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

This two-semester, team-taught course introduces incoming students to major historical developments in decorative arts, design, and material culture from antiquity to the present. Monday evening lectures by Bard Graduate Center 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 practicums consist of two parts. Thinking Objects, led by Doctoral Student Teaching Assistants, emphasizes the analysis of selected objects and readings in historical and historiographical context. Writing Objects, led by Helen Polson, Assistant Professor of Practice in Writing, 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. 3 credits.