Monday, January 6, 2014

Spring 2014 course

ART 309/509: Site and Time in Contemporary Art
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Semester:  Spring 2014

Wednesdays: 12:30PM - 3:15PM MIT B49
Lecturer: Nicole Ridgway
Office Hours: By appointment for face-to-face or real-time chat.

Course Description:

The main aim of this seminar is to advance student's understanding of some of the key theoretical approaches and relevant critical concepts, as well as the diversity of themes and artistic practices, concerning site and time in the contemporary art world.

The course will draw out a number of ideas and questions about the place and practice of both site and time (and their overlap) in recent art-writing and -making, exploring, for example, the idea of the dispersed site and the not-located site; the politics of memory and counter-memory, of memorialization versus monumentality; the power of anachronism and expanded time as artistic strategies; the place of the activated spectator and shifting notions of medium and materiality; the archival effect; or the turn to the notion of the heterotopia in recent installation art.

Drawing on examples from, amongst others, installation art, immersive environments, interactive art, earth work, video and performance art, public and community art, sculpture and painting, the class will look at a wide range of case studies, as well as examine key readings/theorists in the field.

Geography 905: City, Environment, Nature
Instructor: Ryan Holifield
Assistant Professor
Department of Geography
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Phone: (414) 229-4868
Fax: (414) 229-3981

The purpose of this seminar is to introduce graduate students to different ways of conceptualizing, theorizing, and researching urban environments and urban natures. Through close, intensive readings of a series of books and articles, we will examine several different approaches to urban ecology, including approaches grounded in systems theory, environmental history, radical urban political ecology, and actor-network theory, along with related poststructural approaches. In the process, we'll consider a wide range of substantive themes: urban ecosystems, natural resources, environmental justice, sustainable cities, health risks and hazards, and urban infrastructures, just to name a few. This seminar will be of potential interest to students in geography, urban studies, urban planning, architecture, anthropology, history, sociology, urban education, biological sciences, and others interested in the relationships between cities and nature or the environment.


Arch 750: Proseminar on Environment Design Research
Instructor: Arijit Sen
Associate Professor
Department of Architecture
Office: AUP 320

This class examines how each of us may delineate an area of expertise and integrate it within our research and teaching portfolio. I hope to use the example of my own research and my own intellectual biography in order to critically reexamine how knowledge areas impact our work. We will meet for 3 hours every week and devote 1 hour to pragmatic concerns of life every other week. Your grades will be based on 1) quality of participation, level of intellectual engagement, written weekly assignments, if any, and preparation during class discussions (60%) and 2) final project (40%).  During this course you are expected to compile a final project made up of 1) your research portfolio, curriculum vitae, teaching portfolio and job application samples and 2) lead several in-class discussions, and 3) write your program of studies and/or preliminary examination prospectus.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

"Does Williamsburg Still Matter? 
Preservation and Storytelling in the 21st Century" 
Free Lecture by Jeff Klee, Architectural Historian – Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Friday, June 14, 2013 
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Place: Villa Terrace Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53202

"Messin' in the Kitchen": New Possibilities for Community Public/Oral History in the Digital Age” Free Lecture by Michael H. Frisch, Professor of American Studies and History and Senior Research Scholar at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo
Tuesday June 18, 2013. 6:30-8:30PM 
Place: 2650 N. Wahl Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53211 (North Point Lighthouse)
Both events are free and open to the public 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

BLC students will present at the American Folklore Society Annual Meeting

We will be there in full strength at the AFS 2013 Annual Meeting

Yuko Nakamura (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), Identifying "Common" Places as Cultural Resources: An Experimental Study on the Transmission of People's Systems to Evaluate Vernacular Places

Sustainable Models: Case Studies and Perspectives on Field Schools Sponsored by the Public Programs Section Section
Guha Shankar (American Folklife Center), chair
Meghann E. Jack (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Gerald Pocius (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Arijit Sen (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), Kim Stryker (George Mason University), Chelsea Wait (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

BLC Field School wins national award

Picturing Milwaukee: Thurston Woods Pilot Study, the 2012 BLC Field School directed by Arijit Sen received the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH)  2013 Award of Merit.
The Award of Merit is presented to recognize excellence for projects (including civic engagement, special projects, educational programs, exhibits, publications, restoration projects, etc.), individual achievement, and organizational general excellence.

