Art History & Visual Arts

Overview | Requirements | Courses | Faculty


The mission of the department of Art History & Visual Arts (AHVA) is to educate students in the richness and complexity of the visual arts. Visual literacy is essential for informed participation and innovation within local and global cultures. Combining the disciplines of Studio Art, Media Arts & Culture (MAC), and Art History, AHVA equips students to explore critically the interplay of culture, history, theory, analysis, and practice.

We offer a broad range of courses in the history of Asian and Western art, visual culture, architecture, photography, media production and critical studies, and studio classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, book arts, video, and digital media. The curriculum prepares students to become professional artists, art historians, media practitioners, critical scholars, and educators. Graduates have pursued a variety of professional activities, including: exhibitions and screenings in  museums, galleries and film festivals; curatorial work  and education in museums, libraries, archives, and other non-profit institutions. Students regularly attend graduate programs in fine arts, media production and critical studies and art history. By the nature of the subject, study of the visual arts requires close personal collaboration between students and faculty. Students should consult with their advisors frequently to determine their individual interests and goals, to assess the level of their artistic or scholarly abilities, and to plan individual programs of study designed to develop the aesthetic questions, technical skills, and research agendas required for the comprehensive project in the senior year.


MAJOR: Eleven or twelve courses (48 units, depending on the emphasis) chosen in consultation with the major advisor.

Emphasis in Studio Art: Minimum of 48 units, chosen in consultation with the major advisor. Three beginning courses: S102, S103 and S105; Two of the following intermediate courses: S203, S210, S216 or 217; Two of the following Advanced Projects courses: S310, S320, or S330; and S490 Senior Seminar; One 4-unit course, in Media Arts & Culture; Two Art History courses -H180 and H389. The sequencing of courses is crucial: students should take beginning and intermediate courses in the Frosh and Sophomore years; 300 level courses (Advanced Projects) in their junior year; and S490 (Senior Seminar) and any elective studio courses in the senior year. You may not take a required 100 level course as a Senior. In addition, the two Art History courses (H180 and H389), and one 300 level Advanced Projects course must be completed before the start of the senior year. S101, 104 and 106 may only be taken as electives and do not count as required beginning courses. Because the maturation of creative ability requires time as well as effort, students who may desire a major in studio art should consult with departmental advisors and begin taking studio courses as early as possible in their first year, and should declare a major early in the sophomore year.

Emphasis in Media Arts & Culture: Minimum of 48 units. AHVA’s Media Arts & Culture Program fosters critical, historical, and practical exploration of audiovisual culture, with students producing senior comprehensives capstone work in either media production or critical media. All students, regardless of their project choice, are expected to push the boundaries of media scholarship, project form, and modes of audiovisual communication.

A minimum of twelve courses (48 units) are required for the MAC emphasis with students moving fairly freely between courses in production and those more focused on media history and critical analysis. Of the twelve required courses, students must take: at least three of the four 100-level gateway courses (ArtM 140, 143, 145, and/or 146), at least three (4-unit) 200-level courses, and the junior and senior seminars (ArtM 390 and 490). In addition, majors must complete one 4-unit ArtH (Art History) and one 4-unit ArtS (Studio) course. Please note additional track-specific requirements:

Media Production Track: All media production comprehensives students must have taken ArtM 140 and either 242 or 355 by the end of junior year, along with 220 if producing fiction. The 490 Senior Seminar in Media Production is a 4-unit fall course. Students must then enroll in ArtM 340 in the spring of senior year to scaffold post-production on their comprehensives project.

Critical Media Track: In addition to ArtM 390, all critical media comprehensives students must have taken at least two critical or historical media studies courses at the 200- or 300-level before the end of junior year. The 490 Senior Seminar in Critical Media is a year-long seminar with 2 units conferred in the fall and 2 additional units in the spring.

Students may take relevant courses offered in other Occidental departments such as Theater, Music, CTSJ, or English, which can be applied to the major upon approval of their faculty advisor. Eligible students may apply to study abroad in the Fall semester of Junior Year. Students may enroll for 2-unit internships through the Career Development Center. Students are also encouraged to explore the Interdisciplinary Writing Minor. Occidental College also has a cross-registration agreement with Art Center College of Design, which offers various technical courses in media software which can count towards the major if preapproved by the faculty advisor.

Emphasis in Art History: A minimum of 48 units, including three survey-level courses (H160, H170, and H180, or H190); three courses at the 300 level, plus two additional electives at the 200 or 300 levelone of these may be replaced by a 200-level elective in the same area) or equivalent; at least one course above 300 in two of these areas: Asian, Early Western, and twentieth century (either H387 or H389); the Seminar in Art History (H390); and the Senior Seminar (H490); two additional art history courses above the 100 level, of which at least one is at the 300 level; at least two courses (8 units) in Media Arts and CultureMedia Arts & Culture  and/or Studio Art. In consultation with the advisor, a student may substitute a courses outside the department (such as history, literature, religious studies, politics, or philosophy, preferably related to the topic area of the senior thesis) for one of the art history electives.

Combined Emphasis: Students may declare a combined emphasis in art history and studio art: A minimum of 48 units, including four introductory courses—two in studio art (chosen from ARTS 101, 102, 103, 105, 106) and two in art history (chosen from ARTH 160, 170, 180, 190); six courses at the 200 or 300 level—three in studio art and three in art history; and the Senior Seminar in studio art (ARTS490) or art history (ARTH490). Similar combined emphases between Art History and Media Arts & Culture or between Studio Art and Media Arts & Culture may be proposed in consultation with the faculty advisor.


Emphasis in Studio Art: Five courses (20 units) in the department including any four studio courses and one art history course. No more than three 100-level courses. Studio courses must be selected from more than one professor.

Emphasis in Media Arts & Culture: Five Art M courses (20 units) determined in consultation with a Media Arts & Culture faculty member.

Emphasis in Art History: Five art history courses (20 units); at least three must be 200-level courses or above.

THIRD-YEAR WRITING REQUIREMENT: All students majoring in the department must successfully complete the third-year writing requirement by completing a junior-year 300-level course, with a grade of C or better, as follows: Studio Art – ArtH 389 or ArtS 301; Media Arts & Culture - Art M390; Art History - Art H390; Combined Emphasis - one of these 300-level courses, determined in consultation with Academic Advisor. For further information see page 40 and consult the department chair or your major advisor.

HONORS: A student with an overall GPA of at least 3.2 overall and 3.5 in the major who has demonstrated excellence in departmental courses can submit a proposal for an honors project in the fall of senior year for completion in the spring of senior year. For further information, consult your faculty advisor on honors requirements and timelines in your particular program.

EXCHANGE PROGRAM WITH ART CENTER: Occidental students may take courses in the Art Center at Night Program at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. See College Catalog Section on Art Center Exchange.  These classes can count towards general College units for graduation but cannot fulfill AHVA major or minor requirements without pre-approval of the AHVA faculty advisor.



Studio Art

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S101 - Drawing Fundamentals

Working with a variety of drawing materials-charcoal, pencil, ink, gouache, and acrylic paint-students investigate a fundamental aesthetic and visual vocabulary. Beginning with exercises in mark-making, then working through a formal study of basic visual elements and simple subject matter, students develop a working understanding of two-dimensional composition.

S102 - Painting Fundamentals

Beginning with a familiarization of paint, gesture and mark, then working through a formal study of basic visual elements (line, shape, form, light, space, and color) and simple subject matter (still life, landscape, the figure, abstraction), students develop a basic understanding of image construction and two-dimensional composition.

S103 - Sculpture I

The aim of this course is to introduce the conceptual, technical and critical tools necessary to begin a vibrant contemporary sculpture practice. The class consists of a combination of technical seminars, in-class fabrication, critiques, field trips, informal lectures in contemporary art history, readings, and a series of short papers. Emphasis will be placed on the student's ability to make, understand, discuss and write about sculpture in a substantive way.

S105 - Basic Printmaking

Through a series of projects, students develop an understanding of the unique properties of relief and intaglio printmaking. Students are introduced to different print media to gain awareness of how process influences changes in visual communication.

