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The MCAD Liberal Arts Department offers an integrated curriculum that deepens your understanding of artistic and visual traditions and cultivates your creativity in a wide range of fields.

Liberal arts courses introduce you to the historical, social, cultural, and creative contexts in which contemporary art and design fields exist; encourage you to articulate and transmit creative and critical ideas to a variety of audiences; and ultimately support you through your artistic development by providing you with the skills and knowledge necessary to make insightful critiques of consequence in your life and practice.

 

Liberal Arts Foundation

AH 1701
Introduction to Art and Design: History 1
3cr.

The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the major stylistic, thematic, cultural, and historical transformations in Western and non-Western art history from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century. This course helps students develop critical tools for the interpretation and understanding of the meaning and function of art objects, architecture, and design artifacts within their original historical contexts. Class sessions consist primarily of lecture with some discussion. Students take in-class examinations and complete short essay assignments.

 

AH 1702
Introduction to Art and Design: History 2
3cr.

This course introduces students to issues in modern art, popular culture, and contemporary art and design. Topics might include the expanding audience for art, the transformation of the art market, the impact of new technologies, the changing status of the artist, and the role of art in society. This course is taught as a seminar with some lecture. Students take in-class examinations and complete short essay assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 1

 

EN 1100
Reading and Writing 1
3cr.

Effective writing requires innovative thinking and creative engagement. Students in this course focus on building a writing portfolio by developing college-level writing skills and using these skills to produce a variety of assignments. Regular writing workshops allow students to concentrate on experiential and practical approaches to writing. Students explore a variety of texts and objects through class assignments. By the end of the course students have the foundational skills to be reflective and eloquent writers. Class sessions are composed of seminar discussions, group work, and writing workshops. Course requirements include participation, presentations, directed group work and research assignments, and a portfolio of seven essays.

 

EN 1200
Reading and Writing 2
3cr.

Key to the creative and critical nature of college-level writing is the idea that students explore a topic by developing a thesis that changes as they ask questions, explore ideas, and conduct research. To that end, this course extends and concentrates the thinking and communication skills introduced in Reading and Writing I. The foci of this course are developing a thesis; engaging in critical and sustained research; and drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading a finished research project. As a result, students become increasingly adept at utilizing a wide variety of research tools, from published books to online search engines. The final project is a completed research paper and a visual presentation using programs such as PowerPoint. Class sessions are composed of seminar discussions, research exercises, presentations and debates, and writing workshops. Course requirements include participation, presentations, a research journal, a major research paper, and a final research presentation. Prerequisite: Reading and Writing 1

 

Art History

 

AH 3365
History of Animation
3cr.

This course surveys the history of the animation medium explored through various methods and techniques, as well as through shared themes from various countries and filmmaking traditions. Central topics include: propaganda, personal filmmaking, abstraction, technical innovations, and politics and social protest. Connections between animation and editorial caricature, the fine arts, the avant-garde, illustration, and media other than film are made throughout the course. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH 3367
History of Print Paper Book
3cr.

Printed books revolutionized the world, making information accessible to the public and advancing the cause of literacy and education across the globe. The invention of printmaking also made unique art forms possible. This course focuses on the history of creating images and objects in print and book form, from Medieval Codices to the present, by focusing on various techniques and media. Emphasis in class lectures is placed on discussions of artistic explorations and technical innovations across various artists and movements. Classes are primarily lecture with class and small group discussions. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH 3377
History of Illustration
3cr.

This course celebrates artists as storytellers and illustrators. Students examine the history of visual communication produced by draftsmen from the early modern period to the present day. Course material combines a chronological overview with surveys of selected genre categories. Readings, discussions, and research projects concentrate on the results (styles and subject matter) of changing technology, historical events, contemporary art trends, cross-cultural influences, and changing reader expectations. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH 3378
History of Web and Multimedia
3cr.

This course examines the artistic and technical evolution of electronic and digital media. Students explore how these media develop, as well as how artistic and technical practices merge. Students gain an in-depth knowledge of web and multimedia concepts through focused engagement with key artists, inventions, events, and experiments. This course seeks to map the impact of these media on art, technology, and daily life. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH 3394
Focus on Film: Science Fiction
3cr.

Science fiction is the future talking to the present. It is the movie genre which was, at first, taken least seriously, and now is seen as not only a metaphor of where we are today but also a glimpse into the future This class looks at science fiction films historically, artistically, philosophically, technologically, and even religiously. The class begins by looking at the earliest science fiction movies from the silent era. The course then proceeds decade by decade, from the Golden Age of sci-fi in the 1950s, to the archetypal adventures of the 1970s, to the present day with its investigations of humanity's attempt to discern an ultimate reality. Each week students examine a seminal film that has mapped out new realms, both scientifically and thematically, in a journey that can lead us into the darkest reaches of our science and our souls. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH 3412
History of Furniture Design
3cr.

This course traces the evolution of furniture design as it follows the story of human history. Students examine furniture as part of an evolving human culture of habit, convenience, and status. Attention is given to various movements and styles within the history of furniture design and manufacture. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion and field trips. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH 3436
Contemporary Art
3cr.

This course surveys themes in global art practice from 1990 to the twenty-first century. Students examine the impact of globalism, identity politics, and new media on artists and curators. Lectures analyze these themes in conjunction with related social trends, theories, technological developments, and political/historical events. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. Students also visit local museums and galleries and attend relevant artist talks, lectures, and exhibitions. Students produce weekly writing assignments and complete a research paper. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

AH 3568
History of Sculpture
3cr.