Sen will receive the award on behalf of the field school participants on Friday, September 20, 2013 at the AASLH annual meeting in Birmingham, AL. The 2013 BLC Field School will be held at the Historic Water Tower Neighborhood.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

News from BLC Madison

The Department of Art History is pleased to announce that longtime affiliate, Prof. Preeti Chopra will join the department starting in the fall semester.   A graduate of the School of Architecture at Ahmedabad, India, and the University of California at Berkeley, Prof. Chopra’s research and teaching focus on architecture, landscape and urbanism in colonial and post-colonial India.  She will teach AH372, Cities of Asia, in the fall semester. 

The Department will also gain new strength in the broader field of Islamic art, architecture, material and visual culture starting in the fall semester.  Dr. Jennifer Pruitt has accepted a tenure-track position funded by the Mellon Initiative for the Humanities.  Currently a lecturer at Smith College, in Northampton Massachusetts, Jennifer Pruitt received her A.B. magna cum laude from Smith College, and her Masters and Ph.D. from Harvard University.  Her research focuses on the architecture and material culture of the Islamic Middle East with particular focus on Fatimid Cairo in the tenth and eleventh centuries.  She also has research interests in Islamic ceramics and contemporary street art associated with the Arab Spring in Egypt. She will teach an introductory History of Islamic art and architecture (AH600 taught at 300-level) in the fall semester.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

New Courses for Fall 2013

Animals in Contemporary Culture
Instructor: Lane Hall
Course: 722 Special Topics in Contemporary Culture: Animals in Contemporary Culture
Th  6:00 p.m. - 8:40 PM, Curtin  939
We will explore how animals are represented within contemporary Western culture through the analysis of theoretical texts, movies, literature and visual art. Reflecting more broadly upon the role of nature within culture, we will also look at institutions dedicated to animals, such as pet shops, zoos and natural history museums, and seek to gain a better understanding of our complex relationship with the animal, and ultimately, what it means to be human.


History 700: Introduction to Public History
Instructor: Jasmine Alinder
M 4-6:30 PM
3 credtis
Instead of history that is written by and for academics, public history focuses on popular understandings of the past. From museums and monuments to textbooks and documentary film, forms of public history reveal as well as conceal the tensions involved in codifying historical events on local, national, and global levels. This course will introduce students to different debates and practices in the field of public history. Class discussion will often address the following questions: Why is the presentation of history for the public often such a controversial enterprise? How do people use history for their own ends? What role does visual culture play in the portrayal of the past? 

Contact Information (for further information)
USP:     414-229-4751     NWQ 5498 (Bldg B, take red elevators to 5th floor) 


This course examines how historians understand urban problems and how historians produce scholarship. By reading and discussing several examples of historical scholarship, students will prepare to write research papers and present their findings to others in the class. Scaffolded assignments build toward the production of a 15-20 page, 
archivally based research paper. Students enrolling in this course should be aware that assignments require significant time in the UWM Archives, whose business hours are limited. Urban Studies students enrolled in this course should plan to present their papers at the USP Student Forum in the Spring of 2014.

3SEM 001397714:00 PM-6:40 PMT09/03-12/12Seligman, AmandaHLT 341 PDF

For More information contact Amanda I Seligman at or Urban Studies Programs, 229-4751.

History of American Vernacular Architecture and Landscapes
Instructor; Anna Andrzejewski
MWF 11:00-11:50 | L150 Elvehjem Building, UW-Madison
This upper-level undergraduate/graduate course examines an array of American vernacular buildings and landscapes from the colonial period to the present to consider what they can tell us about the past (and potentially the present).  As a course on "vernacular," it encompasses the ordinary or everyday spaces and places that people encounter daily (houses, workspaces, institutional buildings) but rarely think about critically.  Because these environments often were (and are) ordinary (that is, not high-style, not designed by architects, landscape architects, professional designers, etc.), traditional art historical frameworks that focus on stylistic categories or maker's biographies prove rather ineffective in interpreting them. Thus, this course will look at recent work by scholars from the fields of anthropology, history, American studies, cultural geography, landscape architecture and history, folklore, and material culture to construct frameworks that help us understand the significance that vernacular environments have had for their makers and users.  In so doing, we will also consider question the need for the category of “vernacular,” as the approaches we discuss may be brought to bear upon any aspect of the built environment.  

