ARTH 398/CA (Summer, 2020) - SPEC.TOPICS IN ART & SOCIETY
Topic: Art and Society in Colonial Latin America
In recent decades, following the so-called global turn in art history, scholars have demonstrated an increasing interest in the artistic production of the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the Americas, a period spanning from Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the continent in 1492 to the wars of independence in the mid-nineteenth century. This course, designed as a thematic survey, introduces students to key aspects of art and architecture in the Iberian Americas, particularly in New Spain (a territory known today as Mexico). Acknowledging the fact that invasion is a structure—both historical and ongoing—and not an event , we will examine the complex relationships between artistic production and settler colonialism in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Latin America. Moving beyond the misguided assumption that the arts of the so-called ‘New’ World represent little more than an imitation of European ‘originals,’ we will think about the cross-pollination between artistic practices and objects on both sides of the Atlantic.
We begin our journey with some theoretical and historiographic considerations, followed by an overview of Indigenous arts, including amantecayotl (Nahua feather mosaics) and the work of tlacuiloli (Indigenous painter-scribes), before and after the Fall of Tenochtitlan in 1521. We will then examine selected aspects of art and architecture in colonial Latin America, including issues of religion and conversion, gender and sexuality, the representation of race, miraculous images, and the presence of American objects in European collections. Towards the end of the semester, we will briefly examine contemporary engagements with the aesthetics and legacies of settler colonialism in Latin America and beyond.
 Patrick Wolfe, “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native,” Journal of Genocide Research 8:4 (2006): 388.
- Teacher: DANIEL SANTIAGO SAENZ
- Teacher: NURIA CARTON DE GRAMMONT LARA
Representations of Queerness in Weimar
Berlin: Expanded Course Description
This interdisciplinary course will examine the orgiastic Weimar era of “wicked Berlin” in pre-Hitler Germany, with an eye to its many representations of queerness. Weimar Berlin, which critics called “a new hell on earth,” is also known as history’s erotic metropolis; it was the international sex-tourist mecca of the twenties and early thirties, a place where even the air itself ostensibly produced perversions. Berliner Luft (Berlin air) “was said to contain a toxic ether that attacked the nervous system, stimulating long-suppressed passions as it animated all the external tics of sexual perversity.” Much of this so-called “perversity” had to do with various forms of behaviour and identity that could be considered “queer,” either then and/or now: bisexuality; cross-dressing and drag; homosexuality; non-monogamy and other non-normative lifestyle choices; pansexuality; sex acts considered “degenerate”; as well as trans* identifications and more. Throughout the course we will compare and contrast different representations of queerness in Weimar Berlin, not only in visual art (e.g., the oeuvres of Otto Dix, George Grosz, Jeanne Mammen, and Hannah Höch) but also in visual culture (e.g., ephemera such as the pervasively popular Berlin sex guidebooks), and not only during the Weimar era (1918–1933) but also in subsequent representations of the culture and society of Weimar Berlin. Moreover we will consider and debate the links between the aesthetics and ideology of Weimar Berlin, on the one hand, and those of contemporary culture on the other.
ARTH 385/A (Winter, 2020): COLOR:THRY & APPL-VISUAL ART
- Teacher: ERNESTINE M. DAUBNER