Sculpture has its own language of form, and understanding this language yields insight into the history of art in general. This course begins by examining the sculpture of the Greeks and continues through to the present day. Special attention is given to the historic contexts of artistic production from the guilds to private studios, the examination of materials and techniques such as bronze casting or the carving of marble and limewood, and the context in which sculptures are viewed. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH 3600
History of Filmmaking
3cr.

This course explores the ways in which film styles, meanings, and uses have developed over time, from the medium's earliest efforts to the present. Through screenings of narrative and avant-garde films in the form of excerpts, shorts, and feature-length films, students analyze the varied choices made by international filmmakers. The goal is to appreciate and understand differences in filmmaking traditions and techniques rather than to create a chronological survey of the art form. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH 3610
History of Photography
3cr.

Since its beginnings, photography has grown from an exotic technology used only by specialists to a socially ubiquitous representational form generating millions of images daily. This course surveys the development of the medium from an early commercial tool to its influence upon artistic trends and ultimately to an acceptance of photography as an aesthetic medium. Particular attention is paid to individual photographers involved in Pictorialism, Surrealism, Pop Art, Postmodernism, and digital media, and their works are contextualized within changing technological, economic, and institutional frameworks. Classes are primarily lecture with discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH 3657
History of Comics
3cr.

Although comics now include a vast collection of different articulations of image and text, their shared history reflects the movement from strictly pulp publications on cheap paper created by assembly line artists to complex stories with provocative images. This course follows the history of comic art from The Yellow Kid to global manifestations of the art form, such as Japanese manga and French BD. The development and range of image and textual forms, styles, and structures that differentiate the vast compendium of such work inform the discourse in class. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH 3659
History of Graphic Design and Advertising
3cr.

The fields of graphic design and advertising have altered and been altered by technological advances, and these transformations are ongoing. This course examines the history of the discipline of graphic design from its early practices to the present, emphasizing advertising as a primary expression of graphic design and the particular way in which the Internet has allowed for design to impact the culture at large. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission; Prerequisite for BSc students: instructor permission

 

AH 3660
History of Drawing and Painting
3cr.

In this course, students explore the art of artists who work in the media of drawing and painting. The course may focus on the work of individual artists, on particular movements and styles, or on the history of technical developments and trends in drawing and painting. Contemporary practices may also be addressed. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH 3676
Focus on Film: The Western
3cr.

No movie genre (and no other art form) better describes the heart and soul of America than the Western; in fact, there is perhaps no truer way to understand what America is all about, for good and bad, than that greatest of contemporary mythologies. In this course, students examine the Western Film from its beginnings in the Silent Era, through its greatest period of invention in the late 1930s through the early 1960s, to its tragic demise in the 1970s and miraculous rebirth in the 1990s and beyond. Each week students watch one of the great Western Films and then examine it not only as a work of art, but also as a window into truths of American culture. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH 3864
Readings in Photographic Culture
3cr.

This seminar-style course explores photographic culture through focused readings in the theory and history of photography, covering the period from 1839 to the present. These texts facilitate discussions of the ways in which technological transformations and concepts like truthfulness, documentary ethics, and authorship are presented and negotiated in the work of specific photographers. This course is an opportunity for students to discuss the historical and changing philosophical nature of the photographic medium. Students complete a number of written assignments, including short essays, and a final research paper. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

AH 3913
Art History Theories and Methods
3cr.

This course introduces students to the theories and methodologies of art history and familiarizes them with key concepts that inform past as well as contemporary criticism in the visual arts. In addition, the class focuses on the manner in which cultural definitions of art shift from one historical moment to the next, and how various methodologies in art historical research help make these transformations explicit, understandable, and, in some cases, predictable. In completing this course, students gain familiarity with the historical and theoretical frameworks within which to place art and artistic practice. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

AH/HS 3325
Native American Art
3cr.

Most Native American tribes do not have a word in their languages for “artist,” yet the arts are a living part of both daily life and ceremonial tradition. Focusing on the works of selected tribes, students in this course look at Native American art, architecture, and aesthetics. Emphasis is placed on the nineteenth century to the present. The impact of outside forces on continuities and changes in traditional forms is also explored. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. Students take examinations and complete short essay assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH/HS 3430
Neuroaesthetics
3cr.

Can a particular form or set of stimuli always or reliably bring about a particular result? While there is still divided opinion as to how far an understanding of neurological functions can go in explaining how art “works” on the viewer or reader, scientists and artists alike have turned to neuroaesthetics to explain the aesthetic experience through a science of the mind. The new awareness of how cognition builds up, how synaptic leaps are created, and how viewers notice schematic elements in a given work are all evidence that neuroaesthetics provides an interdisciplinary nexus to bridge art and science, body and mind. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

AH/HS 3500
Visual Perspectives
3cr.

Visual perspectives are systems for creating space and distance on a flat surface. Different cultures position the viewer in varied ways that condition what they see and the way they see it. Linear perspective is a seminal event in Western art history in which the position of the individual observer became an engine for the development of Modernity. This course focuses on the historical development of various visual perspective systems and their impact on conceptions of space and time. Class sessions are an equal mix of lecture and discussion. Students complete short essay assignments as well as midterm and final examinations. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH/HS 3605
The Hollywood Musical Film
3cr.

Perhaps no genre better displays the brilliance of classic American filmmaking than the Hollywood musical. By examining these films, students can explore the deeper social and cultural implications in the stories, music, and production qualities of each film. Every week the class watches a major musical in the screening session and then in class they discuss the films and consider style, story, and social context. Among the films studied are 42nd Street, Singin' in the Rain, West Side Story, and Chicago. Students write two papers and take midterm and final examinations. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH/HS 3606
World Film: Art Film and Independents
3cr.

