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Art History 060

Dr. Constance Cortez

Santa Clara University

Department of Art

Santa Clara, California


COURSE OBJECTIVES: This is not a survey course. It will not cover all the arts of all the peoples of Africa, Oceania, and the Native Americas. Rather, certain aspects of selected cultural traditions will he examined in order to establish a foundation for advanced upper division study of visual culture in these three areas of the world. In addition to learning about a number of specific cultural groups at particular historical moments, our goal is to understand more fully how art historical and anthropological methodologies, theories, and practices structure our encounters with the cultural materials of Africans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans.

TEXTS & READINGS: The required text, Arnold Rubin's Art as Technology: The Arts of Africa, Oceania, Native America, SouthernCalifornia (edited by Zena Pearlstone, Beverly Hills: Hillcrest Press, 1989) is available at the student bookstore. All other assigned readings are on reserve at the library. Additionally, there are a number of articles and books that have been placed on reserve in the library for supplementary reading.

EVALUATIONS: Student performance will he evaluated on the following
Class Participation 10% 
Paper Topic (date) 5%
Exam 1 (date) 20%
Exam2(date) 20%
Research Paper (date) 25%
Exam 3 (date) 20%


CLASS PARTICIPATION: You are expected to attend all class sessions and to turn in assignments on the assigned date. 2 points will be deducted for each day after more than 2 absences. This grade is also based on "active listening," that is, listening to what others have to say and offering your own comments and opinions during classroom and group discussions.

TESTING: An exam study guide will be handed out one week prior to the exam. All exams will consist of a combination of objective and subjective testing formats. You will be expected to identify the ethnic and geographic origins of objects seen in class as well as the medium (material[s] of manufacture), dates, artist (where possible), and details of use, function and meaning. Spelling counts in your identifications. All visual materials used in the testing process will be similar to images illustrated in the text or assigned readings. In addition, you will be expected to answer a short essay question. All exams are required and may be made up only in cases of emergencies and if notification of absence is submitted in advance and supported by an appropriate written explanation/excuse.

RESEARCH PAPER: This assignment consists of two parts: The first part is a "Paper Topic Proposal" due on (date). The second part is a final research paper 5-7 pages (typed, double-spaced) in length. The topic will be a study of Santa Clara visual culture employing the research methods associated with scholarship on the cultures of Africa, Oceania, and the Native Americas; the specific assignment is appended to this syllabus. The paper is due in lecture on (date).




  WEEK 1: Sept. 20 (M) Introduction to the Course and to the Subject Terms: sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Mesoamerica, the Andes, Pre-Columbian/PreHispanic

Reading: Course syllabus (check the requirements, amount of reading, exam dates, etc. If you cannot complete the requirements aswritten drop this course NOW!)

  Sept. 22 (W) What is Art? What is Art History?

Terms: ethnocentrism, stereotypes, cultural relativism, Non-Western, ethnography, ethnohistory, visual culture

Reading. Rubin (course text), pp.11-24; "Paris Primitive" by Katherine McNamara (Cultural Survival Quarterly) 6[4]:30-31, 1982) and "What Became Authentic Primitive Art?" by Shelly Errington (Cultural Anthropology 9[2]:201-26, 1994);

  Sept.24 (F) Western Constructions of Pacific Identities and Visual Culture, Environment and Society: Sepik River (New Guinea), New Guinea Highlands, Kiribati/Gilbert Island (Micronesia), Maori (New Zealand)
Terms: ephemeral/enduring visual culture, display object, power material, shaman, mana tapu, biota, subsistence, labor specialization, acephalous (egalitarian)/ranked/stratified society, gerontocracy.

Reading: Rubin, pp. 25-42 and "From Point Venus to Bali Ha'i: Eroticism and Exoticism in Representations of the Pacific" by Margaret Jolly. In Sites of Desire. EconomiesofPleasure: Sexualities in Asia andthe Pacific. L Manderson and M. Jolly, eds. Pp.99-122. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

WEEK 2: Sept. 27 (M) Uses & Functions of Visual Culture: NW Coast (N. America), Olmec (Mesomerica), Elema (Papuan Gulf, Papua New Guinea) (Video: "Box of Treasures") Terms: utilitarian, transactional, body art, tattoo (tatau) cicatrization, scarification, "elevation to uselessness", La Venta, eravo (men's house), hevehe, ma-hevehe, eharo, narrative & descriptive/abstract & relational                Reading. Rubin, pp.43-54; "Power Plays" by S. Price (PrimitiveArtin Civilized Places pp. 68-81) Sept.29 (W) The Visual Culture of Nomads: Australian Aborigines

Terms: demiurge, Dreaming, Dreanitime, rock art, body art, Arinhem Land, churinga (tjuringa). bull-roarer, woomera/spear-thrower

