Virginia Raguin, Professor
of Art History
SEMINAR IN ART HISTORY
a highly flexible course, designed to allow students to pursue their
own interests while sharing an understanding of other points of
view. The course is required of senior majors in art history. In
the past, however, minors in Art History and English, Classics,
History, and Philosophy majors have taken the course. A comprehensive
knowledge of artistic periods is not required. There are no exams.
Students chair and share discussions and work on their own projects.
We work a great deal with art as exhibited in museums and also as
experienced in community settings. Thus a major aspect of our discussion
concerns the purposes and strategies of museums.
is comprised of weekly discussions
where students review the methodologies of art as outlined in
the course text (Laura Schneider Adams, Methodologies of Art).
This is a highly accessible text that students have found provocative.
For about nine class sessions, students each chair a seminar discussion
on a "method" of viewing art. These topics have included:
Context, Iconography, Marxism,Feminism, Biography, Film Criticism,
Freud and Psychoanalysis, Semiotics, Structuralism, and Deconstruction.
half of the course, students work on a capstone
project designed by the student in conjunction with an
outside advisor/reader as well as the instructor. Previous semesters
the advisors/readers included faculty from the Departments of
Modern Languages, Theater, Classics, Philosophy, English, Visual
Arts/History, Visual Arts/Studio, the SETA program, and two Worcester
institutions, Preservation Worcester, the American Antiquarian
Each semester there are two or three major events, a film, lecture,
or exhibition (often at the Worcester Art Museum). We review all
exhibits in the Cantor Gallery on
campus, invariably attending as a group. Students also participate
in a 2-hour majors' review held by the Studio Division.
During one or two evenings during the December exam time, students
maker oral presentations of their own projects. We have traditionally
served dinner in the seminar room to students, advisors, and guests,
and then have 2 hours of presentation (students talk for about
15 minutes each)