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Virginia Raguin, Professor of Art History


This is 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.

The seminar 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: Formalism, Historic Context, Iconography, Marxism,Feminism, Biography, Film Criticism, Freud and Psychoanalysis, Semiotics, Structuralism, and Deconstruction.

For almost 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 Society.

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)

   College of The Holy Cross   |   1 College Street, Worcester, MA 01610   |   (508) 793 3480   |   Copyright 2002   |                  email   |  virginia raguinraguin@holycross.edu