The art history program offers a comprehensive overview of the history of art, with special emphasis on contemporary and Asian art. After introductory surveys in Western and Asian art, undergraduate students have access to a wide variety of upper-division courses that cover critical theory, visual culture, museum studies, history of design, and diverse areas in Asian, European, and American art history. Art History also participates in the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) program, and faculty work closely with graduate students on individual research projects.
Art history is a key discipline in increasing visual literacy, or navigating and making sense of our increasingly visual world. Studying art history contributes to a critical skill set that extends from understanding the history and contemporary practice of traditional fine art in the world of images in the media, popular culture, science, and daily life.
All art history courses contribute to visual literacy by emphasizing critical thinking and visual analysis, on topics ranging from Chinese calligraphy to contemporary participatory art. Within their courses, students practice transferable writing and research skills. The program culminates in ART 469, a course in methods and theory of art history. Art History majors also have an option to write a thesis on a topic of their choice, enabling them to continue honing their research skills and prepare for graduate study. Visiting scholars provide opportunities to further learn about the practice of art history. Students may participate in a study abroad program, and one student each year will receive the Sponenburgh Travel Award, allowing him or her to conduct art historical research in Europe during the summer.
To learn more about art history or to arrange a visit, please contact Felix Oliveros, Academic Advisor.