Attendance at lectures and discussions is expected, and the reading load for this course is heavy.  There will be several short writing assignments and quizzes. A all-day field trip to the rural landscapes of southwestern Wisconsin and field projects in Madison are required as part of the course, as are visits by noted scholars of Wisconsin vernacular architecture and landscapes.


Art History 701, Practicum in Art History: Bibliography, Historiography
Instructor: Anna Andrzejewski
W 1:30-3:30 in L170, Elvehjem Building
The Art History Department offers Art History 701, Practicum in Art History: Bibliography, Historiography, Methods every fall. This course is intended as a course for those interested in methods of art historical research. Although required of incoming graduate students in the Department of Art History, the course is open to students in related departments who may utilize art historical methods, particularly qualitative ones, in their research.  It is particularly appropriate for students in fields such as Design Studies, Material Culture, Anthropology, History, Geography, and Landscape Architecture (students in these programs have taken it in the past).

For more information on the course and a sample syllabus, please contact Anna Andrzejewski, Associate Professor, Department of Art History, at | W 1:30-3:30 | L170 Elvehjem Building)


ART HISTORY 600, History of Islamic Art and Architecture.
Instructor, Jennifer Pruitt, Assistant Professor

Mondays/Wednesdays, 2:30-3:45

This course surveys the architecture, landscape, book arts, and luxury objects produced in Islamic contexts from Spain to India from the 7th through the 21st centuries. Attention will be focused upon the relationships between Islamic visual idioms and localized religious, political, and socioeconomic circumstances. In particular, lectures and readings will examine the vital roles played by theology, royal patronage, ceremonies, gift exchange, trade, and workshop practices in the formulation of visual traditions.


ART HISTORY 430, Topics in Visual Culture: Calligraphy to Graffiti: Art and Popular Culture in the Islamic World

Instructor, Amanda Rodgers, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities

Tu-Th, 2:30-3:45

This course is an introduction to Islamic arts and popular culture in contemporary context(s), as well as to diverse experiences and practices of Muslims around the world. It teaches students to assess their current assumptions about Islam and to think critically about representations of Islam and Muslims in the media, particularly in a post-Arab Spring world. This course allows students to engage critical and relevant questions, such as: What is Islam’s relationship with visual culture and the art world? Is Islam hostile to images? Can we speak of a single “Islamic” art. By the end of this course, each student will be able to:
Demonstrate basic knowledge of the beliefs and practices of Islam
Demonstrate knowledge of the historical context in which Islam developed in various regions
Demonstrate knowledge of the multiple meanings of Islamic art among diverse groups and cultures outside the Arab world
Demonstrate knowledge of the multiple meanings of Islamic art and practice for Muslim women
Write and speak thoughtfully and critically about issues and concerns relevant to Muslims and the art world
Demonstrate knowledge of historical and contemporary religious debates relevant to a wide variety of artistic practice
Think critically and freely about portrayals of Islam and Muslims in the media


Course Number; ARTHIST 370
Instructor: Professor Jennifer Johung
Classroom: MIT 195, Tues/Thurs: 12:30 PM-1:45 PM
Credits: 3
Description: This course examines current trends in architectural practice, focusing on the materiality and temporality of organic, animate, portable, interactive, sustainable and bio-mimetic structures within performative, digital, and virtual architectures.  Today, buildings are no longer only conceived as objects, but are designed and constructed according to what they do on site or how they perform in response to their users’ needs.  Through a selection of contemporary case studies, we will explore a building’s flexible relationship to its physical or digital environment while analyzing its bodily-like movement and responsiveness to both real and virtual users.
Contact Info: