during a period when the medieval, theologically-bound universe was giving way in the face of momentous new discoveries—of new worlds, peoples, animals and plant forms—and the traditional Ptolemaic worldview was challenged by the new heliocentric cosmos of Copernicus. The course will examine the ways artists and craftsmen documented nature’s physical qualities, charted its extent, explored its structures, and expressed its qualities and meanings in poetic and allegorical form. Themes will include the emergence of landscape and pastoral, villa culture, garden and grotto design, the aesthetics of mimesis and naturalism, the early collecting of naturalia, cartography and mapping, and the role of the artist / draughtsman in the emerging natural sciences. The course will include visits to museums and collections and will require a research paper. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

910
The Antiquarian Foundations of Contemporary Design Thinking

910 The Antiquarian Foundations of Contemporary Design Thinking

PROFESSOR:

Peter N. Miller

What is design thinking? Where does design thinking come from? How is design thinking human-centered, and how might we make it even more so? This seminar answers these questions with a dramatic assertion: that knowledge of the past, and specifically, past scholarship, as modeled in the work of antiquarians from the seventeenth century onwards, is essential for understanding and developing the most innovative of contemporary design thinking and practice. This seminar explores the historical practice of antiquaries as a paradigm for the contemporary design thinking that is focused on the temporal nature of human relationships with things, as well as using a design orientation a means of generating insight into antiquarian practice. Calling this component of design “antiquarian” is more valid than calling it “historical” because “history” is what happened in the past, whereas antiquarianism is about the past-in-things that remains alive in the present. If the connection between antiquarianism and design is material pasts and memories then we could describe designers as neo-antiquarians—as those who experience, and help us experience, the past through things. Design thinking, understood from this perspective, is necessarily archaeological and represents what prior generations called “the liberal arts” — the belief that knowledge from and about the past is important for living well in the future. The course will be taught as simultaneous video-linked seminars by Shanks at Stanford and Miller at the BGC. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

918
Material Culture and Social Life in the Early Modern Home, 1500–1700

918 Material Culture and Social Life in the Early Modern Home, 1500–1700

PROFESSOR:

Andrew Morrall

This course explores the development of domestic space across a wide social spectrum from the urban burgher in the mercantile centers of northern Europe to the landed gentry and nobility of England, whose “prodigy houses” of the later sixteenth century offered an extraordinary expression of a new domestic and civil ideal of living. The course will chart changing notions of personal comfort and forms of social signification among these disparate communities, and set the various accoutrements of living, including furniture and furnishings, interior architecture, metalwork, ceramics, glass, and the other decorative features and accessories of domestic life—within the broader moral, political, ideological and economic frameworks of the societies that produced them. These frameworks will include the humanist-driven theories of the household as a place for the inculcation of the virtues and education deemed necessary for private and public life; the particular role of women in the running of the home; and, more broadly, the family as the political bedrock of the state. In the wake of the Reformation, the domestic realm took over many of the impulses behind traditional church decoration and became in effect, a new locus of moral instruction. The objects with which contemporaries chose to surround themselves were thus often charged with ethical meaning, not just symbolically through their decoration, but also dynamically, in terms of social usage. In an age of increasingly codified social behavior, when good conduct and manners were assuming importance in the expression of moral character, the artifacts of domestic living and the social rituals which developed around them, took on a new importance in the expression of personal and familial virtue. Knowledge of German, French, or Dutch is an advantage but not essential. 3 credits.Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2015

936
Viceregal America: Visual and Material Cultures

936 Viceregal America: Visual and Material Cultures

PROFESSOR:

Jeffrey L. Collins

This course explores the visual and material cultures of Spain and Portugal’s territorial possessions in the New World from the arrival of Europeans in the late fifteenth century through political independence in the early nineteenth century. Emphasis will be given to the legacies of cultural contact and the adaptation of European traditions to new circumstances in the Spanish viceroyalties of New Spain, Peru, New Granada, and Río de la Plata, and in the Portuguese captaincies, viceroyalty, and, later, kingdom of Brazil. Topics include the visual and material legacies of conquest, collaboration, and resistance; the repurposing and transformation of indigenous materials and manufacturing techniques; and the movement of materials, trade goods, and artisans throughout the Spanish and Portuguese global empires. We will investigate the role of the Americas as a conceptual and mercantile link between Asia and Europe; the contribution of Africans and their descendants in colonial society and culture; the role of the arts in religious and domestic rituals; the continuing interest in European models and the diversification of regional styles throughout Ibero-America; and the usefulness of “hybridity” as an interpretive term for New World objects and cultures. The course will make use of New York museums and collections, and participants will take an active role in defining and presenting areas of special research interest. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

26

Global Middle Ages

This concentration offers a global and comparative approach to the study of material culture in the Middle Ages, broadly defined as the formative period between the ancient and modern worlds. Emphasizing connectivity rather than disjunction, exchange rather than isolation, and accord rather than bloodshed, this area of focus suggests a complex cultural, economic, and even political context for the study of material things.

With a focus on broad geographical domains such as the Mediterranean or the Eurasian Steppe, our concentration investigates the making, circulation, and changing meanings of material objects and images in a wide variety of temporal and geographical contexts. Offerings range from tightly focused investigations of specific media, regions, and periods to thematic, issue-oriented seminars that take a cross-cultural, trans-regional, and trans-historical viewpoint.

Faculty who teach in this area include:

Abigail Krasner Balbale
François Louis
Ittai Weinryb

Recent courses include:

567
Art and Material Culture of the Tang Period, 618-907: Famen Temple

567 Art and Material Culture of the Tang Period, 618-907: Famen Temple

PROFESSOR:

François Louis

The Tang period coincided with the apogee of medieval culture in China. Over the past millennium, this era has conjured up images of martial grandeur, vast territorial expansion, and multicultural tolerance; of China’s richest flowering of Buddhism, but also of its severest suppression; of thriving intellectualism that gave rise to China’s most celebrated poets; and of an aristocratic material culture dominated by metropolitan fashion and international trade. This course seeks to give a picture of the period’s aesthetics, crafts industries, and luxury consumption. At the center of our investigations are artifacts excavated in 1987 from the pagoda of the Famen Temple. This preeminent archaeological find preserves hundreds of imperial donations accompanying four Buddha relics, including gold and silver, porcelains, Middle Eastern glass, and silk textiles. It sheds light on issues of international style and trade, Buddhist ritual and beliefs, as well as imperial workshops and patronage. A field trip to a museum and an auction house are included. 3 credits. Satisfies non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

778
Islamic Art and Material Culture from Early Islam to the Ottoman Period

778 Islamic Art and Material Culture from Early Islam to the Ottoman Period

PROFESSOR:

Abigail Krasner Balbale

This course will explore the great diversity of cultural production across the Islamic world from the seventh to the eighteenth century. It will introduce students to Islamic traditions, culture, religious practices, and society through the investigation of Islamic art and architecture. Objects and structures will be examined through a variety of interdisciplinary methodologies and through studies of iconography, function, and patronage. The goal of the course is to understand Islamic art, architecture and material culture as the visual expression of the civilization creating it, as well as what makes and defines them as ‘Islamic’. Students will have the opportunity to give presentations on certain topics and objects. Visits to collections of Islamic art are planned. 3 credit. Satisfies non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

Fall 2016

802
The Arts of the Kitan-Liao Empire (907–1125)

802 The Arts of the Kitan-Liao Empire (907–1125)

PROFESSOR:

François Louis

Over the past three decades a number of sensational archaeological finds have drawn scholarly attention to the long neglected Kitan-Liao empire in northern China. The finds show that the non-Chinese Kitan elite built a so­phisticated and unique court culture, which not only adapted Chinese models but itself became a model for other non-Chinese elites, most notably the Tangut Xi-Xia, farther west. The presence of the powerful Kitan empire, moreover, redefined contemporaneous understanding of what it meant to be Chinese, especially among the intellectuals of the neighboring Song dynasty in central and southern China. This seminar examines the main archaeological Liao sites in order to examine notions of cultural and political identity and cultural exchange. Themes to be explored include the forced migration of artisans and other conquered people, diplomacy and the exchange of luxury goods such as silk and silver, the commercial and ritual uses of ceramics, nostalgia for the past and the rise of antiquarian collecting, Western imports, and the importance of Buddhism for Liao material culture. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 or non-Western requirement

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

Fall 2016

851
The Occult and Its Artifact in the Middle Ages

851 The Occult and Its Artifact in the Middle Ages

PROFESSOR:

Ittai Weinryb

Miracle, magic, apotropia and efficacy are just a few of the terms that embedded the Middle Ages with supernatural activity. This seminar explores the place and environment of magic in medieval society. We will ask what is regarded as magic in Middle Ages, how one defines miracle, and what objects and tools one needs in order to make magic. We will also ponder the relation between magic and nature, magic and cosmos, and magic and self. Talismans, amulets, garments, manuscripts and metalwork are only a few of the objects that will be used to help us understand the relation between magic, society and culture of the Middle Ages. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

858
Ex Voto: Participation and Patronage in Medieval Europe

858 Ex Voto: Participation and Patronage in Medieval Europe

PROFESSOR:

Ittai Weinryb

An ex voto is a votive offering to a saint or deity. It is given as a token of gratitude for a miracle performed and in some cases it is offered as a vow. The ex voto is the most basic and fundamental form of material exchange between humans and deities. In its essence the ex voto is a material object that celebrates an immaterial event, a physical object that commemorates or expects supernatural activity. In a sense, ex voto is the basic form which the religious devotee participate in the religious ritual. This seminar is set to explore the relationship between humans and deities in medieval Europe through the basic act of material exchange. Issues relating to medieval religious patronage, participation of donors and devotees will be considered as the basis for the seminar, as well as theories from fields of religion studies, economy, and anthropology, which will serve to examine and further our understanding of the unique phenomenon of the ex voto. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 requirement

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

887
Courtly Culture in the Medieval Mediterranean

887 Courtly Culture in the Medieval Mediterranean

The lands surrounding the Mediterranean in the middle ages were divided among multiple claimants to authority, and rulers of each successive dynasty often legitimated themselves through cultural production. This course examines a number of medieval courts, and focuses on the architecture, luxury objects, poetry and ceremonial rituals produced in them. We will employ a comparative approach that considers the cultures of Mediterranean courts in the period from the eighth century to the fourteenth. We will begin by examining the Hellenistic legacy of Late Antiquity, and will study the courts of Latin Christendom, Byzantium and the Islamic world that laid claim to this heritage. Courts studied will include those of Byzantine Constantinople, Umayyad Cordoba, Crusader Jerusalem, Fatimid and Mamluk Cairo, Norman Palermo, the Italian city-states and others. We will focus particularly on exchange among these courts (including diplomatic missions and the trade of goods and slaves) and the development of an international courtly culture. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 requirement

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

893
Al-Andalus

893 Al-Andalus

PROFESSOR:

Abigail Krasner Balbale

Al-Andalus, as Spain was known in Arabic during its period of Muslim rule from 711-1492, was one of the longest-lasting sites of encounter among medieval Jews, Christians, and Muslims. This class focuses on the cultural history of this encounter. We will examine objects including manuscripts, ivories, metalwork, ceramics, and silks, as well as architecture including synagogues, mosques, churches, and palaces. Alongside these objects and spaces, we will consider medieval written sources, including chronicles, poetry, and the texts of treaties and diplomatic documents. Oftentimes, political and religious texts deal with religious difference polemically, even as poetry and material culture betray a fascination with the artist or patron’s ostensible enemies. Our discussion considers the different perspectives written and material sources provide, and will analyze how scholars have addressed these challenges. We will also examine the people, ideas, goods, and technologies that successively transformed al-Andalus and its neighbors, and will discuss to what extent al-Andalus should be seen as exceptional in the context of Europe and of the broader Islamic world. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

Fall 2015

896
Court Culture Compared

896 Court Culture Compared

PROFESSOR:

Ittai Weinryb

Most of the material culture produced in the lands surrounding the medieval Mediterranean owes its existence to the rise and development of the medieval court. In this seminar, we will examine the cultural milieus of Islamic, Byzantine and western European courts as well as the people, rituals and objects that constituted them. In so doing, we will develop a comparative model for the understanding of the function, life and aspirations of the medieval court. Focusing on materials ranging from ivories to textiles, from regalia to water-clocks, courtly figures from astrologers to eunuchs, emotions such as love and hate, as well as pastimes including hunting, lute playing and dancing, this course will illuminate the material ideals and ideas behind the medieval court in the Islamic and Christian worlds. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement or, based on research paper, the non-Western requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

27

Archaeology, Anthropology, and Material Culture

This area includes archaeology and the arts of the ancient world from the Paleolithic onward in the Old World, New World, Central Asia and the Far East. Courses include materials-based topics such as ancient jewelry and metalwork, ceramics and glass, and furniture, as well as revivals of interest in antiquity and contemporary ethics/issues in the study of ancient art. Inquiries relate to the science of archaeology and the importance of archaeological context, ancient history and art history, archaeological conservation, ancient art in museums and private collections, and the early history of technology—topics of intrinsic interest that also provide a background for many other related subjects taught at Bard Graduate Center.

Anthropology, from its origins in comparative social thought to its role in documenting indigenous peoples under European colonial expansion, has long studied material culture in a systematic and holistic fashion. Bard Graduate Center offers introductions to the history and theory of anthropology, intensive primers on ethnographic methods for students working with present-day communities, and topical or regional approaches to global cultures. Anthropological and cross-cultural perspectives also inform courses on folklore and heritage, colonial encounters, craft and photography, and conservation. Our institutional partnership with the American Museum of Natural History supports postdoctoral fellowships in museum anthropology and provides students with research opportunities in one of the world’s premier ethnographic collections.