For the last half-century, the look, language, and subject matter of film have been blown wide-open. This change is the work of dedicated and curious cinematic visionaries from every continent, and this course explores several of their works, beginning with the 1950s and advancing to the present day. The ultimate goal is to see how these artists have challenged expectations of classical form or appropriated themes and how a globally interconnected world cinema has developed. Works by acclaimed directors are shown and compared to lesser-known filmmakers’ equally vital and influential works. Classes are primarily lecture and discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH/HS 3607
Great American Directors
3cr.

This course examines U.S. film directors, from the dawn of the talkies to the present day, and explores what made these particular individuals great filmmakers. Each week students study the work of a U.S. director from seminal decades in filmmaking, from the emergence of the old studio system to its breakdown, from the new generation of filmmakers that emerged after the studio system to the leaders in the current transformations in the film industry. Directors’ works are studied technically, structurally, thematically, and as cultural artifacts of the times in which they were made. The course may focus on directors from particular eras, for example the 1980s to the present, or on particular genres such as the Western or the Musical. Class sessions are primarily lecture-based with some discussion. Students take a midterm and final exam and complete a fifteen-page research paper. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH/HS 3624
Gender, Art, and Society
3cr.

This course focuses on the idea of gender and its impact on the production, consumption, and analysis of art. Course topics may include gender and gender ambiguity in art and visual culture, the shifting definition of the artist in history, institutions that shape artists' outlooks, and feminist and postmodern theories of gender. The relationships among gender, art, and society are examined by focusing on particular topics, such as fetishism and fashion, and these topics are analyzed from a number of perspectives: historically, theoretically and culturally. This class includes lectures, discussions of required readings, and student presentations. Assignments may include exams as well as short essays and longer research papers. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

AH/HS 3665
Art in the Cities
3cr.

This seminar-style course focuses on artworks currently on display in Twin City galleries and museums. In-class discussions examine the history and politics of museum display, as well as the history of art criticism. Students may also be called upon to apply these analyses to activities outside the classroom, such as exhibition visits and museum lectures. Class sessions are discussion-based, and students complete several research and critical writing assignments, including the development of a proposed exhibition and catalogue. Students complete a number of written assignments including short essays and a final paper or project. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

AH/HS 3681
Topics in Cinema: Artists Film and Video
3cr.

This survey of Artists’ Film and Video offers an extensive history of how artists have brought various projected and moving-image practices into their work. Not just an introduction to “experimental film” or “video art,” this course presents work being produced at the border between the fine arts and film production. Students look at the work produced in relation to historical artistic movements of the Avant Garde such as Constructivism, Dada, and Surrealism, then study work related to the Neo-Avant Garde with Pop, Fluxus, and Minimalism. The class contextualizes that work with lyrical, poetic, and structural approaches to filmmaking as discussed in the histories of experimental cinema. Students examine the relation of artists’ film and video production to larger social and cultural issues such as feminism, postcolonialism, and globalization. Screenings include works by a range of artists such as Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Hans Richter, Dziga Vertov, Maya Deren, Andy Warhol, Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Richard Serra, and many others. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

AH/HS 3722
Asian Art History
3cr.

This course examines the art of Asia from its beginnings to the present day. It involves a regional approach, focusing on representative works from India, Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. While regional characteristics are emphasized, cross-cultural influences are also studied. Through a variety of media, including sculpture, architecture, and painting, the class gains an understanding of the broad themes and concepts that run throughout Asian art. Students consider the role of religion, for example, and offer a basic comprehension of Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto. Classes are primarily lecture with discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. The structure of the class includes lectures, large and small group discussions, and several visits to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Students complete midterm and final examinations as well as a research essay. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH/HS 3728
African American Art
3cr.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the visual art of African Americans from the Colonial period to the present. The course examines a variety of visual media from painting, sculpture, and photography to popular-cultural objects and mass-media images. In addition, students critically examine the ways in which the constructed meanings of "blackness" intersect with representational practices of gender, sexuality, and class, as well as the training and education of artists, public and private patronage, and the history of art history and arts criticism. Class sessions include both lectures and discussions. Students are required to complete midterm and final examinations as well as a research essay. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH/HS 3839
The Body in Art and Visual Culture
3cr.

In this course students critically examine the cultural meanings of representations of the body in art and visual culture. Organized in roughly chronological order, the course comprises a series of case studies in the history of representation of the body in art, science, and popular culture. Some of the topics that may be addressed are: the classical nude found in Greek sculpture, female saints‚ mystical visions of the body, photographic pornography and fetish fashion designs, aesthetic dismemberment of the body in modern and contemporary art, the transgendered body, and cyber bodies. This course is taught as a seminar with some lecture. Sessions include a mix of lecture and discussion. Students take midterm and final examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

AH/HS 3862
Bauhaus Design
3cr.

Even after the Nazis closed its doors in 1933, the Bauhaus remains a fascinating cultural phenomenon. This experimental design school challenged the relationship between art, technology, and industrial production, creating a design philosophy that has been emulated across the world. Simultaneously a school, an idea, and a movement, the Bauhaus embodies a complex narrative shaped by contradictory responses to twentieth-century modernism. While focusing on the major designers whose works and artistic philosophies shaped the Bauhaus in Germany, this course also examines the dissemination of the Bauhaus idea in the United States. Students follow these discussions with an investigation into the role of the Bauhaus idea today. Class sessions include in-depth lectures as well as discussion. Students complete short papers, a midterm and final exam, and a final research paper. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

AH/HS 3867
Readings in Contemporary Art
3cr.

