The discipline of art history and field of visual culture studies move across a spectrum of social and historical contexts and conceptual frameworks. Students taking courses in AHVCS focus on histories of artistic production and material culture. They investigate the lives of images, artifacts, and built environments, and consider how visual practices have shaped values, experience, identity and action.

Whitman College offers major and minor study programs in art history and visual culture studies. Both programs present a flexible and rigorous curriculum that incorporates perspectives from other fields, including Environmental Studies, Asian Studies, Race and Ethnic Studies, and German Studies. Our courses enable students to explore, understand and evaluate topics as diverse as the form and function of early Indo-Islamic architecture, European design theory and production, art and urban revitalization, and decolonizing the museum.  Major and minor students become familiar with the history and historiography of visual texts, and contemporary interdisciplinary approaches to the study of representation in its multiple forms.

Annotations & Announcements

  • Celebrating Prof. Crockett's retirement with good modernist eats

    June 21, 2018 • A snapshot from Prof. Crockett's retirement party.

  • Prof. Gulbransen on Worshipping the Sun

    June 20, 2018 • As part of her sabbatical, Prof. Gulbransen delivered a public lecture at Vassar College last Spring entitled "Prayer, Performance, & Politics: Portraits of the Mughal Emperor Akbar Worshipping the Sun."

  • Black One Shot

    June 7, 2018 • Black One Shot, an art criticism series devoted to black visual and expressive culture.

  • Archiving Environmental Art

    May 11, 2018 • This summer, AHVCS major Laura Rivale will be working with Prof. Reynolds to process Whitman's new acquisition of archival materials from Maya Lin's Confluence Project. The project is series of earthworks installed along the Columbia River that confronts issues of climate change and habitat depletion in the Pacific Northwest.

  • The Radical Art of Collaboration

    May 9, 2018 • 2017-18 marked a year of collaboration between Art and AHVCS. Students in Prof. Pietrantoni's printmaking courses created posters inspired by radical political printmaking, while students in Prof. Uddin's Introduction to Art History and Visual Culture Studies classes wrote curatorial statements about these and other justice-oriented print portfolios housed in the Whitman College and Northwest Archives. Two exhibits ensued. Well done all!