Faculty who teach in this area include:

Ivan Gaskell
Aaron Glass
Urmila Mohan
Elizabeth Simpson

Recent courses include:

542
Ancient Ceramics and Glass

542 Ancient Ceramics and Glass

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

Among the large number of ceramic and glass artifacts surviving from antiquity are some of the finest objects ever made, including such masterpieces as the Euphronios krater and the Portland vase. Ancient ceramics and glass objects were both functional and decorative and, in many cases, remain unsurpassed for the beauty and originality of their form, technique, and design. This seminar covers topics ranging from the earliest Neolithic wares of the ancient Near East to the blown glass and ceramic vessels of the Roman period. Subjects of interest include the technology of pottery and glass fabrication, important local styles and their development, and the various uses to which pottery and glass have been put.  Highlights of the Bronze Age include the elegant Kamares ware from Minoan Crete, the invention of the potter’s wheel, and the earliest glass vessels from the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt, for which the manufacturing process can be reconstructed based on ancient cuneiform texts. Special attention is paid to the history of ancient Greek vase painting and to studies in connoisseurship that have contributed to our knowledge of potters, painters, and the development of style in the art of ancient Greece. Vases by black-figure artists such as the Amasis Painter and Exekias were followed by the “bilingual” productions of the Andokides workshop, culminating in the work of the masters of Attic red figure, including Euphronios and the Berlin Painter. The case of the Euphronios krater, formerly in New York and now in the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome, will serve as a prime example in a discussion of the cultural property debate. 3 credits. Satisfies non-Western or pre-1800 requirement

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

613
Ancient Jewelry and Metalwork

613 Ancient Jewelry and Metalwork

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

This seminar covers topics in jewelry and metalwork from the earliest remains of personal adornments in the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods to the ornate jewelry and plate made and used in Roman imperial times. The beginnings of ancient metallurgy, the technology of metals, and ancient jewelry-making techniques are examined. References in ancient texts are used to provide information about jewelry and metal objects that were noteworthy in antiquity but no longer survive. Collections of finds from the great excavated sites are discussed, including those from the Royal Cemetery of Ur; the royal tombs of Alaca Hüyük; the treasure of Priam from Troy; the royal shaft graves at Mycenae; the tomb of Tutankhamen; the sites of Gordion, Hasanlu, Marlik, and Nimrud; Greek sanctuaries and burial sites; Scythian, Celtic, and Etruscan tombs; and the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. 3 credits. (satisfies non-Western requirement or pre-1800 requirement)

SEMESTER:

Fall 2012

Fall 2016

730
The Social Lives of Things: The Anthropology of Art and Material Culture

730 The Social Lives of Things: The Anthropology of Art and Material Culture

PROFESSOR:

Aaron Glass

This course will survey anthropological theories of art and material culture with a cross-cultural purview and a concentration on indigenous societies in the colonial period. We will examine numerous disciplinary approaches—functional, symbolic/semiotic/structuralist, aesthetic, economic, historical, and political—to the study of objects, and discuss ways of bringing them into articulation, both with one another and with indigenous perspectives. After a brief historical introduction to early anthropological theories of decorative art and exchange, the class will focus on contemporary approaches framed around such key phrases as cultural biography, objectification, materiality, social agency, art worlds, cultural production, colonial economies, cultural brokerage, regimes of value, tourist art, primitive art, conservation, and repatriation. Students will apply the range of approaches to a single object or discrete set of objects throughout the semester as a way to test the theories in practice. The course should prepare students to bring a wide array of theoretical and methodological perspectives to the study of things—from tools to clothes, from souvenirs to fine arts—among diverse global cultural communities. Depending on your final research project, this course can satisfy the non-Western distribution requirement. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

Fall 2016

850
Ancient House and Garden

850 Ancient House and Garden

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

This seminar will explore the ancient world in terms of its people and the circumstances in which they lived—by examining their civic and domestic architecture, the land they cultivated and enjoyed, and the kinds of objects they found useful and beautiful.  Excavations at the Neolithic sites of Göbekli Tepe, Çayönü, Çatalhöyük, and Hacılar have revealed evidence of early architecture, interiors, furniture, metalwork, and pottery, as well as the beginnings of agriculture, advanced technology, and the “genealogical patterns” that form the basis for much of the design and pattern that would persist for millennia. Bronze Age cities and cemeteries of the Near East, Egypt, and the Aegean provide a fuller picture, with excavations at sites such as Ur, Troy, Amarna, Knossos, and Mycenae yielding a wealth of information. The first millennium BCE saw the rise of the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian empires, the kingdom of Phrygia, and the Scythian tribes, with their cities, temples, and tombs providing detailed insight into early Iron Age life. Finally, the Greeks and then the Romans extended their territories to the east and west, through war and colonization, leaving material remains that reveal much about their art and culture. Excavations in the region of Mt. Vesuvius have uncovered complete houses, gardens with plant remains intact, furnishings, and items of adornment from the late Republic and early Roman Empire. The class will visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art to study ancient objects and a New York botanical garden, to see the kinds of plants grown and used in antiquity. 3 credits.Satisfies non-Western or pre-1800 requirement

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

863
Objects of Colonial Encounter

863 Objects of Colonial Encounter

PROFESSOR:

David Jaffee

Aaron Glass

Colonial encounter involves the meeting of diverse peoples, often on unequal terms, in a variety of sites and mediated by myriad cultural forms. This course will focus on the material culture of encounter in a series of North American colonial landscapes. Moving from East to West (from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, through the Woodlands and Plains, to the Southwest and Northwest Coast) and from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, we will examine the material record for evidence of intercultural exchange and mutual (often ambivalent) appropriations between indigenous peoples and settlers. Case studies may touch upon transformations in the fields of clothing and fashion, architecture, picturing the landscape, weaponry, transportation, geographical survey and governance, ceremonialism, ethnography, film and photography, tourism, and popular culture. Through close study of material and visual culture, we will examine the process of intercultural contact and exchange to understand the social practices and political strategies, the discourses and silences produced by colonial encounters on ever-shifting geographical and cultural frontiers. Study of primary materials in area museums will be encouraged. Depending on your final research project, this course can satisfy the non-Western distribution requirement. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

884
Weaving through the Past and into the Present: 10,000 Years of Andean Textiles

884 Weaving through the Past and into the Present: 10,000 Years of Andean Textiles

Visitors to the Andes today are met with a rich visual landscape. This is particularly manifested in the textile arts of the region, which are renowned for their distinctive styles and elaborate decorative motifs. In an area noted for its environmental and climatic extremes, weavers utilize alpaca, llama and vicuna wool to meet basic human needs. Beyond their functional value, however, textiles have long played an important role in mediating social relations, and in asserting identities and ethnic affiliations. Adopting a broad geographic and temporal approach, this course draws on both archaeological and ethnographic evidence to examine continuity and change in Andean textile traditions. Beginning with the antecedents to textile production in basket weaving 10,000 years ago, the class works chronologically through the textile traditions of the major pre-Columbian cultures. It then moves into the ethnographic present to consider how weavers today both build on and modify pre-Hispanic traditions and styles, as well as how textile arts are affected by global markets, by tourism in the region and by the growing number of institutions and NGOs designed to revitalize ‘traditional’ weaving practices and goods. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 or non-Western requirement

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

937
Ancient and Ethnographic Costume and Textiles

937 Ancient and Ethnographic Costume and Textiles

PROFESSOR:

Elizabeth Simpson

Textiles and clothing have been items of value—and important markers of identity—since earliest times, featuring patterns that have carried through eight thousand years or more, intact and full of meaning. This seminar will explore the history of ancient costume and textiles from their first manifestations in the Near East through the rich clothing and adornment of the Roman Empire—as well as the survival of ancient types and designs in remote areas of the world that still utilize traditional technologies. These enclaves of traditional arts, crafts, and customs are fascinating in and of themselves, and also provide clues to the ways ancient peoples dressed and regarded adornment. Since textiles are organic, not many have survived from antiquity outside Egypt, where fine linen cloth is extant in quantity. Examples have been found elsewhere, however, from Anatolia to Siberia, as well as in the bogs of northern Europe, and depictions in art provide an understanding of the types and styles of clothing in use. Carbonized fragments from the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük reveal the kinds of materials and weave structures employed for the earliest textiles, and figurines of the period are the first indication of the “genealogical patterns” that form the basis for much of the design and pattern that would persist for millennia. Loom weights and tools excavated at numerous sites indicate the widespread presence of weaving, where the wooden looms no longer exist. Students will choose from these and other topics for a research paper and presentation. The class will visit the Antonio Ratti Textile Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, to see examples of ancient textiles; we will learn about the conservation of textiles and see a weaving demonstration at the Textile Arts Center. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 or non-Western requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

941
In Focus: The Making of the Early Codex and the Crafts of Late Antiquity

941 In Focus: The Making of the Early Codex and the Crafts of Late Antiquity

PROFESSOR:

Georgios Boudalis

This course, preparatory for the exhibition opening in fall 2017, focuses on the technical and stylistic relations between the making of the codex—the hand written and bound book in the format we know today—and different crafts of late antiquity, with the aim of establishing the codex’s technological sources and origin. We will first look at the different techniques and processes used until the tenth century to gather written leaves into a functional book, including their connection to the production of such mundane items as socks, shoes, textiles, and basketry. We will then examine the structural and decorative features of early bookbindings. Participants will help search for and select objects and images for the exhibition; help develop interactive digital and/or tactile components for visitors; and, last but not least, produce models of codices that will be included in the exhibition in order to help visitors understand their material, technical, and functional aspects. Although manual or craft skills are welcomed, this is not obligatory as all models and samples will be made under the supervision of the instructor. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2016

27
28

Cultures of Conservation (An Andrew W. Mellon-Funded Initiative)

At its core, this is an attempt to connect the perspective of conservation to an interdisciplinary notion of the Human Sciences. “Conservation,” in the best sense, conjoins data derived from instrumentation and technology, long experience of hand and eye, and scholarly understanding of how and why things were done in order to bring an object back to life. In the past, this knowledge has been harvested mostly in museums and galleries and harnessed mostly to curatorial practice and exhibitions. We wish to bring our cross-disciplinary perspective on the study of objects into a conversation with conservators’ questions for the benefit of students and professors.

In this area, we build on our long experience working between museums and universities by incorporating the concepts and practices of “conservation” into our curriculum. We explore the various meanings of conservation as we define them—that is, the study of materials, techniques of making, and practices of use and re-use. For three-dimensional objects especially, the conservation process is often the only way we can learn about how something was made. We are educating the students and scholars of the future through curricular innovation and post-graduate fellowship research at Bard Graduate Center, in this creative new outreach.

Faculty who teach in this area include:

Alicia Boswell
Jeffrey L. Collins
Ivan Gaskell
Aaron Glass
Peter N. Miller
Charlotte Vignon

Recent courses include:

883
Damage, Decay, Conservation (Mellon Curriculum)

883 Damage, Decay, Conservation (Mellon Curriculum)

PROFESSOR:

Ivan Gaskell

Few human-made things last in their original form. Things change. Some are inherently unstable, whether physically or chemically. Some are purposefully modified. Some are damaged by human action, either accidental or intentional. This seminar focuses on issues arising from human intervention in changed artifacts from many societies and time periods. We shall investigate Western conservation practice in various contexts, including museums, the art trade, and sacred sites. How do changes to tangible things occur, and what are those changes? What forms of examination facilitate intervention? What are criteria for intervention? Whose values affect the definition of these criteria? Whose values might be in conflict with those that promote intervention? What agendas (such as nationalism, tourism promotion, reconstruction after armed conflict) affect conservation and restoration decisions? How responsive are conservation institutions to theoretical and ethical concerns? We shall pursue these puzzles through theoretical texts, case studies, and visits to conservation laboratories. 3 credits. satisfies pre-1800 requirement

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

Fall 2016

886
Exploring the Frick's Collection of Decorative Arts: Perspectives of Art Historians, Curator, and Conservators (Mellon Curriculum)

886 Exploring the Frick's Collection of Decorative Arts: Perspectives of Art Historians, Curator, and Conservators (Mellon Curriculum)

PROFESSOR:

Charlotte Vignon

This course is an in-depth study of the outstanding collection of decorative art at The Frick Collection, which includes French and Italian Renaissance furniture, sixteenth-century Limoges enamels, eighteenth-century French furniture, Asian and European ceramics, watches and clocks. Held at The Frick Collection, the course will offer a unique opportunity for the students to examine closely works of art and engage in a dialogue with curator Charlotte Vignon and conservators Joe Godla and Julia Day on questions of attribution, authenticity, technique, conservation and restoration. New interpretations and scholarships will also be discussed as well as the issue of museum display. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2013

895
Cultures of Conservation: From Objects to Subjects – On Sites, Rites, and Paradigms

895 Cultures of Conservation: From Objects to Subjects – On Sites, Rites, and Paradigms

What is conservation?  Simplistic as it may seem, this question has many possible answers. From the contemporary perspective, conservation no longer aims simply to prolong its objects’ material lives but is seen as an engagement with materiality—that is, with the many specific factors determining how objects’ identity and meaning are entangled with the aspects of time, the environment, ruling values, politics, economy, conventions, and culture. Accordingly, this course explores diverse cultures of conservation derived from anthropological-humanistic, aesthetic, and scientific approaches. Centered around the conservation of a variety of artworks and artifacts, our discussion will examine the challenges of traditional and contemporary materials and the so called ‘new’ and technology-based media. We will explore the conservation cultures of multiple institutions and stakeholders, and examine the historical conditions that have shaped conservation discourse and theory, especially as reflected in the split between scientific and humanistic cultures and the move from objects to subjects. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2013

897
“Cultural Conservation”: Preserving Place and Practice (Mellon Curriculum)

897 “Cultural Conservation”: Preserving Place and Practice (Mellon Curriculum)

The term “conservation” is often associated with art objects, historic buildings and sites, or ecological resources such as water. But what about “cultural conservation?” The field of folkloristics—the study of creative expression in everyday life—has both embraced and contested the concept of “cultural conservation.” Recognizing and supporting vernacular creative practices, folklorists investigate the relationships between individuals and their material and social environments in order to understand how and why cultural forms are created, adapted, maintained, or abandoned. In this course, we will consider local, state, national, and international efforts to identify and sustain community-embedded forms of creative expression and cultural practice. We will examine the goals and implications of “cultural conservation” in three contexts: the built environment (buildings, sites, religious/ritual architecture, urban landscapes), the natural environment (ecosystems, agricultural and rural landscapes), and the cultural environment (museums, rituals, festivals). Site visits will be a core element of the course and will include extended work at The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where we will examine the Museum’s curatorial and conservation practices, as well as at public folklore/folklife projects throughout New York City, including City Lore, the Eldridge Street Synagogue, and the folk arts programs of the Brooklyn and Staten Island Arts Councils. In each case, will examine how folklorists, cultural activists, and community members are working to address issues of social inequality and cultural empowerment in their neighborhoods through interaction with their physical environments; and how different parties understand and apply such concepts as “heritage,” “tradition,” “preservation,” and “community” in the “conservation of culture.” Over the course of the semester, students will develop a final paper or project about place-based practices of preservation. They will present their research to the class as it develops, and are encouraged to incorporate ethnographic or multimedia elements (virtual exhibitions, podcasts) into their work. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2014

906
Vernacular New York: Architecture/Landscapes/Tradition

906 Vernacular New York: Architecture/Landscapes/Tradition

This course examines the vernacular structures and landscapes of contemporary New York as expressions of individual and shared histories, cultural values, social customs, and religious beliefs. We study the construction, adaptation, reconstruction, destruction, and preservation of built and natural environments as performances of identity, expressions of creativity, tools of communication, and modes of resistance and acceptance. From the vantage point of folklore and material culture studies, we analyze how the form and function of urban spaces and structures reflect, nurture, or disrupt the beliefs and practices of their builders and users. Case studies include a New York City tenement apartment building (we will have on-site work at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum), community-constructed displays/museums, street altars and yard shrines, city streets as routes for religious ritual and procession, and the urban waterfront. We employ both material and ethnographic analysis to discern the intangible practices and meanings embedded in these places. Students will produce a final paper or project based on a type of vernacular architecture or landscape and present their research to the class at various stages of progress. Ethnographic and multimedia components are welcome. 3 credits.

