Approaches to the Object


Fall 2014


Lecture Hall


Ivan Gaskell,

Catherine Whalen

This fall-term course is required for all entering MA students, and PhD students who have not taken a course deemed comparable. Reflecting the Bard Graduate Center’s multidisciplinary nature, this course reveals the intellectual scaffolding behind the terms “decorative arts,” “design history,” and “material culture,” equipping students to make informed and viable choices in the use of objects as scholarly evidence. It introduces incoming students with diverse backgrounds to the puzzles and possibilities of interdisciplinary, object-based scholarship across a broad chronological and geographical scope, while investigating the taxonomic categories and associated institutions that drive the construction of knowledge about things, including art, architecture, design, technology, science, print culture, and digital media. Drawing on the varied expertise of BGC faculty and guests, it also highlights a wide range of methodologies and texts drawn from art history, archaeology, history, anthropology, sociology, cultural geography, literary criticism, material culture, cultural studies, conservation, and philosophy. Presentations will be followed by breakout discussions led by the two course instructors. Course assignments will include individual written papers and presentations, as well as team projects. 3 credits.