ART H 414/521: CURATING INDIA: HISTORY AND THEORY OF MUSEUMS IN THE COLONY
Professor Sonal Khullar
Office: 363 Art Building
Office hours: Tu 12:30-1:30, and by appointment
This course surveys the history of the art museum in South Asia from its colonial inception in the British Museum (London) and the Indian Museum (Calcutta) through its postcolonial incarnations in the Victoria Memorial Museum (Calcutta) and the National Museum of India (New Delhi). Alongside case studies of major public institutions, we shall explore professions, persons, and sites, which were crucial to the formation of the art museum in South Asia, such as the international exposition, the department store, the colonial art school, the Archeological Survey of India, the princely collector, and the colonial administrator. Throughout we shall engage theoretical writings on the practices and ideologies of the museum from the nineteenth century to the present, and we shall examine primary materials in collections from locations including London, Calcutta (Kolkata), Tanjore (Thanjavur), Baroda (Vadodara), and New Delhi. This is a reading- and writing-intensive course. Students with a background in related disciplines such as literature, history, religion, anthropology, or architecture are welcome.
Your grade for the course will be assessed on the basis of active class participation, which includes weekly responses to the reading on our electronic discussion board (20%); an in-class presentation (20%, sign-up sheet available on first day of class); a research statement and bibliography (10%, due in the sixth week with a revised statement due in the ninth week); and a final paper (50%, 10 pages on any art practice or institution studied in the course, due March 12).
All assignments must be completed for a passing grade. If you need an extension on a paper, please contact the instructor at least 48 hours in advance of the deadline. You must have a valid reason, such as a documented illness or a family emergency. For every day (including weekends) your paper is late, I will deduct half a grade. That is, a 4.0 will become a 3.5, a 3.5 will become a 3.0, etc. Papers handed in on the day they are due but after the deadline are also late. All papers must be typed, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins and in a 12-point Times font.
Two textbooks, Tapati Guha-Thakurta, Monuments, Objects, Histories: Institutions of Art in Colonial and Postcolonial India (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004) and Saloni Mathur, India by Design: Colonial History and Cultural Display (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), are available for purchase at the University Bookstore, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105. You may also purchase these books online.