HISTART 216 - Contested Spaces: Art, Architecture, Politics
Section: 001
Term: WN 2018
Subject: History of Art (HISTART)
Department: LSA History of Art
Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course unpacks spaces of contestation and encourages students to think critically about how specific sites and objects have participated in the construction of class, race, and gender. Building on the histories of art and architecture, the course proposes the category of “space” as an alternative to the geographic, aesthetic, and analytic categories that have shaped the canons of these two disciplines. The readings address the architecture of those excluded from these canons, while problematizing agency and authorship in art and architectural history. Through close attention to the way objects and sites structure social relations and index broader networks of power, economy, and governance, we use a relational approach to world history. Each lecture addresses a type of “space” central to the formation of modernity in the Americas. We discuss these spaces by way of student presentations on objects and sites from different historical times and geographical locations. The material is structured along five broader themes: Empire and Home in the first half of the term, and Regulation, Communities, and Publics in the second half. We start in 1492, a moment of encounter that generated contacts, trade and exchange and led to the construction of modernity and its myths. We trace the networks of colonial trade and slave exploitation, connecting distant sites and reciprocal influences. We insist on a non-western-centric history of pedagogical spaces and objects, and broaden the concept of prison as a territory of confinement and segregation. We explore the kitchen as a source of both community and segregation, and the closet as a metaphorical construction of secrecy and forbidden sexuality. The use of a core spatial construct as the base of each lecture enables the course to range broadly within a long date span while also offering students concrete, in-depth knowledge of key objects and sites, concluding with a contemporary point of view. By examining these contested spaces, we challenge canonical narratives and reveal the fundamental role of class, race, and gender struggle in the construction of modernity. HISTART concentration distributions: 3. Early Modern, 4. Modern and Contemporary, D. Europe and the US, E. Latin America and the Caribbean

This course is based on a course designed by FAAC (Feminist Art and Architecture Collaborative: Tessa Paneth-Pollak, Olga Touloumi, Martina Tanga, Ana María León) and has been modified by Ana María León for use at the University of Michigan. The course will be taught simultaneously at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Bard College.

HISTART 216 - Contested Spaces: Art, Architecture, Politics
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (DIS)
W 1:00PM - 2:00PM
004 (DIS)
Th 10:00AM - 11:00AM
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