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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Deborah Caplow
BIS 476
Bothell Campus

Issues in Art History

Explores diverse issues in art history such as the history of photography, painting in the age of Rembrandt, and impressionism through surrealism.

Class description

Winter 2014 History of Photography--A Cultural Approach This course will explore the origins and development of photography from the early years of the nineteenth century to the present. The course will explore photographic traditions in a number of locations, including Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia, in the context of their historical, social, cultural and political conditions and in connection with movements such as Impressionism, Surrealism, Russian Constructivism, Cubism and Social Realism. Students will learn about the works of such artists as Daguerre, Nadar, Brady, Steiglitz, Weston, Modotti, Alvarez Bravo, Cartier-Bresson, Curtis, Cunningham, Arbus,Sherman and Mapplethorpe, among many others. We will also be looking at documentary photography and photojournalism. The course will focus primarily on images made before the advent of digital photography. The material will be presented through lectures, discussions and readings, concentrating on relevant themes and issues Students will gain an understanding of significant trends and issues in the history of photography, and learn to recognize the major artists and issues while acquiring skills in art historical research, writing and critical thinking. Students will also create their own photographic works based on research in the history of photography.

Summer 2011 Impressionism and Post-Impressionism This will be a fun and interesting summer course--we will cover the fascinating history of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting, focusing primarily on Paris in particular and France in general in the 1800s. We will study works by artists such as Manet, Degas, Monet, Cassatt, van Gogh and Gauguin, among others, placing them in their cultural and historical contexts and in relation to controversial issues of gender representation and class differences.

Winter 2010 - BIS 476, Issues in Art History: Women in Art This course will examine the work of women artists throughout history, as well as the representations of women in art, including painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and new art forms, of Europe, the United States and other countries. The course will look at general movements in art history, including art by male artists, to provide a wider context for the course material. Students will learn to recognize the major women artists of the time periods addressed and to examine women’s creative production, societal roles and feminist critiques of the roles of women in art. The material will be presented through lectures, discussions and readings, concentrating on issues of style, gender and social conditions. The course will cover the work of women artists such as Artemesia Gentileschi, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Diane Arbus, and many others, as well as male artists such as Manet, Degas, Gauguin, and Picasso, among others, whose images of women bring up significant questions about representations of women in art.

Summer 2009 Impressionism and Post-Impressionism This course will cover the history of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, focusing primarily on France in the second half of the 1800s. The course will include in-depth study of works by well-known artists such as Manet, Degas, Monet, Cassatt, van Gogh and Gauguin, among others, placing them in their cultural and historical contexts and in relation to issues of gender and class.

Spring 2012, BIS 476 Issues in Art History: Women in Art This course will examine the work of women artists throughout history, as well as the representations of women in art, including painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and new art forms, of Europe, the United States and other countries. The course will look at general movements in art history, including art by male artists, to provide a wider context for the course material. Students will learn to recognize the major women artists of the time periods addressed and to examine women’s creative production, societal roles and feminist critiques of the roles of women in art. The material will be presented through lectures, discussions and readings, concentrating on issues of style, gender and social conditions. The course will cover the work of women artists such as Artemesia Gentileschi, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Diane Arbus, and many others, as well as male artists such as Manet, Degas, Gauguin, and Picasso, among others, whose images of women bring up significant questions about representations of women in art.

Student learning goals

Students will gain knowledge and understanding of the history of photography in its cultural and art historical contexts. The course will provide insights into issues in photography, focusing especially on issues of representation, and the social constructions of images and identities.

Through discussion and analysis students will learn to recognize works by major photographers and to interpret their works in a social, political and historical context.

Students will create their own photographic works in response to research and observation of historically important photographs by well-known artists.

The course will generate understanding of photography in relation to art movements throughout history, to provide a wider context for the course material.

Students will learn skills in visual analysis and interpretation of many genres of photography, and will produce thier own artistic works based on understanding of photographic history.

Students will acquire skills in research, writing and critical thinking through lectures, group discussion, reading and written assignments.

General method of instruction

The material will be presented through lectures, discussions and readings, concentrating on issues of style and social context.

Recommended preparation

Previous survey course in art history helpful. BIS 209 Engaging Visual Arts very helpful. Strong interest in photography, as well as art, culture and history a requirement.

Class assignments and grading

There will be short writing assignments, research-based papers and art projects, and in-class quizzes.

Grading will be based on assignments/art projects, class participation and quizzes.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Deborah Caplow
Date: 10/11/2013