Reading: Rubin, pp.55-66; Chapter 1, "A Journey to Recognition: The 'Discovery' of Aboriginal Art" by Howard Morphy (Aboriginal Art pp 11-140. London: Phaidon Press, Ltd., 1998)

  Oct.l (F) Australian Aborigines (Video: "Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia")

Terms: wandjina, mimi, namarakain

Reading: "Embedded Aesthetics" by Fay Ginsburg (Cultural Anthropology 9(3): 365-82, 1994); Chapter 2, "A Lasting Record: Rock Art as History," by Howard Morphy (AboriginalArt, pp.41-64)

WEEK 3: Oct.4 (M) Discussion in Groups. Topic: Art's Function and the Indigenous Voice (Be prepared to discuss the videos and the article by Ginsburg)  
Oct. 6 (W) The Visual Culture of Nomads: Wodaabe Fulani of West Africa

Terms: Sahara, Sahel, Turareg, tattoo, suudu, calabash (gourd) pyro-engraving, worso, vaake, gerewol

Reading: Rubin, pp.67-72; Recommended Reading: Nomadsof Niger by Carol Beckwith

  Oct.8 (F) Fulani (Video: 'The Way of the Wodaabe")

Reading: "Fieldwork in Common Places" by Mary Louise Pratt Writing Culture, 27-50,1986)

Nov.3 (W) The Maori - continued. (Film: "Te Rua", Part 1)

Reading. "The Meeting House in Contemporary New Zealand" by Bernie Kernot (Art and Artists ofOceania, pp.181 - 197)

Nov.5 (F) (Film: "TeRua", Part 2)

WEEK 4: Oct.11 (M) The Visual Culture of Sedentary Hunters & Gatherers: Asmat of Irian Jayn, New Guinea Terms: yen (men's house), bis (mbis, p1.: ancestor pole), mangrove, sago palm, praying mantis, hocker, Fumeripits, wowipits

Reading: Rubin, pp.7382; "The Areas of Asmat Artifacts" by Tobias Scneebaum (Art and Identity in Oceania, 36-43)

  Oct.13 (W) Cannibal Talk: The Tourist In New Guinea

Reading. "Tourist Art, Traditional Art, and the Museum in Papua New Guinea" by Philip Lewis (Art andIdentityin Oceania, 149-163)

* * * Assignment Due: Typed, double-spaced paper topic with an explanatory paragraph describing your project and discussing your role as ethnograpber, your informant list and questionnaire. Due in class

  Oct.14 (W) Film: "Cannibal Tours" Art Building, Room G, 6:30 pm.

Reading: "Of Cannibals, Tourists, and Ethnographers" by Edward M. Bruner. (Cultural Anthropology, vol.4(4):438445, 1989)

Oct.15 (F) The Visual Culture of Non-Centralized Sedentary Cultivators: Pueblos of North America

Terms: pit-house, Anasazi, Mogollon, Mimbres, Hohokam, Mesa Verde, Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, adobe, kiva, sipapu,kachina, Zuni, Hopi, itiwana, tableta, Cliff Palace, Awatovi

Reading: Rubin, pp. 83-96; Recommended Reading: MimbresPainted Pottery by J.J. Brody

WEEK 5: Oct.18 (M) The Southwest and Pueblo Images and Imaginings Terms: Athapascan, Navajo (Diné) & Apache (Indé) hogan, dry painting, vei, Gan masquerade

Reading: "A New Mexican Rebecca: Imaging Pueblo Women" by Barbara A. Babeock (Journal of the Southwest, 32[4]: 400-437, 1990)

Oct.20 (W) Discussion In Groups. Topic: The Tourist Gaze and Outsider Constructions of Indigenous Identities. (Be prepared to discuss the videos and the article by Babcock)

Oct.22 (F) Exam #1 (terms and objects from Sept. 20. - Oct.13 [Asmat])

WEEK 6: Oct.25 (M) VismI Culture of Non-Centralized Sedentary Cultivators: Senufo of West Africa Terms: Cote d'Ivoire, Poro society, Sandogo society, Sando, kponyugu mask, kpelie mask, kwonro headdress, nosolo mask, madebele (rhythm-pounder), tefalitpitya staff, sinzinga, kagba, Katyeleeo.

