The study of art and archaeology offers students the tools to interpret, critique, and navigate our media-saturated world. These disciplines encourage students to analyze the ways that our symbolically-charged visual environments shape how we think and act. Three primary goals inform my teaching: first, I want my students to sharpen their visual skills and build their critical vocabulary about visual and material culture so that they can continue to develop these abilities beyond the classroom. Second, I make the development of critical reading and writing skills a priority. Finally, It is important to create an atmosphere of intellectual generosity in the classroom by facilitating formal debates and asking students to share their ideas in direct conversations with each other.
THE ARTS AND ARCHAEOLOGY OF ROYAL WOMEN IN THE ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN
(for advanced undergraduate students; New York University)
What is the visual, material, and textual evidence for queens and royal women in the ancient world? What were the contours and limitations of their political power, and how did they exercise it? How did their representations model expectations for beauty, femininity, and dynastic continuity? How have ancient queens shaped modern imaginations of women and political power? This seminar addresses these questions by focusing on royal women in ancient Egypt, the Near East, Greece, and Rome, including Hatshepsut, Puabi of Ur, Artemisia II, Cleopatra VII, and Livia. Throughout the semester, we will practice close-looking at images and will engage with modern theories of gender and sexuality to try to understand ancient constructs of gender and power. Moreover, we will grapple with how to analyze patchy archaeological records, fragments, and decontextualized monuments in reconstructive histories and art histories. We will make use of the objects, museums, and monuments throughout New York City.
WHAT IS VISUAL STUDIES?
(for advanced undergraduate students; University of Pennsylvania)
This seminar challenges students to develop independent ideas about how the eye, mind, and image work together to inform our conception of the world. By asking “What is visual studies?”, we will examine various approaches to the myriad, and sometimes opposing, ways that human beings understand sight, the concept of visuality, and visual technologies. We will also discuss the politics of vision, of looking, and of not being seen by considering ways that race, gender, sexuality, ability, and class impact vision and its study.
Through a synthetic approach to the problem of vision, we will examine various aspects of the interplay among art, visual perception, cognition, theories of vision and their history, and the history of visual practices. Students will discuss and write about various approaches to vision, bridging together far-flung and near-neighbor disciplines—including cognitive science, psychology, philosophy, art history. Key authors include Descartes, James Elkins, Jonathan Crary, Laura Mulvey, bell hooks, Jack Halberstam, Harun Farocki, and Nguyen Tan Hoang.
INTRO TO WESTERN ART: PREHISTORY TO RENAISSANCE
(introductory course for undergraduate students; University of Pennsylvania)
How does art of the past impact us today? What can images tell us about cultures of different times and places? This course offers a survey of major developments in painting, sculpture, and architecture from across the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Europe from prehistory (ca. 15,000 BCE) through the late Middle Ages/Early Renaissance (ca. 1450 CE).
Lectures and hands-on activities will allow students to work directly with collections at the Penn Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Schoenberg Manuscript Collection.