ARTH307: Arts of Latin America

Course Syllabus for "ARTH307: Arts of Latin America"

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A chronological and thematic survey of the major themes and developments in the history of Latin American art, this course traces the evolution of visual culture over approximately four millennia.  Organized into three parts, the course begins with the pre-Columbian period (1800 BC to AD 1492), moves into the years of European contact and conquest (AD 1492 to 1800), and concludes with an overview of modern and contemporary art across the Americas.  You will learn to identify and describe works of art and discuss the broader historical and social contexts in which they were produced and circulated. The first part of the course will introduce you to the major artistic achievements and archaeological record of the ancient Mesoamerican and Andean cultures: monumental architecture, urban planning, painting, sculpture, and portable arts.  The study of colonial art focuses on Mexico, Peru, and Brazil, introducing concepts of artistic hybridity and diversity, indigenous and national cultures, and transatlantic encounters and exchange.  Turning finally to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the course considers artistic production in such avant-garde city-centers as Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and São Paulo.  Throughout the course, you will consider thematic questions relating to the expression of Latin American identities, the relationships between art, religion, and politics, and the nature of “non-Western” art. Building on the foundations of the Core Program, Arts of Latin America offers a focused survey of art that is often excluded from conventional canons of the field.  If you are familiar with Western Art History, this course will expose you to a fascinating, parallel history of art that challenges and enriches your knowledge of how art evolved globally over time.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Identify major monuments and works of art from Latin America, recalling such information as the name of the artist or culture, date or period, medium, location, and title.
  • Construct a visual analysis of a single artwork or a small group of works through the identification of visual form, thematic content, and historical context.
  • Discuss major movements in Latin American art and identify their characteristics.
  • Recognize stylistic developments and trace influences between different Latin American cultures and over periods of time.
  • Explain the relationship between artworks from Latin America and the cultural, social, economics, and political contexts in which they functioned and were produced.
  • Discuss critical themes relating to the definition of Latin American art and its relationship to “Western” art history.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have a basic understanding of computers.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt)

√    Have competency in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Course Information

Welcome to ARTH 307.  Below, please find general information on this course and its requirements. 
Primary Resources: The study material for this course derives from a range of free online content, and includes historical overviews, academic analysis, and primary sources.  The primary resources for this course are:

Requirements for Completion: In order to successfully complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and its assigned material in the order in which they are presented. 
Note that you will receive an official grade only on the final exam.  A minimum score of 70% on the Final Exam is required to “pass” the course.  Your score on the Final is tabulated immediately following completion, and you will have an opportunity to retake the exam if needed.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.