Undergraduate course in Art History
Taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago since Spring 2021
This course introduces students to the functioning of art museums and examines current debates surrounding their role in our society. Grounded in critical museology that recognizes collecting and exhibiting institutions as deeply intertwined in histories of Western hegemony and colonialism, this class analyzes what a truly global museum — one that addresses those histories and engages with them — might look like today. We will consider what “global” may mean in this context, looking at various museum competencies that include collection building, display and caring for art as well as production and dissemination of knowledge.
Topics covered address diversifying museum collections beyond the cannon of white male masters, critical approaches to encyclopedic and national museums, building branches of European and North American museums in the Middle East, repatriations, and decolonization. We will discuss these based on the examples of institutions from the United States, France, Poland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Palestine, China, and more. We will read scholarly articles as much as newspaper reports and conversations with curators, and watch youtube videos of recent political activism in the museum field. Throughout the semester, students will engage in an independent research on a selected topic within the spectrum of the course that will conclude with a final research paper.
Please contact me for a copy of the syllabus.