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 evening lectures by BGC faculty and visiting specialists examine selected objects from cultures across the globe as examples of significant forms, materials, technologies, styles, designers, makers, and patterns of use and consumption. Tuesday afternoon practicum sections consist of two parts. Thinking Objects, led by the Teaching Assistants, emphasizes analysis of selected objects and readings in historical and historiographical context. Writing Objects, led by Helen Polson, provides instruction in effective graduate-level writing through practical exercises and workshop sessions on writing issues. By the end of the year, students will have developed a working historical and visual vocabulary of significant objects and spaces, enhanced skills of written expression, 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.