SEMESTER:

Fall 2014

930
Colors in China and Japan: Objects, Cultures, and Conservation

930 Colors in China and Japan: Objects, Cultures, and Conservation

This seminar explores the materiality of colors in Chinese and Japanese objects. Focusing on the colors of blue, qing (blue-green), and red, this seminar surveys the production and application of colors in various mediums, including paintings, prints, ceramics, and textiles. The key issues are: how were colors produced, circulated and used in relation to the aesthetic, cultural and religious expressions in the objects? What were the social and cultural significance of particular colors in specific historical periods? What are the challenges and techniques to preserve colors in different mediums? This course aims to develop students’ sophisticated methodology to discuss the materiality of colors through interdisciplinary approaches to art history, technical art history, and conservation science. This course will be complemented with field trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to engage in dialogues with conservators on paintings, textiles, and ceramics, and with scientists on colors. All the case studies are from Chinese and Japanese contexts, but students are encouraged to develop final paper topics that involve transcultural interactions between East Asia and other regions. 3 credits. Satisfies the non-Western requirement.

SEMESTER:

Spring 2016

weber

Susan Weber

Director and Founder
Iris Horowitz Professor in the History of the Decorative Arts

miller

Peter N. Miller

Dean and Professor

ames

Kenneth L. Ames

Professor Emeritus

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Abigail Krasner Balbale

Assistant Professor

collins

Jeffrey L. Collins

Professor

gaskell

Ivan Gaskell

Professor, Curator and Head of the Focus Gallery Project

glass

Aaron Glass

Associate Professor

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Freyja Hartzell

Assistant Professor

jaffee

David Jaffee

Professor, Head of New Media Research

kirkham

Pat Kirkham

Professor Emerita

krohn

Deborah L. Krohn

Associate Professor, Director of Masters Studies, Coordinator for History and Theory of Museums

louis

François Louis

Associate Professor

majer

Michele Majer

Assistant Professor

morrall

Andrew Morrall

Professor, Chair of Academic Programs

simpson

Elizabeth Simpson

Professor

stirton

Paul Stirton

Associate Professor, Editor of West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture

weinryb

Ittai Weinryb

Assistant Professor

whalen

Catherine Whalen

Associate Professor

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Elissa Auther

Visiting Associate Professor; Windgate Research Curator, Museum of Arts and Design

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Alicia Boswell

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, “Cultures of Conservation”

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Georgios Boudalis

Visiting Adjunct Professor

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Juliet Kinchin

Visiting Adjunct Professor

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Urmila Mohan

Bard Graduate Center/AMNH Postdoctoral Fellow in Museum Anthropology

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Amelia Peck

Visiting Adjunct Professor

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Charlotte Vignon

Visiting Associate Professor; Curator of Decorative Arts, The Frick Collection

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Jessica Walthew

Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, Cultures of Conservation

Our Faculty

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Our faculty are an international community of scholars whose teaching and research ranges from the arts of the ancient world to contemporary design practice.

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Susan Weber

Director and Founder
Iris Horowitz Professor in the History of the Decorative Arts

18th- and 19th-century Decorative Arts Topics

PhD Royal College of Art, London

MA The Cooper-Hewitt Museum/Parsons School of Design

AB Barnard College – Columbia University



As the founder and director of Bard Graduate Center, my overall interests lie in the study of objects—not only what we can learn from them about how we live now, but how they teach us about how we lived in the past. My own research has focused predominantly on British decorative arts and design of the 18th and 19th centuries. I began my exploration of this area in my dissertation on the work of E.W. Godwin, followed by exhibitions and publications devoted to other British designers such as Thomas Jeckyll, James “Athenian” Stuart, and William Kent. However, over the past few years I have broadened my research beyond British design into other areas of material culture, such as the history of the American circus and Swedish wooden toys. These projects not only reflect my diverse personal interests but the overall breadth and depth of the BGC’s academic and exhibition programs.



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

J. Lockwood Kipling: Bombay, the Punjab, South Kensington
co-editor and contributing author (Yale University Press, forthcoming)

Swedish Wooden Toys
co-editor and contributing author (Yale University Press, 2014)

William Kent, Designing Georgian Britain
editor and contributing author (Yale University Press, 2013)

American Circus
co-editor and contributing author (Yale University Press, 2012)

Cloisonné: Chinese Enamels from the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties
contributing author (Yale University Press, 2011)

James “Athenian” Stuart
editor and contributing author (Yale University Press, 2006)

Georg Jensen Jewelry
contributing author (Yale University Press, 2005)

Source: Notes in the History of Art, a quarterly devoted to art history and archaeology
founder and publisher, 1980-present.

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Peter N. Miller

Dean and Professor

History of Historical Research
Antiquarianism
The Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean

PhD University of Cambridge

MA Harvard University

BA Harvard University

 



I would describe my field as the history of historical research. What that means, as opposed to, say, historiography or philosophy of history, is that I am less interested in the forms history takes or in the subject matter, as I am in the questions historians ask. Even more precisely, I am interested in how historians turn “survivals” into evidence. This is directly related to historians understanding that certain kinds of artifacts speak to certain kinds of inquiries—and not others. My thinking has been spurred by a long-running engagement with early modern European antiquarianism and its continuing impact on how historians work. I have in the past years been working on two large projects. The first is a study of Peiresc’s relations with the merchants of Marseille, which is directly related to questions of the Mediterranean and to the historiography of commerce as an intellectual practice and was published in 2015 by Harvard University Press. The second is an essay-like traversal of the history of the idea of material culture, of using objects as historical evidence, from Peiresc up to the beginning of the twentieth century.  It will be published by Cornell University Press in 2017.

miller@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Periesc’s Mediterranean World (Harvard University Press, 2015)

Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. (University of Michigan Press, 2013)

Peiresc’s Orient: Antiquarianism as Cultural History in the Seventeenth Century (Ashgate/Variorum, 2012)

Antiquarianism and Intellectual Life in Europe and China, 1500-1800, ed., with François Louis (University of Michigan Press, 2012)

The Sea: Thalassography & Historiography, ed. (University of Michigan Press, 2012)

Peiresc’s History of Provence and the Discovery of a Medieval Mediterranean (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 101, 2011)

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Kenneth L. Ames

Professor Emeritus

American and European Decorative Arts and Material Culture
Tradition, Taste, and Aesthetics
Travel, Tourism, and the Material World

PhD Art History, University of Pennsylvania

MA University of Pennsylvania

BA Carleton College



My current interest is in exploring shared continuities and behaviors in the material life of Europe and the United States over the last few centuries. Among these I include the enduring design authority of the Italian Renaissance and of classicism more generally; notions of what it means to live well materially; and the ways quality is expressed in different styles, cultural settings, and artifactual forms. I am also drawn to the phenomenon of tourism and its impact on the material world. What makes an artifact or a site a tourist attraction? How are attractions staged, interpreted, and marketed? What are the roles of preservation, conservation, and reconstruction? What is the nature of the tourist experience and what are its costs and benefits? In a related matter not limited to tourism, I am also intrigued by the ways the material world is marked or manipulated to reveal or conceal the past; in other words, how things may evoke or erase memory.

ames@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

The American Circus, co-editor (Yale University Press/BGC, 2012)

Review of Elizabeth Cromley, The Food Axis: Cooking, Eating, and the Architecture of American Houses, in theJournal of the Society of Architectural Historians 71:1 (March 2012), 121-122

“Writing on American Silver,” in Margaret K. Hofer et al., Stories in Sterling: Four Centuries of Silver in New York(New-York Historical Society, 2011), 23-32

Review of Briann G. Greenfield, Out of the Attic: Inventing Antiques in Twentieth-Century New England, in American Furniture 2010, 241-248

American Christmas Cards 1900-1960, ed. (Yale University Press/BGC, 2011)

Review of Beverly K. Brandt, The Craftsman and the Critic: Defining Usefulness and Beauty in Arts and Crafts-Era Boston, in The Journal of Modern Craft 3:1 (March 2010) 119-122

Additionally, Dr. Ames occasionally writes posts for the West 86th website.

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Abigail Krasner Balbale

Assistant Professor

History, Art History and Material Culture of the Islamic World
Cross-Cultural Interaction
The Medieval Mediterranean

PhD History and Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University

MA History, Harvard University 

BA Humanities and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Yale University

 



My research focuses on the intersection of political power, religious ideology, and visual and material culture in the medieval Islamic world. I am particularly interested in how medieval Islamic rulers legitimated their power through cultural production, holy war, and diplomacy. My book in progress, tentatively entitled “Wolf King of Glorious Memory: Alliance, Accommodation and Resistance in Ibn Mardanīsh’s al-Andalus,” centers on an enigmatic twelfth-century ruler who fought the Marrakech-based Almohad dynasty through alliance with his Christian neighbors and asserted his authority with reference to the Abbasid caliphate in the East. Generally, the book explores how Muslim rulers in the Western Mediterranean adapted and transformed ideologies and material symbols of power from the broader Islamic world in order to assert their authority. My sources, including chronicles, poetry and chancery documents, as well as coins, architecture, and portable objects, reveal both the interconnectedness of the Islamic world and the intimacy between the Christians and Muslims who competed for territory in the Western Mediterranean. My research has been supported by Fulbright, NEH, ACLS, and Mellon Fellowships. Outside Bard Graduate Center, I serve as the secretary of the Historians of Islamic Art Association and am also a founding board member of the Spain North Africa Project.

abigail.balbale@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

“Bridging Seas of Sand and Water: The Berber Dynasties of the Islamic Far West,” in The Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, ed. Finbarr Barry Flood and Gülru Necipo˘glu (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming)

“Jihād as a Means of Political Legitimation in Thirteenth-Century Sharq al Andalus,” in The Articulation of Power in Medieval Iberia and the Maghrib, ed. Amira Bennison (Oxford: Oxford University Press/Proceedings of the British Academy, 2014), pp. 87-105

Spanning the Strait: Studies in Unity in the Western Mediterranean, ed., with Yuen-Gen Liang, Camilo Gomez-Rivas and Andrew Devereux (Brill, 2013)

“Cacophony,” Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies 5:2 (2013): 123-128

The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture, Jerrilynn D. Dodds, María Rosa Menocal and Abigail Krasner Balbale (Yale University Press, 2008, Paperback, 2009). Winner, Outler Prize of the American Society for Church History, 2010. A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, 2009.

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Jeffrey L. Collins

Professor

17th- and 18th-century Art and Culture

PhD Yale University

MA University of Cambridge; Yale University

BA University of Cambridge; Yale University



I am broadly interested in how the arts shape culture and how culture shapes the arts. My current research explores the links between archeology, museology, and neoclassicism in eighteenth-century Italy by following the changing forms and fortunes of a group of ancient statuary from its excavation near Tivoli through installation at the new Vatican Museum, seizure under Napoleon, and return to Rome after Waterloo. By reconstructing how and by whom these artifacts were unearthed, identified, acquired, restored, displayed, contextualized, published, reproduced, confiscated, and ultimately repatriated, I hope to shed light on the multiple meanings of antiquity at the end of the ancien regime. Other projects involve the diffusion and didactic display of plaster casts, the expressive role of costume in the theatrical pictures of Dutch artist Cornelis Troost, and the significance of Ovidian themes in the paintings of Giulio Carpioni. Teaching interests include seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France, colonial Latin America, the Grand Tour, and the commemorative monument.

collins@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

“Pedagogy in Plaster: Ercole Lelli and Benedict XIV’s Gipsoteca at Bologna’s Instituto delle Scienze e delle Arti,” in Benedict XIV and the Enlightenment: Art, Science, and Spirituality, ed. Rebecca Messbarger, Christopher M. S. Johns, and Philip Gavitt (University of Toronto Press, 2016), pp. 391-418

Five chapters on Europe from 1600 to 1830 and Spanish and Portuguese America from 1492 to independence in History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture,1400-2000, ed. Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber (Yale University Press, 2013)

“Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican City: Ideology and Aesthetics in the Age of the Grand Tour,” in The First Modern Museums of Art: The Birth of an Institution in Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Europe, ed. Carole Paul (Getty Publications, 2012), pp 112-143

“A Nation of Statues: Museums and Identity in Eighteenth-Century Rome,” inArchitectural Space in the Eighteenth Century: Constructing Identities and Interiors, ed. Denise Baxter and Meredith Martin (Ashgate, 2010), pp 187-214

“Know Thy Time: Batoni and Pius VI,” in Intorno a Batoni: Atti del Convegno Internazionale, ed. Liliana Barroero (Fondazione Ragghianti, 2010), pp. 107-130

“A través de la ventana: Pedro Friedeberg y la arquitectura sublime / Through the Window: Pedro Friedeberg’s Sublime Architecture,” in Pedro Friedeberg (Mexico City: Trilce Ediciones, 2009)

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Ivan Gaskell

Professor, Curator and Head of the Focus Gallery Project

Material Culture of North America and Europe, 16th through 20th Centuries
Global Cultural Encounter
Philosophy of Museums and Material Culture: Epistemology, Ethics, Aesthetics

PhD University of Cambridge

MA University of London

BA Hons. University of Oxford



My work on material culture addresses intersections among history, art history, anthropology, and philosophy. My principal scholarly concern is to mobilize non-written traces of the past to illuminate aspects of the lives of human actors that would otherwise remain obscure. As well as writing individual historical case studies on topics ranging from seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish paintings, to Roman baroque sculpture, Native American baskets, and Congo textiles, I work on the philosophical plane of second order questioning. While on the faculty at Cambridge University, I collaborated with the late Salim Kemal to edit a ten book series of multi-author volumes, Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and the Arts. I have organized numerous experimental exhibitions at Harvard University, where I taught and curated between 1991 and 2011. I am the author, editor, or co-editor of twelve books, and have contributed to numerous journals and edited volumes in history, art history, and philosophy.

gaskell@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

“Art and Beyond: Some Contemporary Challenges for Art and Anthropology Museums,” in Re-Mix, ed. Selma Holo and Mari-Tere Álvarez (University of California Press, 2016), pp. 95-99.

“The Life of Things,” in The International Handbook of Museum Studies: Museum Media, ed. Michelle Henning (John Wiley, 2015), pp. 167-190.

Tangible Things: Making History through Objects (with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Sara J. Schechner, Sarah Anne Carter, and photographs by Samantha S.B. van Gerbig), (Oxford University Press, 2015).

“Being True to Rubens,” in Art, Music, and Spectacle in the Age of Rubens, ed. Anna Knaap and Michael Putnam (Brepols, 2014), pp. 241-260.

“’Making a World’: The Impact of Idealism on Museum Formation in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts,” in The Impact of Idealism: The Legacy of Post-Kantian German Thought, gen. ed. Nicholas Boyle, and Liz Disley, vol. 3: Aesthetics and Literature, ed. Christoph Jamme and Ian Cooper (Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 245-263.

“Historical Distance, Historical Judgment,” in Rethinking Historical Distance, ed. Mark Salber Phillips, Barbara Caine, and Julia Adeney Thomas (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 34-44.

“Museum Display, an Algonquian Bow, and the Ship of Theseus,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (University of Michigan Press, 2013), pp. 59-73.

