Spring 2019 Course Descriptions

If you don't see your courses below, please check the GW Bulletin!

AH 1031: Survey of Art and Architecture I

A.G. Huezo

This course is an introduction to the history of art that selectively surveys painting, sculpture, architecture, and material culture in Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean before 1300 CE (i.e. from Prehistory through the Middle Ages). By using a variety of theoretical, analytical and critical means, you will learn to approach works of art in relation to their larger historical, cultural, political, economic, and religious contexts. In class, we focus on the contextual conditions under which works of art were produced and the various ways they have functioned from that time on. You will learn how to perform visual analysis, understand iconography and meaning, articulate the important characteristics of individual objects and monuments, as well as recognize broader stylistic developments across time. Visits to museums will provide you with first-hand experience of original artworks. Classes are comprised of lectures and discussion groups.

*This G-PAC course is approved to fulfill requirements in two distributions: Arts; and Global /Cross-Cultural Perspective.


AH 1032: Survey of Art and Architecture II

L. Lipinski

This course is an introduction to the history of art that selectively surveys painting, sculpture, architecture, and material culture in Europe, the United States, Asia, the Americas, and Africa from 1300 to the present. By using a variety of theoretical, analytical and critical means, you will learn to approach works of art in relation to their larger historical, cultural, political, economic, and religious contexts. The lectures provide a conceptual framework for understanding the multiple layers of meaning encoded in and communicable by a wide array of objects, produced by human beings for a great variety of reasons in a broad range of cultures, both historical and global. In class, we focus on the contextual conditions under which works of art were produced and the various ways they have functioned from that time on. You will learn how to perform visual analysis, understand iconography and meaning, articulate the important characteristics of individual objects and monuments, as well as recognize broader stylistic developments across time. Visits to museums will provide you with first‐hand experience of original artworks.


CAH 1091: Art History II: Historical Perspectives in the Visual Arts

G. Elliott

This course covers the history of art and architecture produced by cultures around the world from prehistory to the 19th c.  We will look at works of architecture, sculpture, and painting considering the process of their creation as well as placing their meaning in a cultural context.  Using case studies from different cultures and time periods, the course is subdivided to explore some of the general themes that often provide meaning to artistic expression including cosmology and ritual, the body and face, and the concept of identity.  By the end of the course you should have the skills necessary to analyze works of art and architecture based on an understanding of visual, iconographic and contextual analysis, comparative study, and the interpretation of art historical sources.  On occasion students will also be asked to visit museums in the DC area outside of the classroom.


AH 2071: Intro to the Arts in America

D. Bjelajac

A survey of American art from the period of colonial exploration and settlement to the postmodern present. Political and social meanings of painting, sculpture, architecture, prints, and photographs. The relationship of art to religion and nationalism; issues of class, race, and gender.

*Same as AMST 2071.


AH 2155: American Architecture II

P. Jacks

TBA


AH 2161: History of Decorative Arts: American Heritage

D. Pierce

This course examines the decorative arts in America from the seventeenth century to the modern period. Course emphasis is given to the changing visual characteristics in American design as they relate to the changing American experience. Twentieth-century European modernist design traditions are also investigated in relationship to their influence on American design in that period.


AH 2190: East Asian Art

K. Grube

This course discusses modern and contemporary art in Asia with particular attention to visual art produced as a result of encounters between groups identified primarily on the basis of their racial and ethnic origin. Beginning in the late 18th century, this course looks particularly at two modes of encounter: one is animated by race, or the encounters between the so-called West and the non-West, and most commonly understood as the relationship between whites and Asians; and the other on ethnicity, or the tensions and convergences resulting from interregional encounters between Manchus and Han Chinese, Chinese and Taiwanese, and/or Koreans and Japanese. Course materials interrogate how constructs of race and ethnicity arise from the production of visual representation.


AH 3105: Reimagining the Roman World

R. Pollack

This course studies the art and architecture of the Roman Empire through the lens of modern archaeology, art historiography, and classical literary sources. Rome’s foundational myth and history, recorded by such writers as Virgil, Ovid, Plutarch, Livy, Tacitus, and Suetonius, have established the framework from which we interpret the Roman World. The visual remains of the Roman Empire further illuminate these sources and leave us pondering the reasons why the Romans have left a permanent impression on western art and civilization. Furthermore, we will explore how our ever-changing perception of Roman antiquity has altered our interpretation of the Romans through the analysis of archaeological finds as well as artists from the early modern era who appropriated Roman History. This lecture course will have a midterm and final exam, as well as one short research paper (~5-7 pages) on a selected artwork at the National Gallery of Art, Walters Gallery or Metropolitan Museum of Art.