Reading: Rubin, pp. 96-104; Recommended Reading: Artand Death in a Senufo Village by A. Glaze

Oct. 27 (W) The Visual Culture of Centralized Sedentary Cultivators: The Maya

Terms: Tikal, Yaxchilan, Palenque, Bonampak, stela (p1. stelae), Leyden Plaque (of Moon-Zero-Bird-Balam-AhauChaan), lintel, glyphs, fresco, Classic Period (A.D.250-900), Pacal (Shield), Temple of the Inscriptions, Shield Jaguar, Lady Xoc (Shark)

Reading: Rubin, pp.105-117; Recommended Reading: The Blood of Kings by L. Schele and M.E. Miller, pp.175-208; 282-285; 317-322

Oct.29 (F) TheMaya,continued

Reading. "Sacrifice and Sexuality" by Andrea Stone (The Role of Gender in PreColumbianArtand Architecture, pp.75-103, 1988); "Looters Rob Graves and History" by Ian Graham and "In Defense of the Collector" by Gillett G. Griffm (Nat. Geographic, 169[4] [1986]: 452-465)

WEEK 7: Nov. 1 (M) The Visual Culture of Centralized Sedentary Cultivators: Maori of New Zealand Terms: A Te Aroa, taniko, hei-tiki,tohunga, moko, koruru (gable mask), Robley

Reading: Rubin, pp.177-124; "Contexts of Maori Moko" by Peter Gathercole (Marks of Civilization, pp.171-177. 1988) and "The Maori Woodcarvers..." by Roger Neich (Cultural Survival Quarterley 6(4):32-35, 1982)

WEEK 8: Nov.8 (M) Discussion Groups. Topic: Issues of Repatriation-Eroticism,Exoticism, andtheMarket (Be prepared to discuss the video and the articles by Graham and Griffin)  
Nov.10 (W) The Visual Culture of Centralized Sedentary Cultivators: Asante of West Africa.
Terms: Akan languages, Kumase, asantehene, ahene (pl. ohene), Osei Tutu, Golden Stool (Sika Dwa Kofi), Kofi Kakari, akua'ba (pl. akua'mma), kuduo (pl. nkuduo); treasure-box), goldweights, lost-wax casting process, kente cloth, parasols, okyeame (councilor's/linguist's staff)

Reading: Rubin, pp. 124-138

  Nov.12 (F) Exam # 2 (Oct.15 [Pueblo]- Nov.7 [Maori]
WEEK 9: Nov.15 (M) Asante (Film: "A Great Tree has Fallen" [The funeral of Asantehene Prempeh II])  
Reading: "Mediation: The Evolution of Royal Diplomacy" by Kwesi Yankah (Speaking for the Chief [Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press] pp. 25-44, 1995)
Nov.17 (W) Confluence & Conflict: North American Plains (Cheyenne, Oglala, Lakota [Sioux])   Terms: parfleche, quillwork, beadwork, Sun Dance. bison, tipi. counting coup, ledger books

Reading: Rubin, pp.139-145; "Crisis & Creativity: The Ghost Dance Art Style" by T. Thomas (Wounded Knee: Lest We Forget pp.28-37, 1990) & "Lakota Beaded Costumes of the Early Reservation Era" by M. C. Bol (Phoebus 4 [1985] 70-77

  Nov.19 (F) The Voice of the Native American Artist

Terms: Fort Marion, Howling Woff, Wo-Haw, Lt. Richard Henry Pratt, Ghost Dance, James Luna, Installation Art

Reading: "Portraits of Dispossession in Plains Indian and Inuit Graphic Arts" by J. Berlo, (Art Journall 1990 [Summer]: 133-141; "Native American Art: Pride and Prejudice" by Robin Cembalest (ArtNews 91 [2][1992]:

86-91) and "I've Always wanted to be an American Indian" by James A. Luna (Art Journal 51(3][1992]: 18-27)

WEEK 10: Nov.22 (M) Confluence & Cultural Hybridity: Postconquest Andeans of South America Terms: K'ero, Felipe Guaman Pomade Ayala, Tawantinsuyu, Chinchaysuyu, Quechua   Reading: Rubin, pp. 145-148; "From Looking to Seeing: The Image as Text & the Author as Artist" by Mercedes Lopez-Baralt (Guaman Poma de Ayala: The ColonialArtof an Andean Author (NY: Americas Society] pp. 14-31, 1992)

Nov.24(W) Thanksgiving

Nov.26 (F) Thanksgiving

WEEK 11: Nov.30 (M) Convergence: 20th Century Hybrids, Appropriations/Evocations & Reconsidering "Western Art" Terms: Willie Herron, Chicano/a, Quetzalcoatl, Aztec, placa, Rose Parade, ofrenda, Dia de los Muertos

Reading: Rubin, pp.149-155; Rubin, pp. 155-162; Rec. Reading: Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirntation. 1965-1985

Dec.1 (W) "Catch-up" Day

Dec.3 (F) Discussion Group: Topic: "Hybridity" and some "Final" Thoughts

Reading: "The Primitivist and the Postcolonial" by Nicholas Thomas (Colonialism's Culture, pp.170-95, 227-30, 1994)

