Art 395, 275
|Professor: Perette Michelli||Phone: 3098
|Set Book: Eric Fernie, Art History and its Methods, A critical Anthology, London, Phaidon, 1995|
"The Object is Dead" is a popular way of expressing scholarly dissatisfaction with traditional art historical research methodologies which begin with the work of art itself and then seek to deduce information from it about the art, its maker and the society which sponsored or tolerated it. This course seeks to give a sustained experience of object-oriented research strategies set against a running consideration of other possibilities.
Juniors will produce two short research projects, one of which will be based on the "Prodigal Son" collection currently on display in the Steensland Art Museum. The second should use the first as a jumping off point, for example to develop the student's knowledge of a particular artist's work and approach, or of a particular art form, or of a complementary field or period. Seniors will produce a sustained piece of research on a topic of their choice resulting in a 6,000-7,000 word term paper. The course will begin with a collaborative class research project based on the College's own collection of works by William Blake. Seniors will produce one, and juniors will produce three peer reviews which will be read by the original authors. In this course, therefore, both seniors and juniors can expect to achieve a degree of independence and self-sufficiency in conjunction with engaged dialogue with their peers and with established published authorities.
Students will gain experience of planned and extemporary class discussion and oral presentation. They will produce research reports for their peers and discuss these orally with them, they will examine and discuss individual art objects, and they will examine and discuss different art historical methodologies in class and by e-mail. They will make three planned oral presentations each of 15-20 minutes' duration, in which they will elicit comment and discussion. The final presentation by the seniors will be in the traditional public format. By that time, both seniors and juniors can expect to be competent, comfortable and confident about making oral presentations.
By the end of the course, all students should have a deeper understanding of the methods and issues of art history, and these should affect their approach to the field in the future. Juniors will be well prepared to take on a term-long research project of their own next year, and those seniors who plan on graduate research should be well able to undertake it. Those who plan to move to other fields will have a sound grounding in adaptable research methods and presentation skills which should stand them in good stead in any situation.