This course examines art and cultural history in Europe from Antiquity through to the twentieth century. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective, one which seeks to bring art history and history in critical dialogue with one another, the students and professors will interrogate the meta-narrative of “progress” across time. In many ways, succeeding periods engaged in conversations with their pasts to make claims of domination through pictorial and cultural production. But it is important, too, to examine counter-narratives made by subaltern groups of the various eras, along the critical axes of gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, race and other markers of identity. Students will be called upon to think systematically about “who” they themselves are in order to engage with the past and explore human similarities, as well as differences, across a long period of time. Thinking systematically about the notion of “critical bias” and the need to analyze the past in its own terms, as well as in ours, will open up avenues to thinking about the present in new ways. We will examine the most important eras of European history, in particular, Ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the early modern period, and the more recent past. Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement. (Not offered 2017-18).
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