History of Art 4016: Senior Research Seminar: Queer Art History

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In case studies ranging from ancient Greece to the contemporary United States, this course will explore the intersection of queer desire, identity, and representation in Western art. After a brief introduction to the history and theory of queer studies, and the historiography of “queer art history,” we will turn our attention towards issues such as the changing historical conception of same-sex desire; transgender artists and themes; portraiture and gender performance; the “queer” identities of premodern artists; queer spaces and architecture; censorship and politics; the history of queer art collectors and collections; and issues of queer spectatorship. The class will be intersectional, exploring issues related to race and ethnicity in addition to gender, sexuality, and class. The readings and case studies will primarily be focused on Western Art, but students will be welcome to apply ideas from the class to works of art from across the globe. In addition to exploring queer art history, the course will also introduce students to advanced research methods and practices in the discipline of art history, and students will complete a significant original research and writing project. The course is intended for history of art majors in their final year of study.

Image credit: Byzantine Ivory of the “40 Martyrs of Sebaste” from Berlin

Autumn 2021
Professor Karl Whittington
Class #23633
In person Tues & Thurs 11:10-12:30