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Aaron Glass

Associate Professor

Native Peoples of the Northwest Coast
Museums and Anthropology

PhD Anthropology, New York University

MA Anthropology, University of British Columbia

BFA Studio Art, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design

BA Anthropology/Psychology, Reed College



My research focuses on various aspects of First Nations visual art and material culture, media, and performance on the Northwest Coast of North America, both historically and today. Themes recurring in my work include colonialism and indigenous modernities, cultural brokerage and translation, the politics of intercultural exchange and display, discourses of tradition and heritage management, and cultural and intellectual property. My dissertation, along with a companion film, In Search of the Hamat’sa: A Tale of Headhunting, examines the ethnographic representation and performance history of the Hamat’sa or “Cannibal Dance” of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) of British Columbia. I curated, along with my students, the 2011 Bard Graduate Center Focus Gallery exhibit, “Objects of Exchange: Social and Material Transformation on the Late Nineteenth-Century Northwest Coast.” Current projects include collaborating with the U’mista Cultural Centre to restore and present Edward Curtis’s 1914 silent film, In the Land of the Head Hunters, and to create a critical, annotated, digital edition of Franz Boas’s pioneering 1897 monograph on the Kwakwaka’wakw culture.

glass@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Return to the Land of the Head Hunters: Edward S. Curtis, the Kwakwaka’wakw, and the Making of Modern Cinema, co-edited with Brad Evans (University of Washington Press, 2014)

“Indigenous Ontologies, Digital Futures: Plural Provenances and the Kwakwaka’wakw collection in Berlin and Beyond,” in Translating Knowledge: Global Perspectives on Museum and Community, ed. Raymond Silverman (Routledge, 2014)

Objects of Exchange: Social and Material Transformation on the Late Nineteenth-Century Northwest Coast, edited exhibition catalogue (Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Art, Design History, Material Culture, Distributed by Yale University Press, 2011)

The Totem Pole: An Intercultural History, co-authored with Aldona Jonaitis (University of Washington Press, 2010)

“Frozen Poses: Hamat’sa dioramas, recursive representation, and the making of a Kwakwaka’wakw icon,” Photography, Anthropology, and History: Expanding the Frame, in eds. Christopher Morton and Elizabeth Edwards (Ashgate Press, 2009), pp 89-116

“Crests on Cotton: ‘Souvenir’ T-shirts and the materiality of remembrance among the Kwakwaka’wakw of British Columbia,” Museum Anthropology 31(1):1-18, 2008

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Freyja Hartzell

Assistant Professor

European Design, Architecture, and Art of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
German Design and Cultural Politics of the Modern Period
History and Theory of Materiality, Materialism, and Vitalism

PhD Yale University

MA Bard Graduate Center

BA Grinnell College



I work on European design, architecture, and art from 1750 through the present, with an emphasis on German design and domestic architecture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I’m especially interested in the ways in which we interact with objects both historically and in contemporary life, so I look closely at how form and materiality have influenced the way designed objects have played active roles in the creation of history and theory. I understand domestic objects as communicators or agents during a modern period when Europe – and Germany in particular – was experiencing unprecedented political, cultural, and social upheaval. My book manuscript, Designs on the Body: The Modern Art of Richard Riemerschmid, examines how Munich artist Richard Riemerschmid’s early twentieth-century designs for housewares, interiors, and clothing force a reconception of canonical modernism. My research has been supported by the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Central European History Society, and the Wolfsonian Museum. I’m currently pursuing two new research projects: one exploring the conceptual and material aspects of transparency in design and their political implications for international modernism; and a second on the significance of wood in German cultural life – from myth to religion to political economy to domestic life – from the Teutons to today.

freyja.hartzell@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Book manuscript: “Designs on the Body: The Modern Art of Richard Riemerschmid.”

“Bauhaus Made Miniature: Material Politics in German Design, 1919-1939,” Journal of Modern Craft (forthcoming, 2016).

“A Renovated Renaissance: Richard Riemerschmid’s Modern Interiors for the Thieme House in Munich,” Interiors 5:1 (2014): 5-36.

“Otherworldly Worldliness: Romantic Fantasy and Biedermeier Desire in Schinkel’s Berlin,” Centropa 10:2 (May 2010): 80-105.

“A Ghost in the Machine Age: The Westerwald Stoneware Industry and German Design Reform,” The Journal of Modern Craft 2:3 (November 2009): 251-277.

“The Velvet Touch: Fashion, Furniture, and the Fabric of the Interior,” Fashion Theory 13:1 (March 2009): 51-82.

Anthologized in Mark Taylor, ed., Interior Design and Architecture: Critical and Primary Sources, vol. 2 (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013): 138-157.

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David Jaffee

Professor, Head of New Media Research

Material Culture of New York City
Early American Material Culture
Cultural Geography and Landscape

PhD History, Harvard University

MA Harvard University

BA History & Literature, Harvard University



I am working on a new book-length project, Envisioning Nineteenth-Century New York, 1826-1876, a study of how a new middle class culture took shape centered around the domestic interior. I focus on five key urban manufacturers who promoted the cultural ascendency of New York in the nineteenth century, including makers of lithographs, stereoviews, illustrated newspapers, popular sculpture, and parlor furniture. My students and I have been working on the 2017 Focus project “The New York 1853 Crystal Palace” that is part of that project. I have also directed NEH Summer Institutes for College and University Teachers on American Material Culture, held at Bard Graduate Center in 2011, 2013, and 2015.

jaffee@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

The New Nation of Goods: Artisans, Consumers, and Commodities in Early America, 1790–1860 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010). Fred Kniffen Book Prize of the Pioneer America Society: Association for the Preservation of Artifacts and Landscapes.

Who Built America? Working People and the Nation’s Economy, Politics, Culture, and Society
visual editor, two volumes, Third Edition (Bedford Books, 2007)

“West from New England: Geographic Information and the Pacific in the Early Republic,” in Global Trade and Visual Arts in Federal New England, eds. Patricia Johnston and Caroline Frank (University Press of New England, 2014)

“North America, 1750-1900,” in History of Design, Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000, eds. Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber (Yale University Press, 2013)

“Rogers Groups in the Home,” in John Rogers: American Stories, ed. Kimberly Orcutt (New-York Historical Society, 2010), 167-180

“Broadway on a Rainy Day,” in Common-Place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life 10 (July 2010)

Curator, Visualizing Nineteenth-Century New York. BGC-NYPL Student Digital Exhibition. 2010-11 and BGC Focus Gallery Project Visualizing Nineteenth-Century New York, fall 2014.

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Pat Kirkham

Professor Emerita

Europe and USA, c.1750-2000
Histories of Design, Architecture and Objects
Material Culture, Film, Gender

PhD History, University of London

BA History, First Class Honors, University of Leeds



Over the last few years, I have headed a major Bard Graduate Center project, namely a global survey of decorative arts, design, and material culture from 1400 to 2000 and, together with Director Susan Weber, edited History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000, Yale University Press, 2013. For many years my two main areas of research were furniture and interior design, and issues of gender and class (across a wide range of design and film related topics). My more recent work has focused on design and film (separately and together) in the USA in the twentieth century. I have also worked closely with directors making films about design and designers, including Charles and Ray Eames: the architect and the painter (PBS December 2011). My most recent publications are listed below. Others include Women Designers in the USA, 1900-200: Diversity and Difference 2000, Charles and Ray Eames: Designers of the Twentieth Century, 1995, The Gendered Object 1996, and You Tarzan: Masculinity, Movies, and Men, 1993 and Me Jane: Masculinity, Movies, and Women, 19950 (both with Janet Thumim). Fellowships I have received include The Getty, The Royal College of Art, London, the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust.

kirkham@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Eva Zeisel: Life, Design, Beauty, editor (Chronicle Books, 2013)

Saul Bass: A Life in Design and Film (Laurence King Publishers, 2011)

“Reassessing the Saul Bass and Alfred Hitchcock Collaboration,” in West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture (Spring-summer 2011, vol 18, no. 01)

“At Home with California Modern,” in Living in a Modern Way: California Design 1930-1965, ed. Wendy Kaplan (MIT Press, 2011)

“New Environments for Modern Living: ‘at home’ with the Eameses,” in Penny Sparke, et.al, eds. Designing the Modern Interior: From the Victorians to Today (Berg, 2009)

“Frank Lloyd Wright’s Interior,” with Scott Perkins, in The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Making of the Modern Museum (The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2008)

Appearance in Saul Bass: Title Champ(2008 directed by Gary Leva), Leva Film Works & Universal Studios (with Martin Scorsese and Kyle Cooper)

“The Evolution of the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman,” in The Eames Lounge Chair: an Icon of Modern Design, ed. David Hanks (Merrell, 2006)

“Morale and the Home Front; Fashion. Femininity, and Propaganda in World War II Britain,” in  Wearing Propaganda: Textiles on the Home Front in Japan, Britain and the USA, ed. Jacqueline Atkins (Yale University Press/Bard Graduate Center, 2005).

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Deborah L. Krohn

Associate Professor, Director of Masters Studies, Coordinator for History and Theory of Museums

Italian Renaissance Decorative Arts and Material Culture
History and Theory of Museums
Culinary History

PhD History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University

MA Art and Archaeology, Princeton University

BA cum laude, Princeton University



My research and teaching areas include early modern European cultural history, history and theory of museums, culinary history, and history of the book. I am most interested in relationships between objects of daily life, including the arts of the kitchen and table, and the dissemination of both learned and practical knowledge through books and prints. My recent research appears in Food and Knowledge in Renaissance Italy: Bartolomeo Scappi’s Paper Kitchens, (Ashgate, 2015) which focuses on the history and reception of the first illustrated cookbook in Europe, published in 1570, through print culture and book history. In 2008-9, I collaborated on the exhibition Art and Love in Renaissance Italy at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in 2009-10, on the exhibition Dutch New York Between East and West: The World of Margrieta Van Varick at Bard Graduate Center and in 2013, on Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also at Bard Graduate Center.

krohn@bgc.bard.edu

 



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Food and Knowledge in Renaissance Italy: Bartolomeo Scappi’s Paper Kitchens (Ashgate, 2015).

“Written Representations of Furniture: 1500 – 1700,” in A Cultural History of Furniture, ed. Christina M. Anderson, London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming.

“Decorative Arts and Material Culture,” Oxford Bibliographies in Renaissance and Reformation (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

“Cooking on the Margins: Using Cookbooks,” in Eating Words, Jason Scott-Warren and Andrew Zurcher, eds., (Ashgate Press, forthcoming).

“Quodlibets and Fricassées: Food in Musical Settings of Street Cries in Early Modern London,” Food HawkersSelling in the Streets from Antiquity to the Present, edited by Melissa Calaresu and Danielle Van den Heuvel (Ashgate Press, forthcoming)

“Beyond terminology, or, the limits of “decorative arts,”’ Journal of Art Historiography, Number 11, December 2014, https://arthistoriography.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/krohn.pdf

“Marriage as a Key to Understanding the Past” and “Celebrating Betrothal, Marriage, and the Family,” Art and Love in Renaissance Italy, ex. cat. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008)

“The Kitchen as Exemplary Space from Renaissance Treatise to Period Room,” Studies in the Decorative Arts, Vol. XIV, No. 1, Fall-Winter 2008-9, pp. 20 – 34

“Between Legend, History and Politics: The Santa Fina Chapel in San Gimignano,” in Stephen Campbell and Stephen Milner, ed., Italian Renaissance Cities: Cultural Translation and Artistic Exchange (Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 246 – 272

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François Louis

Associate Professor

History of Chinese Design and Visual Culture
Art and Material Culture of the Tang, Five Dynasties, Liao, and Song eras

PhD History of East Asian Art, University of Zurich

MA Art History, University of Zurich



My current research focuses on the art and material culture of the Kitan Liao dynasty (907-1125) in northern China. I am evaluating a number of extraordinary archaeological finds made during the past 50 years that allow us to see the history of this little-known dynasty in a new light. Other research projects have ranged more broadly across the history of Chinese artifacts and covered topics from early antiquity to the eighteenth century. I have published on China’s antiquarian culture, the history of ornament, tenth-century state ritual, and on gold and silver, including a book based on my dissertation, Die Goldschmiede der Tang und Song- Zeit, which examines the formation of the goldsmithing profession in China.

francois.louis@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Perspectives on the Liao, co-edited with Valerie Hansen and Daniel Kane, Journal of Sung-Yuan Studies 43 (2013)

“The Cultured and Martial Prince: Notes on Li Zanhua’s Biographical Record,” in Tenth-Century China and Beyond: Art and Visual Culture in a Multi-Centered Age, Wu Hung ed. (University of Chicago and Art Media Resources, 2012), pp. 319–349

Antiquarianism and Intellectual Life in Europe and China, 1500–1800, co-edited with Peter N. Miller (University of Michigan Press, 2012)

“Metal Objects on the Belitung Shipwreck,” and “Bronze Mirrors,” in Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds (Sackler Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, 2010), 81–87; 208–215

“The Hejiacun Rhyton and the Chinese Wine Horn: Intoxicating Rarities and their Antiquarian Legacy,” Artibus Asiae 67, 2 (2007), pp. 201–242

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Michele Majer

Assistant Professor

European and American Clothing and Textiles

MA Costume Studies, New York University

BA Barnard College



My research and teaching explore European and American clothing and textile history from the eighteenth through the twentieth century.   In addition to an appreciation for the importance of the material object and what it can tell us, my interests encompass the context in which clothing and textiles were made, sold, worn or used, experienced, and perceived.  My work draws on social, cultural, art, economic, and political history, as well as literature.  In 2012, I curated a Focus Gallery exhibition at Bard Graduate Center and contributed to and edited the accompanying catalogue.  The exhibition and publication, Staging Fashion, 1880-1920:  Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, Billie Burke, examine the phenomenon of actresses as internationally known fashion leaders at the turn-of-the-twentieth century and highlight the printed ephemera (cabinet cards, postcards, theatre magazines, and trade cards) that were instrumental in the creation of a public persona and that contributed to and reflected the rise of celebrity culture.

majer@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Staging Fashion, 1880-1920:  Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, Billie Burke
BGC Focus Gallery exhibition catalogue, editor and contributing author (2012)

La Mode à la girafe:  Fashion, Culture and Politics in Bourbon Restoration France,” Studies in the Decorative Arts Fall-Winter 2009-2010 (Vol. XVII, No. 1)

Cora Ginsburg catalogues, 2014; 2013; 2011-12; 2010-11; contributing author; Kindig, Joe K., Donna Ghelerter, Michele Majer, Philip Zimmerman, and Elizabeth Meg Schaefer (editor). Wright’s Ferry Mansion (Marquand Books, 2005)

41

Andrew Morrall

Professor, Chair of Academic Programs

Early Modern Northern European Fine and Applied Arts
The Reformation and the Arts
The History and Theory of Ornament
The Early History of Collecting

PhD Courtauld Institute of Art, London University

MA Courtauld Institute of Art, London University

BA Honors, University of Oxford



My area of research is the art and material culture of early modern Northern Europe. I have published on Renaissance aesthetics, the history of collecting, intersections of art and science, theories of ornament, aspects of the early modern domestic interior, and on the Reformation and the arts. My current research focuses on works of art and craft made for the Kunstkammer of sixteenth-century northern Europe, and in particular on the knowledge base and intellectual aspirations of the elite craftsmen who made them: urban, educated, inventive, intellectually curious, and fired by the values of humanism—whose interests intersected with those of their courtly patrons and whose creations gave material shape to the philosophical speculations and enquiries about the world that arose within the Kunstkammer’s milieu.