S107 - Digital Photography

The aim of the Digital Photography Course is to develop the conceptual, technical and historical tools to develop a critical photography practice. The course will consist of a combination of technical seminars, critiques, class readings, field trips, lab time and lectures in photographic history and contemporary art practice. The course will provide a technical introduction in the fundamentals of digital photography, including camera operation, file management, image processing, Photoshop, printing techniques and image presentation. Additionally, students will develop the critical skills needed to discuss photographs, productively participate in critiques, and generally situate their photographic production within a larger cultural and historical construct. Emphasis will be placed on student's ability to make, understand and discuss photographs in a substantive way. Lectures, critiques and personal consultations will stress the interdependent concerns of technique and content. Underscoring the course's outcomes of visual literacy are the centrality of photography to the historical development of modernity and the crucial role of digital photography in our image-centric globalized world. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to integrate the breadth of their liberal arts studies in their image making.

S203 - Intermediate Sculpture

Intermediate study in sculpture, including developing theoretical, historical, and critical understanding of materials and media. Emphasis may change from year to year. Prerequisite: Art S103 or permission of instructor.

S209 - Photography Against the Grain

This course is a conceptual art class that takes photography as its subject. Using a wide range of photographs and photographic practices, the class will consider how photographs are instrumental in forming our notions of self, family, work, and nation. We will also grapple with the difference between analogue and digital photography, and photography’s relation to the physical world. The class will read key photography essays that will challenge you to think critically about the role of photography in contemporary culture and modernity, historiography and science. We will use a broad range of art techniques like drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, digital alteration and even craft techniques to remake and rework photographs to reveal hidden truths, or create new meanings. Unlike some classes where you learn art techniques first, here you will be expected to adopt techniques and generate art from a set of ideas that arise from our readings, discussions, experiments, and field trips.

S210 - Intermediate Painting

Intermediate study in painting, including developing theoretical, historical, and critical understanding of materials and media. Emphasis may change from year to year. Prerequisite: Art S102.

S215 - Silkscreen Printmaking

This is an introduction to the fine art of silkscreen printmaking. Students learn the historical, theoretical and critical understanding of the process with an emphasis on developing their artistic voice by completing specific assignments.

S216 - Lithography

An introduction to the process of lithography, which entails the printing from a drawn image on limestone. Course emphasis will be on the drawing and how the medium allows for evolving the visual image over time. Prerequisite: one course in studio art.

S217 - Photo Processes in Printmaking

An introduction to new combined photo and drawing processes in printmaking including photo-sensitive emulsion on copper plates, solar etching and paper plate lithography. This course will explore how photography can influence the many approaches to contemporary printmaking. Students should have an interest in creating photo images and some familiarity with Photoshop software.

S227 - Book Arts/Letterpress Printing

This class is an introduction to the historical art of letterpress printing using design elements with text and image. Students will complete a collaborative artist book with hand binding and original imagery using typographic design, hand typesetting, and letterpress printing.
2 units

S228 - Book Arts: The Handprinted Book

Students will advance their knowledge of letterpress printing by planning, designing and producing a handprinted artist book. Elements covered: narrative, sequencing, page layout and design, type as graphic, innovative image-making methods for the Vandercook and structure of the book, . Theoretical readings and research conducted in Special Collections will support the students' projects and focus on 20th and 21st Century artist book design and production. Prerequisite: ARTS 227 or permission of instructor

S250 - The Art of Resistance!

African American, Latinx, Asian, Feminist, GLBT and transnational artists and their critical art making strategies are the focus of this hybrid art making, history and theory class. The course will focus on 20th and 21st century art movements that critically engage issues of race, gender, ethnicity and class like the post Watts Rebellion African American assemblagists, Southern California Latinx performance artists, "Bad Girl" feminisms, and conceptual art. The course also will debate the efficacy of the body in and as critique, representing politics vs. the politics of representation, and the art of identity politics vs. conceptual art strategies. The class will especially draw from art emerging from the Los Angeles context featuring studio visits with area artists, field work at the Noah Purifoy Foundation in Joshua Tree, CA, collaboration with the Wanlass Visiting Artist and innovative non-profits like Clockshop. We'll learn how artists challenging notions of race, gender and class also shook the foundations of the art world...and the definitions of art itself.

280 - Transdisciplinary Studio: Oxy + Art Center

General Course Description: A Team-Taught course pairing an Occidental and an Art Center College of Design Faculty member in project-based work integrating the history, theory and practice of the visual arts. Topic for Spring 2016: Maker Communities: From Arts and Crafts to DIY along the Arroyo Seco. In the early twentieth century, a cultural blossoming that came to be known as the "Arroyo Culture" emerged along the Arroyo Seco river, from the Hahamong'na Watershed above Pasadena, through Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and the diverse communities of Northeast Los Angeles, down to the Confluence with the LA River in Cypress Park. This Arroyo Culture sprung from the international Arts and Crafts Movement's emphasis on the handmade, seeking to fuse the material and the spiritual and thereby make everyday objects and architecture the expression of individuality and artistic purpose. This course, a collaboration between Occidental College and the Art Center College of Design, will trace this rich and innovative Arroyo Culture through the community's many demographic and cultural transformations, and particularly the revolutionary reinvention of the tradition by Latino artists and intellectuals, up through today’s resurgent "maker" culture. In the process, students from the two institutions will engage with both the rich cultural and geographical history of the area and the work of present day designers and artists. That engagement will culminate in a final project and presentation reflecting (either, at students' individual option, through research-driven writing or in physical form through a work of art/design) the cultural production flourishing along the watershed of the Arroyo Seco. Prerequisite:No first-year studetn can enroll.

S290 - Art Outside the Bounds: Wanlass Artists in Residence. Manos de Obra: Bodies Making Los Angeles

Thematic Focus for Fall 2016: "Manos de Obra: Bodies Making Los Angeles." This course will be taught by the 2016/17 Wanlass Artists in Residence, Rafa Esparza. The course will be conducted in a series of immersive workshops and discussions led by invited artists living and working in Los Angeles. The course will highlight their labor and creative practices that realize works through a variety of approaches including art making, organizing, activism, interventions and protest. Throughout the course of the semester students will look at how cultural producers use their bodies and the landscape of Los Angeles as generative agents for ideas, actions, place making and collective organizing/building. Through workshops students will experience live performance, participate in body and movement based exercises, discuss, think, and imagine the generative possiblities of their own bodies in space.

S301 - Writing Art and Writing As Art

Audre Lorde famously wrote that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. What possibilities open up when we use language—a common currency of our everyday lives, too often the foundation that props up structures of confinement and limitation—on our own terms, in forms of our own invention and modes we imagine autonomously? How can we use writing to support and expand the work we do as artists? Is language a “master’s tool” or is it a tool we can use to “dismantle the master’s house”? In this class, we will explore creative forms such as artistic manifestos, statements of poetics/aesthetics, and reviews as invitations to better understand and articulate the parameters of our own art practice, and as powerful opportunities for collective enunciation. We will do close readings of primary texts from European, Latin American, and USAmerican avant-garde and art-activist movements, both historical and present-day. We will consider essays, reviews, manifestos, poems, blog posts, and tweets. Students will write individual and collaborative art statements as a way to clarify their own work, and think through larger issues in aesthetics and the social/political potential of art. Assignment exercises will encompass research and practice in collective and individual art writing, focusing both on our own work and on the work of other artists.

S310 - Advanced Projects in Painting and Drawing

Advanced study in painting and drawing, including developing a theoretical, historical and critical understanding of materials and media. Specific focus may vary from year to year. Prerequisite: Art S102 and Art S210, or permission of instructor.

S320 - Advanced Projects in Interdisciplinary Arts

This course invites students with art experience from across the College, including visual arts, music, theater, creative writing, etc., to pursue self-directed interdisciplinary art projects. Video installation, sound art, performance art, site-specific art, and collaborative projects will be the focus of the class. The class meets once a week for seminars and critical feedback, along with out of class visits to contemporary art and performance venues. Prerequisite: any two AHVA, Music, Theater, or Creative Writing courses, and permission of instructor.

