Christina M. Spiker

Christina M. Spiker

Art Historian | Professor | Digital Humanist

Course // History of Photography (St. Olaf College)

COURSE INFORMATION

History of Photography
ART 256 | St. Olaf College

DESCRIPTION

Explore the history of photography as an artistic medium, a cultural expression, a technological marvel, and a social text. During our class we will travel around the globe, analyzing photographs from Europe and the United States, in addition to examples from China, India, Peru, Mexico, Germany, France, Great Britain, South Africa, and Japan. In addition to exploring photography as an artistic medium, we will look at the cultural discourse of photography, and engage in discussions on ethics, nationalism, gender, race, mass culture, and memory. Accordingly, the course includes readings from disciplines as diverse as art history, visual studies, visual anthropology, and sociology. Covering over a century of photographic practice, students will gain the ability to deeply understand and analyze the shifting medium of photography and its sociocultural contexts.

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Course // Arts of Japan (St. Olaf College)

COURSE INFORMATION

Arts of Japan
ART/ASIAN STUDIES 260 | St. Olaf College

DESCRIPTION

Survey the arts of the Japanese archipelago from the Neolithic period to the present day. This course investigates diverse works such as funerary remains, Shintō architecture, Buddhist sculpture, castle architecture, woodblock prints, hanging and hand scrolls, gardens, tea ceremony, oil and ink painting, performance, photography, and fashion design. We will use visual analysis to discuss themes such as patronage, religious expression, social organization, traditional technologies, indigenous and imported techniques, urban design, and the political functions of art. This course will emphasize various connections between Japan and other cultures through the 21st century that have helped shape Japan’s dynamic aesthetic traditions.

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Course // Art History: Renaissance through Modern (St. Catherine University)

COURSE INFORMATION

Art History: Renaissance through Modern
ARTH 1110 | St. Catherine University

DESCRIPTION

This course introduces the history of art from the early Renaissance in Europe to the present in Europe and the U.S. It surveys the artists, architects, and art movements that constitute the canon of Western art since the Renaissance with an eye to examining how society influences artistic production. The role of patronage, individual artistic personalities, religion, war and peace, and attitudes about gender are explored throughout and compared across geographic boundaries. This course provides comparative global examples to understand Western movements in context. The basic principles of visual analysis are taught and utilized; students are also introduced to fundamental methods of art history such as iconography, formalism, and social art history.

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Course // Ways of Seeing (St. Catherine University)

COURSE INFORMATION

Ways of Seeing
ARTH 1150 | St. Catherine University

DESCRIPTION

“The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe.” John Berger made this claim in 1972, when he published a thin, but hugely influential book called Ways of Seeing. This course intends to bring Berger’s statement – and the insights of his book – to bear on our own experiences of art, history, and visual culture in the early 21st century. An introduction to the history of art and visual culture, this course considers local and global case studies that implicate images, image makers, and viewers. These are explored according to themes that cut across historical and geographical boundaries, themes that include, but are not limited to visual culture and ideology, beauty and art, the female body and the male gaze, iconoclasm, piety and religious spaces, museums, popular and consumer culture, and social change.

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Course // Visual Culture in Modern Japan (St. Olaf College)

COURSE INFORMATION

Visual Culture in Modern Japan
ART 276 | St. Olaf College

DESCRIPTION

Explore Japan through the mass production, distribution, and consumption of Japanese visual and popular culture. Students will learn how to analyze a diverse array of visual material—architecture, advertising, animation (anime), art, comics (manga), digital idols, film, graphic design, mascot culture, music, and video games. In discovering the popular construction of “Japaneseness,” the course will proceed thematically to address issues of nationalism, race, gender, domesticity, consumer culture, subculture, environment, and Japan’s relationship with its minorities from 1950 to 2015. Using methodologies from visual studies, media studies, art history, film studies, and anthropology, the goal of this course will be to rethink Japan as a site of local and global pop culture flows.

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Course // Japanese Civilization (St. Olaf College)

COURSE INFORMATION

Japanese Civilization
HISTORY 252 | St. Olaf COllege

DESCRIPTION

This course is an introduction to Japanese civilization from its beginnings in the Jōmon period through WWII. We take a multidisciplinary approach grounded in history to examine the development of Japanese culture and literature, in addition to religion, art, and popular culture; political institutions such as the monarchy, the shogunate, and the samurai class; and social and economic change. In addition to examining the lifestyles of the elite, this course also puts emphasis on the lives of ordinary people and minorities in Japan. Many of the assigned readings are literary works in translation, and we will evaluate them as both aesthetic works and as works of historical value. We will also examine Japan’s relationship with the outside world as a way to reflect on Japan’s values, institutions, invented traditions, and historical heritage. This course carries general education credit in MCG and major credit in History and Asian Studies. It also counts toward the Japan Studies concentration.

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