Undergraduate Courses

FRS112 Spring 2016
FRS 112Barrett Family Freshman Seminar

Medieval Art in America

Beatrice Kitzinger
On the east coast of America we are well positioned for the study of medieval art—we have the deep resources of many great collections close at hand. While they offer us the opportunity to examine medieval originals close to home, these collections also challenge us to think about how historic art from other places enters the American cultural landscape, and how we encounter works of the past in our own time and place. In this course, we look at various aspects of what it means to study medieval art specifically in America. We focus on themes related to the collection, display, and function of art, pairing concepts from the medieval era with their counterparts in modern times in order to balance the original context of the objects we study against their "afterlife" in American museums and scholarship.
The course encourages students to think carefully about the practice of approaching the past, while introducing them to the material that forms the basis of that study in the medieval field. The course includes attention to our immediate environment at Princeton, and at least two full day trips to New York and Philadelphia will be required to visit collections including the Glencairn Museum, the Barnes Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Morgan Library, the Cloisters Museum, and the Hispanic Society of America. To balance these time demands, in "excursion weeks" we discuss reading on the road in lieu of a regular class meeting. The course reading is designed to ask students to think about the representation of medieval art in a variety of genres and perspectives, including articles, catalogues, and media reports from different eras. The seminar concludes with a group exhibition on both digital and physical platforms, in which students are asked to put their thinking about context, history, and display into practice
Th 1:30 pm-4:20 pm
FRS 136 A cropped
FRS 136Freshman Seminar

Architecture and Its Representation

Carolyn Yerkes

This course explores major concepts in Renaissance architecture through the hands-on study of original source materials. How do architects design buildings? How have design practices changed over time, and how have those practices determined our built environment? We will consider these questions as we examine the role of representation in architectural history, focusing on the 14th through 17th centuries in Europe and the Americas. Each seminar session will incorporate a visit to a special collection on campus. As a class we will explore Princeton's superb holdings of early modern books, maps, paintings, drawings, and prints, and use these objects as the focus of our investigations.

T 1:30 pm-4:20 pm
art203 small
ART 203

Roman Art

Michael Koortbojian

The course provides a general introduction to Roman art. It discusses various artistic media—portraiture, historical relief, etc.—and highlights important works. The goal is an attempt to understand the significance of the imagery that the Romans produced, which embellished all aspects of their world—that is, to understand the role of artworks in the Romans' lived experience.


TTh 1:30 pm-2:20 pm
ART 206HLS 206

Byzantine Art and Architecture

Charlie Barber

This course introduces the student to the art of the Byzantine Empire and its aftermath from ca. 800 to ca. 1600. Byzantine art has often been opposed to the traditions of Western naturalism, and as such has been an undervalued or little-known adjunct to the story of medieval art. In order to develop a more sophisticated understanding of our visual evidence, this course will stress the function of this art within the broader setting of this society. Art theory, the notions of empire and holiness, the burdens of the past, and the realities of contemporary praxis will be brought to bear upon our various analyses of material from all media.


TTh 9:00 am-9:50 am
ART 209ARC 209

Baroque Art and Architecture

Carolina Mangone

From circa 1580 through 1700, western Europe experienced the division of the Christian world into Protestant and Catholic confessions, the centralization of power by monarchs, the development of the middle class and unparalleled colonial expansion. This course explores how artists and architects like Caravaggio, Bernini, Rembrandt, Borromini, Rubens, and Velázquez responded to these and other cultural transformations. Through class lectures and the study of art in local museums, we will examine key themes such as artistic novelty, the affective language of religious art, the rise of new subject matter, and the mobility of artists and objects.


MW 10:00 am-10:50 am
ART 214

Contemporary Art: 1950 to the Present

AnnMarie Perl

A survey of postwar art from an international perspective, focusing on the major artistic movements in their historical contexts, including the Second World War, the Cold War, decolonization, the civil rights movement, feminism, globalization, and economic boom and recession. Lectures explore several themes, including art's relationship to popular culture, the mass media, consumer society, historical memory, and political and social activism. Throughout, we account for the startling formal metamorphoses of art itself, as it is transformed from traditional painting and sculpture into new forms that challenged the very nature and limits of art.

MW 11:00 am-11:50 am
ART 217EAS 217

The Arts of Japan

Andrew Watsky

Art 217 surveys the arts of Japan from the prehistoric period through the present day. Painting, sculpture, and architecture form the core of study, though we will also examine the critical role of other forms, including calligraphy, lacquer, and ceramics. Throughout the course we will take close account of the broader cultural and historical contexts in which art was made. Our topics include the ongoing tension in Japanese art between the foreign and the indigenous, the role of ritual in Japan's visual arts, the re-uses of the past, the changing loci of patronage, and the formats and materials of Japanese art.


MW 1:30 pm-2:20 pm
ART 250ARC 250 / ENV 250

Architecture, Globalization, Environment

Esther da Costa Meyer

This course analyzes contemporary architecture and its relation to climate change and to social problems having to do with urbanism. Special attention will be paid to the erosion of public space, whether it is due to gentrification, gated communities, outright segregation, or to the devastating impact of war in urban zones in many parts of the world. We will study issues of sustainability, as well as climate justice and environmental racism. Architecture's complicities with regard to global warming and its squandering of fossil fuels are central to our approach.

MW 12:30 pm-1:20 pm
ART 261AAS 261

Art and Politics in Postcolonial Africa

Chika Okeke-Agulu

This seminar examines the impact of the IMF's Structural Adjustment Program, military dictatorships, and political crises on artistic production in the 1980s, and the dramatic movement of African artists from the margins of the international art world to its very center since the 1990s. How familiar or different are the works and concerns of African artists? What are the consequences, in Africa and the West, of the international success of a few African artists? And what does the work of these Africans at home and in the West tell us about the sociopolitical conditions of our world today?

Th 1:30 pm-4:20 pm
CEE 262AARC 262A / EGR 262A / URB 262A / ART 262

Structures and the Urban Environment

Maria E. Garlock

This course focuses on structural engineering as a new art form begun during the Industrial Revolution and flourishing today in long-span bridges, thin-shell concrete vaults, and tall buildings. Through critical analysis of major works students are introduced to the methods of evaluating structures as an art form. Students study the works and ideas of individual structural artists through their elementary calculations, their builder's mentality, and their aesthetic imagination. Students examine contemporary exemplars that are essential to the understanding of 21st-century structuring of cities with illustrations taken from various cities.

MW 10:00 am-10:50 am
ART 267LAS 267 / ANT 366

Mesoamerican Art

Bryan R. Just

This course explores the visual and archaeological world of ancient Mesoamerica, from the first arrival of humans in the area until the era of Spanish invasion in the early 16th century. Major culture groups to be considered include Olmec, Maya, and Aztec. Preceptorial sections will consist of a mix of theoretically-focused discussions, debate regarding opposing interpretations in scholarship, and hands-on work with objects in the collections of the Princeton University Art Museum.

TTh 10:00 am-10:50 am
ARC 308ART 328

History of Architectural Theory

Tamar Zinguer

This course offers a history of architectural theory, criticism, and historiography from the Renaissance to the present, emphasizing the texts, media, and institutions that have supported architecture's claim to modernity since the late 17th century. Architectural thought is examined in its social and cultural context as it relates both to the Western philosophical tradition and to design method and practice.

TTh 11:00 am-11:50 am
ART 315ARC 315

Medieval Architecture


A survey of Western architecture and urban design from ca. 300 to ca. 1500 A.D., with a particular emphasis on Italy, Germany, and France. The aim will be to explore the major developments in religious and secular architecture in the West from Early Christian times to the Renaissance. Various aspects of architecture will be considered (patronage, functional requirements, planning, form, structure, construction techniques, symbolism, decoration) with the aim of attaining as complete an understanding as possible of architectural developments and urban design in their historical context.

TTh 11:00 am-12:20 pm
ART 322REL 396

Renaissance Altarpieces and Religious Crisis

Carolina Mangone

As objects that threatened to stimulate idolatry as readily as they promised to arouse devotion, altarpieces were sites of polemics and anxiety. This course examines the multifaceted visual strategies Italian artists like Raphael, Michelangelo, and Titian, alongside reform-minded patrons, adopted in response to critiques of Christian imagery in the decades before and after the Council of Trent (1545-63). We will also reconsider the traditional view that the experimental and unsystematic reforms typical of pre-Trent altarpieces ceded to more regulated, conservative art following the Church's formal plea to chasten religious art and its makers.

MW 1:30 pm-2:50 pm
ART 337GER 337

Court, Cloister, and City: Art and Architecture in Central and Eastern Europe

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

Central and Eastern Europe are once again in the news. This class studies the origins of (and differences with) current situations in relation to the culture and history of the region ca. 1450-1800 as revealed through its art and architecture. Austria, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Poland, Germany, Ukraine, the Baltic States, and Russia, ca. 1450-1800 will be considered in relation to the rest of Europe. Works of art in Princeton's collections will be used. Lectures and discussion, two meetings per week.

