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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Susan P Casteras
ART H 581
Seattle Campus

Seminar in Modern Art

Art historical problems of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Class description

This seminar focuses on a wide range of key ideas, issues, and imagery in Victorian British art and culture. These will include such topics as artistic status and exhibition practices, the phenomenon of Pre-Raphaelitism, constructions of femininity (e.g., girlhood, the fallen woman, femme fatale, New Woman, sorceress); Victorian masculinities and gender issues; city vs. country; racial and other stereotyping; religion, death, and dying; fairyland and the supernatural; social realism (e.g., in the art of Fildes, Holl, Herkomer); emigration and war; the Aesthetic Movement; and other themes. Students may write a final paper on either Victorian British or American art.

Student learning goals

gain familiarity with main ideas, artists, objects involved in the figurative developments in 19th-century art in Victorian Britain

learn about dominant ideas, issues, and artists in Victorian Britain

gain familiarity with the major artists, themes, and styles of Victorian art (1837-1901) in the UK

develop critical analytical and research skills and interpretive abilities

expand writing abilities on objects, ideas, and authors' writings on the subject

General method of instruction

lectures by the professor and active classroom discussion based on weekly reading and looking assignments and student-led presentations

Recommended preparation

a familiarity with some aspect of 19th-century Western art is highly recommended, e.g. AH 203

Class assignments and grading

There will be required readings each week as well as two required short (3-4 pages) papers and a final 8-10 page one (twice as long for all assignments for grad students). There is no final exam. Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions.

The final grade consist of 15 per cent for each short paper and 50 per cent for the final essay, with the remaining 20 per cent for class participation.


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 Susan P Casteras
Date: 05/09/2013