You may purchase copies of the following textbook at the Reed bookstore:

Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff, Chicago: University of Chicago, 2003.

All other assigned readings are available on Moodle (logon to & enter email username and password). Please print out all Moodle readings and bring hard copies to class, or annotate your digital copy with marginal notes.

Attendance & Participation

All students are expected to do the weekly readings and participate actively in the conference conversation. If you miss a conference, you will be responsible for turning in a one-page summary of the readings you missed. This assignment is due the day you return to class, if you are to receive credit for the assignment.

PLEASE NOTE: Consistent attendance is necessary for a dynamic conference. Students who miss more than 3 conferences will fail this course.


For your first presentation, you and another student will work together to lead the discussion one week during the semester.  In preparation, you will circulate to the entire class a list of questions that you create collaboratively with your partner.  For Tuesday’s conference, you will need to email us by Sunday at 5pm.  For the Thursday conference, please circulate questions no later than Tuesday at 5pm.  These questions serve to stimulate conference discussion; therefore, all students are required to read them and explore possible responses.

When preparing questions, please consider the principal issues raised by the selected readings.   What is the proposed thesis?  How is it substantiated?  Conceptually, how do the themes brought out in the text correspond to other readings we have studied?  How do they correspond to the imagery we have analyzed?

The second presentation is a group assignment. As a group, I would like you to select a place on the Reed campus. At the site, please discuss the following questions: What is social space? How does it correspond to power? To representation and reality? To spectatorship and performance? Conduct a close reading of Henri Lefebvre's The Production of Space to guide your discussion. Due November 16.

Response Papers

I have assigned two response papers (each 3 double-spaced pages--please staple):

For the first assignment, please write a formal analysis of any work of art from the Portland Art Museum.  You must also include a reproduction of the image you select. In writing this paper, consider the artist's treatment of the subject matter.  How does the artist handle the various formal elements (e.g., light, color, texture, scale, perspective, contours, proportion...)? How does the artist organize the composition? What choices does the artist make in terms of media and support? Due September 19.

For the second assignment, I would like you to write a paper on Arne Svenson's The Neighbors. Using your readings from the week, construct an argument about the gaze that engages Svenson's photographic series. Due November 2.

Please research Svenson's The Neighbors. The following websites may prove useful:

The Neighbors - Arne Svenson

Arne Svenson Wins New York Appellate Court Case

Julie Saul Gallery (see thumbnails)

The Guardian

Research Paper

Lastly, I require all students to write a research paper (5 double-spaced pages--please staple) on any work of art of your choice. The paper (due December 5) must incorporate one of the methodologies we have studied in class. 

In preparation for the paper, I ask students to present to the class and submit to me a proposal describing your research project (due October 12).  The proposal should include a one-page (double-spaced) abstract, a working bibliography of at least 4 sources, and copies of the images under consideration.

Due Dates

September 19: formal analysis

October 12:  research proposal & presentation of research to date

November 2:  second writing assignment on Arne Svenson's The Neighbors

November 16:  Henri Lefebvre campus assignment

December 5: research paper due (5 double-spaced pages--please staple)

Sensitive Topics

A course of this nature will cover, on a regular basis, challenging and sensitive topics in both its reading and discussion material, including but not limited to: scenes of sexual violence, physical assault, murder, sexism, racism, orientalism, explicit depictions of sex, etc. If you are highly sensitive to (or strongly object to) representations of these kinds of topics, you should not take this course.

Any student who elects to take this course does so with the full knowledge that we will not censor images, reading materials, class discussions, or passages read out loud in class.