Methods in Art History (ARTH 305)
Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University, Winter 2014
Dr. Anja Bock
Lectures: Wednesdays and Fridays 14h30 – 16h00, Arts W215
Office hours: Fridays 13h00-14h00, Arts W260 (Dr. A. Vanhaelen’s office)
TA: Anne-Sophie Garcia
This course is a window onto our discipline; we will see how different modes of inquiry have shaped and inspired what art historians do, why we do it and how. The aim of the course it to illuminate the analytical, political and cultural possibilities of a variety of approaches to art history. Different methods entail different kinds of questions and concerns. The course is an opportunity for students to ask themselves: which methods are best suited to your own developing understandings of what art is and why it matters?
The course consists of two lectures per week. Students need to come to class prepared to discuss the readings assigned for that week. Given the emphasis on methods – on how art historians approach a work of art – a number of case studies will be presented for group discussion in order that students may test different analytic tools and question their implications for art and art history.
The way we approach our study of a work of art determines what we will see, and therefore what we will take away from it.
To become familiar with methodological debates in the discourse of art history; to recognize that our own ideological and cultural situatedness as scholars determines the criteria and values we use to analyze art (that is, to become more self-reflexive).