morrall@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

“The Place of Colour in Martin Schaffner’s Universe Table,” in Tawrin Baker
Sven Dupré, Sachiko Kusukawa, Karin Leonhard eds, Early Modern Colour Worlds, (Brill, 2016)

“Domestic Decoration and the Bible in the Early Modern Home,” in The Oxford Handbook to the Bible in England, c. 1520-1700, ed. Kevin Killeen, Helen Smith and Rachel Willie (Oxford University Press, 2015)

“Jonas Silber’s Universe Cup and its Sources,” in Jeffrey Chipps Smith ed., Visual Acuity and the Arts in Early Modern Germany (Ashgate, 2014)

“Object, Material, Myth: Ovidian Poetics and Natural Philosophy in the Sixteenth-Century Northern European Kunstkammer” in G. Ulrich Grossman and Petra Krutisch, eds., The Challenge of the Object / Die Herausforderung des Objekts: The Proceedings of the 33rd Congress of the International Committee of the History of Art (Nuremberg: Germanischen Nationalmuseums, 2013)

“Die Rezeption Dürers und seiner Kunst im Venedig des frühen sechzehnten Jahrhunderts,“ in Albrecht Dürer. Seine Kunst im Kontext Ihrer Zeit , exh. cat., Städel Museum, Frankfurt-am-Main, 23.October 2013 – 2. February 2014, 2013

“Renaissance Europe, 1400-1600“,  field editor and contributing author, in Pat Kirkham, Susan Weber eds, A History of the Decorative Arts (BGC/Yale University Press, 2013)

“Inscriptional Wisdom and the Domestic Arts in Early Modern Northern Europe,” in Natalia Filatkina, Birgit Ulrike Münch, Ane Kleine eds.,   Konstruktion, Manifestation und Dynamik der Formelhaftigkeit in Text und Bild: Historische Perspektiven und moderne Technologien (Beiträge zu Historischen Kulturwissenschaften, Universität Trier 2012)

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Elizabeth Simpson

Professor

Greek, Roman, Ancient Near Eastern, and Egyptian Art and Archaeology
Ancient Crafts and Technology
Rediscovery of Antiquity/Ancient Revival Styles
Museology
Protection of Cultural Property

PhD Classical Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania

American School of Classical Studies, Athens

MA Art History, University of Oregon

BA Mathematics, University of Oregon; Smith College



I am an archaeologist, archaeological illustrator, and Professor at Bard Graduate Center, specializing in the history of ancient furniture, ceramics, glass, jewelry, and metalwork; ancient crafts and technology; and the protection of cultural property. Before coming to Bard Graduate Center in 1993, I taught at Duke University and Sarah Lawrence College and was a curator in the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As Director of the Gordion Furniture Project, I hold the position of Consulting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia. In recognition of the work of the Gordion Furniture Project, I was given a special award from the Republic of Turkey (1998) for the protection of the Turkish cultural heritage. Grants for my research include awards from the National Geographic Society, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the 1984 Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the Getty Grant Program, and the American Council of Learned Societies. My publications include The Gordion Wooden Objects I: The Furniture from Tumulus MM (2010), Gordion Wooden Furniture (1999), and The Spoils of War—World War II and Its Aftermath: The Loss, Reappearance, and Recovery of Cultural Property (1997).

simpson@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

“An Early Anatolian Ivory Chair: The Pratt Ivories in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” in Amilla: The Quest for Excellence. Studies Presented to Guenter Kopcke in Celebration of His 75th Birthday, edited by Robert B. Koehl (INSTAP Academic Press, 2013)

The Gordion Wooden Objects, Volume 1: The Furniture from Tumulus MM (Brill, 2010)

“Furniture,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, edited by Michael Gagarin (Oxford University Press, 2010), 252-255

“Tall Tales: Celts, Connoisseurs, and the Fabrication of Archaeological Context,” Source 24, no. 2 (2005): 28-41

“‘A Perfect Imitation of the Ancient Work’—Ancient Jewelry and Castellani Adaptations,” in The Castellani and Italian Archaeological Jewelry, edited by S. Walker and S. Soros (Bard Graduate Center, 2004), 201-226

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Paul Stirton

Associate Professor, Editor of West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture

19th and 20th century European Design and Architecture

PhD History of Art, University of Glasgow

MA Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London

MA History of Art, University of Edinburgh



My current research and publications are mostly concentrated in two areas: architecture and design in Britain and in Central Europe (primarily Hungary) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I have a particular interest in graphic design, interiors, and print culture, although my recent work has been concerned with public monuments and cultural transfer or emigration. My approach to this body of material is largely concerned with the relationship between contemporary theoretical and critical writings and the actual objects themselves. This dialectical relationship between texts and things lies behind the selected writings of the English architect-designer E.W. Godwin, which I edited with Juliet Kinchin (2005), and various articles and essays on Hungarian designers, such as Károly Kós, Lajos Kozma, and Laszlo Peri.

stirton@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

“Is Mr Ruskin Living Too Long?”: Selected Writings of E.W. Godwin on Victorian Architecture, Design and Culture, with Juliet Kinchin (2005)

“Commanditaires et luttes de classe dans la Florence du XIVe siècle: Frederick Antal et Florence et ses peintres,” in Anthologie de l’histoire de l’art sociale de l’art, (Paris: INHA, 2015)

“Hungarian Visual Culture in the First World War,” Austrian Studies, No. 21 (2013)

“Double Emigres” in Transfer-Interdisciplinär!, ed. E. Gantner (Peter Lang, 2013)

“The Vienna School in Hungary,” Journal of Art Historiography, No. 8 (June 2013)

“Public Sculpture in Cluj/Kolozsvár: Identity, Space and Politics” in Heritage, Ideology and Identity in Central and Eastern Europe, ed. M. Rampley (Boydell Press, 2012)

“Frederick Antal and Laszlo Peri: Art, Scholarship and Social Purpose,” in Visual Culture in Britain (Summer, 2012)

“American Circus Posters,” in The American Circus, eds. M. Wittman & S. Weber (Yale University Press, 2012)

“The Cult of Velazquez” and “The Spanish Civil War” in The Discovery of Spain, exhibition catalogue (National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, 2009)

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Ittai Weinryb

Assistant Professor

Medieval European Artistic and Material Culture
Anthropology of Image Making
Geography of Art

PhD History of Art, Johns Hopkins University

MA Johns Hopkins University

BA Tel Aviv University



I am currently involved in three different projects. The first is a book manuscript on the reception of the technology of the astrolabe and its effect on material culture in the Middle Ages. The second is a book on the production and exchange of the medieval metalwork and its techniques of making within a global scale. Lastly, I am curating an exhibition dealing with votive offerings (ex votos). My awards and fellowships include the following: Adolf Katzenellenbogen Prize, Robert and Nancy Hall Fellow, the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Max Planck Doctoral Fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence; ICMA/Kress Research Award. Andrew Mellon Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. In the Academic year 2014-15 I was a fellow at the Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices project, and the Forum für Transregionale Studien, Berlin.

weinryb@bgc.barc.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

The Bronze Object in the Middle Ages (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Ex Voto: Votive Giving Across Cultures, editor (University of Chicago Press, 2015)

Images at Work (a special issue of Representations vol. 133 – Winter 2016)

Living Matter: Materiality, Maker and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52:2 2013 (2013)

Beyond Representation: Things, Human and Nonhuman,“ in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (University of Michigan Press, 2013)

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Catherine Whalen

Associate Professor

American Material Culture Studies
Craft and Design History
History and Theory of Collecting

PhD American Studies, Yale University

MA Winterthur Program in Early American Culture, University of Delaware

BS Design and Environmental Analysis, Cornell University



My research interests include the history and theory of collecting, material culture studies methodology and historiography, craft and design history, digital oral history, public humanities, and vernacular photography. My forthcoming book is Material Politics: Francis P. Garvan, American Antiques, and the Alchemy of Collecting in the Interwar United States, for the series Public History in Historical Perspective from the University of Massachusetts Press. Rather than offer a conventional biography, I show how this outspoken ideologue’s political and business dealings informed his collecting practices and unpack the hefty symbolic freight that he believed American antiques carried in service of what was, by the 1930s, an ambitious project of cultural and economic nationalism. By doing so, I elucidate how objects perform a material politics; that is, enact political agendas and operate as an important form of cultural power. I am also the author of “Collecting as Historical Practice and the Conundrum of the Unmoored Object” in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of History and Material Culture, edited by Ivan Gaskell and Sarah Anne Carter. Currently I am co-editing Paul Hollister: Collected Writings on Studio Glass, with Irene Hollister. This volume brings together important published work by this noted critic and historian of the studio glass movement, accompanied by essays on his significance to the field and an annotated bibliography. I direct the Bard Graduate Center Craft and Design Oral History Project, a digital archive of interviews with contemporary craftspeople and designers conducted by graduate students in the seminar 693. Craft and Design in the U.S.A., 1945-present. In collaboration with the Chipstone Foundation, I offer the course 912. Curatorial Practice as Experiment, which gives students the opportunity to explore innovative curation and create their own exhibition.

whalen@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

“Europe and North America 1900-1945,” co-authored with Pat Kirkham and Amy F. Ogata, and “Europe and North America 1945-2000,” co-authored with Pat Kirkham, Christian A. Larsen, Sarah A. Litchtman, and Tom Tredway, in History of Design, Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000, ed. Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber (Yale University Press, 2013)

“Interpreting Vernacular Photography, Finding ‘Me’: A Case Study,” Using Visual Evidence, ed. Richard Howells and Robert W. Matson (Open University Press/McGraw Hill, 2009)

“American Decorative Arts Studies at Yale and Winterthur: The Politics of Gender, Gentility, and Academia,” Studies in the Decorative Arts 9, no. 1 (Fall-Winter 2001-2002): 108-44

“From the Collection: The Pickman Family Vues d’Optique,” Winterthur Portfolio 33, no. 1 (1998): 75-88

“Philadelphia Cabinetmaker Isaac Jones and the Vansyckel Bedchamber Suite,” Nineteenth Century 18, no. 2 (1998): 20-24

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Elissa Auther

Visiting Associate Professor; Windgate Research Curator, Museum of Arts and Design



PhD University of Maryland

BA San Francisco State University



My research interests focus on hierarchies and boundaries in the art world, the women’s art movement of the 1970s and feminist art and theory generally, the history of fiber in art, the visual and material culture of the American counterculture, and contemporary art. My study String, Felt, Thread and the Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art (Minnesota 2010), argues that the remarkable advance of various forms of fiber and fabric from the “low” world of craft to the “high” world of art in the 1960s and 1970s constituted a privileged locus of debate over the definition of art. My edited volume West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment, 1965-1977 (Minnesota 2012), brought together research on a wide range of visual, material, and performance-based practices of the American counterculture. I am also a curator, and this publication accompanied the eponymous-titled exhibition organized around artist collectives of the American counterculture. Recently, I curated Pretty/Dirty the traveling retrospective exhibition of the painter and photographer Marilyn Minter. This project highlights Minter’s work with the female body and what she calls “the pathology of beauty,” a concept she has been exploring in her art since 1969. In addition, I am the co-curator of the traveling survey exhibition of the artist Senga Nengudi. My work in the area of feminist art and culture also includes co-direction of a public program called Feminism & Co.: Art, Sex, Politics. For the Museum of Arts and Design I have exhibitions opening in the near future on mid-century graphic design, the sculpture of Françoise Grossen, and the craft-inspired work of Miriam Schapiro, among other projects in the works.

elissa.auther@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

“Sheila Hicks and the Consecration of Fiber as a Medium of Art,” in Revising the Art Canon in a Globalizing World: Incorporating “Others” into Modern and Contemporary Art, ed. Ruth Iskin (Routledge, forthcoming)

“Gender,” in Textile Terms: A Glossary for the series Textile Studies, eds. Anika Reineke, Anne Rohl, Mateusz Kapustka and Tristan Weddigan  (University of Zurich, forthcoming)

“The Improvisational Body in the Performances of Senga Nengudi,” in Improvisational Gestures: A Survey of Sculptures and Performances by Senga Nengudi (forthcoming)

“Marilyn Minter’s Politically Incorrect Pleasures,” in Pretty/Dirty: The Painting and Photography of Marilyn Minter, ed. Elissa Auther (Gregory R. Miller & Co. in cooperation with the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2015)

“’He is survived by his longtime companion,’: Feeling in the Work of Josh Faught,” in Nation Building: Craft in Contemporary Art and Culture. Ed. Nicolas Bell. (Smithsonian American Art Museum and Bloomsbury Press, 2015).

“Sonya Clark’s The Hair Craft Project: Creative Collision and Overlap Between Artworlds,”
“Radical Craft as Temporal Drag: The Work of Josh Faught” in Sloppy Craft: Post-Disciplinarity and Craft, ed. Elaine Cheasley Paterson (Bloomsbury Press, 2015). Co-authored with Elyse Speaks.

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Alicia Boswell

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, “Cultures of Conservation”



PhD University of California, San Diego (Expected)
MA University of California, San Diego
BA University of Michigan, Ann Arbor



My primary interest is examining the relationships between communities who produce luxury objects or resources and their imperial consumers. I am interested in the use and display of luxury items throughout their lifetimes—from production to engagement in ceremonies and feasts—and their symbolic roles in elite legitimization and political ideologies. My dissertation examines the relationships between Collambay, a coca-plant producing community located in a frontier zone, and two Andean Empires, the Chimú (900–1470) and Inca (1000–1532). In the Andes coca leaves are a highly sought after prestige resource that only grows in specific ecological niches. Collambay elites used their relationships with these imperial powers to empower themselves and support state infrastructure. My dissertation contributes to understanding local-imperial relationships, Andean communities living in politically marginal zones, and imperial strategies of prestige resources management. I am involved in heritage preservation initiatives through Mobilizing Opportunities for Community Heritage Empowerment (MOCHE Inc) and in 2016 co-organized the Primera Mesa Redonda de Trujillo sponsored by the Institute of Andean Research and MOCHE Inc. At Bard Graduate Center, I will be working with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Crucibles of Innovation Project,” a joint endeavor of the curatorial and conservation departments which will expand the lens of South American metallurgical studies and link the Met’s collection to a larger dialogue on metalworking technology and relationships throughout the Americas.

alicia.boswell@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Life at the Margins of the State: Comparative Landscapes from the Old and New Worlds, with Kyle Knabb (University of Colorado Press, forthcoming)

“A Distinct Landscape: Late Andean Prehistory in the Chaupiyunga of the Moche Valley, Peru,” in Life at the Margins of the State: Comparative Landscapes form the Old and New Worlds, eds. Kyle Knabb and Alicia Boswell (University of Colorado Press, forthcoming)

“Social Identity in the Frontier: A Case Study from Moquegua, Peru,” in Ethnicity from Various Angles and Lenses, eds. Christine Hundefeldt and Leon Zamosc, vol 2. (Sussex Press, 2011), pp. 45-57

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Georgios Boudalis

Visiting Adjunct Professor



PhD, University of the Arts, London
BA, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece



My research focuses on the material culture of the manuscript book in the eastern Mediterranean from the appearance of the codex in the early Christian centuries until the 17th century. I am especially concerned about the making of the codex as a three-dimensional functional object and its relation to other crafts and artefacts. As a visiting researcher at Bard Graduate Center in 2015, I had the opportunity to continue my research on the making of the codex in late antiquity and how this related to such crafts as sock and shoe making, textiles, and leatherworks. As a continuation of this research, I will be curating a Focus Project exhibition at BGC in 2018 which aims to clarify the invention of the codex and juxtapose early bindings with various artefacts from the same period. My approach to the history and conservation of books is multidisciplinary and aims to combine historical, iconographical, and technical knowledge with a marked interest on how elaborate manual skills can best be communicated through a combination of text, technical drawings, animation, etc.

