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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse
ART H 309
Seattle Campus

Topics in Art History

Topics vary.

Class description

Indigenous Body Adornment This class explores the practice of body adornment in many indigenous cultures. We will look at a variety of practices including tattooing and piercing as well as the use of jewelry and clothing. These will be examined in their capacity to convey information on individual, tribal, or clan identity. We will also consider the role of adornments role in specific contexts such as warfare or ceremony as well. Finally, we will discuss the issue of cultural property with regard to such expressions and their use or misuse by the dominant society.

Student learning goals

This course has multiple goals. The first is to expose students to the art and culture of the indigenous people and particular forms of expression through the decoration of the human body. In addition to gaining an understanding of this particular kind of artwork, we will explore the methodologies of art history: learning to look at and describe a work of art both verbally and in writing. Students will experience how working with classmates can enhance comprehension and raise the level of engagement with course materials.

Students will learn to recognize tribal styles and to analyze artworks on a formal and contextual level. Writing assignments will help to develop the skills of written description and argument. We will practice critical reading skills and comparative techniques and apply them to the objects or practices under examination.

General method of instruction

Short lecture, group discussion, small group work and presentations. Active learning and participation expected.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Short writing assignments. Reading response papers. Take-home or online exams.There will be multiple writing assignments in this class, including a short formal and contextual analysis of an artwork; two reflective writing assignments which will analyze class material; a written and oral presentation on your own sense of adornment and identity; and a research paper presented in class and a posted on the class website.


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 Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse
Date: 02/27/2012