Art History and Archaeology

The Department of Art History and Archaeology offers courses in the history of architecture, Japanese art, Korean art, Chinese art, Indian art and architecture, Medieval art and architecture, Italian Renaissance art and architecture, 19th-century art, 20th-century art, and the avant garde arts.

For questions about specific courses, contact the department:

Departmental Office: 826 Schermerhorn
Office Hours: Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.


Directory of Classes

The course information displayed on this page relies on an external system and may be incomplete. Please visit Art History and Archaeology on the Directory of Classes for complete course information.

After finding your course in the Directory of Classes, click on the section number to open an expanded view. The "Open To" field will indicate whether the course is open to School of Professional Studies students. If School of Professional Studies is not included in the field, students may still be able to cross-register for the course by obtaining permission after being admitted to an academic program.

AHIS G6403 Structuralism, Poststructuralism, Modernism. 3 points.

The discourse on Modernism in the visual arts examined in relation to the theoretical positions of structuralism and post-structuralism, specifically the work of Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida.

AHIS G8602 Chinese Art at Columbia. 3 points.

A curatorial seminar focused on Chinese bronzes, ceramics, and sculpture in the Columbia Art Properties collection. Based on "hands-on" study of these works and consultations with visiting curators, students will prepare catalogue essays and design a new installation of the collection.

AHIS Q3416 Photographer/Ethnographer. 4 points.

This seminar explores the "creative uses of reality." Modern and contemporary artists have become increasingly concerned to represent culture—their own but especially other people's—through the media of film and photography. Are the resulting works products of art or science? Why is it so hard to tell? Has the opening of the archives through the internet and through globalization changed anything? Should artists who take on the role of cultural mediator be held to a code of ethics similar to the "human subject" protocols imposed on anthropologists? In the seminar, we will examine influential models, such as Nanook of the North and the work of Jean Rouch, in relation to developing discourses on documentary photography, anthropology, primitivism, and contemporary art. The course will also take advantage of groundbreaking scholarship on postcolonial photographic practice in India and Africa that challenges assumptions that photography is somehow an inherently "Western" medium. The seminar has been timed to take advantage of the campus visits of contemporary artists from South Africa and Brazil whose work directly confronts the politics of representation.

AHIS UN1007 Introduction to Architecture. 3 points.

Discussion Section Required

This course is required for architectural history and theory majors, but is also open to students interested in a general introduction to the history of architecture, considered on a global scale. Architecture is analyzed through in-depth case studies of key works of sacred, secular, public, and domestic architecture from both the Western canon and cultures of the ancient Americas and of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic faiths. The time frame ranges from ancient Mesopotamia to the modern era. Discussion section is required.

Fall 2017: AHIS UN1007
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 1007 001/13225 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
614 Schermerhorn Hall
Michael Waters 3 78/95

AHIS V2108 Greek Art and Architecture. 3 points.

Discussion Section Required

Introduction to the art and architecture of the Greek world during the archaic, classical, and Hellenistic periods (11th - 1st centuries B.C.E.).

AHIS V2109 Roman Art and Architecture. 3 points.

Discussion Section Required

The architecture, sculpture, and painting of ancient Rome from the 2nd century B.C. to the end of the Empire in the West.

AHIS V3203 The Arts of Japan. 3 points.

Discussion Section Required

Introduction to the painting, sculpture, and architecture of Japan from the Neolithic period through the present. Discussion focuses on key monuments within their historical and cultural contexts.

AHIS W2409 Architecture, 1750-1890. 3 points.

Major theorists and designs of architecture, primarily European, from the Age of Enlightenment to the dawn of the art nouveau critique of historicism. Particular attention to changing conditions of architectural practice, professionalization, and the rise of new building types, with focus on major figures, including Soufflot, Adam, Boullee, Ledoux, Schinkel, Pugin, and Garnier.

AHIS W4061 Ink Painting in China and Japan. 3 points.

An intensive examination of ink painting in China and Japan. Meeting twice weekly, the class will encompass both instruction in painting with brush and ink and lectures and discussions of the history and theory of ink painting. Open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students.  

AHIS W4561 Ceramic Arts of Korea and Japan. 4 points.

Ceramics were an important part of the cultural life in East Asia. This course examines the artistic and social significance of ceramics in Korea and Japan from about the eleventh century through today. We will study key wares from each culture as well as significant moments—and products—of inter-cultural exchange. Additionally, we will explore the modern perceptions and presentations of Korean and Japanese cultures, especially in the West.   Class will be held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art a couple of sessions during the semester to look at objects in storage and on display in the galleries.

AHUM UN2901 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement, Discussion Section Required

Introduction to 2000 years of art on the Indian subcontinent. The course covers the early art of Buddhism, rock-cut architecture of the Buddhists and Hindus, the development of the Hindu temple, Mughal and Rajput painting and architecture, art of the colonial period, and the emergence of the Modern.

Fall 2017: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/23435 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Vidya Dehejia 3 65/74
Spring 2018: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/60846 M W 7:40pm - 8:55pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Seher Agarwala 3 15/22

The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.