Art and Gender

Instructor: Elisabeth Fraser

The purpose of this course is to give studio and art history graduate students grounding in the theoretical and visual vocabulary of gender studies. Gender has been a subject of art history and criticism only since the 1970s. This class will explicitly contrast early concepts with current ones. (Many of the readings for this class were published within the last two to three years.) We will look at three of the most important focus areas of gender studies in visual art: the gaze, the body, and modernism and postmodernism. In each of these areas, we will look at how original concepts have been challenged and revised by new concerns such as female agency and subjectivity; masculinity as a social construction; racial constructions and exclusions; the body as conduit of agency; and postcolonial studies. The course is thematically (not chronologically) organized, and will draw on art from the 19th and 20th centuries; it is a discussion-oriented seminar class, where substantial weekly readings are followed by in-depth class discussion (rather than lectures).

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