I have studied conservation of art in Florence, Athens, and London, and fine arts in Thessaloniki. Since 1997 I have been working on the conservation of paper artefacts, especially paper and parchment manuscripts, and since 2000 I have been the head of book conservation at the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki. I have worked and conducted research in such historic libraries as, the St Catherine’s Monastery Library in Egypt and The Iviron Monastery Library in Greece, amongst others. I have taught courses on various aspects of eastern Mediterranean bookbinding structures both on a historical and technical level. Currently, I am finishing a book on the endbands found in the bookbindings in the eastern Mediterranean which aims to provide a historical and technical account of the great variety of techniques used many of which can be directly linked to fabric-making processes.



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Bookbindings: Theoretical Approaches and practical Solutions, ed. Nataša Golob & Jedert Vodopivec Tomažič (Brepols, forthcoming)

Iconographic Evidence as a Source of Information for Clarifying the Structure, Appearance and Use of the Early Codex Book around the Mediterranean Basin” in  Care and Conservation of Manuscripts 15, ed. M.J.Driscoll (Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen, 2016), pp 287-303

“A Drawing is Worth a Thousand words,” Icon News, 59 (July 2015), pp 11-13

“The Conservation of an Early 16th-Century Greek Bound Manuscript: An Insight into Byzantine Bookbinding through Conservation,” in Care and Conservation of Manuscripts 13, ed. M.J. Driscoll (Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen, 2012), pp 199-214

“Endbands in Greek-style Bindings,” The Paper Conservator, vol. 31, January 2007, pp 29-49

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Juliet Kinchin

Visiting Adjunct Professor



MA, Courtauld Institute of Art of the University of London
MA, Cambridge University



Since joining The Museum of Modern Art in 2008 as Curator of Modern Design in the Department of Architecture and Design, I have organized exhibitions including ‘What Was Good Design? MoMA’s Message 1939-55,’  ‘Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen,’ ‘Postwar Polish Posters,’ ‘New Typography,’ ‘Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000,’ ‘Designing Modern Women 1900-2000,’ ‘Brute Material, Fiber into Form,’ and ‘Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye.’ Current projects include forthcoming exhibitions ‘How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior’ and a section of ‘Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive.’ As a curator, university professor, and writer on aspects of twentieth-century design and material culture, I have a longstanding interest in the social and political contexts of modern design, gender issues, and the culture of Central and Eastern Europe. I have worked as a curator in Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries, and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and am an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow, where I was formerly the Founding Director of the graduate program in Decorative Arts and Design History. I have also held faculty positions in the history of art and design at the Glasgow School of Art, and Bard Graduate Center in 1999 and 2002-03, where I participated in the exhibition and related publication on architect-designer E.W. Godwin.



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000 (2012)

Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen (2010)

Art and Gastronomia (2011)

Essays in Bauhaus 1919-1933:Workshops for Modernity (2009)

Modern Women- Women Artists in the Museum of Modern Art (2010)

Hungarian Pottery, Politics and identity: Re-representing the Ceramic Art of Margit Kovacs 1902-77 (The Journal of Modern Craft, 2009)

In the Eye of the Storm: Lili Markus and Stories of Hungarian Craft, Design and Architecture 1930-1960 (2008)

Performance and the Reflected Self: Modern Stagings of Domestic Space, 1860-1914 (Studies in the Decorative Arts, 2008)

‘Hungary, Shaping a National Consciousness’ in The Arts and Crafts Movement in Europe and America (LACMA, 2004)

51

Urmila Mohan

Bard Graduate Center/AMNH Postdoctoral Fellow in Museum Anthropology



PhD University College London
MFA Pennsylvania State University
BA Victoria University of Wellington
BFA National Institute of Design



My research involves a knowledge of South and Southeast Asia, a theoretical foundation in the study of material and visual culture, and an intimate knowledge of how materials work based on experience as an artist and ethnographer. My background in art, design, and anthropology has provided me with an applied knowledge of praxis and sensoriality. My doctoral dissertation dealt with cloth and clothing as materiality and sociality in a contemporary Hindu group. I discussed how techniques of embellishment and draping that were produced in one region traveled to other parts of the world to create a transnational identity. My postdoctoral project explores how cloth and clothing, collected by anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson in Bali, Indonesia, in the 1930s, act as embodied means of transformation and power through their symbolic, aesthetic, and praxeological value. I have organized conferences and panels on the use of materials and visual imagery in relation to diverse issues such as ornament, nationalism, and subjectivation. I am a founder and editor of the Material Religions blog and am currently editing a journal special issue on religious materiality. Recent publications include “From Prayer Beads to the Mechanical Counter: The Negotiation of Chanting Practices Within a Hindu Group”, Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions, No. 174, and “Dressing God: Clothing as Material of Religious Subjectivity in a Hindu Group” in The Social Life of Materials: Studies in Materials and Society. My teaching philosophy draws on a cross-disciplinary approach across the social sciences and arts and humanities.

urmila.mohan@bgc.bard.edu



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Amelia Peck

Visiting Adjunct Professor





I am the Marica F. Vilcek Curator in the Department of American Decorative Arts and Manager of the Henry R. Luce Center for the study of American Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I am a graduate of Brown University and received my MS in Historic Preservation from Columbia University. My areas of expertise include American textiles and interiors. I have curated numerous exhibitions at the Metropolitan, and am the author/general editor of many books and exhibition catalogues, including American Quilts and Coverlets in the Metropolitan Museum (1990, revised ed. 2007), Period Rooms in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1996), Candace Wheeler: The Art and Enterprise of American Design, 1875-1900 (2001) and Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800 (2013). In addition to my work at the museum, I have been a consultant to several historic house museums in the New York area, and wrote the guidebook to Lyndhurst, a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. I have taught at Bard Graduate Center, the Parsons Program in Decorative Arts at the Cooper Hewitt, and was the coordinator of the American decorative arts curriculum at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York (2006-2012).

My projects at the Metropolitan in the past few years have included overseeing the major renovations to the American Wing’s late-seventeenth- and eighteenth-century period rooms and decorative arts galleries (2009). These renovations included incorporating an electronic labeling system into the period rooms. I also oversaw the creation of a new public access computer cataloguing system for the renovation of the Luce Center in the American Wing (2012) and was the coordinating curator for the major textile exhibition, “Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800” (2013).



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Charlotte Vignon

Visiting Associate Professor; Curator of Decorative Arts, The Frick Collection



PhD University of Paris-IV, Sorbonne

MA University of Paris-IV, Sorbonne

BA University of Paris-IV, Sorbonne



My fellowships include Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow the Frick Collection; Annette Kade Fellow, the Metropolitan Museum of Art; W.M. Keck Foundation Fellow, the Huntington Art Collections and Library; Andrew W. Mellon and Pieter Christies Krugel Fellow, the Cleveland Museum of Art. I have organized several exhibitions at The Frick Collection: in 2009, “Exuberant Grotesques: Renaissance Maiolica from the Fontana Workshop,” for which I also wrote the catalogue. In 2011, I curated “Turkish Taste at the Court of Marie-Antoinette,” and I co-curated, with Anne L. Poulet, “White Gold: Highlights from the Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain.” In 2012, I also co-curated, with Ian Wardropper, “Gold, Jasper, and Carnelian: Johann Christian Neuber at the Saxon Court.” In 2014, I curated “Precision and Splendor: Clocks and Watches at The Frick Collection.” In 2015, I curated two exhibitions, “Coypel’s Don Quixote Tapestries: Illustrating a Spanish Novel in Eighteenth-Century France” and “From Sèvres to Fifth Avenue: French Porcelain at The Frick Collection.” In 2016, I curated “Porcelain, No Simple Matter: Arlene Shechet and the Arnhold Collection” at The Frck Collection. In November of 2016, the exhibition “Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court” will open at The Frick Collection and will travel to the Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris in the spring of 2017. I edited the 400 page catalogue for the exhibition which will be published in English and in French, and contains essays by a number of specialists, including Christian Baulez, Anne Forray-Carlier, Joseph Godla, Helen Jacobsen, Luisa Penalva, Emmanuel Sarméo, Anna Saratowicz, and Charlotte Vignon.



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

The Frick Collection Decorative Arts Handbook. The Frick Collection/Scala, 2015

Coypel’s Don Quixote Tapestries: Illustrating a Spanish Novel in Eighteenth-Century France, catalogue for the exhibition of the same title organized at The Frick Collection, New York, February 2015-May 2015

Exuberant Grotesques: Renaissance Maiolica from the Fontana Workshop, catalogue for the exhibition of the same title organized at The Frick Collection, New York, October 2009-January 2010

“From Private Homes to Museum Galleries: Collecting Medieval Art in America from 1890 to 1940,” in the exhibition catalogue Gothic Art in the Gilded Age: Medieval and Renaissance Treasures in the Gavet Vanderbilt-Ringling Collection, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

“J.P. Morgan, Joseph Duveen and American collecting of Italian Maiolica,” in the exhibition catalogue of 1909 Tra Collezionismo e tutela. Connoisseur, antiquari e la ceramica medievale orvietana, Perugia, Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria (Italy), September 2009 – January 2010

Currently working on the publication of PhD dissertation, entitled: “London-New York-Paris: Duveen Brothers and the Market for Decorative Arts between 1880 and 1940.”

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Jessica Walthew

Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, Cultures of Conservation



MA The Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
BA Williams College



I am an objects conservator who specializes in archaeological and ethnographic conservation. I have worked in the conservation departments of the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum, The Frick Collection, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Penn Museum. In 2015–2016 I was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I researched the intersection of textiles and objects conservation practices in the Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. My research interests include theory and practice in archaeological and ethnographic conservation, best practices in documentation, and technical research in art history and archaeology. I also serve on the American Institute for Conservation’s (AIC) Emerging Professionals in Conservation Network committee as a Professional Education and Training Officer. At Bard Graduate Center I will be working on a joint project with the American Museum of Natural History, which focuses on their Northwest Coast collection, exploring issues related to material technology and conservation, particularly of the museum’s totem pole collection.

jessica.walthew@bgc.bard.edu



SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS

“When emergency preparedness (or even an emergency) is foreign territory,” Jacinta Johnson, Kari Rayner, Anisha Gupta, Jessica Walthew, Hannelore Roemich & Joelle Wickens, American Institute for Conservation 44th Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada, May 13–17, 2016, (forthcoming);

“Same Data, Targeted Uses: Site Photogrammetry for Archaeologists and Conservators,” Eve Mayberger, Jessica Walthew, Alison Hight, David Scahill, & Anna Serotta. Workshop Innovation at the Juncture of Conservation and Archaeology. Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, January 6–9, 2016.

“Case Study: The Technical Study and Treatment of an Italian Reliquary Bust,” Poster presented at ICOM-CC  Sculpture, Polychromy, & Architectural Decoration Working Group Meeting, Madrid, Spain, November 19–20, 2015.

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Research Programs

Bard Graduate Center hosts an extensive roster of research programs, including seminars, lectures, symposia, lunchtime talks, works-in-progress seminars, workshops, digital salons, panel discussions, scholars’ days, doctoral forums, materials days, and installation workshops.

The Seminar Series has made Bard Graduate Center a major venue for advanced intellectual discussion in New York City and an expression of the range of methods and approaches for studying the cultural history of the material world. The seminars function in counterpoint with course offerings to present to our students the possible scope of their own research and future work.

Tuesday night lectures and Wednesday night seminars, at which students, faculty, and visitors gather, listen, and talk, sometimes lingering into the night, are at the heart of our intellectual life.  Talk has been programmed into the institution’s DNA, with the creation of both formal and informal opportunities for conversation, whether in scholars’ days associated with our exhibitions, works-in-progress seminars in which faculty discuss their current research projects, digital salons highlighting student and faculty digital projects, symposia bringing together top international and US scholars, or doctoral forums in which PhD students discuss and receive feedback on their dissertation projects.

For more information on Research Programs, go here.

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Exhibition Programs

Research is given material shape through exhibitions. The Gallery presents exhibitions annually, curated by members of the faculty, staff, or visiting scholars.  These exhibitions consider subjects  or people largely outside the established canons of art history. Bard Graduate Center has organized monographic exhibitions that examined specific architect-designers and thematic ones addressing the role of women in the history of 20th-century design. Other exhibitions have revealed the meaning of objects as signifiers of various cultural and national identities. The Gallery is also a showcase for exhibitions organized collaboratively with museums in New York City, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New-York Historical Society, and the American Museum of Natural History. Students in our MA and PhD programs are involved in these projects, whose overall aim is to break down some of the traditional barriers between academic and curatorial forms of inquiry and knowledge. Periodically, the Gallery is also a venue for traveling exhibitions that further our mission of exploring the material world.

The Focus Project exemplifies our commitment to developing new ways of arguing in space. This initiative connects object studies and exhibition practice directly with the intellectual pursuits of our faculty. Twice a year, members of our faculty, working with our graduate students, are able to use the format of an exhibition to make an argument they would otherwise develop in print. This is part of our effort at developing a kind of intellectual bilingualism: able to move back and forth between the worlds of the professor and the curator. Each exhibition is the tangible culmination of a seminar offered in the MA and PhD programs.

The Gallery offers many opportunities for students to gain extensive experience in different aspects of museum practice including exhibition preparation and implementation, museum publishing, exhibition media and technology, display strategies and methods of interpretation, and museum education including public outreach.

For more information on Bard Graduate Center exhibitions, see here.

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Library

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The Bard Graduate Center Library has a collection of over 55,000 monographs, including rare and special collections, over 500 periodical titles, auction catalogs, trade catalogs, microforms, videos and Bard Graduate Center’s thesis, qualifying papers and dissertations collection. These holdings are all searchable in our online library catalog.

In addition to our print resources, we offer a comprehensive collection of online research databases and a periodicals searching tool, TrueSerials, which connects you directly to our databases.

The library is an open stacks, non-circulating collection spanning all six floors the Bard Graduate Center building at 38 W. 86th Street. With over 8,000 linear feet of shelf space throughout the building, the library houses a significant research collection to support advanced scholarly study of material culture.

Books are housed in the lower level monograph stacks while periodicals are on the 2nd-5th floors. They are all cataloged and shelved in the Library of Congress classification scheme. The location and call number for each item is indicated in the library catalog.

The geographic scope of the collection is primarily focused on the United States, Europe, and China, but also reflects the focus of the Degree Programs and Gallery. Key subject areas represented in our collection are:

• New York and American Material Culture
• Modern Design History
• Early Modern Europe
• History and Theory of Museums
• Comparative Medieval Material Culture (China, Islam, Europe)
• Archaeology, Anthropology, and Material Culture
• Other areas such as those studied in the doctoral program’s field concentrations

The library encourages all students to take advantage of the rich resources found in New York City libraries. We are fortunate to be in close proximity to the Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Art Library, the New York Historical Society and New York Public Library’s Schwarzman building. These libraries are all public institutions that you can visit without an appointment. When needed, BGC students can also visit university libraries such as Columbia, NYU and the Fashion Institute of Technology, with a METRO pass that the BGC Library staff can write for you.

