ART H 412
An investigation of Chinese Bronzes to illuminate some general ideas about the discipline and practice of art history. Focuses on a case study examining the work of a twentieth-century practitioner of art history and comparing it with that of a famous scholar from a neighboring discipline.
Each class consists of two parts. We will spend the first hour surveying Chinese art and archaeology from late Neolithic to the eve of the Qin unification in 221 BC. Then we will analyze some of the reading assignments in depth. Several themes are examined in detail: metal technology and its beginnings; Anyang oracle inscriptions and the earliest known Chinese writing; the interaction between design and technique in bronze casting and jade working; comparative study of the first civilizations; archaeology and politics. Readings from archaeology, anthropology, art history, and the history of technology introduce a variety of approaches to the interpretation of archaeological finds.
Student learning goals
Understand Chinese art and archaeology in comparative perspective
Grasp the complicated relationship between technique and design.
Understand politics and archaeology.
General method of instruction
Mini-lecture and class discussion.
Previous courses on Chinese art and archaeology desired, but not necessary.
Class assignments and grading
Weekley readings and two short response papers.
Papers, midterm, and final.