Department Learning Goals


Student majors in the discipline of art history will

  1. learn the structured method of visual analysis in order to deepen their understanding of visual form, spatial effects, medium and technique of works of art and architecture, and then to convey that understanding clearly.

  2. engage with actual objects through deliberate and extended examination, using the holdings of the Museum of Art and architecture of the campus.

  3. acquire an understanding of the history of art across time and geography as being rooted both in the specific histories of particular periods and places and as involving broader systems of cultural connections, conflicts, migrations, appropriations, and assimilations.

  4. learn to locate, identify and assess critically the relevant historical sources in order to build an interpretation.

  5. employ these skills to interpret any unfamiliar object, bringing to bear visual evidence, knowledge of the history of visual forms, and historical information about subject, meaning and context.)

  6. challenge the initial subjective response to a work of art by exerting effort to inform themselves about cultures and art traditions that are unfamiliar to them.

  7. question their own cultural assumptions about what art is and what artists are.

  8. question the received wisdom of the discipline of art history, assessing anew the inherited categories, methods of analysis and currently accepted interpretations of objects.

  9. develop original research projects that can produce new knowledge and understandings.

  10. develop strong writing and speaking skills in order to construct a strong thesis and supporting argument, and then to communicate them effectively

These goals are introduced in 1000 level courses, utilized further in 2000 level courses, and refined in 3000 and 4000 level courses with an emphasis on independent practice.

(Updated, September, 2016)