Kansas City Art Institute: ARTHI222


Tuesday/Thursday, 2:30-3:50 p.m. EB 217


Professor: Dr. Maria Elena Buszek
Office: 304 Baty House (ext 3378), e-mail: mbuszek@kcai.edu
Office Hours: T/Th 11:00am-12:30pm, or anytime by appointment 

Course description and objectives: In this course we will the history of American art and culture from the colonial era to the end of World War II. The course readings and lectures will address architecture, sculpture, painting, printmaking, “decorative arts,” photography, and cinema from this broad sweep of American history. Historical issues that will be discussed and that students' examinations and papers will be based upon understanding include: how different forms of European colonization of North American lands and its indigenous peoples affected the evolution of American Art; the rise of post-Revolutionary American artists' involvement in established, international art movements such as Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, and early Modernism; and the growing dominance of American culture and theory in the Western world during the early-to-mid twentieth century.

Grading:  Your grade will be based on two exams and two short papers scheduled evenly throughout the course of the semester.  All these grades hold equal weight, which means your final grade will be based on the average of these four grades, which will each be worth 25% of your grade.  Because the exams will be slide- intensive, resulting in the impossibility of giving examinations anywhere outside of our class period/classroom, there can be no make-ups of any examination.  Because you will have ample time to write and research your papers topics, late papers will not be accepted under any circumstances.

Attendance and absence policy:  Attendance in class is mandatory, because much of the lecture material will not necessarily be directly or extensively addressed in your textbook readings.  Information from lectures will be used to make up the exams and assignments, so one's success in the course will be entirely dependent upon one's presence and participation in the classroom each day.
Each student will be allowed TWO unexcused absences from class over the course of the semester.  Absences will only be excused when accompanied by official documentation from a physician or counselor explaining one's extended illness or extreme/unusual personal crisis.  Such documentation must be presented within a reasonable amount of time (notes explaining one's illness from three months previous, for example, are not acceptable).  Students with preexisting health issues that they anticipate may cause them to miss more than two classes are required to provide me with both a written explanation from and a phone number for the student’s physician or counselor, so that I may speak directly with the health care provider should the student’s absences begin to affect his/her grade.  In any case, unless I am presented with the proper and timely documentation for a student’s absence/s, upon the third unexcused absence, the student will automatically receive a failing grade (“F”) in the class.  Remember that it is the student's responsibility to contact me and deal with absences as soon as possible!  Please keep this attendance policy in mind when mulling over your use of the “free” absences—I can assure you that you will regret those two days you skipped the day a flat tire/broken alarm/change in your work schedule occurs after you’ve used up your freebies.

Class participation:  Active participation on the part of each student is essential to the success and effectiveness of this course.  Indeed, dialogue will be a crucial part of the way this class addresses the information at hand.  Contrary to popular belief, some teachers do not necessarily enjoy talking to themselves, and really want to hear your thoughts and insights into the material being discussed. (By the way...I am one of those teachers!)  Don’t be afraid to speak up! Or freak out!  Dialogue is good!

Disabilities:  Please let me know as soon as possible if you have a disability that hinders your performance in this class, so that accommodations may be made to satisfy course requirements.  Trust me: you will find that I am willing to be extremely accommodating when it comes to student success, and would like to assure just about any student with any disability that they can not only take but do well in my classes. In any case, whether you choose to discuss any disabilities with me or not, all learning- or physically-disabled students are required to disclose as much with our Academic Resource Center in order to qualify for accommodations—students can get further information through the ARC at (phone) 816/802.3371 or (e-mail) arc@kcai.edu.

Cheating and plagiarism:  Students are expected to be honest in both their test taking and paper writing assignments. Later in the semester, students will be given a handout (also available on our website) on guidelines for citing sources according to the Chicago Manual of Style, which is our discipline’s standard style and which I will expect all students to learn/follow in their writing assignments. Any dishonest student caught cheating or plagiarizing will receive an automatic “zero” on the exam/project at hand and be penalized to the fullest extent of the Academic Dishonesty policy stated in the KCAI Student Handbook.  (This means anything from academic probation, to a failing course grade, to expulsion, depending on the findings of the KCAI Judicial Board.)

A note on class readings: Your textbook for this class is Frances K. Pohl, A Social History of American ArtI expect students to read ahead for each section as we approach it, which is why the required readings are listed in our course schedule with specific chapters/pages/authors following each section’s lecture theme.

Books, references, citation: In addition to a copy of the textbook and other recent books and articles related to our class and paper assignments, you can always find the following books on reserve, which I feel might be useful to you if you would like further resources for studying or writing about the broad history of art and art historical methodology.
        Like any source, be sure to properly cite these books in the event that you use them in your writing assignments. (Once again, I’d like to remind everyone that plagiarism will be punished to the fullest extent of the Art Institute’s student handbook on this issue.)

Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing About Art. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Longman, 2002.

The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Harrison, Charles and Paul Wood (eds.).  Art in Theory: 1900-2000. Oxford and Cambridge: Blackwell, 2003.

Nelson, Robert S. and Richard Shiff (eds).  Critical Terms for Art History. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Questions? Problems? Frustrations?  These, my friends, are what your professors are here to help you deal with!  I place a priority upon making myself accessible to students, and do my best to be extremely flexible when it comes to meeting and talking with students who would like help.  My crucial numbers (phone, e-mail, office) are located above, and I am always willing to answer questions, discuss problems, and ease anxiety.


       Introductions, syllabus, questions
31:       New World/New Spain (Pohl, 13-41) 

         French and Dutch settlements (Pohl, 41-72)
7:         Defining America: Art and revolution (Pohl, 73-92)
12-14: Architectural symbols of a new nation (Pohl, 93-112)
19:       Educating artists and audiences (Pohl, 112-128)
21-26: Nature and Nation: The rise of Romanticism (Pohl, 129-166)                   
28:       Actors in the landscape (Pohl, 166-184)

         Lead-up to war: Tensions in politics/tensions in art (Pohl, 185-204)
            First paper assignments due at the beginning of class
5-10:   Civil War: Nation, race and reconstruction (Pohl, 204-238)
12:       Catch-up/review day
17:       Midterm Exam: Colonies to Civil War
19-24: Work and home/Society and family (Pohl, 239-269)                       
26-31:  “The American Renaissance” (Pohl, 269-288)                                  

         American Renaissance cont’d
7:         Art and Industry: The World’s Columbian Exposition (Pohl, 288-300)
9:         Rebellion in Realism (Pohl, 301-316)
14-16: An American Avant-Garde (Pohl, 317-350) 
21:       The Harlem Renaissance (Pohl, 350-362)
23:       Thanksgiving Break: NO CLASS!
Depression and the New Deal (Pohl, 363-380)
Second paper assignments due at the beginning of class on November 28th

         Alternative Visions: Urban Life/Rural Life (Pohl, 381-413)
7:         American Artists and World War II (Pohl, 413-428)
12:       From World War to Cold War (Pohl, 429-451)
14:       Final Exam: Reconstruction to WWII

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