S325 - Papermaking/Artists' Books

Advanced course in papermaking with emphasis on the creative potential of handmade paper. Projects include colored pulp painting, cast paper and sheet forming, with a major focus on making three handmade paper artists' books. Prerequisite: one course in studio art.

S330 - Advanced Printmaking

Advanced study in printmaking, including developing a theoretical, historical and critical understanding of photo-based materials and media including images on pronto plates and monotypes.

S380 - Providing Context: Practices of Making, Writing, and Curating Art

This class is designed to introduce students to the practice of writing about and curating contemporary art. Guided by influential texts from sources as varied as blogs, podcasts, magazines, TV shows, zines, vlogs, and, of course, books, we will explore the shifting roles of the contemporary artist, art writer, and curator in today's diverse and globalized art world. Students will put theory into practice by engaging in their own writing about contemporary art in Los Angeles, with the goal of creating an expansive critical space for their thoughts to flourish. Additionally, we will investigate conventional and alternative curatorial practices that question the cultural, political, economic, regional, and social contexts shaping the exhibition of contemporary art. Students will mount their own exhibitions designed to question the boundaries of the "white cube gallery", pushing art into surprising public and private spaces. ! Coursework will include multiple arts writing assignments, regular visits to a variety of arts venues, and individual and collaborative curatorial projects Prerequisites: Major in AHVA or permission of the instructor
2 units

S397 - Independent Study in Studio Art

Prerequisite: permission of department.
2 or 4 units

S490 - Studio Senior Seminar

Group critiques of individual projects in student's choice of medium. Discussion of techniques, exhibition problems, self-evaluation, and current art movements, in the context of the history of art. Prerequisites: At least junior standing and ARTS 102, ARTS 103, ARTS 105, ARTS 203, ARTS 210; and ARTS 216 or ARTS 217

S499 - Honors Research in Studio Art

Prerequisite: permission of department.

Media Arts and Culture

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M110 - Introduction to Digital Design

This 2-unit course focuses on the fundamental processes and tools involved in digital design for the media arts: color, resolution, image manipulation, compositing, typography, vector graphics, basic Web design, project workflow, and output/finishing formats. Students will become familiar with the interfaces of essential software platforms including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver and will apply concepts and techniques to various assignments. This course satisfies the Introduction to Digital Design prerequisite required for many courses at Art Center College of Design. AHVA majors only Prerequisite: Instructor permission required
2 units

M140 - Introduction to Film and New Media

This course exposes students to foundational media production skills and the wide-ranging critical and creative possibilities of time-based media production. Students conceptually and practically explore historical and contemporary approaches to fictional, documentary, and experimental media through a series of production projects, each supplemented by a range of readings, exercises, technical workshops, guests, screenings, and critiques. Permission of Instructor. Completion of another gateway course (M143 or M145 or M146). Not open to seniors.

M143 - Introduction to Visual and Critical Studies

This course introduces students to key concepts and methodologies for the critical analysis and interpretation of a broad range of media forms across the visual field - including film, television, social media, photography, games, advertising, etc. - and the cultural, historical and ideological forces that govern them. Drawing from select case studies in media and visual culture, the course emphasizes critical reading, discussion, and writing, with forays into digital scholarship. Should be completed by the end of the sophomore year for AHVA Media Arts and Culture majors. Not open to Seniors

M145 - Introduction to Digital Media and Culture

Born Digital, Growing Up Digital, Teaching Digital Natives, Understanding the Digital Generation ... these are just some of the titles in a veritable explosion of guidebooks on how thinking, learning, and doing have changed in a world transformed by digital, networked, and social media. In this course, we take a critical look at the theories and prophesies on the "Net Gen"; we explore and assess new digital possibilities for communicating, teaching, and learning; and we think critically, contextually, and historically about the ways in which new media forms and practices shape identity, community, sociality, creativity, privacy, civic engagement, and everyday life. Class projects will enable students to experiment with and gain practical experience applying a range of media 2.0 technologies to their own academic work. Should be completed by the end of the sophomore year for AHVA Media Arts and Culture majors. 


M146 - Aesthetics of the Cinema

This course breaks down the aesthetic components of film and examines each element's function in the production of meaning in a text. The course underscores the fact that cinema's aesthetic language is not solely generated by Hollywood. It is a fluid system, highly contingent upon cultural, temporal, technological, and economic considerations. Selected international and alternative cinema movements will be examined for their enduring influences upon the global audiovisual aesthetic lexicon. Should be completed by the end of the sophomore year for AHVA Media Arts and Culture majors. Closed to seniors

M220 - Narrative Practices

This course focuses on theory, form, and practice of audiovisual, time-based storytelling for screens. Through a series of screenings, critical readings, creative writing exercises, and the crafting of short screenplays, students will become versed in the critical, political, and creative potentials of writing for screen cultures, including manipulation of time, space, and point of view, character development, and narrative theory. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

M240 - Sound Theory and Design

Despite a preoccupation with visual analysis of film, video, and new media, these forms are in fact audiovisual, with sound exerting enormous influence on our perceptions of content, story, and reality. This course will historically, critically, and practically explore the emergence and evolution of audiovisual, time-based media. Sample topics will include early global aesthetic debates on the arrival of synchronized sound in cinema; sound and genre films; sound design and documentary; soundscapes and immersive new media; music and the moving image; as well as and techniques in sound recording and editing. Weekly readings and screenings will be complemented by short audio-visual projects, critical writing, and a final paper/project. Prerequisite: Art M 140.

M241 - The Politics and Poetics of Documentary Film

What are the ethical responsibilities of a documentary filmmaker in relation to the history of atrocity such as the Holocaust and the Rape of Nanjing in WWII? What gives documentary films their unique voice in representing undocumented and underrepresented social groups including migrant laborers, racialized sexual minorities, and war widows? What are the types of documentaries that forge interethnic, intercultural, and intergenerational understanding? How can the blurring of boundaries between fiction and nonfiction inquiry serve progressive purposes in the public sphere? This course studies the history of the documentary film and its various modes through the key issues in social and political representation. Prerequisite: Art M146 or 243, or permission of instructor.

M242 - Projects in Documentary

The course will explore a variety of approaches to documentary video, including both narrative and experimental forms. Hands-on projects will be supplemented by discussions of theoretical readings, screenings, and technical workshops. CORE REQUIREMENT MET: FINE ARTS

Mockumentary. This hybrid course blends theory, history, and practice to introduce students to the hands-on technical skills in mockumentary film production. Simultaneous to crafting your own video works, students will investigate the longstanding transnational and political history of mockumentary ranging from Buñuel to Borat. This analysis of mockumentary also proves invaluable in revealing, denaturalizing, and inspiring many of the conventions of documentary realism. Far from being polemical against documentary, this course not only examines how mockumentary can expose the lies and fakery already at work in claims to objectivity but also highlights the authenticity of film artifice. Art M140 or prior experience with media production or community-engaged field research is encouraged. Repeatable 2 times.

M244 - Topics in Media Representation

This intermediate topical course of varying emphases focuses on representations of difference, while underscoring the connections between race, class, gender, and sexual identity. Through screenings and key texts from film and media studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and visual culture studies, students will learn critical methodologies for analyzing a range of media forms and the complex relationship between authors and spectators.

From Cyborgs to Siri: Gender, Technology and Media. In this course, we will examine the fembots, cyborgs, and female AIs imagined in film, television, and advertising, as well as the dialogue between these fictional creations and their real-life counterparts, from historical automata to the current development of robotic and virtual companions. How does techno-fantasy inform scientific reality and vice versa in the construction of these figures? What roles do we ask them to play in both realms? What might they reveal about our cultural hopes and fears around love, sex, and relationships? What social, cultural, and historical conditions, give rise to and shape their appearance? Why are they simultaneously so disturbing and fascinating for us? In answering these questions, we will examine issues around gender, sexuality, and race, while drawing from a wide range of critical discourses, including cyborg feminism, post-humanism, and afrofuturism. Screenings will include Metropolis (1927), Stepford Wives (1927), Ghost in the Shell (2003), Her (2013), and Ex Machina (2015).

