Art History

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Undergraduate Seminar Classes

Please note that not all courses are offered every semester. This listing is not considered authoritative. Please visit Access.SMU for authoritative course offerings including meeting times, professor, and more.

ARHS 4300/CFA 3300: Calligraphy and Culture: Vision, Line and Design in World Artistic Traditions
A multidisciplinary inquiry into the cultural history of calligraphy and line in several major cultural traditions of the world: readings and discussions will encompass philosophical, anthropological, archaeological, materialist, cultural-historical and art-historical perspectives on line and cultural signification in the visual arts.

ARHS 4101, 4102, 4201, 4202, 4301, 4302: Undergraduate Majors Directed Studies and Tutorials
Independent study for undergraduate majors under the direction and supervision of a faculty member. A directed study is a close collaboration between the professor and an advanced student who conducts a rigorous project that goes beyond the experience available in course offerings. The student must secure written permission from the instructor and return a completed directed studies form to the Center for Communication Arts office before the start of the term during which the study is to be undertaken.

ARHS 4111, 4211, 4311: Undergraduate Museum Internships A credit-bearing museum internship available to majors with a GPA of 3.000 or higher.

ARHS 4304: The City as Place
Given to us by ancient Roman reality and myth, the distinction between the city as a physical place, the urbs, and the city as an idea, the orbis, created a long- standing link between territory and ritual, locale and law, nation and citizen, and homeland and world. The class investigates the city in Italy in space and time as it is the locus of such cultural to-and-fro. The goal is to better understand the complexities of the Italian city, as it is a living entity. In time, the period of study spans some 3,000 years, from the Etruscan foundations of Rome to Richard Meier’s Jubilee Church, located along the suburban periphery of the city. Topics include the Italian city of antiquity, early Christianity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque and Modernism. The class consists of city and museum tours, lecture, readings, discussion, and short essays (SMU-in-Rome).

ARHS 4310: Seminar in Ancient Art
Specific topics are chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 4315: Seminar on Northern Renaissance Art
Specific topics are chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 4320: Seminar in Medieval Art
Specific topics are chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 4321: Word and Image in the Early Middle Ages
There are three purposes to this seminar: to encounter a distant but crucial moment in the history of the understanding of the image; to join powerful minds in thinking about the nature of the image; and to ask how it was that different stances to the image came to divide Byzantium, Islam and the medieval West in the decades between 692 and 843.

ARHS 4322
Specific topics are chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 4330
Specific topics are chosen by the instructor

ARHS 4331: Seminar on Spanish Art
Specific topics are chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 4344: Images of Power: Kings, Nobles and Elites in 17th-Century France
Using art, literature, history and philosophy, this course explores the social, political and intellectual life of the French monarchy, aristocracy and elites of the 17th century in and around Paris. As the course is set both intellectually and physically in Paris, students will visit monuments and museums to encourage them to make immediate connections between what they read and what they see. (SMU-in-Paris)

ARHS 4349: Seminar in Contemporary Art
Specific topics are chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 4350: Seminar in Modern Art
Specific topics are chosen by the instructor.

ARHS 4351, 3350: Modern Art and Media Culture, 1789–1870
Examines the emergence of a public sphere and a culture of looking in the 19th century. Discusses European visual art in relation to the rise of museum and gallery culture, journalistic illustration, the department store display window, photography and the panorama, the art critic, and early cinema.

ARHS 4352: Paris and London: Industrial Capitalism and the City
Offers a cultural history of Paris and London between 1850 and 1920. In addition to a discussion of the architectural and social transformation of the cities into modern metropolises is a look at responses to those transformations in the visual arts, music and literature. Lectures emphasize the architecture, sculpture and photography of the period, and also address subjects ranging from the operas of Offenbach to the novels of Flaubert to the world expositions of 1867 and 1889.

ARHS 4391: Art History Honors Thesis
Part I of two-term Art History Honors Program sequence. Research-based directed study with thesis adviser. Enrollment by permission of instructor only.

ARHS 4392: Art History Honors Thesis
Part II of two-term Art History Honors Program sequence. Completion of writing honors thesis. Enrollment by permission of instructor only following successful completion of ARHS 4391.

ARHS 4399: Research and Methods in Art History
This seminar introduces students to seminal texts and contemporary debates in the research and writing of art history. Each week is de- voted to a fundamental critical issue raised in the study of images and objects, including form, materials, content, context, connoisseurship, taste, biography, iconography, social identity, politics, ideology, class, and economics. Students read, discuss, and compare the many methods adopted by art historians and use those methods in discussions of objects in Dallas- Fort Worth collections. The course also contains a research and writing workshop component in which students are introduced to research tools, taught writing skills specific to art history, and guided through the process of conducting scholarly research. Enrollment is required for art history majors and is a prerequisite to all other 4000-level seminars in art history.

Areas of Study



Art History

Undergraduate Studies

Graduate Studies


Introductory Classes

Ancient Art History Classes

Directed Topics in Art History Classes

Medieval Art History Classes

Renaissance and Baroque Art History Classes

Modern Art History Classes

British and American Art History Classes

World Art History Classes

Undergraduate Seminar Classes


Faculty and Staff

Graduate Students

Art History Newsletter

Department Projects

Dallas Resources

Libraries and Visual Resources

Community Engagement


Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts