Fall 2012 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Terranova, Charissa
Discipline and Number
AHST 2331 Section 002
MWF Time 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM
Course Title
Understanding Art

Description of Course:

"Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it."
Bertolt Brecht

This course offers an introduction to art as both object and experience. We will be guided this semester by the fundamental thesis that art is a means of critical thinking. We think through art as it relates us to other people and the rest of the world. We think through art as it is an object, experience, discourse, market, and belief system. Under the umbrella of “critical thinking,” the course is organized according to the following themes: form, media, idea, heritage, history, style, “-ism,” modernism, postmodernism, the contemporary, power, institution, and business. Your grade is based on three components: note-taking; short written assignments; and two short exams.

Required Texts:

Required Textbook:
1. John Berger. Ways of Seeing. New York: Penguin Classics, 1990.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

• general familiarity with and comfort around “art”
• to think critically about the world by way of art
• ability to identify salient characteristics of a given ‘work’ of art
• clarity of thinking and writing about works of art
• familiarize students with public institutions of art
• familiarize students with art criticism
• habituate engagement with public institutions of art
• habituate close and careful readings of text
• habituate close and careful readings of works of art
• habituate keen phenomenological awareness (understanding through the five senses) of surrounding environment
Students are required to attend every class, complete all assignments, and participate with candor and verve in class. Students are allowed two unexcused absences after which each absence will result in the lowering of the final grade by one full letter. Students with illnesses that require extended periods of absence are encouraged to officially withdraw from class. Under no circumstances do I accept late assignments. All written assignments must be printed and submitted in class on paper: I do not accept digital documents.

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