M246 - Topics in Film History

Classical and Post-Classical American Cinema (1930s to 1960s). A survey course on American independent cinema and Hollywood studio productions from the emergence of sound cinema and the fortification of business models and generic conventions in the studio system up through the social, political, and civil rumblings of the early 1960's. Topics include genre theory; gender, race, and class in American cinema and society; independent and experimental counter-cinemas operating outside the Hollywood model; censorship; and the evolution of film genres. The course will draw upon Occidental's location in Los Angeles as a source of research, screening, and programming opportunities. Prerequisite:  M146 or 243.

American Cinema (1970s to the Present). A survey course on American independent cinema and Hollywood studio productions from the late 1970s to the present. Topics include the response of independent and experimental cinemas to Hollywood's hegemony; the cultural significance of American cinema; the global success of American films and their impact upon production, stardom, distribution, and exhibition; the aesthetics of film image, sound, and narration; and the effects of new digital technologies on spectacle, and spectatorship. The course will draw upon Occidental's location in Los Angeles as a source of research, screening, and programming opportunities. Prerequisite: M146 or 243.

Modernity and the Rise of Cinematic Visuality. Many have argued that the history of modernity has been, above all, a history of visualization. In this course, we will examine a diverse range of nineteenth and early twentieth century visual practices, technologies, and experiences—including train rides, panoramas, urban spaces, assembly lines, medical photographs, amusement parks, side shows, optical toys, and more—that helped shape the "modern observer" by altering both the perception and understanding of time and space, public and private, work and leisure, the normal and deviant, and the individual and collective. Through a combination of critical readings and screenings, we will ask how such practices of looking not only influenced early cinematic form and content, but also how they continue to inflect postmodern media culture, from television to the internet.

M248 - Topics in Global Media

A survey course on the global language of film and media. Screenings and readings will cover a range of national contexts, examining questions of national identity, national cinema, alternative cinema, Third cinema, experimental ethnography, diaspora, postcoloniality, globalization, and transnationality. The course will take advantage of the international and intercultural makeup of Los Angeles as a means of exploring media and accessing practitioners who are working across national boundaries.

Topics in Global Media: African Cinema.  African has one of the largest, if not the largest, film industries in the world. However, it is rarely given much, if any, significance within global film theory and history. This course will explore African film and video across a broad historical period including early colonial visual culture, post-independence Francophone Art films, sub-Saharan Black African cinema, Anglophone Nollywood and Ghana popular video, the visual griot, the Yoruba traveling theatre tradition, and African new media. This class also is a survey of the academic traditions that have attempted to examine the history of African film and media. We will explore such traditions as National Cinema, Third Cinema, Diasporic Cinema, Transnational Cinema, and Experimental Ethnography. Within each of these often-conflicting traditions we will focus in on a particular regional case study. We are faced with several obstacles in this project, including the vexing difficulties of cross-cultural analysis. What if the cinematic practices in Africa and North America are so different that we cannot properly speak of a trans-cultural medium of film in general? Complicating things further is the fact that cinema itself has been crucial in the formation of the concept of race, the nation state, and Africa.

M250 - Topics in Media Theory and Practice

This hybrid media theory and practice course directly engages the interrelationship between discursive and creative production. Classes will include screenings, lectures, discussion, and hands-on experiences in producing and collaborating on digital media projects.
Remix Media and Culture Jamming
What is Remix Media? Remixing, reusing, and reworking separate media elements from different sources to produce an entirely new work with a different meaning. What is Culture Jamming? A term popularized by cultural critic and Oxy alum '82 Mark Dery for creative practices that "jam the signal" or subvert the products of dominant media culture. This theory/practice course takes a critical look at the history of remix culture—from Dada to Machinima—along with the gamut of aesthetic, political, and social concerns addressed by remix artists and musicians and the reception (and even appropriation) of their work by the corporate entertainment industry. Students will put theory into practice by producing their own remix projects including a subvertisement series and remix video. We will also explore issues around copyright and fair use in the sampling of both commercial and independently-produced works. CORE REQUIREMENT MET: FINE ARTS
Media and Social Movements in Los Angeles
This theory/practice course focuses on the relationship between media and social justice struggles in the greater Los Angeles region. Readings, class discussions, and creative assignments will address the use of media tools as a form of local and global resistance against various forms of economic, racial, sexual and gender oppression. Students will learn about the theoretical and material tensions between the global political economy and local grassroots media movements, ranging from Asian American video collectives of the 1970s to the Los Angeles School of Black Filmmakers (a.k.a. L.A. Rebellion film movement) of the 1980s. In the second half of the semester, we will examine contemporary sites of media activism on-line, including but not limited to #blacklivesmatter, QWOCMAP, and the Asian American Oral History project. Weekly labs will provide opportunities to explore different media forms and strategies in order to critically analyze why certain platforms have emerged within different movements and what political possibilities still resonate. While labs will focus on audiovisual production and social media, there will be room to experiment with other forms of media resistance including ‘zine-making, comic books, and musical performance (e.g. critical karaoke, flash mobs, etc.). We will be joined throughout the semester by media activists and local community organizers, who will share their perspectives on contemporary struggles and, at times, lead skills-based workshops. The course will culminate in a final project in which students conceptualize and begin to execute a media campaign with a Los Angeles-based community organization.
Public Media and Alternative Exhibition Strategies
For over 25 years Anne Bray and her Los Angeles organization FREEWAVES have created public media art events that bring diverse audiences and independent media artists together in dialogue on current issues in nontraditional, community-focused exhibition contexts. This hands-on course will engage students in theoretically and practically exploring past precedents and future possibilities for innovative and people centered media curation and exhibition. Students will work with Bray to conceptualize and realize alternative public media programming interventions on campus, in Los Angeles, and online, examining critical questions of space/venue, audience/community, and outcome/social engagement. Can be repeated 3 times.

M255 - Media, Bodies, and Space

This course examines the history, theory, and practice of integrating time-based media into three-dimensional space. This is a theory/practice course: students will study the history of video and audio installation and attendant theories around interactivity, virtuality, and site specificity, while experimenting with different methods of troubling the passive relationship of viewer to screen in traditional cinema. Through hands-on exercises, students will develop sensitivity to three-dimensional space, explore the relationship of the human body to aural and visual environments, and create a series of linear and non-linear narratives that take into account viewers in motion. The class will culminate in the production of a media object and/or installation that demonstrates a careful consideration of form and content in relation to space. Prerequisite: ARTM 140.

M258 - Introduction to Film Scoring

This course introduces students to the art of film scoring and provides an in-depth exploration of the field. We will discuss the functions of film music and analyze preexisting scores that demonstrate varying dramatic situations, while also investigating the aesthetic relationship between film and music. Students will be required to score several preexisting scenes throughout the course. Prerequisite: Music 230 or basic experience using Logic or other DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)

M260 - Topics in Digital Culture

This intermediate topical course addresses new and evolving issues around digital technologies and networked publics, examining their social, cultural, political, and global ramifications both on- and off-line. Coursework will engage digital media theory and scholarship.

Exploring Virtual Reality.  This theory/practice course takes a historical, critical, and experiential approach to the questions around virtual reality and the hopes and fears generated by technologically-simulated experiences. Through readings, screenings, field trips, and hands-on workshops, students will study the discourse around virtual reality, telepresence, hyperreality, and cyberspace; experience first-hand examples of the current state of the art; examine how authors and film-makers have depicted the relationship of the "virtual" to the "real" and one's avatar to one's self; and participate in small-scale collaborative projects that attempt to map and conjoin the virtual and real spaces of Occidental College. Screenings will include: The Matrix, Existenz, Sleep Dealer, and Avatar. No Prerequisites.

Who owns the Internet? This course takes a historical, critical, and experiential approach to the competing sets of interests that have struggled over control of the internet since its inception. These players - military, academic, corporate, activist, regulatory, user, etc - will be explored through sets of readings, screenings, field trips, and hands-on workshops. Central to our inquiry will be questions of infrastructure, surveillance, and resistance, as they mark out the terrain on which digital culture thrives and through which major actors exert their influence. Students will have the opportunity to both learn about digital cultures and work in digital modes in this course, with hands on components emphasizing geo-spatial analysis, multimedia presentation, social media engagement, and webmaking.