MW 11:00 am-12:20 pm
ART 350
ART 350EAS 356

Chinese Cinema

Jerome Silbergeld

Thematic studies in Chinese film (Republic, People's Republic, Taiwan, Hong Kong), 1930s to the present with emphasis on recent years, viewed in relation to traditional and modern Chinese visual arts and literature, colonialism and globalism, Communist politics, gender and family values, ethnicity and regionalism, melodrama and the avant-garde, the cinematic market, artistic censorship, and other social issues.

T 1:30 pm-4:20 pm, Screening M 7:30 pm-9:30 pm
ART 359HUM 315 / REL 315

Buddhist Art and Material Culture: The Virtues of Objects

Eric R. Huntington

When one understands the central role that art objects play in Buddhist ritual life, conceptions of 'art' and 'object' are fundamentally transformed. Such items are not passive collections of material, but active mechanisms in the complex world of lived religion. The course is organized around several major themes, including relics as quintessential objects, rituals for the consecration and deconsecration of constructed artworks, and interactions with images during daily rituals. Buddhist traditions from all across Asia are addressed, including those of India, Nepal, Tibet, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

Th 1:30 pm-4:20 pm
ART 367
ART 367LAS 373 / ANT 379

Inca Art and Architecture


This course examines the art, architecture, and worldview of the greatest Andean civilization, the Incas. Conquered in 1532 by the Spanish, the Incas are known through archaeological and historical sources. Neither, however, can be taken at face value. The destructions of the conquest and differential preservation mean the archaeological record is incomplete. Likewise, Spanish historical sources present the Incas through European understandings, logic, and attentions. This course compares the two to reach a nuanced understanding of this ancient civilization. A spring break excursion will visit Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Lima.

TTh 11:00 am-12:20 pm
ART 368AMS 368

American Museums: History, Theory, and Practice

Elizabeth Anne McCauley

Museums are privileged places where material artifacts from the manmade and natural world are preserved, shown, studied, classified, and refashioned into narratives about our past, amusements for our leisure hours, and models for our future. Why did these institutions appear and what do they say about our values and selective/collective memories? Through readings, field trips, meetings with museum staff, and practical exercise, students will explore the history of American museums (art, ethnographic, natural history, material culture) and the challenges that they confront in an increasingly multi-cultural and digital age.

TTh 11:00 am - 12:20 pm
Double America 2
AMS 376ART 376

American Images

Rachael Z. DeLue

This course examines America through the lens of its images. Pictures created by Americans of all stripes in all periods have been integral to the shaping of American history, culture, and identity. By examining a wide range of image types—from the fine arts and photography to the built environment, scientific illustration, film, and digital media—and by considering these images in terms of their historical, political, social, intellectual, and global contexts, "American Images" will offer both a sweeping and a detailed portrait of America through the rich, sometimes strange, history of its art and visual culture.

TTh 10:00 am-10:50 am
ART 395

The Ancient Egyptian Body

Deborah Vischak

In this course we will examine ancient Egyptian art and architecture (primarily from the pharaonic period, ca. 3000 BCE to ca. 1000 BCE) using the body as a visual and conceptual theme. Utilizing art historical and archaeological methods, we will analyze sculpture, relief, painting, drawing, and architecture, as well as objects used to adorn and encase bodies both living and dead, emphasizing the context and interrelationships of these materials as they relate to the body and the corporeality of Egyptian society and culture.

MW 1:30 pm-2:50 pm
AAS 411ART 471 / AFS 411

Art, Apartheid, and South Africa

Chika Okeke-Agulu

Apartheid, the political doctrine of separation of races in South Africa (1948-1990), dominated the (South) African political discourse in the second half of the 20th century. While it lasted, art and visual cultures were marshaled in the defense and contestation of its ideologies. Since the end of Apartheid, artists, filmmakers, dramatists, and scholars continue to reexamine the legacies of Apartheid, and the social, philosophical, and political conditions of non-racialized South Africa. Course readings examine issues of race, nationalism and politics, art and visual culture, and social memory in South Africa.

T 7:30 pm-10:20 pm
ART 423EAS 423

Landscape Art in China

Jerome Silbergeld

A course about Chinese concepts of nature and human nature, theories and traditions of landscape art. Weekly consideration of such themes as replicating and transforming the landscape; submission to/control of nature; landscape as political allegory; pilgrimage and exile; gardens and artists' studios; landscape magic in ancient China; endangered pandas, power dams, and the technology of modern art.

