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04:30 PM to 06:30 PM T — Off-Campus Location OCL
In this graduate seminar, we will investigate the phenomenon of luxury trade in the medieval Mediterranean world, and its impact on the visual culture of the great trading cities such as Venice, Istanbul, Barcelona, Palermo and Cairo. The course will touch on the traditions of late antique, Byzantine, medieval, and Islamic arts, using the extraordinary local collections at the Freer, Dumbarton Oaks, The Walters, and the Textile Museum. We will look particularly at the phenomenon of trade across religious or political frontiers, such as the textile and spice trade between Italian city-states and the Islamic world.
Please note that this is not a course on object connoisseurship, though students will be welcome to pursue that in their individual research projects if they wish. Rather, the focus of the course will be on the cultural and historical context of the luxury trades, through weekly readings and discussion of primary sources and recent scholarship. Since we will be meeting at the Smithsonian, we will put special emphasis on the Freer’s remarkable collection of Islamic art. Students should also expect to make several trips to neighboring museums during the semester. Students will lead discussions of the readings, and will present their own work in class. As with any seminar, weekly attendance and active participation will be mandatory. This course fulfills the research seminar requirement.
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Research seminar on aspects of art history. Topics vary, but course entails extensive critical readings and discussion, development of bibliographies, and advanced-level research papers.
May be repeated for a maximum of 15 credits when topic is different.