Since the 1960s new paradigms for art, its presentation, and its discussion have emerged. In this course students consider major issues in contemporary art through reading key critical texts and engaging with a selection of museum and gallery exhibitions. While not a historical survey, this course does address issues as articulated through critical texts and exhibitions, seeking to maintain historical contextualization. Class sessions consist of seminar-style discussions, some lecture, and museum visits. Students produce weekly writing assignments, short essays such as exhibition reviews, and a final paper. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

AH/HS 3868
Readings in Contemporary Design
3cr.

In this course students consider major issues in contemporary design through a select group of readings. Not a historical survey, this course addresses issues as articulated through critical texts and contemporary developments. Students examine contemporary design theory along with related work and processes. This course is taught as a seminar with some lecture. Class sessions consist of seminar-style discussions. Students complete examinations and short critical writing assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

AH/HS 3875
Readings in the Graphic Novel
3cr.

The graphic novel is an art form that offers the best of both worlds. While gaining legitimacy as a literary/art form, it retains the excitement and unique properties of reading a comic book. Students in this course read, discuss, and analyze five graphic novels, as well as engage in extensively critical scholarship on and about the graphic novel form. Looking at graphic novels in the genres of mystery, superhero, manga, memoir, and works beyond categorization, students examine how these stories are structured: the forms of novel, novella, and short story help differentiate and explain the subtleties of these forms. The class focuses on social, structural, and thematic issues of these specific texts and explores the possibilities of the form itself. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

Humanities and Sciences

 

Science and Economic Systems

 

HS 3233
Ecological Issues
3cr.

Human populations and cultures have always had an impact on land, climate, and plant and animal species, and in turn, the environment reciprocally has impacted humans and their cultures. In this course, students explore ecological anthropology, which focuses on these complex relationships. Class sessions consist of a mix of lecture and discussion. Students also hear from guest lecturers, go on possible site-visits, and partake in required small group projects. Students complete two examinations as well as several short writing assignments.

 

HS 3239
The Human Animal
3cr.

This course explores the ways in which humans imagine and represent themselves as both distinct from and connected to the concept of "animal." The first part of this course covers anthropomorphism, the human-based perspective that projects “the human image” onto the “animal” world. The second part of this course examines representations of human and animal relationships. In the third part of this course, students read works by writers who explore the process of human-into-animal transformation and the animal-human hybrid. The exploration of the relationship between the animal and the human is both literary and philosophical. Class sessions are primarily discussion-oriented with some lectures. Students take notes on class lectures and discussion for credit and complete short writing assignments. Students also complete a final project.

 

HS 3317
Myth and Ritual
3cr.

By examining myth/ritual and its symbolization process, this course explores the significance of myth—spanning from the ancient Greek stories to modern comics. Anthropological and psychological theories on the origins of mythology are emphasized. Class material utilizes cross-cultural as well as comparative examples from contemporary fine arts and popular culture. Class sessions are a mix of lecture and discussion. Students complete two examinations and short written assignments.

 

HS 3340
Introduction to General Psychology
3cr.

Psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes. Psychologists use scientific methods to study the behavior and the mental activity of humans and other animals. Psychologists search for the causes of behavior both within an organism (biology) and within the environment (experiences). This course introduces students to the broad discipline of psychology, focusing on theories and research explaining behavior. Major areas include, but are not limited to motivation, sensation, perception, learning, cognition, development, stress and health, personality and psychopathology, and psychobiology. Students gain factual knowledge regarding the terminology and methods used in psychological science including fundamental principles, people, and theories important in the field while learning to analyze, synthesize, and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, theories, and opposing points of view regarding fundamental psychological principles. This course fulfills students’ Science and Economics requirement.

 

HS 3352
The Five Senses
3cr.

The five senses are the filters through which the physical world enters the artist, but many artists have no idea how they work. This course explores the anatomy, physiology, evolution, and cultural shaping of the sense, with history, science, folklore, and art as guides. Through readings, experience-oriented activities, projects, and guest experts, students develop a heightened sense of how they perceive. This class primarily consists of in-class discussion with some lecture. Students complete examinations as well as write some short and long essays.

 

HS 3357
The Natural World
3cr.

This course concerns itself with the great variety and the interdependence of species that live on this planet. Students discuss just how species evolve and grow and how they die and become extinct. Change over time in living organisms is a major theme of this course. Class sessions are primarily lecture-based with some discussion. Assignments include examinations and short essays. In addition, a biodiversity field trip gives students practical experience in observing the living and the interactive cycle of one species.

 

HS 3419
Science and Culture in America
3cr.

This course introduces students to key concepts and issues in current science, as well as the relationship between science, art, and popular culture. This course utilizes popular media sources and programs and encourages a critical approach to science and culture. Students may be required to attend Café Scientifique presentations, sponsored by the Bell Museum of Natural History, as well as other relevant museum and gallery exhibitions, programs and films. The subjects covered in this course range from environmental research to bioethics to science policy. Class sessions consist of lecture with some discussion. Assignments include written responses to readings and discussions, as well as a short term paper.

 

HS/AH 3500
Visual Perspectives
3cr.

Visual perspectives are systems for creating space and distance on a flat surface. Different cultures position the viewer in varied ways that condition what they see, and the way they see it. Linear perspective is a seminal event in Western art history in which the position of the individual observer became an engine for the development of Modernity. This course focuses on the historical development of various visual perspective systems and their impact on conceptions of space and time. Class sessions are an equal mix of lecture and discussion. Students complete short essay assignments as well as midterm and final examinations. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

HS 3518
The Computer: History, Theory, and Culture
3cr.