M290 - Intermediate Productions

This course provides the opportunity to crew on an Art M490 Senior Comprehensives media project as the designated director of photography, receiving specialized cinematography training at the intermediate level from a professional cinematographer. Projects range in form from fiction and documentary to experimental and installation-based media. Through screenings, readings, hands-on workshops, and shoots, students will learn technical skills, research and develop an aesthetic plan, devise a production plan, and execute principal photography for their chosen senior comprehensives project. Course may be taken up to two times for credit within the major. Prerequisites: M140.

This course provides the opportunity to crew on an Art M490 Senior Comprehensives media project as the designated producer, learning the logistics, ethics, business, and art of independent media producing. Producers will be working on a range of potential project forms, from fiction and documentary, to more experimental or new media works, each with its own producing particularities. No prior experience is required, but commitment to the class experience and the chosen student production is vital. Course may be taken up to two times for credit within the major.

M295 - Topics in Film and Media Studies

The study of film and media has involved disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches for about half a century. This intermediate topical course of varying emphases studies the key critical terms, issues, and debates in popular media cultural study, including genre study, in relation to specific topics. Readings of film and media examples illustrate how different theories or perspectives can be applied to contemporary pop culture.

Genre in Contemporary Film, TV, and Digital Media.  Genre films were part of Classic Hollywood, but genres started changing in interesting ways as media industries evolved after World War II, with the introduction of television, new technologies that enabled shooting on location or new opportunities with color film, the rise of drive-in movie theaters and indie or exploitation filmmaking. We will study the shift from classic genre films and theory to hybrid genres and genre revisionism in film/media movements spearheaded by people of color, feminists, and LGBT communities as well as studios. The focus in the class is on genre theory studied through historical and technological shifts in media production. Screenings will introduce a range of genres, from classic films like the Western and noir to more recent genres like road films, television melodramas and war video games. Prerequisite: M146 or 243, or permission of instructor.

Imagining War: Genre on Screen and Battlefield. The war film has arguably been one of the most consistent and popular elements of cinema's history. It was a component of film from its beginnings and is now a regular mainstay amongst Hollywood blockbusters. It has also undergone several political revisions and technological shifts in media production, distribution and exhibition, making it ideally suited to study the theory and history of genre. Importantly, this course will not only look at how war figures in film, but how film also profoundly effects and configures war. Entertainment andwar are the United States' primary exports. Militarism and the Hollywood studio system have had a long and deadly interdependence. By conceiving of the viewing screen as an extension of the battlefield (and vice versa), this course will look at the profound social and political implications of the classic genre system. We will do this by examining such films as Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Battle of Algiers, Black Hawk Down, Kandahar, Night and Fog, The Hurt Locker. Das Boot, Saving Private Ryan, All Quiet on the Western Front, Dr. Strangelove, Inglourious Basterds, Birth of a Nation, Rambo, MASH, as well as a host of television shows, Websites, and video games. rerequisite: M146 or 243, or permission of instructor.

The Western: From Colonialism to Gaming. This course will primarily explore the classic Hollywood genre system through a detailed look at ‘The Western.’ However, before looking at how genre operates within cinema, we take a broad historical and theoretical examination of genre within literary studies, critical theory, Wild West shows, philosophy, travel literature, ethnographic photography, and cultural studies. The aim is to critically examine a wide array of generic conventions within The Western film, while simultaneously situating these conventions within the broader historical and ideological context of European colonization of North America. Particular attention will be placed on the role of racial and gender performances within The Western genre as both a founding American myth and a component of the Hollywood film system. We will analyze both the classic Western as well as revisionist films. Additionally, we will investigate how the genre transforms as it moves into other media, including fine art, television, gaming, and other digital contexts.

M320 - Advanced Narrative Practices

This course emphasizes the advanced design and writing of long-form narratives for various audiovisual time-based media forms. Through a combination of screenings, critical readings, and creative exercises, students will develop a treatment for a long-form narrative screen work and commence writing scenes for its first act. Prerequisites: M220.

M340 - Advanced Editing

This course provides technical training to media production comprehensives seniors on a range of post-production software platforms, best practices in sound and picture editing, and skills in post-production finishing/project delivery workflow. Course assignments and deadlines scaffold the completion of media production senior comprehensives projects. The course also provides professionalization tools, training students in development and production of media portfolio materials.  Prerequisites: 140 and Senior MAC major status or Instructor Permission

M355 - Advanced Projects in Video and Digital Media

Advanced study in the ideation and execution of video and digital media projects, including developing a theoretical, historical, and practical exploration of form, function, and exhibition. Each student will direct a media project of their own devising and work in a range of rotating crew roles in realizing the projects of their peers. Prerequisites: Art M140 and Junior Status in major.

M390 - Junior Seminar in Film Theory and Criticism

Topical course of rotating thematic subject matter bringing together all Film & Media Studies juniors, regardless of the intended form of their senior comprehensives project. Students will read, watch, write, debate, and present self-directed research, laying the groundwork for their senior year comprehensives work. Required course for AHVA Film/Media Studies Juniors. Prerequisites: permission of instructor.

M397 - Independent Study in Media Arts & Culture

Prerequisite: permission of department. Laboratory fee: $55 for projects in production.
2 or 4 units

M490 - Senior Seminar in Media Arts & Culture

Critical. Advanced pro-seminar designed to provide guidance and intellectual community around the completion of a critical media comprehensives project. Students pursuing Honors are also encouraged to enroll in this course. Prerequisite: open only to senior AHVA majors who have a Film & Media emphasis.

Production. Advanced course designed to provide guidance towards the development of a comprehensive project with production components. Prerequisite: open only to senior AHVA majors who have a Film & Media emphasis. Art M242 or 355, and if making a fiction project Art M220 as well.

M499 - Honors Research in Media Art & Culture

Prerequisite: permission of department.

Art History

No result

H160 - Introduction to Asian Art

Selected periods and monuments of Asian art from India, China, and Japan, and an introduction to the methods of art-historical analysis. Emphasis will be placed on the understanding of works of art in their original religious, intellectual, political, and social contexts, with particular attention to the ways each developed characteristics appropriate to these contexts. Among the topics to be explored are ritual arts, Buddhist art (painting, sculpture, and architecture), secular painting, and garden architecture. Museum visits required. Not open to seniors. Not open to students who have taken Art H261

H170 - Introduction to Early European Art

European painting, sculpture and architecture from the Prehistoric Aegean to Renaissance Italy. Although the course will proceed chronologically, its goals are to introduce the student to a range of art historical skills and issues including stylistic analysis, iconography, the relationship between image and the artist's biography, and the relationship between the image and its historical context. Museum visits required. Not open to seniors.

H180 - Introduction to Later Western Art

A selective survey of Western European painting, sculpture, and architecture from the Renaissance to the 20th century. Lectures and readings are designed to provide an overview of artistic developments, as well as how to articulate the ways in which forms of expression and modes of representation were affected by unfolding political, religious, social, cultural, and economic conditions. Major themes will include: patterns of narrative and description, strategies of realism and abstraction, the changing status of the artist, patronage and audience, and the rise of the avant-garde. Museum visits required. Not open to seniors.

H190 - American Indian Art History: Contemporary Issues

This course provides a thematic introduction to Native North American Indian Art drawing from historic (pre and postcontact) precedents. Class discussion and lectures are generated from the conceptual themes of contact, conflict, exchange, appropriation and re-appropriation of American Indian imagery, materials, and ideas, rather than from the more descriptive categories such as Southwest painting or Plains beadwork. A concern with the social production of art in specific episodic contexts serves as a means of critically examining the circulation and appreciation of American Indian arts and material culture as fine art, commodity, political critique, social marker, religious icon, and physical landmark. CORE REQUIREMENT MET: US and US DIVERSITY and FINE ARTS

H250 - American Indians in Film

This course critically examines films by and about American Indian and First Nations peoples including art films, shorts, cinema, and documentaries. Themes addressed include: reflexivity, the portrayal of Native women, the urban experience, indigenous aesthetics, contemporary storytelling, silence, parody, re-appropriation and conventional representations. Students will be introduced to the diverse settings of Native film (including the Navajo Nation (Dine), and Mohawk nations of Canada) as well as core historical topics such as American Indian veterans, activism, the boarding school experience and the emerging Native film industry.