M 1:30 pm-4:20 pm
ENV 424ARC 424 / ART 492

Networks and Ecologies: An Interdisciplinary History of Environmental Design

Daniel Barber

The figures of network and ecology have been essential for visualizing social and natural systems. They have also been essential to innovation in design, and fostered connections to the natural and social sciences. This course will discuss the history of architecture in the 20th century through these connections, and trace a broad epistemological shift towards systems thinking - a mode of thought based on interdependence, feedback loops, and emergence, and rooted in interdisciplinary methods. The course does not require knowledge in any of these fields; it will also familiarize students with recent concepts examining environmental challenges.


T 1:30 pm-4:20 pm
ART 426COM 426 / EAS 426

Object and Text in Premodern Japan

Thomas W. Hare
Andrew Watsky

This seminar examines the dynamic interrelationship between objects and texts in premodern Japan, from the seventh through the seventeenth centuries. The series of meetings will introduce topics in a sequence that exemplifies the gradual layering of meaning and complication that comes from a culture with a strong classical awareness. We will examine a set of core themes in Japanese culture, such as love, death, nature, and enlightenment, as expressed in a range of mediums, including painting, gardens, lacquer, and ceramics, Chinese and Japanese poetry, imperial court and warrior narratives, and Noh dramas.

Th 1:30 pm-4:20 pm
ART 454AAS 454

Seminar - History of Photography

Elizabeth Anne McCauley
Anna Arabindan-Kesson

Why do we travel and feel obliged to shoot photographs? What do our pictures reveal about our conceptions of ourselves and "exotic" peoples and places? By examining amateur albums and commercial prints in Princeton collections, this course explores how the practices and itineraries of tourists and photographers during the long 19th century continue to shape racial and cultural stereotypes today. Case studies consider the French and British in Egypt; Victorian travelers in India; big-game hunters in sub-Saharan Africa; the Caribbean as a vacation destination; and the photographic construction of Native Americans as a "vanishing race."

T 1:30 pm-4:20 pm
ART 463

American Art and Visual Culture - American Realisms and the Perils of Painting

Rachael Z. DeLue

What is realism? How do works of art capture the realities of existence and experience, history and time? What happens when they fail, or when they do their job too well? With such questions in mind, this undergraduate seminar considers realism in American art, focusing on major figures such as Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Edward Hopper, and Georgia O'Keeffe. We will examine works of art in terms of their historical contexts and also how they intersect with other fields, including religion, science, and literature. Visits to museums, including the Princeton University Art Museum, will be an important aspect of the course.

W 1:30 pm-4:20 pm
ART 466SPA 466 / ARC 466 / URB 466

Havana: Architecture, Literature, and the Arts

Michael G. Wood
Esther da Costa Meyer

This seminar will study the urban setting of Havana in its articulation with literature, film, and the arts from the early twentieth century to the present day. It will explore cross-disciplinary continuities, the engagement with multiple pasts, the city as a meeting place for all the arts and crucible of social identities. There will be a mandatory trip to Havana during Spring break.

M 1:30 pm-4:20 pm
HUM 470ART 470 / HIS 489

Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities - The Invisible Renaissance: Science, Art, Magic in Early Modern Europe

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann
Jennifer M. Rampling

How did early modern people depict phenomena they could not see? This course traces attempts to represent the invisible: from angels and the influence of stars and magnets, to microscopic creatures and the human passions. Philosophers, painters and magi puzzled over these unseen forces, beings and structures, seeking to describe them in writings and artworks. We will unpack their arguments and try to reconstruct their practices, including optical tricks and alchemical experiments. The course culminates in a virtual exhibition, curated by students, as we follow in the steps of Renaissance thinkers and artists, and put the invisible on display.

T 1:30 pm-4:20 pm
ART 495VIS 495

Contemporary Art: Trying Out Positions

Joseph S. Scanlan

Artists have long deployed language as a kind of satellite hovering in the vicinity of their artworks, influencing their reception. The style and method of this language varies greatly and does not always match the accompanying work. This studio seminar will engage students in contemporary art theory and practice by taking up this critical aspect of its making: The artist producing language that stakes out a position in relation to their studio work. Focus will be on five artists: Marcel Broodthaers, Andrea Fraser, Adrian Piper, Frank Stella, and Peter Fischli & David Weiss, four of whom will have a major presence in the vicinity this Spring.

W 12:30 pm-4:20 pm