AH 3113: Islamic Art & Architecture

M. Natif

This course is an introductory survey to the visual culture of the Muslim world from the 7th century to the present. We will examine the arts within their historical, religious, and cultural context, ranging from Spain in the west to India in the east. We will rely both on works of art and material culture (architecture, painting, book illustrations, calligraphy, ceramics, and metalwork) and written sources (historical, didactic, philosophical, poetic, and religious texts) to better understand the unity and diversity of the Islamic world. Islam nurtured a unique artistic and aesthetic visual language that was fashioned, in part, by Muslims’ exposure to and dialogue with other peoples and civilizations, such as Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, and others. The Muslims’ encounter with the flow of Turkic nomadic tribes, the growing influence of the Persian language, the end of Arab hegemony, exchanges and relations between nomad and sedentary, and the ongoing conflicts with non-believers (Byzantines, Hindus, Shamanists) brought about an endless process of creativity that is constantly reflected in Islamic art and architecture. In this course we will follow these developments of new aesthetics and visuality that constantly evolved and is still flourishing in the Muslim world. The format of the course is a combination of lectures and class discussions. Throughout the course we will analyze specific case studies, sites, and objects that will offer us a more complete grasp of the history of the Islamic world.


AH 3131: Italian Art & Architecture of the 17th Century

P. Jacks

TBA


AH 3160: Latin American Art & Architecture

A.G. Huezo

This course examines the colonial art of Mexico and other territories within the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain. Though concerned primarily with the Viceregal period (1521-1821), it also considers art from before the Spanish conquest by exploring the outstanding achievements and enduring contributions of some of the world’s greatest civilizations, from the Olmec in Mesoamerica to the Inka in South America. The course focuses on the importation and adaptation of European artistic models in the Americas and the transformation of both European and Indigenous art as a result of the conquest. By analyzing a variety of materials and topics including secular and religious architecture, paintings, ritual and processions, sculpture, and manuscripts, the course places particular emphasis on the interaction between native traditions and imported ideas in relation to religion, politics, and daily life. The course introduces students to the major theoretical issues regarding the art of New Spain and its interpretation while addressing important themes such as culture contact, evangelization, hybridity and globalization, and race and gender. Note: All reading materials, including original sources, are in English. No previous knowledge of Latin American or Spanish art, history, or religion is required.


AH 3165: Later 20th Century Art

A. Dumbadze

TBA


AH 3170: Materials, Methods, and Techniques in Art History

P. Reuther

Materials, Methods, and Techniques supplements the traditional critical, cultural, and iconographic approaches to art history by investigating  works of art as objects. The once mysterious and cloudy world of art connoisseurship and attribution, formerly the domain of dealers, well-healed collectors, auction houses, and museums, has evolved into a more structured and science-based approach, now more formally called Technical Art History. Materials, Methods, and Techniques adopts this focus on object-based inquiry, introducing students to contemporary practices in conservation, restoration, and imaging and chemical analysis. Wherever possible students will experience direct interaction and contact with the objects themselves and will engage with practitioners in the field.  Additionally, students will be guided in one or more hands-on projects individually or in groups, recreating objects utilizing traditional materials, techniques, and methods. The course will track current regional institutional exhibitions and events particularly where these relate to professional conservation work.


­AH 3181 Textiles and the Indian Ocean

C. McKnight Sethi

This course introduces students to the movement of textiles throughout the Indian Ocean littoral from the prehistoric period to the present. What is the relationship between silk cloth used in Madagascar and weaving traditions in Indonesia? Why was block-printed fabric from the west coast of India found in archaeological sites in Egypt? How do ancient sericulture techniques in China begin to influence urban weaving workshops in 19th-century Uzbekistan? In what way does the circulation of objects via overland routes (e.g. Silk Road) connect with maritime trade patterns that link Asia, Africa, and Europe? Students will be introduced to materials and practices central to the production of textiles from this broad and diverse geographical region. Topics include structural patterning of cloth (e.g. techniques of weaving) and additive techniques like printing, painting, and embroidery alongside an exploration of textile fibers such as wool, linen, silk, and cotton. In addition to exploring the individual histories of textiles, we will also look closely at objects in the collection of the Textile Museum at GW to uncover what they reveal about use, process, and materiality. Students should plan to attend at least two Friday field trips to The Textile Museum’s off-site storage facility in Ashburn, VA during the course of the semester.