Software plays an important role in our modern lives, subsuming vital subsystems in transportation, defense, and communications. How has software transitioned from an experimental tool to a trusted and crucial part of our modern infrastructure? This course examines both the technical and cultural changes necessary to acquire this trust and explores whether our society’s trust is well-founded.

 

HS 3519
Visual Geometry
3cr.

This course explores the languages, structures, and principles of mathematical systems as they relate to the visual arts. It offers a view of geometry’s pivotal role in giving form to fundamental postulates underlying the study of visual art and design, such as linear perspective, composition, the Fibonacci sequence, and the golden section. Through hands-on study supplemented by drawing and paper-folding exercises, students learn to translate geometry’s spatial concepts into visual forms, while also gaining an appreciation for this mathematical tool’s enduring utility at the hands of artists, architects, and designers since ancient times.

 

BS 3852
Creating and Running a Business
3cr.

This course covers the nuts and bolts of starting and managing a business. Students learn about everything from crafting a business concept, to analyzing market demand, to developing a marketing strategy, to establishing a legal entity as well as key elements of financing, budgeting, operating, and growing a business. In a workshop setting, it examines various types of arts- and design-related businesses and the range of issues associated with each as well as key aspects of freelancing, building a business firm, and growing a business operation. Through case studies and hands-on projects, students are introduced to all elements of a successful business enterprise. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing

 

BS 3853
Essential Economics
3cr.

All of us, unknowingly perhaps, use economic reasoning daily. We consider costs and benefits when making a decision. As consumers, we attempt to maximize our utility (satisfaction). And, all of us, quite knowingly, are affected by our local, national, and even world economy. In this course students learn about supply and demand and how crucial they are to almost every element of economics. Other topics include growth, productivity, unemployment, inflation, production and cost analysis, monetary policy, and the labor market. Students also learn some basic statistics and accounting. This class is facilitated by readings, debates, discussions, games, case studies, and relevant speakers.

 

Histories, Places and Philosophies

 

HS 3043
Magical Realism
3cr.

This course focuses on novels and short stories that fit within the genre of magical realism. These works engage a combination of traditional realism infected with the fantastic, the mythical, and the nightmarish. Students read a number of novels and short fiction from different cultural contexts in order to compare the workings of magical realism around the world. Authors may include Salman Rushdie, Angela Carter, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Ursula Le Guin, Ben Okri, and Haruki Murakami, to name a few. Students also examine contemporary films that explore this genre, including the work of the Coen Brothers, Terry Gilman, Guillermo del Toro, and Charlie Kaufmann.

 

HS 3220
Media Analysis
3cr.

This course embraces and explores many forms of mass communication, applying theories to see how best to create, use, and understand everything from a news photo to a video game to a TV commercial to a political website. Students apply various media theories to a variety of examples, testing the abstract with the concrete. Additionally, the course assumes that knowing the conventions and traditions of media design, direction, and/or production is useful. Class sessions are a mix of lecture and discussion. Assignments include exams, short papers interpreting media messages, presentations exploring media theory, and a class project in audience measurement of media use or opinion.

 

HS/AH 3325
Native American Art
3cr.

Most Native American tribes do not have a word in their languages for “artist,” yet the arts are a living part of both daily life and ceremonial tradition. Focusing on the works of selected tribes, students in this course look at Native American art, architecture, and aesthetics. Emphasis is placed on the nineteenth century to the present. The impact of outside forces on continuities and changes in traditional forms is also explored. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. Students take examinations and complete short essay assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

HS 3328
Folk and Fairy Tales
3cr.

For generations, the transformative and magical powers of traditional folktales and fairytales have defined and shaped identities and character. Indeed, these literary forms have become part of everyday culture. During the semester, students in this course examine why these tales have had such staying power, the controversies that have surrounded them, and how they relate to the historical, political, and social issues of their times. From the bloody chamber of Bluebeard to the coming of age of Little Red Riding Hood, students trace the evolution of these folk narratives to the current retellings of these tales in both literature and film. Objectives of the class include gaining the ability to: read and analyze select, key examples of traditional folktales and fairytales; explain folktales and fairytales in relation to historical, political, and social issues; identify the ways in which folktales and fairytales reflect and influence everyday culture; understand and use the methods of literary analysis; and demonstrate an awareness of the transformation of folktales and fairytales up to the present day. Courses consist of discussion with some lecture. Students complete a midterm and final examination, as well as short writing assignments and a research project.

 

HS 3420
Philosophy and Art
3cr.

Philosophy is based in a desire to understand history, the world around us, and the human condition. By studying these ideas, students can begin to develop contemporary questions about their world and interests. This class examines the history of philosophy and current philosophies, both Western and non-Western. Students propose philosophical and historical questions to better understand themselves and the arts in the 21st century. Class sessions are a mix of lecture and discussion. Evaluation is based on reading assigned materials, written essays, and group projects.

 

HS 3426
Japanese for Art and Design
3cr.

This introductory Japanese language course guides students through the complex, beautiful, and unique aspects of a culture that has deep roots in tradition and history. Students learn the Japanese language using the topics of theater, anime and manga, package design, gift giving, and food. The class involves engagements with the compelling social customs and cultural communities that have emerged as even more distinct in the globalization of Japanese popular culture. Class sessions are interactive, involving some lecture but focused mostly on discussion and language use. Students complete short writing assignments as well as in-class quizzes. In addition, there are weekly homework assignments involving language usage and memorization of vocabulary.

 

HS/AH 3430
Neuroaesthetics
3cr.

