HISTART 194 - First Year Seminar
Fall 2022, Section 002 - The Fascinating Lives of Things
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History of Art (HISTART)
Department: LSA History of Art
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
Other Course Info:
May not be used to meet the prerequisite requirement for the History of Art major.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


In this seminar students will select an object of material/visual culture that has some kind of special allure and cultural significance, or strong personal and sentimental associations, and investigate it over the course of the semester, discovering its provenance, history, and relative value. This object can be something in your or your family's possession that you are curious about, or have strong feelings about, or something that you encounter on campus in a museum or in Ann Arbor, during the early weeks of the course. Playing off the popular PBS television program, "The Antiques Roadshow," where people have family heirlooms and personal collectables analyzed and assessed by experts, this seminar will allow you both to assume this expert role and to critique this form of cultural valuation and consumption. We will be particularly interested in the various phases in the "lives" of cultural objects, investigating their manufacture and original use and value, and then their subsequent circulation, repurposing, and revaluation. You will learn how to conduct the necessary historical research on your object, and there will be weekly readings assigned and group discussions about visual art, material culture, and collecting practices. There will be an emphasis on community building and experiential learning, as we share experiences and ideas within the seminar group and make use of campus collections and local Ann Arbor resources. There will be three short graded writing assignments related to the object project, a class presentation, and a final research paper.

Textbooks/Other Materials: Readings (pdfs) will be posted on Canvas

Fulfills LSA First-year Seminar Requirement

Course Requirements:

  • 10% Formal analysis paper (2-3 pages; opportunity to revise and resubmit)
  • 10% Outline and one 2-3 page section of object project paper (opportunity to revise and resubmit)
  • 10% Introduction (2 pages; opportunity to revise and resubmit)
  • 40% Final paper (10-12 pages)
  • 30% Attendance, class participation, submission of outlines for weekly reading

Intended Audience:

Freshmen; open to anyone if places still available after first week of classes

Class Format:

Two 80-minute seminar meetings per week, consisting of discussion, with onsite visits to museums and other Ann Arbor locals


HISTART 194 - First Year Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
3Enrollment Management
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
002 (SEM)
 In Person
4Enrollment Management
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
003 (SEM)
 In Person
5Enrollment Management
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for HISTART 194 (UM login required)

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