Objects in Context: A Survey of Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture I


This two-semester, team-taught course introduces incoming students to major historical developments in the decorative and applied arts, design, and material culture from antiquity to the present. Monday lectures by BGC faculty and visiting specialists examine selected objects from across the globe as examples of significant forms, materials, technologies, styles, designers, makers, and patterns of use and consumption. The “Thinking Objects” practicum on Tuesday afternoons presents an opportunity for small-group discussion about the objects, readings, and themes highlighted in each lecture as well as connections across the course. By the end of the year, students will have a working historical and visual vocabulary of significant objects and spaces and a better awareness of the areas and questions they might pursue at Bard Graduate Center and beyond.

Required of all entering MA students, and PhD students who have not taken a course deemed comparable. 3 credits each for fall and spring semesters.