Field Seminar: Readings in Early Modern Visual Culture


Spring 2011


4th Floor Classroom


Jeffrey L. Collins,

Andrew Morrall

This jointly led seminar introduces students to the theory and practice of research in the visual and material cultures of Europe from roughly 1500 to 1800. Using a case study approach, we will start by studying classic texts that have helped define the field and outline interpretive methods; we will also give particular attention to how current researchers have redefined the field, sometimes remaining within inherited disciplinary structures and sometimes operating across or between them. Besides identifying interpretive trends and topics, the seminar aims to shed light on how early modern specialists actually do their research in libraries, archives, historic sites and settings, and museum collections. How is scholarly evidence accessed, evaluated, and contextualized? What obstacles do early modern scholars encounter, and how can they be surmounted? How have the “new” art history, the emergence of “visual culture,” and other disciplinary developments affected the early modern field? What role does the BGC have in advancing our understanding of the period? We will examine these and other topics through a combination of in-class presentations, guest speakers, seminar discussions, critical analyses of bibliography, and offsite excursions. 3 credits.