PURPOSE: The grouping together of Africa, Oceania and the Native Americas in a course such as Art History 060 suggests that societies in these geographic areas share something that sets them apart from the cultural traditions of Europe and Asia. However, the grouping of these cultures is not prompted by similarities found in their respective visual cultures or other social practices. Rather, all of these cultures have been impacted by a former colonial presence and they are studied by scholars in similar ways. In this paper, we will investigate ourselves by employing the research techniques (ethnography and ethnographic analogy) usually reserved for the examination of others. This assignment should demonstrate that human creativity extends far beyond the restrictive boundaries of "art" as it has historically been conceived in the West. By means of this assignment, you will become an ethnographer conducting original research; in so doing, you are encouraged to question both the methods of ethnography and traditional assumptions about what constitutes "art."

A secondary goal is to provide the opportunity for you to develop research and writing skills. While independent, analytical thought will be stressed, grammar, spelling, and organization count! Use a standard style manual for references, footnotes, and bibliography.

NOTE: Two student papers from a previous year have been placed on reserve in at the library. You should read them carefully for structure and content in order to get an idea of what is expected


TOPIC: After reading Pearlstone's chapter on "Convergence" (in Rubin, pp. 149-162), select an object or practice from contemporary visual culture that will allow you to explore "art as technology" right here in Santa Clara, California (or your own hometown). Possible subjects include: Dorm room decor, coiffure, body art (nail painting, cosmetics, piercing, tattoo, etc.), holiday observances, fine china, graffiti, refrigerator magnets, bumper stickers, decals, etc.

STRUCTURE OF PAPER TOPIC PROPOSAL: The paper topic proposal should consist of four typed, double-spaced pages. Usea 12 point font.

Page 1: Cover page. Include your name and the class meeting time on this.

Page 2: Once a topic has been chosen, one to two paragraphs describing your project and discussing your role as ethnographer. In the context of explaining your project describe what you are investigating, how you will proceed, and what you hope to fmd. In this essay, you should seriously consider your role as the ethnographer of your particular subject (What attracted you to this topic? What are you gaining by conducting this research? What are you giving your informants in exchange for their time and information? What responsibilities do you have as an ethnographer). Your essay should include your reactions to one or more of the points made by Mary Louise Pratt in "Fieldwork in Common Places" (in) Writing Culture:

The Poetics and PoliticsofEthnography, ed. James Clifford and George E. Marcus (Berkeley: Univ. of Calf. Press, 27-50, 1986).
Page 3: a list of at least 5 "informants." Include a couple of sentences describing the informants and their relationship to you

Page 3: a questionnaire listing between 10 and 15 questions that will elicit information about your topic from these informants. Be careful to structure your sentences in a manner that does not elicit a simple"yes" or "no" response.


METHOD: Make sure that your informants know what you're upto and have agreed to cooperate--a good ethnographer does not harass her/his subjects. Usually an ethnographer offers something in exchange for information; consider what might motivate your informants to cooperate with you. The responses of your informants as well as your own observations will provide you with the basis of your term paper. Note: Beware of the differences between "insider" and "outsider" explanations (insider = the reasons people give for doing what they do; outsider = explanation for the behavior of others).

Once you have done at least a portion of the interviews and have thought a good deal about the topic you chose, you should locate several books or articles on Africa, Oceania, and/or the Native Americas which deal with a similar topic (festivals, costume, body art. architecture, etc.). Complete your investigations using these works for comparative material and new ways of thinking about your topic. (The text or recommended readings may be used as one source). Be sure you paper includes a brief ethnographic analogy derived from this comparative work For many, this will be the most difficult aspect of the paper as it requires conceptual thinking; make sure you understand how ethnographic analogy can help your study and what its limitations are. Refer to Pearlstone's analogies in Rubin, pp. 149-162, for examples.

THE FINISHED PAPER: Your final paper should be 5-7 pages, typed, double-spaced using a l2 point font. It should include a title page, bibliography containing at least 3 outside sources (not including your text) "Outside sources" are sources actually used in the paper. Youshould not include works that arenotreferenced in the body ofthe paper. Also include illustrations (if needed) and your questionnaire as an appendix. If the body of your paper does not include a description of your informants, include a second appendix containing this information. The following will be valued:

an introductory paragraph which includes a clear statement about what you chose to investigate explicit reasoning, with frequent signposts and transitions to guide the reader

clear distinctions between information received from informants and your own observations

a concise ethnographic analogy which reveals a new point of view

a concluding paragraph which reiterates what you have accomplished

a neat, proofread paper




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Folio DT 547.45.B67 B Beckwith, Carol Nomads of Niger. New York: Abrams, 1983.
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  Jolly, Margaret Sites of Desire, Economies of Pleasure: Sexualities in Asia and the Pacific. L Manderson and M Jolly, eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997
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