AIS 170 A: Survey Of North American Indian Art

From Totem Poles to Tennis Shoes – Art and Culture on the Northwest Coast

Meeting Time: 
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
Location: 
LOW 206
SLN: 
10198
Instructor:
Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse

Syllabus Description:

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Puppet by David Robert Boxley (Tsimshian)                             

 

Totem-Poles_Stanley_Park.jpgFrom Totem Poles to Tennis Shoes:

Art and Culture on the Northwest Coast

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AIS 170 - Spring 2015

 Dr. Katie Bunn-Marcuse

 kbunn@u.washington.edu

 T, Th 1:30-3:20pm, LOW 206

 

For an overview of the daily class plan, go to the Course Work Overview (filed under "Pages" at left).
For

 

individual assignments, click on the Assignments tab at left.
For Review Slides, click on "Pages" and then choose the Review Slides page.

 This course is new to the Canvas platform and changes will be made to improve the site throughout the quarter.  Canvas works best with Firefox or Google Chrome.  (It does not work well with Internet Explorer.)

Course Description: This course will be a survey of Native art as a cultural expression of the Indigenous people of the Northwest Coast.  We will study material expressions (“art”) of the Native people of Puget Sound, British Columbia, and Southeast Alaska from ancient times to the present as well as exploring regional styles, with emphasis on aesthetics, cultural function, and factors of change as well as ceremonial and commercial art.  Topics will include sovereignty, the impacts of historical and present-day colonialism, appropriation, and other issues of current concern.  Each week we will look at a different cultural area and focus on particular themes within each area.  

Course Goals:  This course has multiple goals.  The first is to expose students to the art and culture of the Indigenous people and to their particular forms of expression through material culture or "art."  In addition to gaining an understanding of this particular kind of expression, we will explore the methodologies of art history:  learning to look at and describe a work of art both verbally and in writing.  A key goal of the course is to become aware of the history and ongoing responsibilities, both personal and institutional, and relationships with the Indigenous people of our region and their tangible and intangible expressions of identity and heritage.

Learning Objectives:  Students will learn to recognize tribal styles and to analyze artworks on a formal and contextual level.  Writing assignments will help to develop the skills of written description and argument. We will practice critical reading skills and comparative techniques and apply them to the objects or practices under examination.  

Writing Assignments: Writing assignments will require close reading and analysis of class material. The writing in this course will focus on the central concepts presented in the class and in assigned readings.  Writing will be a key part of engaging with course material through reading responses and other short on-line and in-class writing work. Critical thinking and reflection will be part of the weekly expectation in this class.  Your dedication to documenting your critical thinking in class preparation materials will strongly influence your success on exams and other written material.

 

Teamwork: You may occasionally be assigned to a team that will be expected to produce certain material for class discussion.  For those assignments, teams will lead discussion of certain topics and will be responsible for that day's reading assignment.  You are challenged to find a way to promote discussion of those topics.
Students participating in study teams agree to do the following:
·       Prepare the required material (for example, do all the required reading or assigned research)
·       Complete any tasks that the group assigns to its members
·       Report online in a timely fashion for any “virtual” meetings
·       Actively participate during the sessions in ways that further the work of the group
·       Help promote everyone's learning and success
·       Provide assistance, support, and encouragement to group members
·    There will be 5 Team assignments during the course of the quarter.  Participation in all five will earn full credit for this part of your grade.

 

Why Teams Work: The benefits of working with teams are well-documented by research on teaching and learning.  These include better retention of course material, improved ability to synthesize (not just memorize) information and sort through complex concepts.  If you are not comfortable working on a team, this may not be the course for you.

 

Required Text: Class readings will be available in a course packet available at EZ Print and Copy just north of the U Book Store on University Way NE with additional material on-line as pdfs or links via the class website. Packets will  be ready on Wednesday, April 1st.

Images:  Selected images from the class reader will be available online as you review class material for exams and writing assignments.  You can find them on under "Review Slides" which are in the "Pages" tab on the left hand navigation column.

Office Hours:  I will be available to chat most days after class or by appointment any day at the Burke Museum. (Come to the back, West loading dock entrance and ask the receptionist to see me).   Individual appointments in person or via Skype can be scheduled via email at any time. (Officially office hours are Tuesdays 10:30-12:30 but anytime is fine.)