AH 4149: Seminar in Modern European Art & Architecture

A. Dumbadze

TBA


AH 4165: Art of the Silk Road: The Timurids in Central Asia and Iran

M. Natif

As Sunni Muslim nomadic rulers, the Timurids were avid patrons of art and architecture. They commissioned mosques, madrasas, shrines, mausoleums, and gardens. They collected manuscripts, painting and calligraphy, and sponsored some of the most famous artists in the Persianate world. Some of the Timurid princes and princesses also composed poetry, practiced calligraphy and were very much involved in the arts. Their intellectual circles and patronage became a model for other dynasties, such as the Ottomans, Safavids and Mughals. In this seminar, we will examine the Timurid patronage of art and architecture (generally chronological), as well as explore broader themes of critical issues, such as visual strategies of legitimization and cultural assimilation; the importance of history and lineage; changes in socioeconomic structure; vernacular and dynastic architectural traditions; the formation of a visual idiom in public and private spheres; and the patronage of Timurid women. Throughout the course we will analyze key works and specific case studies that offer a more complete grasp of the subject.

All reading materials, including original sources, will be in English. No previous knowledge of Islamic art, history or religion is required.


AH 4182: Craft and Gender in South Asia

C. McKnight Sethi

The category of “craft” - and allied terms such as folk art, decorative arts, and industrial arts - emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century as discursive tools to define and categorize an enormous range of artistic practices. This seminar explores the history of craft in South Asia by looking closely at how issues of gender and identity frame the production and reception of objects, and how these objects in turn are central to broader political, economic, and social histories of the Indian subcontinent. We will begin our study by examining indigenous conceptions of the handmade and the traditional role of artists in India. We will then focus on how these definitions shift and realign under British colonial rule during the nineteenth century and then later through nationalist movements that gain momentum in the middle part of the twentieth century. Finally, we will investigate contemporary practices and objects associated with craft and explore how this category shapes understandings of gender, labor, and rural / urban spaces.

In January 2020, the exhibition “Textiles for Social Change” curated by Cristin McKnight Sethi, assistant professor of art history, will open at The Textile Museum / George Washington University Museum. The exhibition focuses on social initiatives and craft cooperatives in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan that support women entrepreneurs in the production of textiles. Students enrolled in the seminar are invited to participate in co-curating content for this exhibition through specific assignments that explore pertinent issues of gender and craft production.


AH 4189: Fearless Speech

S. Sethi

Who speaks and when? When does one speak the truth? What are the relationships that exist between truth, power, risk/danger, and frankness? How does the inability to "speak truth" comment on social democratic processes? What is the relationship of speech to truth? What value does speech have to the recovery from trauma (personal, social, political)? How can art historians, artists, designers, and writers, operating in an inspiring, analytical, and provoking, manner, respond to this emergent issue? This project-based seminar will deal with the concept of fearless speech, investigating and differentiating it from free speech. During the semester this investigation will include the reliance of each participant's individual practices in the conceptualizing and experimentation on the interpersonal space of truth-telling, the promotion of the 'natural exclamation' and the creation of spaces (pulpit/podium/tent/venue/structure) that promote / cultivate fearless speech in both public and private locations. The course will use a variety of sources including extensive visual material, invited speakers, and a number of readings including Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and Michel Foucault’s “Fearless Speech.” Discussions will function as necessary critical and theoretical support to the development of original working models and environments. Personal (observed and/or lived through) experience of injustice, neglect abuse and other wrongs and wrong doings, combined with one's own ethico-political ideas and concerns, supported by new reflections based on readings, presentations and discussions -- all help to seek positive answer to such a challenge.


CAH 4400: History of Exhibitions from 1850 to Present

L. Lipinski

The exhibition is where modern and contemporary art meets the public. This course looks at the history and theory of exhibiting new art in the past 150 years, starting with the French Salon and the independent alternatives that challenged it (Courbet, the Impressionists, and Post-Impressionists), through avant-garde exhibitions (Expressionists, Constructivists, Dada, and Surrealists), installation art and alternative exhibition practices, and current strategies for exhibiting contemporary art. We will discuss historic exhibits including the Armory Show and Hitler's Degenerate Art exhibit and consider such issues as design, audience, ideology, politics, economics, and critical reception.


AH 6211: Byzantine Mosaics

S. Arensberg

From the fifth to the fourteenth century, the art of mosaic flourished in Italy and the Byzantine Empire. Artists sheathed church interiors with spectacular decorative programs made with tiny cubes (tesserae) of marble, limestone, and gold, silver, and colored glass.  This seminar will explore mosaics from the Early Christian period, when the capital of the Roman Empire moved to Constantinople (now Istanbul) on the site of ancient Byzantium, to the Late Byzantine period, which ended with the Turkish conquest of the city in 1453.  The course will cover mosaic programs in Italy (Rome, Ravenna, Sicily, Venice), Greece, and Constantinople, focusing on the aesthetic, historical, religious, and political factors that inspired them.  Open to graduate students and undergraduates who have completed an art history survey course.


AH 6255 AMST 6730: Nature's Nation and the Visual Arts

D. Bjelajac

This course explores the visual arts in relation to a wide range of natural/human sciences and socio-economic, ecological phenomena.  Common readings will address the  manner in which artists, designers and cultural reformers variously envisioned human bodies and nature’s resources in aesthetic terms adapted to capitalist development and transcontinental, transoceanic expansion.  Covering several centuries, the course considers American landscapes, seascapes and representations of the West, which privileged white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant values.  In vernacular architecture, humble log cabins and elaborate log structures bore conflicting symbolic meanings. The seminar examines Transcendentalist nature religion and post-Darwinian evolutionary theories of human development involving issues of race, class and gender.  Inspired by Asian, African, and Native American art, Modernist painters and sculptors cultivated primitive, pre-rational experiences, which mysteriously seemed to correspond with the new subatomic physics of nature’s invisible, alchemical energies.  For neurologists and psychologists, the visual arts assumed therapeutic value in treating neurasthenia or nervous disorders caused by the urban, capitalist distancing of American civilization from its mythic rootedness as “nature’s nation”.


AH 6262: Craft and Gender in South Asia

C. McKnight Sethi

The category of “craft” - and allied terms such as folk art, decorative arts, and industrial arts - emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century as discursive tools to define and categorize an enormous range of artistic practices. This seminar explores the history of craft in South Asia by looking closely at how issues of gender and identity frame the production and reception of objects, and how these objects in turn are central to broader political, economic, and social histories of the Indian subcontinent. We will begin our study by examining indigenous conceptions of the handmade and the traditional role of artists in India. We will then focus on how these definitions shift and realign under British colonial rule during the nineteenth century and then later through nationalist movements that gain momentum in the middle part of the twentieth century. Finally, we will investigate contemporary practices and objects associated with craft and explore how this category shapes understandings of gender, labor, and rural / urban spaces.

In January 2020, the exhibition “Textiles for Social Change” curated by Cristin McKnight Sethi, assistant professor of art history, will open at The Textile Museum / George Washington University Museum. The exhibition focuses on social initiatives and craft cooperatives in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan that support women entrepreneurs in the production of textiles. Students enrolled in the seminar are invited to participate in co-curating content for this exhibition through specific assignments that explore pertinent issues of gender and craft production.


AH 6269: Fast Fashion/Slow Art

B. Obler
In July 2019, the exhibition “Fast Fashion / Slow Art,” co-curated by Bibiana Obler, associate professor of art history, and Phyllis Rosenzweig, curator emerita, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, will open at the Textile Museum / George Washington University Museum. Conceived as a crucible for new research, the exhibition aims to foster discussion on such questions as: What are the merits of the local and tailor-made versus the global mass production of “fast fashion”? Is it possible to protect workers’ rights and ensure safe working conditions while keeping up with consumer demands? What skills do the mass production of textiles require? Can design and technology offer sustainable solutions to the environmental effects of fast fashion? What role do art and popular culture have in raising consumer consciousness? In this eponymous graduate seminar, students will collaborate with Prof. Obler on research in preparation for the show. In addition to contributing to the process of curating the show itself, students will pursue their own individual research on relevant topics.



AH 6270: The Art Museum: History, Theory, and Politics

A. Wallach

In my view an interest in the history of museums is inseparable from an engagement with present‑day museological concerns. Consequently, I plan to approach the history of art museums with an eye to the way museums operate today.  We will be interested in every important aspect of museum history: the function of the art museum as a modernizing institution; the roles elites have played in the formation and operation of museums; the semiotics of museum architecture and display; how museums represent the history of art; the viewpoints they inscribe in their exhibitions; their impact on (as well as the ways they construct) their publics; the role of various publics as well as particular constituencies in forming museum policy; blockbusters and corporatization; museum ethics.  We will also be concerned with the hold of the past on the present: how past practices and beliefs have shaped today’s art museums.


