Decolonizing Art History: Examining Race, Gender & Identity in Early Modern Art and History


6 Week Course

Mon, Wed, Fri from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EST
Instructor: Olivia Chiang

Coming 2023


This course will focus on art produced between the beginning of the trans-Atlantic slave trade until the end of the French Revolution (c. 1500-1800) to illuminate how cultures, communities, and artistic creators interacted, exchanged ideas, and often were in conflict due to territorial expansion and colonialism. While traditional considerations of this time period focus exclusively on white European perspectives and male artists, this course purposefully seeks to consider the early modern period from a global perspective and to examine how images created and constructed notions of “self” and “other.” We will also discuss how key issues today, such as race, gender, and identity, can be traced back to the images and ideas first developed in the early modern period.

Essential Questions:

What cultural, societal, and economic pressures necessitated the construction of “us” and “them”?
How did gender and race come to be defined within the context of colonialism? What visual conventions were employed to convey both identity and power in European and non-European societies?
How have these conventions continued to play a part in assumptions about class, ethnicity, and history?


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