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ARTH 381 Feminism and Art History

  • Wednesdays, 11:45am - 2:15pm
  • EV 1.615
  • Instructor: Dr. Julia Skelly

This course will consider a range of different ways of writing feminist art histories, beginning with Linda Nochlin’s ground-breaking article “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists” (1971) and ending with a feminist approach to global contemporary art. We will pay particular attention to the work of female artists who were, and continue to be, positioned as ‘other’ in relation to male modernists, as well as early feminist artists who used their own bodies and core imagery to create what is now known as “essentialist” feminist art. The theoretical framework for much of the course will be Mary Russo’s concept of the ‘female grotesque,’ a figure who exceeds gendered norms and expectations. Russo notes that the act of exceeding norms has inherent risk, and we will consider the ways in which female and feminist artists have exceeded gendered boundaries, as well as the risks and rewards that have accompanied these ostensible excesses. We will also discuss feminist art-historical scholarship that has set out to recuperate female artists, in addition to deconstructing the (masculine) discipline of art history, specifically the work of Griselda Pollock. Issues of race, gender and sexuality will be central to our discussions, and we will attend to the importance of taking an intersectional feminist approach to work by Black feminist artists such as Faith Ringgold.

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