History of Art and Architecture

HAA 1050 World Art: Contact and Conflict

This course, an advanced undergraduate seminar, is a counterpart to the introductory core course Introduction to World Art and invites students to think more critically about 'World Art' as a disciplinary enterprise as it emerged in the last several decades with the global turn, post-colonialism, and a call for art history to be more inclusive. Students will be introduced to key terms that are employed by this discourse (contact zones, planetarity, world-picturing, cosmopolitanism). The course works through these ideas by focusing its attention on specific sites and art objects, case studies that explicitly circulate within or take as their subject the meeting point of different cultures and groups.

First and foremost, this course regards `the contact zone' as a messy and complicated place. To inhabit the earth as a human being, people encounter, perceive, collaborate with and often resist others. Through the spaces and material objects humans create, boundaries are established and individuals and communities are defined and circumscribed. Art objects and constructed spaces not only arise from but define the contact point of individuals or groups occupying different worlds. By studying these works as a space of encounter, students will learn that boundaries between people are porous, with cultural contact a zone of potentially productive collaboration but also power inequity and strife. How do works of art and built spaces incite, mediate, or instantiate such strife? How have people traditionally perceived to reside at the periphery employed artistic expression or rhetorical strategies to subvert existing power structures (the center) and formulate identity?

Students who have taken the HAA 0010 Introductory version of this course are encouraged to take this more advanced version, but it is not necessary to have had HAA 0010 to enroll in HAA 1050.