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Course Details

Fall 2018-2019
ART 488 (LA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

The Modern Museum: Between Preservation & Action

James C. Steward

The museum traces its origins to the cabinet of curiosities and to princely collecting, and took form during the European Enlightenment as a way of ordering knowledge, often advancing nationalistic purposes. Today's museums draw deeply on these traditions while facing essential challenges: How must it respond to the digital age and to a world of increasingly porous borders? What must it do to assure its continuing relevance and survival? Through a series of case studies, this course will grapple with the ways in which museums look to the past and posit new, more "activist" ways of being.

Sample reading list:
James Cuno, Who Owns the Past?
James Delbourgo, Collecting the World
Charles Haxthausen, The Two Art Histories
Nina Simon, The Participatory Museum
Stephen Weil, From Being about Something to Being for Somebody
Karl Kusserow et al., Nature's Nation: American Art and Environment

Reading/Writing assignments:
A research paper of approximately 20 pages analyzing a major museum exhibition that attempts to posit a new art history or otherwise challenges the traditions of museum practice will take the place of a final examination.

Paper in lieu of Final - 30%
Papers - 20%
Oral Presentation(s) - 25%
Class/Precept Participation - 25%

Other Requirements:
Open to Juniors and Seniors Only.

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Students should have taken at least one undergraduate course in the history of art..

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
23298 S01 07:30:00 pm - 10:20:00 pm T   McCormick Hall   103   Enrolled:13 Limit:16