Courses Fall 2017

Fall 2017 Course Schedule
Corcoran School of the Arts and Design

This list includes the confirmed locations and faculty of Corcoran School classes.  It will be posted on the Corcoran website, as well as on the Department of Fine Arts and Art History website and updated there as needed.

Corcoran Campus (Flagg Building):

Main Campus (Smith Hall and other):

Basic course descriptions for all courses can be found in the University Bulletin, organized by major:


AH 1031.10: Survey of Art and Architecture I
TR 12:45 - 2:00 pm - Professor Natif
SMTH 114
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.

CAH 1090.10: Art History I: Art Now, Contemporary Perspectives in the Visual Arts
MW 11:10 - 12:25 pm - Professor Lipinski
SMTH 114
Students will be introduced to the major ideas and issues in contemporary art and design as they explore what it means to be an artist today. Through a focused study of art trends, installations, videos, and exhibitions, historical, critical, and scholarly writings on art, students will gain an understanding of the relationship of art to contemporary events in the world. The course is structured around three themes—identity, process, and audience.

AH 2071.80: Intro to the Arts in America
MW 3:45 - 5:00 pm - Professor Bjelajac
SMTH 114
This is a lecture survey of American art from the colonial period to the postmodern present.  Primarily focused upon painting, the course also covers sculpture, architecture, printmaking and photography within the broader visual and material culture of United States history.  Art works are analyzed in relation to issues of religion, nationalism, ethnicity, race, class and gender.

AH 2145.10: History of Decorative Arts: European Heritage
W 5:10 - 7:40 pm - Professor Carder
SMTH 115

AH 2154.80: American Architecture I
MW 9:35 - 10:50 pm - Professor Jacks
SMTH 114

AH 2162.10: History of Photography
T 9:30 - 12:00 pm - Professor Obler
Hammer Auditorium, Flagg Building
This course is listed under Corcoran School of Arts & Design / Art/Art History
Photography was developed in the early nineteenth century and since then has had a tremendous impact on our world – on the way we perceive and interact with our social and physical environment, on scientific and aesthetic endeavors, on fields from anthropology to fashion, medicine to astronomy, architecture to painting.  In its earliest incarnations, photography may now strike us as old-fashioned, even archaic.  Indeed, dark-room photography – the gold standard up until just a few years ago – is fast seeming almost as antiquated as the daguerreotype.  This course will survey the history of photography from its inception through the present, concentrating on exemplary cases to gain purchase on certain questions that almost every generation of photographers and their critics ask in some form: Is photography art?  What kind of documentary function does it serve?  What relationship do its practitioners and viewers have to the subjects captured on film?  We will also investigate what role photography had in the exploration and conquest of the American West and colonial territories in Africa and the so-called Orient.  How has photography been used as a mode of resistance to colonial and post-colonial powers?  We will approach these and other questions from both theoretical and historical perspectives, also taking advantage of exhibitions and collections in the area currently featuring photography.

AH 2191.10: South Asian Art
MW 12:45 - 2:00 pm - Professor McKnight Sethi
SMTH 115
This course introduces students to visual and material culture of South Asia from the prehistoric to contemporary periods. Regions to be studied include modern Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. We will closely examine a range of material objects including monumental religious architecture; bronze, stone, and terracotta images of local deities; courtly and folk paintings; textiles; and photography. Visits to the Smithsonian’s Freer/Sackler Galleries of Asian Art will supplement course lectures. No previous knowledge of South Asian history or art history is required.

AH 2192. 10: Art of Southeast Asia
MW 2:20 - 3:35 pm - Professor Francoeur
SMTH 115
The Arts of Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar (former Burma), Thailand and Indonesia, especially Java) from about the 3rd century CE until the 13th -- 18th century CE.  The fusion of Indian and Chinese concepts with indigenous cultural traits of the region.

AH 3101.10: Ancient Art of the Bronze Age & Greece
MW 12:45 - 2:00 pm - Professor Friedland
SMTH 114
This course surveys the art and architecture of the Roman world including its Etruscan predecessors (c. 1000 B.C.); the rise of the Republic; the conquest of the Greek world and the “Hellenization” of Rome; the establishment of the Roman empire by Augustus; the expansion of the empire under the Flavian emperors and Trajan; the consolidation of the empire under Hadrian; the Antonine and Severan emperors; the crisis of the third century; the reign of the Tetrarchs; and the Christianization of the empire begun by Constantine (A.D. 324).  Themes will include the development and styles of portraiture, historical relief, and wall painting; the materials, techniques and innovations of Roman architecture; the "Romanization" of the provinces through architecture and sculpture; and the development of the late antique style and “Christian art.”  Special consideration will be given to the use of art as propaganda, external influences on Roman art, and the legacy of Rome to the Medieval, Renaissance, and modern worlds.  In addition to a color-illustrated textbook, course readings will include articles that address specific problems and employ traditional as well as new methods of analysis.