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Visual Media Resources

The Visual Media Resources Department, part of the Bard Graduate Center library, maintains a teaching collection of digital images and slides and provides equipment, support, and training for students and faculty wishing to produce digital images for presentations, lectures, and classroom use.

The collection consists of nearly 33,000 fully-catalogued digital images and 50,000 slides covering topics in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture, and also includes images from in-house exhibitions, objects from the Bard Graduate Center Study Collection, and institutional photographs. The digital collection is fully integrated into the ARTstor digital library through our subscription to ARTstor’s Shared Shelf.

In addition to managing the image collection, the department provides training workshops in locating online image resources, working with digital images in Photoshop, and creating PowerPoint presentations. The department also lends cameras and digital equipment to students and maintains public scanners and computer workstations.

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Digital Media Lab

 

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Bard Graduate Center is committed to the integration of digital media throughout its academic programs, gallery exhibitions, and publishing endeavors. The Digital Media Lab (DML) plays an integral role in this initiative by providing resources and support to individuals interested in using digital tools for their academic work, research, and professional development.

Through a well-equipped space, the DML is able to facilitate a wide variety of individual and collaborative digital projects ranging from classroom assignments to Qualifying Papers. Recent work includes website design and development, video and audio production, gallery interactive development, mapping, alternate modes of research presentation, and 3D printing. The DML provides regular workshops and training to support the mastery of digital tools in order to encourage inquiry into new modes of scholarship and to develop valuable professional skills.

The DML also supports a lecture series and maintains key partnerships with regional and national institutions invested in the digital humanities. These collaborations expose our community to an ever-expanding array of new media work while bringing Bard Graduate Center’s digital projects to a larger audience.

 

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Journals

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West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture
West 86th reaffirms Bard Graduate Center’s commitment to expanding the conversation on the content, meaning, and significance of objects. West 86th continues to focus on the wider crossroads where scholarship in the decorative arts meets design history and material culture studies. It aims to enlarge the traditional canon to embrace the material culture of all periods and regions while maintaining the highest standards of scholarship.

Articles have included subjects that ranged from the knowledge systems of traditional Chinese craftsmen to a cultural history of glass that considered the meanings of this material from a short story by Cervantes to the Gläserne Mensch (Glass Man) first shown at the German Hygiene Museum in 1927. New translations of rare and important design texts included Le Corbusier on his ideas regarding the role of glass in modern architecture, and the Brazilian architect-designer Lina Bo Bardi—now being recognized as one of the key figures of Latin American modernism—on her interests in the folk arts and indigenous culture. We have also seen the completion of a magisterial three-part analysis of Belgian art nouveau and the colonial experience of the Congo that continues to stimulate debate on the political underbelly of elite consumption in the modern world.

Published biannually by the University of Chicago Press, West 86th is available in print and digitally through JSTOR. In addition, our website (west86th.bgc.bard. edu) not only includes a range of digital projects, debates, and related material that expand upon the articles but also serves as a free-standing forum for new scholarship. The editorial team comprises Paul Stirton, editor-in-chief, and Daniel Lee, managing editor, who rely on the assistance from other members of faculty and staff. As an additional benefit, individual subscribers can now download current issues to read on their iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Android, or computer.

Source: Notes in the History of Art
Source was founded in 1981 as a scholarly journal in art history. Its mission is to publish articles of 2500 words or less, accompanied by a maximum of three illustrations. The range of articles spans antiquity to the present and includes western and non-western art. The original premise has been borne out: there is an audience for scholarly articles in art history that are clearly written, adequately illustrated and above all, succinct. Furthermore, scholars welcome having a forum to present ideas and speculations that don’t warrant a major treatise, but might nevertheless make interesting “notes” for specialists and non-specialists alike. The journal is a quarterly. Periodically we publish a double issue consisting of invited articles on a specific theme or for a specific occasion. Source, like West 86th, is published by the University of Chicago Press on behalf of Bard Graduate Center.

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Books

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Cultural Histories of the Material World
Cultural Histories of the Material World is centered on the exploration of the material turn in the study of culture. It examines the ways human beings have shaped and interpreted the material world from a broad range of scholarly perspectives and shows how attention to materiality can contribute to a more precise historical understanding of specific times, places, ways, and means.

In Space We Read Time
Karl Schlögel (2016)

Ex Voto: Votive Giving Across Cultures
Edited by Ittai Weinryb (2016)

The Anthropology of Expeditions: Travel, Visualities, Afterlives
Edited by Joshua A. Bell and Erin L. Hasinoff (2015)

Antiquarianism and Intellectual Ways of Making and Knowing: The Material Culture of Empirical Knowledge
Edited by Pamela H. Smith, Amy R.W. Meyers, and Harold J. Cook (2014)

Cultural Histories of the Material World
Edited by Peter N. Miller (2013)

The Sea: Thalassography and Historiography
Edited by Peter N. Miller (2013)

Life in Europe and China
Edited by Peter N. Miller and François Louis (2012)

 

Co-Publication (with the University of Chicago Press)
The Technical Image: A History of Styles in Scientific Imagery
Edited by Horst Bredekamp, Vera Dünkel, and Birgit Schneider (2015)

 

Focus Gallery Books
Each year, we produce two Focus Gallery publications in conjunction with our two faculty-curated Focus Gallery exhibitions. Titles have included:

Design by the Book: Chinese Ritual Objects and the Sanli tu
by François Louis (2016)

silo_books_0077_frontier_shores__94717.1461772115.1280.1280
Frontier Shores: Collection, Entanglement, and the Manufacture of Identity in Oceania
by Shawn Rowlands (2016)
revisions_zen_for_film_front_03__73289.1442271241.1280.1280
Revisions: Zen for Film

by Hanna B. Hölling (2015)
Interface_Experience_Front__46748.1428598577.1280.1280
The Interface Experience: A User’s Guide

by Kimon Keramidas (2015)
carryingcoca
Carrying Coca: 1,500 Years of Andean Chuspas
by Nicola Sharratt (2014)
AnAmericanStyle
An American Style: Global Sources for New York Textile and Fashion Design, 1915-1928
by Ann Marguerite Tartsinis (2013)
Mandelbrot
The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality of Thinking

by Nina Samuel (2012)
Confluences
Confluences: An American Expedition to Northern Burma, 1935
by Erin Hasinoff (2013)
ObjectsofExchange
Objects of Exchange: Social and Material Transformation on the Late Nineteenth-Century Northwest Coast

by Aaron Glass (2011)
StagingFashion
Staging Fashion, 1880-1920: Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, Billie Burke

by Michele Majer (2012)
American-Christmas-Cards
American Christmas Cards, 1900-1960

by Kenneth L. Ames (2011)
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Admissions Introduction

The application to Bard Graduate Center is online at www.bgc.slideroom.com. The application deadline for admission to both the MA and PhD programs for the 2017–18 academic year is January 6, 2017. Applicants to the MA program must have received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Because of the interdisciplinary/postdisciplinary/cross-disciplinary nature of the program, there are no restrictions as to the applicant’s prior field of study. However, applicants are expected to have had previous study, training, or work experience in the history of art, architecture, decorative arts, history, material culture studies, archaeology, or anthropology. Some preparation in art history is encouraged but not required. Prospective students in the Master of Arts program should have a reading knowledge of French, German, Italian, or Spanish.

Doctoral program applicants are required to hold an MA in either the decorative arts or a related field, such as art history, history, cultural or museum anthropology, archaeology, or cultural studies. Students entering the program with an MA from another institution are required to take additional courses as part of their program of study for candidacy for the PhD. Students who have completed the MA program at Bard Graduate Center and who wish to continue study toward the PhD must make a separate application to the doctoral program. Students applying to the doctoral program should have reading knowledge of two languages from among French, German, Italian, Spanish, or other languages by petition.

After prescreening by a faculty committee, a number of applicants are invited to schedule interviews with a Graduate Admissions Committee. All applicants must be able to communicate effectively in written and spoken English. The Graduate Admissions Committee assesses this ability, based on an interview and a sample of written scholarly work. Students are strongly encouraged to interview in person, if possible. Students with deficiencies are expected to rectify them prior to admission to the program. Some students may be able to correct them during the first academic year, but such work is not granted credit.

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Open Houses

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Open houses in 2016 will take place on October 9, October 23, November 7, and November 13. These take place at 11 AM, except for the November 7 event which begins at 6 PM. All of them are held at 38 West 86th Street.We will also hold an open house in Boston on Monday, November 14, at 6 PM. All applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an open house. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit our website. To make an appointment to speak about the program with Dean Elena Pinto Simon, you may email her at elena.simon@bgc.bard.edu.

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Other Student Information

Student Profile
The student body of Bard Graduate Center comprises recent college graduates; holders of advanced degrees who wish to pursue studies in the decorative arts, design history, material culture, and museum studies; and people employed in arts-related fields who wish to strengthen their academic background and enhance their professional standing. The Master of Arts program enrolls 20 to 25 students each academic year; the doctoral program typically enrolls 3. Students come here from a variety of academic backgrounds, including art history, history, cultural history, American studies, anthropology, archaeology, visual culture, and women’s studies.

GRE Examination
All applicants MUST take the GRE exam; there are no exceptions. This exam cannot be more than three years old at the time of application. Bard Graduate Center Alumni/ae may present exam scores that are up to four years old. Our GRE number is 2020. The GRE score must be in the Admissions office by January 6, 2017, when the application is due. It is the responsibility of the applicant to take this exam NO LATER than December 15, in order to guarantee that the scores will arrive on time. The applicant’s docket is not complete until the GRE arrives, and the applicant will not be considered for an interview without the exam scores.

Part-time Study
Part-time study is available to students in both the Master of Arts and doctoral programs. Part-time MA students attend the full August Orientation Session in the year they are accepted into the program. All part-time students are required to take a minimum of 6 credits each term. It is not possible to complete degree course work by taking only evening classes, nor is it possible to take just one course per term. We do not offer financial aid for part-time students.

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International Students

We welcome international applicants to Bard Graduate Center. International candidates must be proficient in English and should submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) by January 6, 2017. Our TOEFL number is 5034. International candidates should also complete the CollegeBoard International Student Financial Aid Application (available on our website) and submit it by January 15, 2017 in order to be considered for financial aid. In order to receive visa documentation, foreign students must submit proof that income from all sources is sufficient to cover expenses during the period of residency in the United States. To this end, international applicants must complete a Certification of Finances. Evidence of financial responsibility must be demonstrated by one of the following: affidavit from a bank, certification by parents or sponsors of their ability to provide the necessary funds, or certification by employers of anticipated income.

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MA Program

Tuition for 2016–17 is $1,335 per credit. A student enrolled full-time in the MA program normally takes 27 credits in the first year (including the August orientation session, fall term, spring term, and Internship) and 21 credits in the second year (fall and spring terms). The number of credits for part-time students varies according to their schedules; however, part-time students must enroll for a minimum of 6 credits each fall and spring term. Tuition and fees for a typical program of study for a full-time MA program student entering in the fall of 2016 are as follows.

Year 1: 2016–17

April 1, 2016
New students’ nonrefundable tuition deposit $500

July 1, 2016
Orientation and fall term tuition (12 credits) $16,020
Health insurance fee $1,396
Registration/library fee $250

Dec. 1, 2016
Spring term and Internship tuition (15 credits) $20,025
Registration/library fee $250

Year 2: 2017–18

July 1, 2017
Fall term tuition (12 credits) $16,020
Health insurance fee $1,396
Registration/library fee $250

Dec. 1, 2017
Spring term tuition (9 credits) $12,015
Registration/library fee $250

April 2018
Graduation fee $120

Totals
5 terms, 48 credits in 2 years, $67,992

All numbers are based on 2016–2017 rates and are subject to change in subsequent years.  The deposit is credited in the fall term. Health insurance fees are accurate at time of printing and subject to change.

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PhD Program

For students required to complete 27 credits

Tuition for 2016–17 is $1,335 per credit. In the second year of the program and after completion of qualifying exams, the student must register for the doctoral dissertation, for 6 credits. Tuition for dissertation registration is $4,000. Tuition and fees for a typical program of study for a full-time PhD student entering in the fall of 2016 are as follows.

Year 1: 2016–17
(coursework and exams)

April 1, 2016
New students’ nonrefundable tuition deposit $500

July 1, 2016
Fall term tuition (12 credits) $16,020
Health insurance fee $1,396
Registration/library fee $250

December 1, 2016
Spring term tuition (9 credits) $12,015
Registration/library fee $250

Year 2: 2017–18
(propose dissertation)

July 1, 2017
Fall term tuition (6 credits) $4,000
Health insurance fee $1,396
Registration/library fee (2 semesters) $500

Year 3: 2018–19

July 1, 2018
Registration/library fee (2 semesters) $500

Year 4: 2019–20

July 1, 2019
Registration/library fee (2 semesters) $500

April 1, 2020
Graduation fee $120

For students required to complete 51 credits

Tuition for 2016–17 is $1,335 per credit. In the third year of the program and after completion of qualifying exams, the student must register for the doctoral dissertation for 6 credits. Tuition for the dissertation registration is $4,000. Tuition and fees for a typical program of study for a full-time PhD student entering in the fall of 2016 are as follows.

Year 1: 2016–17
(coursework)

April 1, 2016
New students’ nonrefundable tuition deposit $500

July 1, 2016
Fall term tuition (12 credits) $16,020
Health insurance fee $1,396
Registration/library fee $250

December 1, 2016
Spring term tuition (12 credits) $16,020
Registration/library fee $250

Year 2: 2017–18
(coursework and exams)

July 1, 2017
Fall term tuition (12 credits) $16,020
Health insurance fee $1,396
Registration/library fee $250

December 1, 2017
Spring term tuition (9 credits) $12, 015
Registration/library fee $250

Year 3: 2018–19
(propose dissertation)

July 1, 2018
Fall term tuition (6 credits) $4,000
Health insurance fee $1,396
Registration/library fee (2 semesters) $500

Year 4: 2019–20

July 1, 2019
Registration/library fee (2 semesters) $500

Year 5: 2020–21

July 1, 2020
Registration/library fee (2 semesters) $500

April 1, 2021
Graduation fee $120

All numbers are based on 2016–17 rates and are subject to change in subsequent years.  The deposit is credited in the fall term. Health insurance fees are accurate at time of printing and subject to change. For doctoral students, it is expected that the dissertation will be completed and defended by the end of the student’s 4th/ 5th year in the program.

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Student Housing

Bard Hall, located at 410 West 58th Street, provides housing for students, faculty, and visiting scholars. Nine residential floors offer a variety of furnished studios and one- and two bedroom suites with kitchens and baths for students, as well as one-, two-, and three bedroom apartments for faculty and guest scholars. The building is equipped with 24-hour security, a double-height lounge that opens onto a landscaped outdoor space, an exercise room, conference and study rooms, and laundry facilities. Apartments are equipped for phone, cable TV, and internet connections.

