Fall 2009: Artworlds: Contact Zones

This course looked at art worlds past and present as contact zones bringing together vastly different systems of value and groups of people. They looked at a series of case studies in which Westerners and non-Westerners create art forms, practices and styles that were direct products of intercultural contact.

ICPRH304A01 Artworlds: Contact Zones
Course can fulfill a requirement in the History of Art major at Bryn Mawr.

Taught By: Ruti Talmor
Department: Independent College Programs/Anthropology

This course will look at art worlds past and present as contact zones bringing together vastly different systems of value and groups of people. We will look at a series of case studies in which Westerners and non-Westerners create art forms, practices and styles that were direct products of intercultural contact. Through these, we will counter narratives that a)pose global interconnection as a recent occurrence and b)present modernity as a purely Western product later "exported" to the rest of the work. Instead, we will see how all culture is interculture. Always focusing on art objects, producers, practices and institutions, we will look at 1)African, Native-American, and Melanesian art worlds of "first contact" in the age of discovery; 2)the great World Fairs of Victorian Europe and America; 3)the co-construction of Primitive Art and European Modernism 4) the contemporary phenomenon of tourist art.