Can a particular form or set of stimuli always or reliably bring about a particular result? While there is still divided opinion as to how far an understanding of neurological functions can go in explaining how art “works” on the viewer or reader, scientists and artists alike have turned to neuroaesthetics to explain the aesthetic experience through a science of the mind. The new awareness of how cognition builds up, how synaptic leaps are created, and how viewers notice schematic elements in a given work are all evidence that neuroaesthetics provides an interdisciplinary nexus to bridge art and science, body and mind. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

HS 3432
World Literature
3cr.

This course provides an introduction to literature from a global and historical perspective: from Gilgamesh to Gabriel García Márquez; from the poetry of classical China to that of Stalinist Russia. In the four thousand years of literary history that this course covers, students read epic and lyric poems, religious tracts, philosophical dialogues, short stories, novels, and plays. Along with a survey of literature of the world, this course introduces students to the methods and concepts of literary studies and analysis. Class sessions are a mixture of lecture, discussion, and group work. Course requirements include participation, presentation, response papers, quizzes, two large essays, and a final exam.

 

HS 3448
French for Art and Design
3cr.

In this French language course, students develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing competencies in order to explore more fully the art and design of French-speaking cultures. A communicative approach in French guides student progress, mixing everyday language with unique practices and objects. Course sessions include some lecture but are mostly discussion-based. Coursework includes examinations, workbook exercises, presentations, assignments on specific artistic topics, and visits to local exhibitions.

 

HS 3511
History of Jazz
3cr.

Duke Ellington once said “the pull of jazz music in American culture is so strong that no one can resist it.” Jazz is truly an American treasure that has influenced other cultures around the globe. Yet most Americans know very little about its history. This class explores jazz from its roots to its most current forms. Hear the music, study its contributions, and explore the cultural patterns and trends that surround its development. Class sessions are a mix of lecture and discussion, with some demonstrations of performance styles. Assignments include a short presentation, listening notes, a focused research paper, two short exams, and listening to a lot of jazz.

 

HS 3520
Current Events
3cr.

This course examines through various lenses the ways in which contemporary events circulate in the news, from hard-copy newspapers to online blogs, from trained journalists to eyewitness observers, and from social media venues to emerging media forms. Individuals in this course engage deeply with the local, national, and international news and explore the many sides to contemporary issues, covering a range of events, topics, and regions. Key to understanding the contemporary news is not only developing a sense of how history can repeat itself but also learning to employ strategies of critical literacy in order to examine information in greater depth and detail. How do political speeches, authority figures, media pundits, and public opinion polls influence and get influenced by contemporary events as represented in the news? What strategies and paths might help the contemporary global citizen be accurately and also critically informed about the world today?

 

HS 3523
An Ethical Life
3cr.

What does it mean to lead “an ethical life”? This course covers the writings of ethicists from Aristotle to the present and helps students understand what they know and value. Students are challenged to realize and to act upon the principles of an ethical life in their personal and professional development. To these ends, individuals in this course explore the so-called enduring questions of truth, good, and beauty through close readings of key texts from the philosophical traditions of various cultures. Students at times employ a comparative approach, situating the Greeks as well as Enlightenment figures in relation to historical and emerging traditions, both in Western and non-Western contexts.

 

HS 3525
History of Rock and Roll
3cr.

We all listen to rock-and-roll music almost every day of our lives; however few of us know much about this music’s history. This course focuses on the evolution of this truly American art form and the way it has influenced and been influenced by cultures around the world. From its gospel and blues roots to its present day manifestations, this course covers its history and variations including country and western, rhythm and blues, rock of the 1950s, Doo-wop, girl groups, the wall of sound, psychedelic, punk, and rap. Class sessions are a mix of lecture and discussion. Students take a midterm and a final exam and complete short writing assignments and a longer research paper.

 

HS 3530
Teaching Artist: Theory and Methods
3cr.

The first of a two-course sequence, this course engages undergraduate art and design students in the theory and practice of the teaching artist in schools and community and introduces professional opportunities in the field. Students explore teaching and learning theory in historical and contemporary contexts, applying theory in arts-infused peer presentations, peer teaching, classroom observation, and team teaching in K–12 classrooms. Teaching artists, arts administrators, and leaders in the art education community present models of teacher-artist collaborations, inquiry-based learning, arts-infused curriculum, arts and core content standards, organizational cultures, and teaching-artist residency opportunities. Prerequisite: Foundation-level coursework or permission from instructor

 

ID 3517
Teaching Artist: Practicum
3cr.

After the completion of Teaching Artist: Theory And Methods, students are involved in classroom observation, interaction, and visual arts-infused teaching experiences. Collaborating with mentors and supervised by a faculty member, students participate in two visual arts residencies and shadow a teaching artist. In addition to on-site observation and teaching, students also reflect on their teaching experience, create lessons and assessments, and develop presentation packets required for residency applications. Following the completion of this course, students are prepared for work as teaching artists in K–12 schools and community settings. Prerequisite: Teaching Artist: Theory and Methods

 

HS/AH 3605
The Hollywood Musical Film
3cr.

Perhaps no genre better displays the brilliance of classic American filmmaking than the Hollywood musical. By examining these films, students can explore the deeper social and cultural implications in the stories, music, and production qualities of each film. Every week the class watches a major musical in the screening session and then in class they discuss the films and consider style, story, and social context. Among the films studied are 42nd Street, Singin' in the Rain, West Side Story, and Chicago. Students write two papers, and have midterm and final exams. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

HS/AH 3606
World Film: Art Film and Independents
3cr.