Student apartments are furnished and, depending on size and design, contain a daybed/sofa, small dining table and chairs, desk, bookcase, twin or full-size bed, and chest of drawers. Residents must be enrolled for a minimum of nine credits each semester in order to remain eligible for housing. The costs of the units for a 12-month term are as follows*

Studio unit $17,462
One-bedroom unit $20,396
Two-bedroom unit $17,292

*costs are accurate as of press time and are subject to change

Students are billed for housing in the fall and spring semesters of each academic year, to coincide with tuition billing. All apartments are assigned by lottery. Applications are mailed in early March and must be returned by the deadline indicated, accompanied by a $100 nonrefundable application fee. Students are required to pay a $500 damage deposit upon contract; the damage deposit will be returned upon departure and after satisfactory inspection of the apartment. The Bard Hall handbook, available from the Academic Programs Office, outlines policies and guidelines for residency. Bard Hall is a nonsmoking residence, and, for general health reasons, student residents are not allowed to keep pets. Contracts are for one year, and students are responsible for the whole year once a contract is signed.

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Bard-Hall_Spring-2012_09_med Bard-Hall_Spring-2012_07_med

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Financial Aid Overview

Bard Graduate Center is committed to assisting students whose personal resources would not otherwise allow them to continue their education at the graduate level. In recent years, we have demonstrated this commitment by awarding scholarships and fellowships of varying amounts to more than half of the incoming class. Financial aid is awarded on the basis of achievement and promise and on the basis of financial need, as determined annually by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application and the Office of Financial Aid at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

Application for financial assistance is made annually. Eligibility for financial aid is determined each year by the demonstration of financial need. Financial need is assessed, by a uniform method, from financial data provided by the student on the FAFSA. The FAFSA form must be sent to the federal processor by January 15. Our FAFSA number is 002671. It is crucial for applicants to submit their FAFSA on time. Late FAFSA applicants cannot be considered for financial aid. Those applying on or before the deadline receive full consideration. Students whose admission and financial aid applications are complete by January 15 will be notified of financial aid awards by mid-March. International applicants must complete the CollegeBoard International Student Financial Aid Application (available on our website) and submit it by January 15, 2017. Further questions should go to the dean for academic administration and student affairs for more information about financial aid.

A student applying for financial aid must not be in default of a federal student loan or owe a refund on a federal grant. The application is available online, and applicants are encouraged to apply electronically.

Administrative Calendar

December 15, 2016 Deadline to take GRE
January 6, 2017 Deadline to receive applications at the BGC
January 15 FAFSA application due to federal processor
March 15 Notification of admission begins
March 15 Notification of financial aid awards to incoming students begins
April 1 Entering students’ $500 deposit due
July 1 First tuition and fees payment due
January 1, 2018 Second tuition and fees payment due

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Scholarships, Fellowships, and Grants

Students may qualify for financial assistance in the form of institutional scholarships (need and merit based) and/or institutional fellowships (merit based); campus employment; and federal, state, and private loans and grants. Applicants may wish to investigate other sources for financial assistance. The federal Grad Plus Loan program can be used to cover the remaining cost of education, including living expenses, not covered by any other aid. Grant monies are available from a number of national organizations and private corporations that support independent research in the arts and humanities at the graduate level.

Eligibility for institutional scholarships and fellowships is determined based on merit and financial need. We do not administer an institutional loan program. Full-time students in the Master of Arts program enrolling for classes in a third academic year are no longer eligible to receive institutional financial aid. Awards are made without regard to gender, sexual orientation, race, color, age, marital status, religion, ethnic or national origin, or handicapping conditions. International students, although not eligible for financial assistance from the U.S. government, may qualify for institutional scholarships and fellowships.

A limited number of fellowships and grants are awarded, based on merit, to incoming and returning students. Fellowships and grants may be awarded in combination with need-based scholarships, campus employment, and federal loans. Fellowships and grants are not automatically renewed. All students must reapply in order to be considered for a fellowship or grant in the second year. Second-year fellowships and grants are renewed based on academic performance in the first year of the program and FAFSA information. For more information about financial aid, consult with Dean Simon. There is no separate application for these awards; all eligible students are considered for them.

 

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Application Instructions

To apply to our MA or PhD programs, visit www.bgc.slideroom.com

All correspondence should be addressed to:

Admissions, Attn: PhD Program or MA Program
Dean Elena Pinto Simon
Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture
38 West 86th Street
New York, NY 10024

The following should be submitted via the online application:

1. A nonrefundable application fee of $70, which is payable online with the actual application submission.

2. A personal statement of approximately 750 words explaining why the applicant has chosen the decorative arts, design history, and material culture as a field of graduate study. The statement should be specific, especially as to career goals. This should be uploaded to the online application.

3. Three letters of recommendation from instructors or professional colleagues. These can also be sent separately via mail, if preferred. If so, the letters should be addressed to Admissions, signed across the seal, and sent directly by the authors. Copies sent by the applicant will not be accepted.

4. A sample of written scholarly work (e.g., a college research paper, published article, or extended catalogue entry). Applicants to the doctoral program must submit a copy of a Master’s Thesis or a Qualifying Paper. This writing sample should be a research paper, academic in form and tone, that exemplifies your best scholarly work. Please include illustrations if relevant. Students who do not have a term paper to submit should consult the Academic Programs Office about the kind of work that is appropriate. This is not returnable, and should also be uploaded to the application online, or, if you prefer, you may send it separately, with a clear indication of your name included.

5. A CV outlining the applicant’s education, current and previous employment, and experience, if any, in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture. This should be uploaded to the online application.

The following should be sent separately:

1. Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended. Please note that copies are considered official only if they are sent directly to us from the issuing institution. Unofficial transcript copies sent by the applicant will not be accepted.

2. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score report, sent by the Educational Testing Service at the applicant’s request. The applicant is required to take the General Test. Our score report code number is 2020. Only official copies will be accepted. For information, call 609-771-7670. All applicants must take the GRE by December 15, 2016. The GRE submitted for admission consideration must not be more than three years old. Applications without GRE scores will make the applicant ineligible for interview consideration.

3. International applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English and should take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL scores should be sent by the Educational Testing Service. Other evidence of English proficiency will be accepted only with the approval of the Graduate Committee. Our TOEFL number is 5034. We must have these results by the application deadline date. After an initial review of applications and prescreening by a faculty committee, a number of candidates will be invited to interview with the Admissions Committee. Applicants are contacted during February to arrange an appointment with the committee and are strongly encouraged to interview in person.

All application materials submitted become the property of Bard Graduate Center.

Potential applicants are encouraged to attend an open house during the fall term to meet with faculty, senior staff, and students and to learn more about our programs and areas of special interest. We welcome questions about the program and about the admission process. If you have further questions, please contact Dean Elena Pinto Simon via e-mail at elena.simon@bgc.bard.edu or by telephone at 212-501-3057.

Deadline for all applications: January 6, 2017.

Please note: An application is considered incomplete, and will not be acted upon, until all materials listed above have been received

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FAQs

Where do I find the online application?
You can find the application at www.bgc.slideroom.com

What degrees are offered?
We offer programs leading to MA and PhD degrees in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture. Students are able to explore the cultural history of the material world in a wide range of courses and methodological approaches. We offer a general concentration for the MA degree, with the possibility of specializing in areas such as New York and American material culture; modern design history; early modern Europe; history and theory of museums; global Middle Ages; archaeology, anthropology, and material culture; and cultures of conservation. All students must take a one-year survey course, a one-semester core course that focuses on methods and approaches to the object, two courses that concentrate on work before 1800, and one non-Western course. Every student must submit a Qualifying Paper. Doctoral students follow a one- or two-year program of courses, take three qualifying exams, and write a dissertation. Doctoral applicants should also consult the Doctoral FAQ, elsewhere in this catalogue.

When is the deadline for filing an application?
The deadline is January 6, 2017 for both the MA program and the PhD program for admission in the fall of 2017. There are no midyear acceptances.

What must I submit with my application?
All applicants must submit a completed application form; a personal statement; three letters of recommendation; a C.V.; a sample of written scholarly work, complete with illustrations if necessary, that best exemplifies your academic abilities; transcripts from all previously attended institutions of higher education; GRE results; TOEFL scores where applicable; and a nonrefundable $70 fee. All applicants must complete an online application. Letters of recommendation and transcripts should be sent, via regular mail, to Dean Elena Pinto Simon, Bard Graduate Center, 38 West 86th Street, New York, NY 10024.

Is the GRE required of all applicants?
Yes, all candidates must submit their GRE results. Candidates must take the GRE by December 15, 2016, and the results must arrive by January 6, 2017. Applicants who have not submitted GRE scores cannot be scheduled for an interview. The GRE is one part of the overall qualifications that are considered by the Admissions Committee. Bard Graduate Center does not have a cut-off for scores; the GRE exam is one of the many ways that the committee reviews candidates. The GRE submitted may not be more than three years old. Our score report code number is 2020. Only official copies of the exam results will be accepted. For further information about testing, call 609-771-7670.

Is it possible for me to do my graduate degree part-time?
Yes, we acknowledge that many working professionals and others in the process of changing careers might need to work on a part-time basis. This may be done at both the MA and PhD levels. However, it is not possible to complete the degree by taking only evening classes. All entering students must take one required class, the Survey of the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, in their first year, along with the Approaches course. The Survey course is offered in the evening; the Approaches course is not. There is also a required internship for MA students. Doctoral students who have not had Survey (because they come from another institution) must take it in their first year of matriculation, along with the Approaches course. Part-time students are not eligible for financial aid at the MA or PhD level.

What are the language requirements?
All MA students must pass an exam in one language—French, German, Italian, or Spanish. The language examination, offered during the August Orientation Session and again in the fall, tests reading and translation skills with the use of a dictionary. All doctoral students must show proficiency in two languages, typically French, German, Italian, or Spanish. The language requirement must be fulfilled by May of the first year for MA students. Doctoral students must satisfy two language requirements by the time they have finished their coursework.

May I visit Bard Graduate Center?
Yes, students in the area are welcome to arrange a visit and tour the facilities. It is also possible for you to meet with a faculty member or senior administrators. To arrange such a visit, you may email Dean Elena Pinto Simon or admissions@bgc.bard.edu. Prospective applicants are also welcome to join us at an open house on October 9, October 23, November 7, or November 13, 2016. To make a reservation for an open house, visit our website. Because our classes are all seminars, it is not possible to sit in on a class.

I am an international student. Am I eligible for admission to Bard Graduate Center?
Yes, we welcome international applicants. All foreign students must demonstrate proficiency in English and should take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The Educational Testing Service should send TOEFL scores to the BGC. Our TOEFL number is 5034. This exam must be taken by the month of December, 2016.

How does the Graduate Admissions Committee determine acceptance?
After a careful first-round review, a number of applicants are invited to an interview in person or, if necessary, by video, with the Admissions Committee. Applicants are urged to come for their interview in person if at all possible. Applicants are usually contacted during late January to arrange an appointment. Please note that an application is considered incomplete and will not be acted upon until all materials have been received. Materials submitted are not returnable. Interviews are held in February. Notifications of acceptance go out in early March, followed, about a week later, by the financial aid offer.

What should my personal statement include?
The personal statement is an important part of the total admissions document and should be about 750 words explaining why the applicant wishes to attend Bard Graduate Center and what his/her areas of special interest are. The statement should be specific, especially as to career goals.

What is an acceptable sample of written scholarly work?
The committee will consider a college research paper, published article, exhibition review, or catalogue entries. Please include illustrations if relevant. The specific topic of your writing sample is less important than its ability to represent your best scholarly and academic work. Since this is a research institution and the programs are writing intensive, this sample is a very important part of your application. All PhD applicants must submit either an MA Thesis or a Qualifying Paper/Master’s Essay.

What documents should be sent with my completed application?
The nonrefundable fee of $70 paid through our online application; the personal statement; three letters of recommendation from instructors or professional colleagues; a C.V.; and a sample of written scholarly work must be posted online to the electronic application. Official transcripts, GRE scores, and TOEFL scores, where appropriate for international applicants, may be sent separately to Dean Elena Pinto Simon, Bard Graduate Center, 38 West 86th Street, New York, NY 10024. All letters of recommendation sent by regular mail must be signed across the seal and sent directly from the authors to the above address. Copies sent by the applicant are not acceptable. All materials are needed for admissions review and must be submitted in a timely manner. The entire application must be completed by January 6, 2017.

Is there an internship program?
All MA students are required to do an internship as part of their graduate work. We have an active internship program associated with many of New York’s major cultural institutions. Our students have done internships at more than 250 institutions in the New York area and around the world. Internships are selected by working in conjunction with the Dean of Academic Administration.

Is student housing available?
Bard Hall, located at 410 West 58th Street, provides housing for students. This facility offers a variety of furnished studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. Apartment leases usually begin in August and run through June 30. More information about housing is available online.

What other programs and outreach does Bard Graduate Center sponsor?
We have a full range of exhibitions, symposia, conferences, and guest lectures. These events run throughout the academic year and give students a broad exposure to work and professional activities in their chosen fields. There are also events in gallery education that are open to students. In addition, the travel program offers students the opportunity to travel abroad with faculty, as part of the Survey class, and study objects in situ.  They may also take a course at one of our consortium schools. We also have an exchange program with the Royal College of Art in London and Humboldt University in Berlin. In addition, a number of our internships are now abroad.

Is there campus employment, and what kinds of jobs are there for students?
Yes, most students receive a campus employment amount as part of their financial aid package, and can work up to 10 hours a week here on campus. There are jobs in every part of the institution – from the Library and VMR to the DML, Gallery, Gallery Desk, Academic Programs, Special Events, Education, the Press Office, and faculty assistants. All students receive a mailing in May about all positions, and students interview for these jobs starting when they arrive in August. The pay is $15 an hour.

May I begin my studies mid-year?
No; we only accepts students to begin their degree work in August of each academic year.

May I just “take a class”?
No; all students are enrolled in either the MA or PhD program, or are from one of our consortium schools. There are no continuing education classes at the present time.

Does Bard Graduate Center offer financial aid?
Yes; we have a generous amount of aid to offer students at both MA and PhD levels. All students who wish to be considered for aid must file a FAFSA online by January 15, 2016. International applicants must complete the CollegeBoard International Student Financial Aid Application. Aid is based on need and merit, and scholarships range from three credits to full tuition coverage. Please direct any financial aid questions to Dean Elena Pinto Simon.

Where can I find additional information about Bard Graduate Center online
Please go to our website, for more detailed information about our programs and deadlines or to download an application. Applicants with any questions should consult with Dean Simon directly at any point during the admissions process (elena.simon@bgc.bard.edu).

Need more help with your application?
Call admissions at Bard Graduate Center at 212-501-3019 or e-mail us at admissions@bgc.bard.edu. For any specific questions, please call Dean Elena Pinto Simon at 212-501-3057 or e-mail her at elena.simon@bgc.bard.edu.

BGC

Next Steps

 

Apply to the BGC

Tour the Virtual Open House

Download the Full Academic Catalogue

Have questions?
Contact Elena Pinto Simon
Dean of Academic Administration and Student Affairs
simon@bgc.bard.edu.