(balancing one’s own weight in a shadow of antithetical sides) by Paul Baughman

You are here

ART H 509 A: Seminar in Special Topics in Art History

We look forward to safely returning to in-person instruction and activities this autumn quarter. Current and prospective students please visit our COVID-19 Updates pages.

World Art Studies and Global Art Histories

Meeting Time: 
Th 3:30pm - 6:20pm
ART 312
Joint Sections: 
HUM 596 D
Sonal Khullar
Sonal Khullar

Syllabus Description:

ART H 509: World Art Studies and Global Art Histories

Art 312

Th 3:30-6:20

Winter 2019

Image result for chauvet caveCave of Chauvet, Aurignacian, c. 32,000 B.C.E.


Professor Sonal Khullar

Office: 363 Art Building

Email: skhullar@uw.edu

Office hours: Tu 2-3, and by appointment


Course description:

Critics and scholars have identified the global turn as the most significant intellectual development in art history over the past decade. This turn has entailed the study of nonwestern and postcolonial cultures in addition to Euro-American canons and centers that have been the focus of the discipline. It has generated new methods and approaches to analyze previously overlooked forms of connection and exchange. However, these narratives are often routed through and across nation-states and focus on conventional geographic areas (for example, Asia, Europe); anthropocentric frameworks; and modernist notions of space, time, and matter. We shall probe the genealogies, claims, and stakes of world art studies and global art history. We shall examine new art historical paradigms that build on and depart from these models, specifically the oceanic, geological, and digital. We shall consider how these paradigms relate to the scholarship of figures such as Alois Riegl, Aby Warburg, E.H. Gombrich, George Kubler, Michael Baxandall, and Richard Wollheim. Open to students in humanistic and humanistically-oriented social scientific disciplines, this seminar provides a forum for critical inquiry and interdisciplinary dialogue on the visual arts, aesthetics, and art history.

This course is organized in conjunction with the Katz Distinguished Lectureship of Whitney M. Davis (UC Berkeley) and a series of lectures and workshops, Rethinking the Global Turn: Oceanic, Geological, and Digital Art Histories, sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities as part of the Next Generation PhD Initiative: https://simpsoncenter.org/projects/rethinking-global-turn.

All students are expected to attend lectures and workshops associated with the series: 

  • January 24-25, 2019: Nancy Um, Professor and Department Chair, Art History, Binghamton University
  • February 19-22, 2019: Whitney M. Davis, George C. and Helen N. Pardee Professor of History and Theory of Ancient and Modern Art, University of California, Berkeley
  • April 25-26, 2019: Sarah V. Turner, Deputy Director of Research, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (Yale University), London, UK

Course requirements:

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%, 15-20 pages on any theory or practice studied in the course, due March 18).

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.

You must post your weekly responses (approx. 500-700 words) to the reading by 12 midnight the day before class (Wednesday night) on the Canvas site: 


Link to weekly readings

Course materials: 

Two textbooks, Whitney M. Davis, Visuality and Virtuality: Images and Pictures from Prehistory to Perspective (Princeton University Press, 2017) and Whitney M. Davis, A General Theory of Visual Culture (Princeton University Press, 2011), may be purchased online. All required and recommended readings are on reserve in the Art Library. Required reading, which is not in your textbooks, will be posted on the Canvas site. 

Course policies:

All scheduled lectures, readings, and screenings are subject to change. You are responsible for any changes mentioned in class, including changes to the class schedule or course policies.

Absences from class prevent participation and may negatively affect grades. If you are absent from class due to personal or medical emergencies, immediately notify the instructor, find out what you missed from a classmate, and insure that all assignments and exams are completed.

Please arrive in class on time and turn off your cell phones in advance. 

Equal Opportunity

The School of Art reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran in accordance with UW policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations.

Disability Accommodation

If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, Box 355839, (206) 543-8924 (V/TTY), or uwdss@u.washington.edu. If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodation, please present the letter to me on the first day of class so we can discuss the accommodations you might need.


Plagiarism is defined as using in your own work the creations, ideas, words, inventions, or work of someone else without formally acknowledging them through the use of quotation marks, footnotes, bibliography, or other reference.  Please check with your instructor if you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism.  Instances of plagiarism will be referred to the Vice Provost/Special Asst to the President for Student Relations and may lead to disciplinary action.

Catalog Description: 
Specific focus changes from quarter to quarter.
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:11pm