For the last half-century, the look, language, and subject matter of film have been blown wide-open. This change is the work of dedicated and curious cinematic visionaries from every continent, and this course explores several of their works, beginning with the 1950s and advancing to the present day. The ultimate goal is to see how these artists have challenged expectations of classical form or appropriated themes and how a globally interconnected world cinema has developed. Works by acclaimed directors are shown and compared to lesser known filmmakers’ equally vital and influential works. Classes are primarily lecture and discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

HS/AH 3607
Great American Directors
3cr.

This course examines U.S. film directors, from the dawn of the talkies to the present day, and explores what made these particular individuals great filmmakers. Each week students study the work of a U.S. director from seminal decades in filmmaking, from the emergence of the old studio system to its breakdown, from the new generation of filmmakers that emerged after the studio system to the leaders in the current transformations in the film industry. Directors’ works are studied technically, structurally, thematically, and as cultural artifacts of the times in which they were made. The course may focus on directors from particular eras, for example from the 1980s to the present, or on particular genres such as the Western or the Musical. Class sessions are primarily lecture-based with some discussion. Students take a midterm and final exam and complete a fifteen-page research paper. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

HS/AH 3624
Gender, Art, and Society
3cr.

This course focuses on the idea of gender and its impact on the production, consumption, and analysis of art. Course topics may include gender and gender ambiguity in art and visual culture, the shifting definition of the artist in history, institutions that shape artists' outlooks, and feminist and postmodern theories of gender. The relationships among gender, art, and society are examined by focusing on particular topics, such as fetishism and fashion, and these topics are analyzed from a number of perspectives: historically, theoretically and culturally. This class includes lectures, discussions of required readings, and student presentations. Assignments may include exams as well as short essays and longer research papers. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

HS 3630
Race and Ethnicity in the United States: A History
3cr.

Race and ethnicity have played significant, complicated, and more often than not misunderstood roles in the United States’ history. This course surveys the ways race and ethnicity have been constructed and understood by Americans from the colonial era to the present, focusing on the ways that class, gender, culture, and politics, as well as biology, have defined race and the way race and ethnicity have supported ideologies that have been used to both empower and subordinate the peoples of the United States.

 

HS/AH 3681
Topics in Cinema: Artists’ Film and Video
3cr.

This survey of artists’ film and video offers an extensive history of how artists have brought various projected and moving-image practices into their work. Not just an introduction to “experimental film” or “video art,” this course presents work being produced at the border between the fine arts and film production. Students look at the work produced in relation to historical artistic movements of the Avant Garde such as Constructivism, Dada, and Surrealism, then study work related to the Neo-Avant Garde with Pop, Fluxus, and Minimalism. The class contextualizes that work with lyrical, poetic, and structural approaches to filmmaking as discussed in the histories of experimental cinema. Students examine the relation of artists’ film and video production to larger social and cultural issues such as feminism, postcolonialism, and globalization. Screenings include works by a range of artists such as Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Hans Richter, Dziga Vertov, Maya Deren, Andy Warhol, Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Richard Serra, and many others. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

HS/AH 3722
Asian Art History
3cr.

This course examines the art of Asia from its beginnings to the present day. It involves a regional approach, focusing on representative works from India, Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. While regional characteristics are be emphasized, cross-cultural influences are also studied. Through a variety of media, including sculpture, architecture, and painting, the class gains an understanding of the broad themes and concepts that run throughout Asian art. Students consider the role of religion, for example, and offer a basic comprehension of Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto. Classes are primarily lecture with discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments. The structure of the class includes lectures, large and small group discussions, and several visits to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Students complete midterm and final examinations as well as a research essay. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

HS/AH 3728
African American Art
3cr.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the visual art of African Americans from the Colonial period to the present. The course examines a variety of visual media from painting, sculpture, and photography to popular-cultural objects and mass-media images. In addition, students critically examine the ways in which the constructed meanings of "blackness" intersect with representational practices of gender, sexuality, and class, as well as the training and education of artists, public and private patronage, and the history of art history and arts criticism. Class sessions include both lectures and discussions. Students are required to complete midterm and final examinations as well as a research essay. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

HS/AH 3839
The Body in Art and Visual Culture
3cr.

In this course students critically examine the cultural meanings of representations of the body in art and visual culture. Organized in roughly chronological order, the course comprises a series of case studies in the history of representation of the body in art, science, and popular culture. Some of the topics that may be addressed are: the classical nude found in Greek sculpture, female saints‚ mystical visions of the body, photographic pornography and fetish fashion designs, aesthetic dismemberment of the body in modern and contemporary art, the transgendered body, and cyber bodies. This course is taught as a seminar with some lecture. Sessions include a mix of lecture and discussion. Students take midterm and final examinations and complete research assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

HS/AH 3862
Bauhaus Design
3cr.

Even after the Nazis closed its doors in 1933, the Bauhaus remains a fascinating cultural phenomenon. This experimental design school challenged the relationship between art, technology, and industrial production, creating a design philosophy that has been emulated across the world. Simultaneously a school, an idea, and a movement, the Bauhaus embodies a complex narrative shaped by contradictory responses to twentieth-century modernism. While focusing on the major designers whose works and artistic philosophies shaped the Bauhaus in Germany, this course also examines the dissemination of the Bauhaus idea in the United States. Students follow these discussions with an investigation into the role of the Bauhaus idea today. Class sessions include in-depth lectures as well as discussion. Students complete short papers, a midterm and final exam, and a final research paper. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission

 

HS/AH 3867
Readings in Contemporary Art
3cr.

Since the 1960s new paradigms for art, its presentation, and its discussion have emerged. In this course students consider major issues in contemporary art through reading key critical texts and engaging with a selection of museum and gallery exhibitions. While not a historical survey, this course does address issues as articulated through critical texts and exhibitions, seeking to maintain historical contextualization. Class sessions consist of seminar-style discussions, some lecture, and museum visits. Students produce a number of written projects including short essays, such as an exhibition review, and complete a final paper. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

HS/AH 3868
Readings in Contemporary Design
3cr.

