Art Across Cultures
Course: WBIS 188
Instructor: DeMontigny, Stephany
This course will delve into the anthropological study of a broad range of visual art and material culture. Some of this content includes painting, sculpture, weaving, basketmaking, body decoration, dress and costume, display events such as pageants and folk festivals, and everyday art such as low riders and graffiti. The class centers on how social, cultural, and historical contexts influence artistic production. We will explore examples from cultures, nations, and peoples around the world such as Guatemala, Venezuela, Native North America, Europe, Morocco, and Papua New Guinea as well as work from Mexican-American and European-Americans. In addition, we will discuss how meaning is shaped not only by the artist, but by the setting and the audience. The course will explore how through art we communicate about identity, historical consciousness, ethnicity, gender, and much more. The class will interrogate taken-for-granted assumptions such as our definitions and categorizations of art, for example, as "high" and "folk" art, material culture, and craft. We will also examine ideas about tradition, innovation, and authenticity. In regard to all these concepts, the course will investigate how socio-cultural factors influence our definitions, practices, and meanings of art. Conversely, we will explore how culture and social relations emerge out of artistic production.
(please note: section topics and descriptions are subject to change)