Global Art History

The course surveys global art and architecture from the beginnings of art production in the prehistoric period through the end of the Middle Ages. The material is organized in rough chronology, focusing week-to-week thematically within specific geographical regions and historical periods including the ancient cultures of Egypt, the Near East, Greece, Rome, China, India, Africa, and the Islamic world, among others. Major topics include the origins and development of systems of writing in relation to the visual arts; the multiple and foundational definitions of “art” in various contexts; art’s relation to power and propaganda in the defining of empires and nation-states as they develop; and the role of art in relation to myth, religion and ritual. The course also focuses on developing a critical vocabulary and set of concepts for understanding and articulating global visual art in both historical context and in relation to contemporary practices.