Approaches to the Object

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, it introduces incoming students with diverse backgrounds to the puzzles and possibilities of object-based scholarship across a broad variety of disciplines, while investigating the taxonomic categories and associated institutions that drive the construction of knowledge about things. Drawing on the varied expertise of faculty and guests, it highlights a wide range of analytic methods and techniques drawn from history, art history, archaeology, anthropology, the history of collecting and display, and object conservation. It reveals the intellectual scaffolding behind the terms and fields of “decorative arts,” “design history,” and “material culture,” equipping students to make informed and viable choices in the use of objects as scholarly evidence. Presentations will be followed by practicum sessions led by the instructors. Course assignments will include individual written papers and presentations, as well as team projects. 3 credits.