Courses for Fall 2013: Topics in History of Photography, Modern Art, Film, and a Return to Ancient Art.

As registration for Fall 2013 academic courses begins soon, I wanted to provide more information about courses I will begin teaching in September, 2013. Please see detailed descriptions below. I am quite excited to be instructing Prehistoric to Renaissance Art -- KPU art historian Dana Cserepes and I will be alternating the delivery of the two intro art history survey classes ARTH 1120 and 1121 moving forward (Dana will be teaching ARTH 1121: Renaissance to Twentieth Century Art this year), and so I am dusting off and reinvigorating my lecture notes from one of my favourite courses, last taught at the University of Lethbridge. If you have any specific questions that are not answered here or in the links I provide you to the registration for the courses, you can contact me directly. I look forward to another rich and engaging semester with both new and familiar faces.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University 
(Mondays 4:00-6:50pm, Room Fir 3414)
Andy Warhol holding Polaroid camera, c. 1976
This course surveys the history and evolving debates and theories concerning photography and photographic practices from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Present and past uses of the medium will be discussed in a number of specific historical, social, and theoretical contexts which expose how photographic images have circulated as both unstable and highly mobile objects within and outside the history of modern art and modernism writ large. While a rough chronological outline will be utilized, the course will be organized within the context of contemporary debates that have recast the history of photography within the broader field of visual culture and social media studies. Therefore, rather than studying photography within the framework of traditional art historical paradigms concerning art producers, patrons, and institutions, this course will tackle the complexities of “photographic seeing” and “photographic reading” as key components in the understanding of photography’s broad cross-disciplinary appeal and historical importance. Through an introduction to critical and historical methods, students will develop the basic tools and terminology for analyzing photographic images, a skill set of crucial importance in understanding the barrage of photographic images and technological stimulus at play in our media-intensive world.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University 
(Fridays 10:00am-12:50pm, Room Fir 128)
ARTH 2122: Art in Flux-- The Modern Period (1900-1945)

Pablo Picasso, Three Musicians (1921)
This course offers a survey of changing ideas in the visual arts of Europe and North America during the first half of the twentieth century with special emphasis given to the movements of the historical avant-garde. Considering these major movements in the context of the social, economic and political upheavals of this complex and multi-faceted time period, key to the course will be the broader question of modernity itself and its transformation through a time of radical technological, social and political change. Topics such as the social and representative meanings of abstraction, the internationalization of art production, the development of Modernist theory, and the impact of new technologies on the production and dissemination of art objects will be explored. And while lectures will be organized around the familiar “isms” that have historically constructed the canon of modernism, careful consideration will be given to the fabricated nature of these designations, reading instances of art practice for aesthetic significance together with connections and responses to specific historical and social developments. Traditional media such as painting, drawing and sculpture will be examined alongside the newer media of photography, assemblage, film and collage.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University 
(Fridays 1:00-4:50pm, Room Fir 128)
Fritz Lang, (1931)
Students will study the history and development of world cinema, and the comprehension and theory of film as a visual language and art-making practice from its inception in the late nineteenth century to the present. The goal of the course is to introduce students to the critical interpretation of the cinema and the various vocabularies and methods with which one can explore the aesthetic function, together with the social, political, and technological contexts and developments, of moving pictures. The weekly format of this course (as a 4 hour block) will normally entail a 1.5-2 hour lecture and the screening of a full-length film. Each film will thus serve as a starting point and gateway for discussion about the course’s weekly theme.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University 
(Mondays/Wednesdays 11:30am-12:50pm, Room Fir 128)
Thomas Struth, Pantheon (1992)
This course provides students with the ability to critically evaluate and recognize how the art, architecture, and modes of representation of the early eras of Western culture continue to impact our collective visual, intellectual and cultural environment today. All of the works under examination in this course (which will introduce and cover aspects of visual culture from Prehistoric Europe, Ancient Egypt, the Aegean, Ancient Greece, the Roman Republic, Early Christian and Byzantine cultures, and the period of the Medieval, Gothic and early Renaissance in Europe) will be related to their original contexts and functions, but also ask questions about the range of functions that art might fulfill within different societies. The course will therefore not just be about following a chronological and progressive trajectory of “great monuments” and “great artists”, but will instead address broad issues related to political power, gender, sexuality, race, and the formation of individual and group identities. In this way, the ideas raised in this course will also draw student’s attention to the constructed nature of more traditional art history while exploring the paradigms and models of knowledge production that art historians and other commentators use to explain art, architecture, and visual culture.

Simon Fraser University—Harbour Centre, Vancouver 
(Thursdays 6:30-9:20pm, Room HCC1800)
Edgar Degas, Women on a Cafe Terrace in the Evening (1877)
This course provides an introduction to the complex ways in which social and political change, and ideologies of gender, class, race and ethnicity, worked to shape aspects of nineteenth century visual culture in Europe and North America. Emphasis will be placed on the roles played by industrialization, political revolution, rapid urban growth, global commerce, and the new media technologies of an expanding consumer culture in defining a wide range of visual culture. Throughout the term we will also examine different representations and debates around the idea of modernity and the “modern.” Since the time period under investigation has often been called “The First Modern Century”, we will pay particular attention to shifting ideas related to labour and leisure, urban social space and spectacle, and issues bearing on Euro-American expansion of empires in relation to indigenous populations, throughout the nineteenth  century to turn of the twentieth century up to WWI.