 
Grading:  The course will be graded according to the following formula:
20% Class preparation and team participation - daily reading & responses, discussion participation
10% Burke Museum and Seattle Art Museum Exhibit Reflection
25% “Inspired” Writing Assignment
45% Exams: 20% Mid-term, 25% Final

Class meetings:  Class meets on T, Th for lecture and discussions. An atmosphere of collegial support respecting diversity and differences of opinion is essential and participation is encouraged and expected from all members of the class. Prepare to chat with your classmates about your assigned readings. Bring a copy of your reading responses to share with others and to facilitate your own participation. Having your reading packet in class will be handy.  Coming to class prepared is essential to participating in the discussions.  Taking notes in class and in your reader will be key to success on midterms and finals. ***Use of personal technology in class is restricted to note-taking and internet access for class activities.  Please refrain from other activities because they are distracting to the students around you.

Expectations for Success:  All students can succeed in this class.  There are a number of resources available on campus for additional help; please contact me if you would like some assistance finding the best help for you.  Your most helpful resources are your classmates.  Use may use the Groups function on Canvas to aid your individual study time by posting questions to your colleagues or form a study group to review information and augment your understanding.

Participation & Attendance:  This success of this class depends on the active participation of all members.  By attending, you agree to participate in discussions of reading material and additional material presented in class.  Your insights and questions on the materials are a valuable part of the content of this class. Share the thoughts you have generated from your assigned writings and model the types of analyses presented in class.
 
Late & incomplete work:  Writing assignments will be graded down (B to B-) for each day past the due date. Reading responses are due by noon on the day of discussion.  They may be turned in early but will not be given credit if they are turned in after the discussion day.  Late exams will not be accepted without a doctor's note.  If you need an extension on any work due to personal circumstances, please talk to me in advance so we can plan appropriately.  Flexibility comes with advance notice.

Teaching Philosophy: In my classes, students track artworks through time, exploring their ceremonial, commercial, and personal contexts in ways that illuminate both the details and the broad strokes of cultural and social exchanges. Writing and speaking about an object’s visual impact challenges many students to approach the subject with a creativity and openness that engenders wide-ranging discussions and deep thinking by student and professor alike. My own training in formal analysis and attribution supports in-depth discussions of style and form, situating objects historically with regard to time and place. I strive to pair formal analysis with a robust art historical approach, integrating components of historical, cultural, and social as well as aesthetic concerns, building in an ethno-historical approach to sources.  A critical element to this approach is engaging with First Nations artists, academics, and culture-bearers, to share their knowledge and experience of the dynamic history of cultural processes.  I strive to bring Native artists and academics into my classroom to provide first-hand discussion of the issues in their own practice.

The core of my research and teaching engages the social life of an object within its cultural paradigm and as it travels outside of the original sphere of production.  As well, discussions of contemporary art practice must also integrate current political and legal issues into an interpretive framework.  Critical understanding of the colonial relationships that led to the alienation of Indigenous material culture is the foundation of any serious discussion of contemporary political and legal constructs that impact Indigenous sovereignty over land, knowledge, material expressions, and human rights. 

My number one priority in teaching Native American art history is for students to develop recognition of and respect for Native art forms and more generally for Indigenous culture.  I want them to realize that these are living cultures, still in existence and changing through time.  This goal is accomplished through the content of the course, guest lectures by Native artists and scholars, and through my enthusiasm and respect for the subject.  Visits to local galleries and museums as well as projects that focus on art in public places by local Native artists draw students’ attention to the Indigenous roots in our environment.   

 

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Lyle Wilson (Haisla) painted version of the 19th century "Final Exam" box

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Additional Details:

Course Description: This course will be a survey of Native art as a cultural expression of the Indigenous people of the Northwest Coast.  We will study material expressions (“art”) of the Native people of Puget Sound, British Columbia, and Southeast Alaska from ancient times to the present as well as exploring regional styles, with emphasis on aesthetics, cultural function, and factors of change as well as ceremonial and commercial art.  Topics will include sovereignty, the impacts of historical and present-day colonialism, appropriation, and other issues of current concern.  Each week we will look at a different cultural area and focus on particular themes within each area.  

Course Goals:  This course has multiple goals.  The first is to expose students to the art and culture of the Indigenous people and to their particular forms of expression through material culture or "art."  A key goal of the course is to become aware of the history and ongoing responsibilities, both personal and institutional, and relationships with the Indigenous people of our region and their tangible and intangible expressions of identity and heritage.

Learning Objectives:  Students will learn to recognize regional styles and to analyze artworks on a formal and contextual level.  Writing assignments will help to develop the skills of written description and argument. We will practice critical reading skills and comparative techniques and apply them to the objects or practices under examination.  

Catalog Description: 
Major American Indian art traditions of North America. Pre-contact and early-contact-era traditions and the evolution of Indian art forms in contemporary times. Design and techniques in Indian art.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Other Requirements Met: 
Credits: 
5
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
December 8, 2017 - 3:22pm