AH 3107.80: Ancient Mexican Civilizations
TR 12:45 - 2:00 pm - TBA
PHIL 416

AH 3112.10: Romanesque and Gothic Art & Architecture
MW 11:10 - 12:25 pm - Professor Dospel Williams
SMTH 115
This survey considers the visual and material culture of medieval Europe. We begin with an overview of Roman and late antique art and architecture, which served as constant touchstones for later medieval artists, architects, masons, and craftspeople. The class then turns to the so-called “Dark Ages” of the seventh through tenth centuries to complicate the notion of cultural decline. The bulk of the course is dedicated to monuments and objects produced in France, England, and Spain in the Romanesque and Gothic periods from approximately the eleventh through fifteenth centuries. However, we will also refer to contemporaneous developments outside these regions, notably in the Holy Land (important melting pot of eastern and western styles), Byzantium (a major empire and source of artistic inspiration over centuries), and eastern Europe (where Germany and Bohemia emerged as important regional players at the end of the Gothic period). Our class concludes in Italy, where medieval styles resist easy definition, and yet profoundly influenced developments in subsequent Renaissance artistic production.

AH 3134.80 / AH 3134.80 W: Spanish Kingdoms: Ancient-Renaissance
TR 9:35 - 10:50 am - Professor von Barghahn
SMTH 114

AH 3141.80 / AH 3141.80W: European Art of the Early 19th Century
TR 2:20 - 3:35 pm - Professor Robinson
SMTH 114
This course considers the development of Neo-Classicism and Romanticism in the context of the rapidly changing political, intellectual and social climate of Europe during and after the 1789 French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, the Restoration  and the French Revolutions of 1830 and 1848. The primary focus is on painting and sculpture and the thematic, stylistic and contextual  examination  and interpretation of Neo-Classicism and Romanticism in France, England, and Germany in the work of representative artists such as Jacques Louis David,   Antonio Canova, Eugène Delacroix, Caspar David Friedrich, Francisco Goya, John Constable and JMW Turner. Requirements of the course include:  two examinations, assigned readings and a research paper. Students enrolled in the WID section of the course have additional writing assignments.  All images shown in class are posted on Blackboard 

CAH 3150.A: Theories and History of Graphic Design
R 9:45 - 12:30 pm - Professor Lipinski
Flagg B-133
This course is listed under Corcoran School of Arts & Design
This course investigates traditional and contemporary ideas, language, and theories of graphic design. It includes a survey of the development of graphic design from 1900 until the present.

AH 3165.10: Later 20th Century Art
T 6:10 - 8:40 pm - Professor Dumbadze
SMTH 114

AH 3170.10: Materials, Methods, and Techniques in Art History
W 12:45 - 5:10 pm - Professor Reuther
Working hands on, in a workshop studio environment, students create panels, canvasses, vehicles, mediums, paints, drawings, and paintings from raw materials and are introduced to the materials, methods, and techniques of the fine arts through traditional techniques and processes. Egg tempera, fresco, and oil painting media, among others, will be treated in depth along with corresponding drawing methods. While emphasizing painting and drawing and referencing historical practice, the course will cover one or more of the following special subjects: sculpture, printmaking, photography, ceramics, and contemporary art disciplines. Guest lecturers may address these, and other special sections, where opportunity arises. Students will visit conservation labs and special collections in local museums and galleries. Students of art history and the studio arts are invited to register for this course. Previous studio art experience is not required.

AH 4139.80: Heaven & Hell: Myth & Metaphor
R 1:00 - 3:30 pm - Professor von Barghahn
SMTH 106

AH 4149.10: Utopia & The Ideal City
M 1:00 - 3:30 pm - Professor Jacks
SMTH 106

AH 4159.80: Science and the Visual Arts
T 3:30 - 6:00 pm - Professor Bjelajac
SMTH 106
This course explores the visual arts in relation to a wide range of natural and human sciences.  Seventeenth and eighteenth century artists’ handbooks described the physical, chemical properties of pigments and painting media, while painters and color theorists variously responded to Sir Isaac Newton’s Opticks (1704) and subsquent investigations into the physical properties of light that later were supplemented by ophthalmological studies of eyes and eyesight. Covering several centuries, the course will consider the manner in which artists represented New World flora and fauna and and created landscapes informed by the study of natural history, geology and geography.  The course will examine the aesthetics of the sublime in relation to the discourses of alchemy, cosmology, psychology and psychiatry.  We will examine how aesthetics and visual arts were intertwined with evolutionary theories of human development, involving issues of race, gender and class.  For Gilded Age collectors and patrons, the visual arts were of therapeutic value for treating neurasthenia or nervous disorders caused by the urban, capitalist distancing of American civilization from its mythic rootedness as “nature’s nation”.

AH 4169.80 / AH 6270.80: Social Change through Design
R 1:00 - 3:30 pm - Professor Joseph Kunkel
Flagg 103
This seminar will investigate how art, design, and design practices have the potential to affect and impact individuals and community. During the semester, readings and precedent studies will explore the short and long-term impact artists, creators, doers, and makers have on rural and urban communities. The course will question how contemporary community engagement practices leverage the creative fields to bring about social change in our built environment. 

CAH 4400 / CAH 6400: History of Exhibitions: 1850 - Present
T 9:45 - 12:30 pm - Professor Lipinski
Flagg 103
This course is listed under Corcoran School of Arts & Design
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, Dada, and Surrealists), installation art and alternative exhibition strategies, and leading to today's art fairs and biennials (Art Basel, Documenta, the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennial, etc.). We will cover historic exhibits including the Armory Show and Hitler's Degenerate Art exhibit. Individual and group projects will research specific recent exhibitions, as we consider such issues as design, audience, and critical reception. At times this course may be cross-tallied at the graduate level as CAH 6400. Additional work required for graduate level credit is outlined in the course syllabus.

AH 6250.10: Arts & Crafts: From William Morris to DIY
W 11:00 - 1:30 pm - Professor Obler
SMTH 106
This seminar examines the relationship between art and craft from the late nineteenth century to the present, with an especial focus on the theory and history of craft as a distinctive approach to creative production. Why did William Morris turn to handicraft as an alternative to the ills of industrialization? What role did craft play in shaping national identity in Mexico, Japan, India, etc.? How did the G.I. Bill result in a proliferation of craft studios across the United States? What is the appeal of Etsy in the information age? We will consider craft through time as well as space: where and when does the carving of African masks morph from craft to art—and back again? When is sewing a handicraft and when (and where) is it the “mass production” of sweatshops? In addressing questions such as these, we will draw on art history and criticism, history, philosophy, and numerous primary texts by artists and their champions. In-class readings will be complemented by visits to the local museums. Students will have the opportunity to pursue substantial research on a topic of their choosing.

AH 6256.10: American Photography 1955-1985
T 2:30 - 5:00 pm - Professor Dumbadze
SMTH 106

AH 6258.10: Historiography
T 9:30 - 12:00 pm - Professor McKnight Sethi
SMTH 106
This graduate-level seminar examines a range of critical perspectives, theoretical issues, and methodologies that constitute the study of art history. Students are introduced to histories of scholarship within the field and encouraged to develop their own approaches to researching and writing about art. Alongside close reading and discussion of texts, students will produce a publishable research paper that critically engages with these theories and methodologies, and offers a contribution to art historical writing. 

AH 6265.10: Seminar in Islamic Art & Architecture
W 4:00 - 6:30 pm - Professor Natif
SMTH 106
This seminar examines the diverse visual traditions of Islamic art and architecture through transcultural connections, especially between Europe and the Muslim world from the rise of Islam in the seventh century to the middle of the seventeenth century. These pre-modern cross-cultural artistic exchanges provide us with a foundation for studying and understanding of the dynamics at play in the creation of rich and diverse visual traditions around the Mediterranean, South and Central Asia and beyond. Through the analysis of objects linked to diplomatic exchanges and gifting, long-distance trade, or looting and reuse, for example, we will gain insights into the mobility and circulation of ideas and material goods, as well as the reception and interpretation of Islamic art. We will rely both on written sources (historical, philosophical, poetic, and religious texts) and on material culture to better understand the intricate dynamic relations between “East” and “West”. The format of the course is a combination of lectures and class discussions. Throughout the course we will analyze specific case studies that will offer us a more complete grasp of the history of Christian-Muslim relations and the impact of these exchanges on both sides.

AH 6270.10: Collectors & Collections
M 9:30 - 12:00 pm - Professor Robinson
SMTH 106
Built on assigned readings, class discussion, and lecture, this course considers the evolution of European and American collecting from antiquity to the early twentieth century.  Individual collectors—monarchs, aristocrats and the middle class—provide the focus for an examination of collecting motivation , aesthetic considerations, methodology of collecting and display in the context of the artistic, intellectual, social and political climate of the time. Requirements of the course include: research paper, oral presentation based on research paper, analysis of a current local exhibition and take-home examination.  In addition, students take turns presenting a synopsis and leading a discussion of one of the readings assigned for the class meeting.


FA 1014.10: Handbuilt Ceramics
W 1:00 - 5:30 pm - Professor Ozdogan
SMTH 304
This course will introduce the student to working with clay as an art form and to exploring various techniques in handbuilding. Participating in reduction and oxidation firings and in clay and glaze-making activities is all part of this introductory course. Sketches or 3-dimensional models for projects #4 through 8 must be submitted to the professor for approval prior to construction, as part of the creative process. Students are encouraged to work in the studio outside of class hours to achieve maximum proficiency. Completion times are approximate.

