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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse
AIS 170
Seattle Campus

Survey of North American Indian Art

Major American Indian art traditions of North America. Precontact and early-contact-era traditions and the evolution of Indian art forms in contemporary times. Design and techniques in Indian art.

Class description

Introduction to Native American art of the United States and Canada, exploring regional styles, with emphasis on aesthetics, cultural function, and factors of change as well as ceremonial and commercial art. Topics will include gender, colonialism, and issues of current concern to contemporary indigenous groups. Each week we will look at a different culture area and focus on particular themes within each area.

Student learning goals

This course has multiple goals. The first is to expose students to the art and culture of the indigenous people of North America. 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. We will practice critical reading skills and comparative techniques and apply them to the objects under examination.

Students will learn to recognize regional styles and to analyze artworks on a formal and contextual level. Writing assignments will help to develop the skills of written description and argument.

General method of instruction

Class meetings will combine lectures and discussion with small group and individual work. Coming to class prepared is essential to participating in the discussions. An atmosphere of collegial support respecting diversity and differences of opinion is essential and participation is encouraged and expected from all members of the class.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

In class exams based on image identification and cultural context. Take-home essay exams on larger questions. Short writing assignments.


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: 03/13/2012