In this course students consider major issues in contemporary design through a select group of readings. Not a historical survey, this course addresses issues as articulated through critical texts and contemporary developments. Students examine contemporary design theory along with related work and processes. This course is taught as a seminar with some lecture. Class sessions consist of seminar-style discussions. Students complete examinations and short critical writing assignments. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

HS/AH 3875
Readings in the Graphic Novel
3cr.

The graphic novel is an art form that offers the best of both worlds. While gaining legitimacy as a literary/art form, it retains the excitement and unique properties of reading a comic book. Students in this course read, discuss, and analyze five graphic novels, as well as engage in extensively critical scholarship on and about the graphic novel form. Looking at graphic novels in the genres of mystery, superhero, manga, memoir, and works beyond categorization, students examine how these stories are structured: the forms of novel, novella, and short story help differentiate and explain the subtleties of these forms. The class focuses on social, structural, and thematic issues of these specific texts and explores the possibilities of the form itself. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

Creative and Professional Writing


HS 3045
Introduction to Poetry
3cr.

In this hands-on class, students read the work and advice of contemporary poets, along with selected examples from the past, to hone the crafts of sound, the line, metaphor, voice, imagery, and revision in their own poems. Through guided exercises students deepen their understanding of the creative process. By viewing live and videotaped interviews and readings and exploring the publishing process, students gain a sense of the many forms in which contemporary poets appear. Class sessions are discussion-based. Students complete notes on readings, written exercises, and compile a portfolio.

 

HS 3065
Narrative and Storytelling
3cr.

Storytelling is humankind's oldest art form, and in many ways we define and know ourselves best by the creation of a series of events that almost magically transform themselves into plot, characters, and themes. How we invent and tell a story is how we see the world. Narrative and Storytelling develops students’ appreciation for plot, story arc, and character development, and familiarizes students with the various techniques of sequential narrative, non-sequential narrative, and experimental narrative.

 

HS/BS 3240
Copywriting
3cr.

This course covers basic concepts of copywriting, including the relationships between image and text, concept and tagline, and media and message. Students concept, write, and revise while studying various contemporary case studies of the creative process of copywriting.

 

HS 3509
Introduction to the Theatrical Process
3cr.

This unique class, offered in partnership with the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC), provides an introduction to the process theatre artists engage in when mounting a professional production. In this course students: Read and analyze scripts; Learn the ways theatre artists collaborate to achieve a cohesive vision on stage; Engage in discussions with playwrights, directors, and scene, lighting, and costume designers; Receive tickets to see three or four CTC productions; And practice responding to the productions they have seen by writing reviews. The goal of this class is to encourage students to learn from professional artists at CTC creative, to discover collaborative working methods and contemplate how those methods might be used in their own work, and to provide them with an introduction to how artists in all mediums come together to create a theatrical production.

 

HS/AH 3665
Art in the Cities
3cr.

This course focuses on artworks currently on display in Twin City galleries and museums. In-class discussions examine the history and politics of museum display, as well as the history of art criticism. Students may also be called upon to apply these analyses to activities outside the classroom, such as exhibition visits and museum lectures. Class sessions are discussion-based, and students complete several research and critical writing assignments, including the development of a proposed exhibition and catalogue. This course is taught as a seminar. Students complete a number of written assignments including short essays and a final paper or project. Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2

 

HS 3905
Beginning Screenwriting
3cr.

This class provides powerful tools that help students understand why a movie works or doesn't work. It teaches the basics of film structure, of writing good dialogue, and of creating effective characters and dramatic situations. Class sessions are discussion-based. Students turn in weekly assignments, starting with short scenes and problems and moving on to several short scripts.

 

HS 3910
Advanced Screenwriting
3cr.

In Advanced Screenwriting, each student develops and structures a full-length, two-hour screenplay and writes at least the first forty pages. Students first orally present the movie for feedback from the class, and then write the beginning of their script and read it for the class to critique. Feedback is rigorous but supportive, and each student is encouraged to write at a high level. It is recommended that students complete Beginning Screenwriting before enrolling in this course.

 

HS 3915
Science Fiction and Fantasy
3cr.

This class combines a close study of the works of classic and contemporary fantasy/science fiction writers with a writing workshop component. The primary focus of this class is the creation of altered realities—worlds that present a reality as different, yet connected and meaningful to our own. A series of assigned writing exercises give participants in the class the chance to build their own worlds and begin the process of peopling them with appropriate characters. Class exploration focuses on developing students' own unique logic, questions, interrogations, and approaches to fantasy/science fiction genre writing. Class sessions are discussion-based. Students complete writing assignments and quizzes, as well as a final project.

 

HS 3920
Creative Writing
3cr.

This course investigates the aesthetic issues at the heart of writing as an art in itself. Course topics illuminate the kind of thinking that guides and inspires and require students to develop presentations and to explore creatively. Students engage in deep investigations into the nature of communication and inquiries about the role of language. The class may include trips to and possibly participation in local events to enhance the classroom experience and students’ understanding of the creative writing process.

 

Liberal Arts Capstone

 

HS 5010
Liberal Arts Advanced Seminar
3cr.

The Liberal Arts Advanced Seminar enables students to pursue their own research and writing goals within a seminar setting. Projects are student-originated and consist of both a written piece and a public presentation. Class sessions are discussion-based and interactive. Group learning is emphasized. Prerequisite: Junior standing