Approaches to the Object

This fall-term course is required for entering MA students, and for PhD students who have not taken a course deemed comparable. Drawing on the expertise of BGC faculty and selected guests, it introduces incoming students with diverse academic backgrounds to the puzzles and possibilities of object-based scholarship. Reflecting Bard Graduate Center’s multidisciplinary nature, it highlights analytic perspectives and techniques drawn from history, art history, archaeology, anthropology, the history of collecting and display, and object conservation. It also examines the intellectual scaffolding behind the terms “decorative arts,” “design history,” and “material culture.” By surveying a range of traditions and institutions that shape the way things are categorized, exchanged, exhibited, and interpreted, the course encourages multiple approaches to the use of objects as historical evidence, and equips students to make informed choices among available tools and methods. Course assignments include digital projects drawing on skills introduced in the August Session, individual written papers, and team presentations. 3 credits.