AH 6270: Fearless Speech

S. Sethi

Who speaks and when? When does one speak the truth? What are the relationships that exist between truth, power, risk/danger, and frankness? How does the inability to "speak truth" comment on social democratic processes? What is the relationship of speech to truth? What value does speech have to the recovery from trauma (personal, social, political)? How can art historians, artists, designers, and writers, operating in an inspiring, analytical, and provoking, manner, respond to this emergent issue? This project-based seminar will deal with the concept of fearless speech, investigating and differentiating it from free speech. During the semester this investigation will include the reliance of each participant's individual practices in the conceptualizing and experimentation on the interpersonal space of truth-telling, the promotion of the 'natural exclamation' and the creation of spaces (pulpit/podium/tent/venue/structure) that promote / cultivate fearless speech in both public and private locations. The course will use a variety of sources including extensive visual material, invited speakers, and a number of readings including Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and Michel Foucault’s “Fearless Speech.” Discussions will function as necessary critical and theoretical support to the development of original working models and environments. Personal (observed and/or lived through) experience of injustice, neglect abuse and other wrongs and wrong doings, combined with one's own ethico-political ideas and concerns, supported by new reflections based on readings, presentations and discussions -- all help to seek positive answer to such a challenge.

Survey of Decorative Arts and Design II (1800-present)

Pierce, D.

This course examines the decorative arts of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries in Western Europe and the United States. Sessions on the nineteenth century consider a range of styles, including Neoclassicism, the many revival styles, the Aesthetic movement, the Arts and Crafts movement, and the Art Nouveau. Individual craftsmen, firms, important style-makers, and commentators on the decorative arts will be discussed, and students will consider the effect of industrialization on design and objects. Moving into the twentieth century, the course explores the various theories of modernism and the development of industrial design. Twentieth-century topics include De Stijl, the Bauhaus, Art Deco, the Wiener Werkstätte, Scandinavian design, mid-century modernism, and postmodernism.


History of Ornament

C. Fischer 

Ornament assigns powerful symbolic meanings across cultures and can be understood universally or only by distinct groups. This graduate course looks at an interdisciplinary history of ornament across media, deciphering motifs, designs, colors, etc. as a language and system of identity.

 


20th-Century Fashion and Costume History

E. Lay

Diana Vreeland once said “Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time, with all the events. You can even see the approaching of a revolution in clothes.” Fashion designers are the interpreters of our age, translating our fears, hopes, and expectations, into the garments that immediately respond to their moment. From the House of Worth’s translation of the Edwardian ideal in the early 1900s, through to Alexander McQueen’s ravaging runway performances, and the ultimate rise of America and Japanese influences on the eve of the 21st century, we will examine a century of costume. Students will study
important designers such as Paul Poiret, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Cristolbal Balenciaga, Oscar de la Renta, Halston, Rei Kawakubo, and Gou Pei, analyzing how these designers advanced contemporary
political, economic, and cultural events through costume. Students will develop the skills to recognize construction details and techniques in distinguishing designers and time periods. Lectures are supplemented
with hands-on experience in class and study trips to the FIT Museum in New York, and the Rodarte exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.


20th-Century American Furniture

O. Fitzgerald

The hot market for American furniture is Mid-Century Modern of the 20th century. After exploring the roots of Modernism in the 19th century the course begins the survey of 20th-century American
furniture with Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts furniture, the first styles to break with Victorian revivalism. The survey continues with Art Deco in the post-World War I period and identifies the most important early proponents of modern design. The key designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, and Eero Saarinen of the Mid Century Modern furniture are highlighted and the reaction to modernism in the Post Modern era is explained. The survey is carried into the 21st century showing the impact of innovations such
as computer aided design (CAD) and 3D printing. Special topics include the Studio furniture field where some of the most creative furniture is found. Students visit the Knoll furniture factory to witness the
manufacture of modern furniture and meet Knoll professionals who work with internationally designers such as Frank Gehry, David Adajaye, and Maya Lin.


Intro to Material Culture Theory

J. Hardwick

How do historians, anthropologists, sociologists, curators, and journalists make sense of the meaning of objects? What are the various approaches to analyzing objects? What is the role of material culture in shaping history, memory, and subjectivity, not to mention physical space itself? How have technological changes in production and modes of observation altered not only how we see the world but also our experiences of the physical world? This seminar offers an introduction to both the theory and practice of "history from things," or material culture studies. Since the 1970s material culture has been a robust (if ill-defined) interdisciplinary field of study, encompassing subjects and strategies as much at home in a history department as in art history, architectural history, or a museum. Class discussions will explore these various methodological perspectives in their historical contexts. Readings encompass recent scholarship, journalism,
and now-canonical texts, organized in chronological order and drawn from various interdisciplinary perspectives including design history, social history, anthropology, and global history. Knowledge culminates
in the student's ability to analyze secondary texts and author critical reviews, lead in-class discussions, and a final theoretical research paper.


Theories & Practices of Collecting: Thinking Through Objects

E. Chase Rochette

This seminar explores our human instinct to acquire objects and the marketplace that has developed to support and influence the practice of collecting. Discussions explore the impact of collecting on individual and collective identities, and question the relationship between collecting and consumption. By examining collections as a group – royal and national collections as well as private, from the Medici’s of the Italian Renaissance to Yves Saint Laurent in the 20th century – and specific collectible objects, such as the Portland Vase and the Eames lounge chair, students will sharpen their critical analysis skills. Major course themes address the following topics: nation-building; representation and the projection of ideologies; sociological and cultural impacts of collections; ideas of luxury; and phenomenology. Students also analyze the notion of limited editions, fair phenomenon and market reports to interpret 21st-century shifts in the market. Course discussions will investigate the role of art museums, galleries, fairs, and auctions houses as socially constructed institutions, and as well as the resulting hierarchy for objects and the effects on the development of a market. Classes are conducted in a seminar format wherein discussions based on weekly readings is required, with additional visits to galleries, New York City auction houses, dealers, and local collections.


Craft & Trades in Early America

E. Kuykendall

Limited written records and modern romanticism have often combined to create misconceptions surrounding the work of the colonial artisan, men, and women who fashioned hand-made goods in an isolated setting. In reality, American craftsmen thrived (though some did not) within complex economic, social, and political networks stretching across the globe. Their livelihood and status was linked to current tastes, burgeoning technologies, exotic imports, and enslaved labor.

This new course explores the work of pre-industrial artisans in colonial British America and the early republic by considering a variety of trades, from master builders to enslaved potters. The relationship between an object's design--it's physical and aesthetic properties--and the tools and technologies available to the tradesperson are considered, in addition to marketing strategies, labor relationships, and patronage. Classes are conducted in a seminar format where discussion of the weekly readings is required. Each class is
accompanied by illustrated lectures, as well as museum field trips and workshops. Knowledge culminates in the student's ability to analyze secondary texts, interpret primary sources, an original research paper, and oral presentation.


Special Topic: World’s Fairs and the Smithsonian Pavilion 2021

H. Bechtel

World’s Fairs have long showcased the ambitious cultural, scientific and technological accomplishments of nations and empires. In this spirit, this new seminar provokes students to explore the shared histories of American World’s Fairs and the establishment of the Smithsonian in anticipation of the institution’s 175th anniversary. Students will work closely with Smithsonian staff in a case study of curatorial research and exhibition design for the historic re-opening of the Arts & Industries Building (AIB) in a show tentatively titled “Smithsonian Pavilion 2021: The Futures.” In addition to including significant future-oriented and dynamic content, SP21 will interpret an array of historic objects drawn from the across Smithsonian’s diverse collections.

Grounded in a survey of World’s Fairs, beginning with the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876, and the history of the Smithsonian, students will first analyze the shared histories of these two cultural bodies, and then evaluate ways to interpret that shared history within the rich historical and architectural context of the AIB. Course themes including national identity, ethnicity, social class, race, imperialism, gender studies, are considered.


Independent Study*

Students who wish to pursue a specific interest may choose to work independently under the supervision of a faculty member or museum curator. These topics must be separate from coursework and the final project must be a research paper or a professional presentation with audience. To register for an independent study, the Contract for Independent Study must be completed, which requires a description of the project and the signatures of the supervisor and a member of the department staff.

It is the student’s responsibility to define and outline a course of study and a final project, and to obtain the approval of the supervisor first and then the department director before proceeding. With the supervisor, the student must establish work load and determine how progress is measured. The student and supervisor must also agree on a final project. Students may not use the independent study to prepare material for a thesis proposal; it should be a separate research project. The supervisor is responsible for overseeing and evaluating the student’s course of research: approving the proposed outline, offering guidance as it pertains to bibliography and methodology, and for grading any preliminary work and the final project. Students may enroll in a maximum of 6 credits of independent study toward their degree.


Internship*

Students who wish to acquire additional professional and practical experience in the field may choose to intern at a pre-determined institution. Arrangements for and approval of any internship must come through the department director. To register for an internship, the Contract for Internship must be completed, which requires a general description of the work the student is doing and the signatures of the internship supervisor and the department.

As an intern, the student is required to work a minimum of eight hours per week or 120 hours total over the course of the semester. In addition, the student must keep a journal reporting their activities to be handed in at the end of the semester to the department director who, in consultation with the internship supervisor, awards a grade on the basis of performance and written work. Students must also complete a Critical Analysis Paper, which contributes to their grade. The internship supervisor should assign projects that give students training and hands-on experience in the area of the supervisor’s expertise such as curating, exhibit design, publications, or museum education. Opportunities for interaction in a collegial and professional environment are as important as the development of specific skills. Students may enroll in a maximum of 6 credits of internship toward their degree.


Thesis*

The master’s thesis requires research and writing on an approved topic under the direction of a faculty supervisor. Students must have had their thesis approved by the department prior to must registering for thesis. Students enroll in a minimum of 3 credits and maximum of 6 credits of MA Thesis that apply toward their degree; once they have taken two semesters of thesis, they must enroll in a one (1) credit thesis course until the completion of the thesis. Students must be enrolled in thesis during the semester they intend to graduate.


*Requires special permission form the department.

MSTD 6101: Museum Management

Max van Balgooy

An overview of the major activities in governing and managing a museum. Course introduces the student to the non-profit sector and the context of the legal and professional expectations for governance. Course covers the elements of forming a museum, strategic planning, the role of the CEO/Director, building the organization structure and staffing. Finance, operations, and facilities management are also covered. The course also includes sessions on fundraising, grant writing, business planning, special events, programs, performance measurement and accreditation, marketing, public relations, and managing change. A strong emphasis on ethical challenges and decision making is included.


MSTD 6102: Nonprofit Fiscal Management

Nik Apostolides

Overall financial management of the museum including financial planning and analysis, internal controls, accounting, budgeting and financial reporting, presentation and leadership. Theory applied to practical situations.


MSTD 6201: Introduction to Collections Management

Kathryn Glenn

This class will serve as an introduction to creating, controlling, and protecting collections. We will look at the fundamentals of collections care (collections plans and policies, accessions, deaccessioning, loans, access, and the physical protection of museum objects) as well as legal and ethical issues related to collecting and collections management. Because guidelines to best practices run up against contingencies ‘on the ground,’ case studies will introduce students to challenges encountered in museum practice.


MSTD 6202: Collections Management: Practical Applications

Deborah Hull-Walski, Lisa Palmer

This class focuses on the implementation of collections policies and procedures: establishing and managing collections, management procedures and systems, documentation of collections, records preservation, collections access and storage, handling, packing and shipping, and inventory control. This is the second-semester, applied class for 6201. MSTD 6201 Introduction to Collections Management is required for this class.


MSTD 6203: Preventive Conservation Concepts

Mary Coughlin

Examines the role of preventive conservation in museums by introducing materials commonly found in collections, the causes of their deterioration and the resources available to identify and mitigate collection risks. Students will learn how to handle objects, how to record object conditions in written and photographic formats, how to choose a conservator, how to test materials for use with museum collections, how to perform a qualitative assessment, and to understand the ethics that govern conservation.


MSTD 6204: Preventive Conservation Techniques

Cathy Hawks, Mary Coughlin

Builds upon topics introduced in the Preventive Conservation Concepts course with emphasis placed on practical exercises and ethical issues. Students will learn how to evaluate and monitor collections, how to prepare a grant for collections care, and how to develop and implement policies and procedures to facilitate collections care. MSTD 6203 (or its cross-listed equivalent in Fine Arts/Anthropology) is required for this class.


MSTD 6302: Museum Exhibition Design

Barbara Brennan, Ashley Hornish

Participants will focus on translating museum exhibition concepts into specific plans, models, and specification documents in this introductory class. Different computer design and graphic programs are introduced.


MSTD 6304: Exhibition Development

K. Rice

Class emphasizes exhibition content and includes sessions on evaluation, team work, audience engagement, learning styles, budgeting, exhibition layering, language and best practices. Students follow an idea from conceptualization through organization to scripting---with extensive peer review. Class includes guest speakers


MSTD 6305: Visitor Perspectives and Museum Evaluation in Exhibitions

Sasha Palmquist, Elizabeth Danter

Of the many components involved in exhibition development, incorporating the visitors’ voice is often misunderstood, neglected, or under-used. This course will review current learning theory and visitor research related to exhibition development. Emphasis will be placed on how an understanding of the visitor experience informs the various stages of exhibition development, from concept generation, design, interpretation, and installation. Students will then put theory into practice by conducting visitor research on a local exhibition and organizing a public review of that exhibition by area museum professionals.


MSTD 6306: Race, Gender, Sexuality and Museums

Laura Schiavo

(This class is not offered every spring) Will explore the role that museums have played in the construction and reification of the categories of race (including whiteness) and gender, and the representation of the lives of women, African Americans, Native Americans, and other cultural minorities. The class will focus on museums in the United States but will include some non-US examples. We will also look at how these represented –and often unrepresented –groups have created opportunities to tell their own stories and exhibit their own cultural productions in museums such as the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Class readings and discussion will cover issues such as identity politics, feminism, essentialism, and the performance of identity in the museum setting.


MSTD 6601: Digitization and Digital Asset Management

Suse Anderson

This course is designed for museum professionals who expect to manage digital assets, projects, or programs involving digitization and access. It examines current methods in the creation and dissemination of digital surrogates, associated metadata, and digital descriptive records of museum collections. By exploring the workflows and guidelines necessary to implement a successful digitization project, this course examines the aspects of maintaining and managing digital assets. Aspects of technical creation and guidelines will be addressed; digital asset management, metadata creation and use, as well as long-term preservation and access of those assets will be discussed. Sessions will cover format types and digitization challenges, selection and prioritization, successful project tracking, and Digital Asset Management Plans (DAMP), as well as ways to successfully implement, manage, and make accessible digital collections over time.


MSTD 6501: Museum Internship

Laura Schiavo

Supervised practical training in Washington area museums (or elsewhere). Internships are supervised by one or more members of the sponsoring museum staff and focus on a variety of areas including museum management, conservation, collections management, exhibition design and development. Prior approval required.


MSTD 6502: Directed Research

Laura Schiavo

Individual research on special topics in the museum field working with a MSTD professor or outside museum experts. Topics must be approved in advance by MSTD.


MSTD 6601.12 Special Topics: Archives in Thought and Practice: From Canon to Critical Theory

Gina Rappaport

Archives, like all cultural heritage institutions, are contact zones, the workings of which are shaped by multiple factors. Building on MSTD 6601: Archival Practices, this course explores how the core functions, practices, and guiding principles of archives impact and are influenced by prevailing social, historical, and political currents. The role of institutional history and ideology and relations with source communities is given particular attention in shaping contemporary archival functions and practice. The course addresses the challenges of managing and preserving nontraditional collections such as photographs, film and video, sound recordings, and electronic records. MSTD 6601: Archival Practice is required for this class.


MSTD 6601.13: Special Topics: Historic House Museum

Max van Balgooy

How has historic house/site interpretation changed in the last two decades? The class explores how these museums use historical documents, objects, and ideas to craft new interpretations with respect to social, political, and cultural life in the past. Class usually partners with a local museum/site for group project.


MSTD 6601.11: Special Topics: Museums and Cultural Property

Tom Kline, Rena Opert

This seminar explores the ethical and legal principles involved with ownership and restitution of stolen art and other cultural property wrongfully removed from their owners or countries of origin. Reported claims brought against museums are used to examine current museum policies and procedures on acquisition, exhibition, repatriation, retention and restitution of museum collection objects.


MSTD 6601.15: Special Topics: Museums and Community Engagement

Max van Balgooy

Museums of all types are increasingly turning to their local communities as a primary audience for programming and support. We will study why this shift in thinking is occurring in museums and when it is an appropriate strategy. Then we will use a variety of techniques to identify and describe a local community and develop a range of methods for engagement to fulfill a museum’s mission and goals. By the end of the course, each student will be able to craft a community engagement plan that is suitable for presentation to a board or executive director.


MSTD 6601.10: Special Topics: Museums and Social Media

Suse Anderson

The introduction of Web2.0 or the ‘social web’ in the mid-2000s led to an influx of new participants in the consumption and creation of digital information. Typified by platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blogs, the social web focused on user participation as critical in the creation of value. By lowering the technical barriers to entry, the social web made it easier for people outside formal institutions such as the press to create and publish their own work, changing the ways that people communicate and interact with one another, and with organizations and institutions. Museums continue to experiment with how best to engage in this environment to serve their missions and their audiences. In this course, students will utilize multiple online platforms to discern the affordances and complexities of social media for museums. Together, we will consider strategies, tactics, and benchmarks for measuring social media, as well as risk, privacy and publicness, and online identities (professional, personal, and institutional). Students should be prepared to be active participants in an online, multi-platform peer discourse throughout the semester.


MSTD 6601.14: Special Topics: Museum Fundraising

K. Southern

Fundraising is an increasingly important skill of today’s museum professional. From the director to the curator, to the educator, to the development specialist, everyone may be called in from time to time to participate in the development effort. This course will cover the basics in fundraising today including sources of funds, best practices and approaches, annual funds and capital campaigns, and the internal management of the fundraising effort. Student work will include donor research, grant writing and a museum project.