H254 - Critical Perspectives in Museum Studies

This course critically analyzes how the museum enterprise reflects and informs public culture. Students will gain an understanding of historical and current trends in museum studies and how these movements are impacted by shifting professional and popular standards. Topics include the collection and display of human beings as objects, the politics of national museums, racist memorabilia, indigenous curation methods, commodification and consumerism, repatriation, censorship and contested ideas about authenticity and authority. Case studies are drawn primarily from The United States and Canada and include the plantation museum, American Indian cultural centers, lynching postcards, the Holocaust Museum and performance art. The relationship of the museum to a diverse public with often-contested agendas will be explored through class discussions, independent student projects and written assignments.

H256 - Memory and Place in Post-WW II Architecture

This course examines memory and forgetting in the context of the post-World War II period. It will consider how massive physical destruction necessitated the reconstruction of urban landscapes in Germany, France, England, Japan, and the United States. We will study urban redevelopment in addition to architectural structures such as museums, memorials, and monuments in order to discern how governments, societies, and individuals attempt to come to terms with the historical past. We will ask the following questions: What role do museums, memorials, and monuments play in the architectural landscape of a city? What design restrictions are posed by these types of institutions? How are abstract and representational forms employed in the memorialization process? Through an examination of these questions students will gain an understanding of diverse built environments within an era marked by fundamental shifts in (post)modernism, technology, and aesthetics. To this end, emphasis will be placed on the ways in which memory and place are conceived within particular cultural and intellectual circumstances.

H257 - Architecture of the Asia/Pacific

This course will interrogate 20th and 21st century architecture of the Asia Pacific. By concentrating on specific episodes of architectural production and urban development in the region, this course seeks to examine varying notions of the modern as it shifts across space and time. Considering theoretical and concrete modes by which modern societies and built environments have operated in tandem to create aesthetic, socio-political, economic, and technological networks will serve to frame the ways by which the Asia Pacific has come to be regarded as the crossroads for dynamic and experimental approaches to contemporary architecture.

H259 - Modern/Contemporary Architecture

A thematic course on the history, theory, and practice of Modern Architecture in Europe and the United States from the 1780s to the later 20th century. Themes we'll explore include the following: architectural theory and design as social planning; competing notions of public and private space; modernist architectural theory and urban development; rural and urban ideologies in American architecture; the changing image of the architect in the 19th and 20th centuries; architecture and urbanism in Southern California. Coursework will include a required half-day field trip.

H261 - Buddhist Art in South and East Asia

A survey of Buddhist art as it originated in India and spread across Central Asia to China, Japan, and Tibet. We will devote special emphasis to the ways Buddhism and Buddhist art both changed and were changed by the various cultural traditions they encountered. We will also examine the history of "Western" encounters with Buddhism and how these have shaped - or biased - our understanding of Buddhist art and culture. Not open to students who have taken Art H160.

H266 - The Arts of Japan

An introduction to Japanese painting, sculpture, and architecture from antiquity through the Tokugawa Period. Emphasis will be placed on the formation of an indigenous artistic tradition and its transformation under Chinese influence. The arts produced for patrons in Shinto, Buddhist, Zen, courtly, and samurai contexts will be examined. Museum visits required.

H270 - Greek Art

An investigation of the art and architecture of ancient Greece, from the Bronze Age (c. 3000 BCE) to the colonization of Greek culture by Rome (c. 100 BCE). Sculpture, metalwork, mural painting, vase painting, and architecture will be considered, with particular interest in how these forms are reflective of the fundamental political, spiritual, and philosophical developments during this era - as well as how these artistic forms serve as the foundation elements for European art history.

H274 - Roman Art

Roman art and architecture develop in response to increasingly complex issues of individual identity, cosmopolitanism, personal and state propaganda, and the social and political pressures inspired by managing large and varied population concentrations. Roman visual culture addresses these challenges by adapting to new ideas and subject matter while at the same time maintaining traditional notions of personality, organization, and imperial supremacy.

H275 - Early Christian and Medieval Art

An introduction to the major works and issues of the period through an examination of key moments in Europe and the Mediterranean basin from c. 300 CE to 1500 CE. A study of the forms, language and uses of medieval visual culture will be related to the circumstances associated with the demise of the Roman Empire, migrations of Northern European peoples, the increasing power of secular rulers, the development of monasticism, and the theological perspective of the Roman Christian Church. Art and architecture associated with contemporary monotheistic religions (Judaism, Islam) will also be considered.

H278 - Islamic Art and Architecture

A chronological survey of the visual art and architecture created within and for the Islamic cultures of Western Asia, North Africa, and Europe, ca 630-1630, from Spain to India. Covers sacred and secular architecture and architectural decoration, sculpture, painting, manuscripts, textiles, and metalwork, including objects in area collections. Readings will include primary sources, exhibition catalogs, and scholarly articles; visits to museums and a mosque is anticipated.

H280 - Michelangelo

This course is designed as an introduction to the life and work of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564). We will investigate his painting, sculpture and architecture, while considering its context within the major urban cultural centers in which he worked: Florence and Rome. The course will proceed chronologically, but will vary from week to week as to relevant themes and methodological approaches to the career of arguably the most influential of all Renaissance artists. Among those topics to be explored: development and dissolution of a classical vocabulary; relationships between style and technique; art, biography and self promotion; the relationship between Christianity and sexuality for Michelangelo and the Cinquecento; patronage and context in Florence and Rome; the development of classical form; meaning in the restored Sistine Chapel.

H282 - Nazi Visual Culture

The rise and fall of National Socialism is one of the most intensively studied topics in European history. Over six decades after its collapse, Nazi Germany continues to fascinate the general public, and with good reason. Although the fascist state lasted only for twelve years, it started history's most destructive war while committing crimes of unprecedented proportions. For the most part, it did so with the acquiescence of the German public. This class will investigate the rise of National Socialism as a political, social, and cultural phenomenon. The central focus will be on the decisive role of film and the visual arts as most popular means of mass manipulation. Prerequisite: 1st year students cannot enroll in this class

H283 - Renaissance Architecture in Italy

This course examines the development of Italian Renaissance architecture from about 1300 to about 1550. It will consider buildings in the civic and ecclesiastic context, both sacred and secular. The evolution of this tradition will be studied in relationship to issues of function and structure, contemporary writing, and religious, political, and economic influences.

H285 - Nineteenth Century Art: Culture, Politics & National Identity

This course will explore artistic practices in the US, North America, and Europe during the long 19th century, from roughly 1789 to 1900. Lectures, discussions, and readings are designed to provide a thematically-driven, chronological overview of the period. Yet the course will not be a traditional "survey"; rather, it will focus on some of the key changes in ideas about artistic culture, art practice, and practices of regional, national and transnational identity formation as expressed in visual art. Art's role in social and political revolution, as well as its formative status as an engine of cultural imperialism in the 19th century will be explored in addition to some of the more traditional approaches to studying the status of art, the role of the artist, and the transformation of the art "market" in the wake of the industrial revolution. Key debates within the field of art history will be explored as well. Museum visit required.

H287 - History of Photography

What is a photograph? Is it a "document" or a "work of art?" Who makes a photograph, and for whom does s/he make it? How and where do photographs circulate? What effect does the context in which a photograph is viewed have on its meaning(s)? Designed as a selective history of photography in the 19th and 20th centuries, this course revolves around questions like these (although these are not the only issues we will explore) regarding the nature and function of photography in modern culture. Through thematic lectures, a wide-ranging list of readings and in-class discussion, we will explore the medium from multiple perspectives. Students will develop the critical skills they need to read and critically analyze the visual rhetoric that shapes photographic representations. In addition to learning about the different photographic genres - exploration and travel photography; studio and portrait work; medical and legal documentation; fine art prints; photojournalism - this class will push students to investigate photography's position within a broader cultural field: the medium's shifting relations to the artistic avant-gardes; advertising and consumer culture; constructions of race, gender, and national identity; and photography's role in producing history itself. Readings will include primary source materials and theories of photographic meaning; students will be asked to grasp not only the medium's technological and rhetorical functions, but also to develop their own critical perspectives on photography's shifting relations to intellectual, social and political ideologies. Coursework will require one hands-on photographic project and a museum visit.

H288 - Paris & Berlin: Capitals & Crossroads of the 20thC

The cities of Paris and Berlin formed a major axis of cultural production and exchange during the early-to-mid- twentieth century. Both were modern political and industrial capitals; and both cities were vibrant catalysts for the work of cultural producers of all stripes – from artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians and architects to social theorists, scientists, psychologists, and political activists. Like magnets, these two cities drew people from across the European and American continents to their streets, offering the promise of cultural ferment, and collective interaction, in cities each with their own traditions of avant-garde, modernist practice. But people also moved between these two cities, creating networks and subcultures, sharing ideas and diverse cultural perspectives, in ways that radically transformed the cultural landscapes of twentieth century Europe and America. As capitals, Paris and Berlin also offer views onto the major social and political upheavals of the twentieth century, culminating in the transformation of a networked, intercultural model of exchange between the two cities in the 1920s and 1930s into an actual occupation of Paris by Berlin in 1940. In this course, we will map out these varied structures of exchange by exploring the histories of the two cities through research and analysis of key urban sites, centers, and cultural producers who lived and worked there between 1910 and 1945. prerequisite: No First-Year Students; Permission of Instructor Required (application process w/IPO).

H291 - Arts in Los Angeles

A 2-unit seminar course to be taught by visiting curators, critics, art historians or artists focused on some aspect of the arts in Los Angeles. Topics will change in light of availability of top quality visiting faculty, and will engage directly with current exhibitions, events, and issues relevant to the artistic culture of Los Angeles.

History of Green Architecture. This course will pursue, and ultimately aim to reconcile, two separate questions about sustainability and architecture. To begin with, what makes a particular building -- house, office block, or skyscraper -- green? Second, and more fundamentally, how has our understanding of the relationship between architecture and nature shifted over the centuries? The course will begin by looking at a range of depictions of that relationship in art, architecture, literature, and philosophy before moving on to examine architecture's role in the nascent environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s. It will consider the rise and increasing codification of green architecture in the last 15 years in the U.S. and Europe, isolating certain buildings as case studies and assessing in some depth recent debates over the American green-design rating system known as LEED. Finally, we'll ask what green architects might learn from the ways that other sustainability movements -- in transportation, product design, clean-energy, and food policy -- have matured over the years. Students will visit a number of built examples of green architecture in and around Los Angeles. No prior study of architectural history is required.
2 units

Art and Crime: Plunder, Fakes, and Forensics. This course explores the increasing use of forensic science to evaluate issues of authentication, sourcing and repatriation of works of art. From the uncovering of forgeries and looted antiquities, to the return of art stolen during WWII, science and history, law and ethics intersect in increasingly complex and interesting ways in this interdisciplinary art history course. Art Crime has received increasing attention over the past decade, especially in Southern California. Los Angeles Museums (The Getty, Bowers, and Norton Simon) Museums, dealers and collectors all face increased scrutiny as an ongoing series of scandals highlight weak points in our authentication systems. Forensic science and technical art history have helped address these important issues in art, history and material culture. This course encompasses issues such as how are forgers unmasked, how is plunder sourced, and when should it be returned? These questions often lead to larger discussions on the limits of expertise and science, the nature of authenticity, what is valuable and why, and who owns the past—that bring together art and science, material culture and sustainability.
2 units

H 340 - The Russian Avant-Garde and Soviet Modernism

Two of the most explosively important geo-political events of modernity were World War I and the Russian Revolution(s) of 1917. This course investigates the theories and practice of the Russian Avant-Garde in the visual arts, literature, industrial design and architecture in relation to parallel international developments during the Revolutionary period through the rise of Stalin in the early 1930s. Topics include: fragmentation and shifts in artistic perception of time, space and reality; responses to advances in science, technology and industry; constructivist design, architecture and theater; montage and cinema; consumerism and materiality; artist collectives, manifesti, and the relationship of theory and ideology; cultural imports from Europe and America. Same as RUSN 340

H362 - Art in Early China

Chinese art and archaeology from the neolithic period through the Tang Dynasty. Readings in historical, literary, and religio-philosophical texts will contextualize the study of the formative period of Chinese art history. We will trace the emergence, florescence, and decline of ritual art in ancient China; the birth and ascent to dominance of the Confucian scholar-elite as consumers (and ultimately producers) of art; and the impact of the introduction of Buddhism on the history of Chinese art. Archaeological discoveries continue to deepen our understanding of ancient China, and we will examine the most important excavations of the past 30 years. Prerequisite: Art H160 or Asian history course, or permission of instructor.

H364 - Art in Later China

Chinese art of the last millennium. Primary attention will be paid to the arts of painting, calligraphy, and architecture (palaces and gardens), seen in the context of patronage groups and other intellectual, social, and political factors. The role of the scholar-gentry class in the consumption and production of art is particularly important, but we will also examine the impacts of the imperial court, the religious establishment (Chan or Zen Buddhist), and the merchant class on the art of imperial China. The course will conclude with a consideration of art in contemporary China and its relationship to pre-revolutionary Chinese traditions. Prerequisite: Art H160 or Chinese history course, or permission of instructor.

H368 - Japanese Painting

A survey of Japanese painting with emphasis on the Heian through Tokugawa periods (10th-19th centuries). The transformative influences of Chinese culture and changing patronage groups (from courtly to zen/samurai to the merchant class) will inform our analysis of monochrome ink scrolls, gold-leaf screens, and ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Where possible, we will consider the works in the architectural settings for which they were intended. Field trips to the L.A. County Museum of Art and other collections will be arranged. Prerequisite: Art H160 or Art H266, or Japanese history course.

H373 - Major Figures in the Italian Renaissance. Art and Biography of Michelangelo

Painting, sculpture, architecture, and urban planning of Michelangelo Buonarroti. This course considers the development of the artist from his apprenticeship in the shop of Domenico Ghirlandaio through his late paintings in Rome. All works are considered for their stylistic, iconographic, and social context. Particular attention will be paid to the urban and specific patronage context of each work, which are critical for a more complete understanding of Michelangelo?s art and intellectual development. This course requires travel to Italy during the winter break. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

H374 - Art of the Early Italian Renaissance

A survey of the painting, sculpture and architecture of Italy from about 1300 to 1500. All major figures, including Giotto, Ghiberti, Donatello and Botticelli will be considered. Works will be examined in terms of setting, patronage, and cultural context in addition to questions of style and meaning. Prerequisite: Art H170 or permission of instructor.

H376 - Sixteenth Century Italian Art

High Renaissance and Mannerism. Among those artists considered are Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian and Raphael. Of special consideration is the nature of the Papacy as a patron of art and the city of Rome as a context for artistic activity. The course will also consider the reasons for the dissolution of the classical tradition during this time by artists such as Pontormo, Parmigianino and Giulio Romano. Prerequisite: Art H170 or permission of instructor.

H378 - Art of the Northern Renaissance

An examination of the artistic traditions of Northern Europe from c. 1400 to 1600 CE. Points of consideration include significant artistic personalities and individual works, the relationship between patron and image, territorial distinctions, in addition to the connection between northern and southern (Italian) visual developments during this period. Prerequisite: Art H170 or permission of instructor.

H387 - Modernism, Visual Culture, and the Avant-Garde

This course will focus on modernism and the avant-garde in the United States and Europe in the 20th century. Definitions of modernity, the avant-garde, and visual culture will frame our analysis of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture and film. We will investigate these visual media paying close attention to the ways in which they engage with, critique, and negate the traditions of western art history. Issues of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity and the politics of art will underscore our work together in this course. We will also explore how cultural and social revolutions, emerging theories of modernism, and the important role of art criticism and art exhibition have shaped not only 20th century visual culture, but also the discourse of art history itself. Prerequisite: Any 100 or 200 level ArtH course, or instructor permission.

