Field Seminar: Readings in Early Modern Visual and Material Culture






Jeffrey L. Collins,

Andrew Morrall

This jointly led seminar introduces students to theories of European visual and material culture from roughly 1500 to 1800. Using selected examples, we will study both classic texts that have helped define the fields (often from within traditional disciplines) and a range of newer contributions that have stretched, combined, or reinterpreted inherited academic boundaries. Besides identifying interpretive trends, the seminar explores how early modernists pursue their primary research in libraries, archives, historic sites, and museum collections. How is historical evidence accessed, evaluated, and contextualized? What are common obstacles, and how can they be surmounted? A key issue is how the “new” art history and the emergence of “visual culture” and “material culture” as critical terms are reshaping the early modern field.  These topics are explored through critical readings, seminar discussions, guest speakers, written reflections, and in-class presentations. 3 credits.