The Art History Program at Denison offers courses for a Bachelor of Arts Degree (B.A). The program is designed to identify and develop critical awareness, in accordance with the general aim of a liberal education. This program provides students with the opportunity for instruction and practice in the visual arts as preparation for graduate studies and professional pursuits in this field.
Art History majors will build a multi-dimensional body of knowledge about the discipline. This includes developing expertise in the analysis of visual expression and processes, artistic producers, and art-related institutions of a wide range of global (western and non-western) societies and cultures. In keeping with the goals of a liberal arts education, our pedagogy and curriculum encourage students to move beyond a narration of what they read, and instead engage in inquiry, critical evaluation, and autonomous thinking.
In addition to learning about the operations of artistic expression, material/visual culture, and the built environment from historical, socio-cultural, discursive, and aesthetic platforms, our majors will develop a well-stocked “tool kit” of significant issues and debates, theoretical frameworks, discursive traditions/historiography, and various methodologies central to conducting art historical research.
Students shall be actively conversant with the critical terms of art history. The emphasis placed on active scholarly production by faculty is carried through in our curricular goals, including research papers and especially the senior thesis, which represents the capstone experience for all senior majors. Our program also encourages an integrative approach to learning by emphasizing connections across areas of study in art history and complementary disciplines, as well as other sites for learning such as internships and study abroad programs.
The Department of Art History and Visual Culture’s mission places questions of difference and power globally at the center of our teaching and research. Our mission reflects Denison’s core liberal arts values and advances inclusion and equity. We employ a thematic, interrogative approach that reflects critically on what art history and visual culture can be for the liberal arts. We do not seek broad, superficial coverage, but collaborative partnership in reimagining art history and visual culture studies for an integrative, transformative liberal arts experience. In so doing we exploit our areas of faculty specialization as spaces from which to rethink dominant narratives and interpretive frameworks with their global implications. We rethink, too, how we respond in writing to that which is not primarily articulated through the spoken or written word. Emphasizing global issues of difference and power prompts the curation of intentional interdisciplinarity inside and outside the college, as concrete expressions of our mission.
We strongly urge students to declare their intention to major in Art History and Visual Culture before the end of their sophomore year. We also urge students to choose an academic advisor from among AHVC faculty.