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ART H 435 A: Thematic Studies in Native-American Art

Circumpolar Art History and Aesthetics

Meeting Time: 
MW 11:00am - 12:50pm
* *
Nadia M. Jackinsky-Sethi

Syllabus Description:

AH 435 / 533A, Spring 2021

University of Washington

Circumpolar Art and Aesthetics

Instructor:  Nadia M. Sethi, PhD

Email:; Phone 907.529.3336

Office Hours: Please contact me to schedule meeting times.  I am available to schedule meetings during the week between 10 am and 1 pm.

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Course Outline

Circumpolar Art History and Aesthetics aims to introduce students to historical and contemporary arts from Indigenous communities in the North with an emphasis on Alaska. Throughout the course students will examine a variety of artistic practices including sculpture, print making, skin sewing, video, photography, performance, body adornment and material culture. Classes will include discussions around Indigenous traditional knowledge, cultural sovereignty, Indigenous aesthetics, colonial legacies and artists’ responses to ecological changes as a result of global warming. Students will also be introduced to the role of museum work in circumpolar art history.

Methods of Delivery

This course will be delivered via distance delivery using Zoom and Canvas. Each week we will have slide-based lectures and a group discussion based on a weekly theme and assigned readings. Students will share ideas and their own research through discussion posts and presentations.

Instructional goals

Students will develop an understanding art history from the circumpolar region They will develop visual knowledge of key works of art and learn to analyze works based on culturally specific information. Students will develop their research and writing skills through writing assignments. They will develop confidence in discussing their research and presenting it to their peers throughout the course. They will develop a deep knowledge of at least one artist of their own choosing.


This is a discussion-based course. I have chosen the texts that I hope will lead to interesting discussions, but the course is dependent on student preparation and participation. I will begin the week with an overview of context on the readings and the works we will discuss. I expect that when I start class you will have read all required readings and are arriving eager to talk and listen to your fellow classmates. In addition to bringing your own perspective and ideas to the seminar, I expect you to respect your fellow classmates, fostering a classroom where we are all comfortable sharing ideas. We will sometimes discuss sensitive topics and I expect a high level of conscientiousness and seriousness when discussing such issues. I expect that students will complete assignments on time and within the given parameters. Finally, I hope that students will approach the broader topic of this course and subsequent themes with an open mind.

For a link to the full syllabus, see here:

2021 Syllabus Circumpolar Art and Aesthetics.docx  


Catalog Description: 
Approach to Native-American art through themes and issues. Focus varies from year to year (e.g. Shamanism in Native-American art, gender identity in Native-American art, social and political aspects of Native-American art, issues in contemporary Native-American art).
GE Requirements: 
Social Sciences (SSc)
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
July 30, 2021 - 10:25pm