History of Art and Architecture

Mrinalini Rajagopalan Colloquium

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 12:00pm

202 Frick Fine Arts Building

An informal presentation on the preliminary syllabus and structure for the Global Architectural History course, intended to be taught in Fall 2018. This colloquium is meant to be a brain-storming session and as such Prof. Rajagopalan would like to invite graduate students and colleagues to provide feedback on the goals, content, and general philosophy of the intended course. The major questions that will be addressed are:

a) Designing the syllabus so that:

  1. Students cultivate a global imagination and curiosity regarding other parts of the world and different time periods.

  2. Maintaining the class room as a safe space to discuss difficult concepts such as the environmental manifestations of religious difference and conflict; cultural and historical attitudes towards sexuality; inequalities based on race and gender; etc.

  3. Empowering students to become co-creators (rather than passive receptacles) of historical knowledge. What kinds of assignments; group projects; opportunities for debate and dialogue should be built in to the course to encourage this sort of active engagement?

b) Anchor the class within a text that explains the value of humanities education.

  1. Can/ should the students read a book like Martha Nussbaum’s Cultivating Humanity which makes a strong argument for the value of a liberal arts education in the contemporary world, the historical origins of a humanities education from, and its relevance to the foundation of democracies.

c) The idea of an “expanded” classroom:
What if the course were taught with the same syllabus in two different universities/ colleges and students were “paired” up across regional/ class/ even international boundaries to debate the course content? This method has already been prototyped by the Feminist Art and Architecture Collaborative who recently taught a global architectural history course simultaneously in Bard College, University of Michigan, and Michigan State University.