H389 - Modern and Contemporary Art

This course will explore the diverse forms of visual culture - painting, sculpture, photography, installation, performance, and video - produced after 1945. Through clusters of thematic and monographic lectures, we will investigate questions about artistic identity, the status and function of art in the post-World War II period, and the changing nature of avant-garde (and neo avant-garde) practices in the wake of the social, cultural, and economic changes of the 1960s and 1970s. Post-industrial society, new movements advocating civil rights, feminism, environmentalism, decolonization, and a critical approach to culture and identity politics will form the cultural backdrop of our work. We will also engage with critical theory's increasingly central role in artistic and visual cultures, and a burgeoning global network of artistic and cultural exchange and contestation. In addition to presenting a selective history of visual culture after 1945, this course will explore how changing ideas about race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and cultural identity have impacted the art and criticism of the period under consideration. As part of our coursework, we will engage with visiting artists (such as the Wanlass Artist-in-Residence), exhibitions and contemporary arts programming offered under the aegis of Oxy Arts; and take at least one “field trip” to a local museum. Prerequisite: Art H180, ArtH 190, or permission of instructor. Course required for Studio Art Emphasis.

H390 - Seminar in Art History:

A research intensive course on a topic within the history of art; coursework will include the process of researching and writing a scholarly essay, and a focus on the methodologies of art historical scholarship. Required for Art History majors to fulfill third-year writing requirement. PrerequisiteAny 100 or 200 level Art History Course, or permission of instructor.

Colonial Urbanism 
In this course, we will examine the spatial legacy of colonial cities. The focus is on colonial urban spaces and architectural projects that were manifestations of the political, economic, and social relationships between the colonizers and the colonized. In relation, imperialism’s role – as it transpired in both the colonies and colonizing societies of Europe and the United States – will reveal the ways in which the imperial imagination was visible in physical form. Through a range of case studies including sites in former European and American colonies of Asia and the Pacific, as well as former imperial centers such as London and Washington D.C., students will develop a theoretical toolkit for the critical study of urban colonial environments. Prerequisite: ArtH180, 289 or 389 or permission of instructor.

Race, Gender, and Sexuality in American Art
This seminar will explore 19th and 20th century American art and its histories by focusing on how issues of race, gender, sexuality and ethnicity have shaped the practices of visual artists working in the United States.  We will also consider how these issues have impacted the field of art history itself, including close attention to current scholarly debates and exhibition practices.

Donatello  This course is an intensive examination of the career of the Florentine sculptor Donatello.  Of particular interest will be his centrality in the development of public and private art in Florence, his relationship with the Medici family, and the interaction between religion and sexuality in fifteenth century Italy. Prerequisite: Instructor permission required

H391 - Curatorial Seminar in Art History

A seminar focusing on a topic in the history of art taught by a practicing Curator at a Los Angeles cultural institution.  Course topic(s) change annually, and will include off-campus, hands-on work within the context of curatorial and exhibition practices.  Course may be repeated for credit. Prerequisite:  Any 100 or 200 level Art History course.
2 units

Modern Sculpture in LA. Taught by a curator at the Huntington, this course has two goals: 1.) to introduce broadly the medium of sculpture as it has been practiced in the West for the past two centuries, and 2.) to take advantage of Los Angeles area collections and exhibitions. The course achieves the first through case studies, including units on materials and techniques, Greco-Roman sculpture, neoclassical American sculpture, Rodin, Giacometti and Noguchi, Minimalism, and the Light and Space artists; and the second by visits to local museums, including the Huntington, LACMA, the Norton Simon, and, perhaps, commercial galleries. 2 units.

Appropriating Asia: The Depiction of the Exotic in Western Art.  Using artworks in collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, this course analyzes the impact of Asia on Europe from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The examination of drawings, paintings, sculpture and tapestries from religious, mercantile, and political perspectives provides a nuanced understanding of appropriation and cultural translation. Readings and group discussions will address the inevitable misunderstandings that arose when European artists encountered Asian art    and culture. Special attention will be given to notions of wonder and curiosity, globalization and exoticism, fact and fantasy. Taught by a Getty curator and Oxy alumnus, this course allows for a first-hand analysis of art by Bellini, Rubens, Rembrandt, Delacroix, and Gauguin. It also provides insight into curatorial research, exhibition display, and the writing of didactic texts. Class will take place at the Getty Museum every other Friday. 2 units

H392 - The Culture of Collections: Introduction to Museum Studies

The history, purpose and varied practices of museums are examined cross-culturally in this introductory course designed as a community-based practicum. Core concepts of museology such as collections management, educational outreach and programming, standards and ethics, curation, exhibition strategies, and disciplinary standards are examined in case study scenarios supported by academic readings and collections-based inquiry. Students will work collaboratively with others in team based learning and problem solving while demonstrating critical thinking in written essays and oral debates. The class will make use of the resources of the Autry National Center of the American West. Prerequisite: one 200 level art history course. By persission of instructor only

H395 - Topics in the History of Art

Who Owns Art? 
As art objects--especially those from antiquity--have become increasingly valuable as both commodities and as national treasures, the question of who owns art, and who is best to care for them is essential to museum curators, academics, and politicians. There are several debates over who owns art of ancient civilizations like Greece and India. Do treasures like the Parthenon sculptures at the British Museum belong to Greece and should they be returned? Or should they remain in the museum where more people have access to them? This seminar will introduce students to laws enacted by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to protect world cultural and national heritage as well as examine museum collecting policies in America. Specific cultural patrimony cases will also be examined and discussed. This seminar is for students who are interested in learning more about cultural patrimony, art law and museums.

H397 - Independent Study in Art History

Prerequisite: permission of department.
2 or 4 units

H490 - Senior Seminar in Art History

Prerequisite: senior Art History majors only.

H499 - Honors Research in Art History

Prerequisite: permission of department.


Regular Faculty

Broderick Fox, chair

Associate Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Harvard University; M.F.A., Ph.D., University of Southern California

Linda Besemer

James Irvine Distinguished Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., B.F.A., Indiana University; M.F.A., Tyler School of Art

Allison de Fren

Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Grinnell College; M.F.A., New York University; Ph.D., University of Southern California

Eric Frank

Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Dartmouth College; M.A., Syracuse University; Ph.D., New York University

Mary Beth Heffernan

Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.F.A., Boston University; M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts; Fellow, Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, 1995

Ari Laskin

Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., University of Victoria; M.A., York University; M.A., Ph.D. U.C. Irvine

Amy Lyford

Associate Dean for Curriculum and Academic Support; Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Pomona College; M.A., Boston University; Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley

Linda Lyke

Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., M.F.A., Kent State University

Nancy Marie Mithlo

Associate Professor, Art History & Visual Arts; Chair of American Indian Studies at The Autry Museum of the American West

B.A. Appalachian University; M.A., Ph.D. Stanford University

On Special Appointment

Anne Bray

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A. Colgate University; M.F.A., U.C.L.A.

Eric Doehne

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.S., Haverford College; M.S., Ph.D., U.C. Davis

James Glisson

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., New College of Florida; M.A. State University of New York, Stony Brook; Ph.D., Northwestern University

Hollis Goodall

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Instructor, Art History & Visual Arts

B. A., University of Texas, Austin; M.A. University of Kansas

Jessica Maxwell

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Occidental College; Ph.D., Princeton University

Anna Mayer

Wanlass Visiting Artist, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Washington University; B.F.A., The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; M.F.A. California Institute of the Arts

Kelema Moses

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., University of Virginia; M.A., Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University

Keelan Overton

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., James Madison University; M.A., Williams College; Ph.D. U.C. Los Angeles

Jocelyn Webb Pedersen

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; M.A., University of Iowa, Center for the Book; M.F.A., U.C. Santa Barbara

Ross Rudel

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Montana State University; M.F.A., U.C. Irvine

Janine Salinas Schoenberg

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., U.C. Santa Cruz; M.F.A. University of Southern California

Mariangeles Soto-Diaz

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A. Hampshire College; M.F.A. Claremont Graduate University; M.A. California Institute of the Arts

Linda Stark

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., UC Davis; M.F.A., U.C. Irvine

David Weldzius

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.F.A. University of Illinois, M.F.A. California Institute of the Arts

Jemima Wyman

Wanlass Visiting Artist, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Queensland University of Technology; M.F.A. California Institute of the Arts