FA 1014.11: Handbuilt Ceramics
TR 9:35 - 12:25 pm - Professor Varga
SMTH 304

FA 1015.10: Wheelthrown Ceramics
TR 1:00 - 3:55 pm - TBA
SMTH 304

FA 1201.10: Sculpture: Material Investigations
MW 9:00 - 12:00 pm - Professor Fox
SMTH 314

FA 1301.10: Drawing Fundamentals
TR 6:10 - 9:10 pm - TBA

FA 1401.10: Painting: Visual Thinking
M 1:00 - 5:30 pm - Professor Dolan

FA 1401.11: Painting: Visual Thinking
T 1:00 5:30 pm - TBA

FA 1401.12: Painting: Visual Thinking
W 6:10 - 10:40 pm - Professor Johnson

FA 1401.13: Painting: Visual Thinking
F 1:00 - 5:30 pm - TBA

FA 1501.10: Black & White Photography
M 6:10 - 10:40 pm - Professor Alston
SMTH 214

FA 1501.11: Black & White Photography
T 1:00 - 5:30 pm - Professor Kessmann
SMTH 214

FA 1501.12: Black & White Photography
W 1:00 - 5:30 pm - Professor Chao
SMTH 214

FA 1502.10: Color Photography
W 6:10 - 10:40 pm - Professor Hume
SMTH 405

FA 1502.11: Color Photography
T 1:00 - 5:30 pm - Professor Carr
SMTH 405

FA 1502.12: Color Photography
W 1:00 - 5:30 pm - Professor Morse
SMTH 405

FA 1502.13: Color Photography
R 8:00 - 12:30 pm - TBA
SMTH 405

FA 1601.10: New Media: Digital Art
M 1:00 - 5:30 pm - Professor Huckenpahler
SMTH 405

FA 1601.11: New Media: Digital Art
M 6:10 - 10:40 pm - Professor Davis
SMTH 405

FA 1601.12: New Media: Digital Art
R 1:00 - 5:30 pm - Professor Plakas

FA 1601.13: New Media: Digital Art
T 1:00 - 5:30 pm - Professor Rigg

FA 2000.10: Photography: From Photogram to Scanogram
M 1:00 - 5:30 pm - Professor Kessmann
SMTH 214
This course is designed for students who have an interest in exploring a variety of low-tech ways of producing analogue photographs and generating digital images.  Students will learn to move fluidly from the chemical darkroom to the digital lab and back again.  We will analyze examples from the history of photography that range from images captured by the earliest practitioners to work being produced today by contemporary artists.  In addition to producing work throughout the semester, this knowledge will culminate in oral Powerpoint presentations that place their final projects within historical and contemporary contexts.

FA 2113.10: Ceramic Sculpture
T 1:00 - 5:30 pm - Professor Ozdogan
SMTH 304
This course will foster development of an understanding of sculptural ceramic form that integrates quality and creativity. One focus ~11 be to transfer conceptual ideas into forms that help expand the student's view beyond traditional sculptural design. The goal should be to stretch clay to its limits. Imagination and sometimes fantasy should have free rein as techniques and materials are combined and styles with realistic, traditional, abstract, and surrealistic overtones are included. Students will mix clay and may explore glaze research as well. Experimentation with those materials in various firing ranges may also be a possibility. All completion times are approximate and depend on size and detail involved in individual projects.

FA 3901.80 / FA 6290.80: Special Topics: Innovation Arts II
R 8:00 - 12:30 pm - Professor Sham
SMTH 102
This new and unique course introduces students to cross-disciplinary models of Innovation through the lens of Fine Arts and creative studio practices. Tapping into historic models of invention in the arts (Da Vinci, Buckminster Fuller etc...), students will study precedents for collaboration between the Fine Arts and Innovation.  The limit of achievement in this class is determined by each student’s imagination and gumption.  Borrowing principles and methods from contemporary art practices, from tinkering, hacking, social practicing, and other modes of production, students will produce functioning prototypes of original inventions through a series of assignments and exercises. This course will be studio-heavy, with regular in-class work sessions, as well as a handful of readings for discussion.  This course has no prerequisites, but students should arrive expecting to learn or hone woodshop tools and processes. Additionally, the Fall 2017 offering of this course will likely feature an exciting class collaboration with the Textile Museum, with the intention of giving students the opportunity to work with a visiting artist to fabricate 1 of their projects.

FA 6291.10: Contemporary Art and Theory for Artists I
T 6:30 - 9:00 pm - TBA
SMTH 106

FA 6295.10: Critical Practices
MW 1:00 - 4:00 pm - Professor Brown
SMTH 102

FA 6296.10: Studio Visits
F 9:30 - 2:30 pm - TBA
SMTH 102