Requirements

A student who enters Whitman without any prior college-level preparation in art history will have to complete 36 credits to fulfill the requirements for the art history and visual culture studies major. Courses completed in the major apply to the fine arts and cultural pluralism (selected courses) distribution areas.

The major: A minimum of 36 credits, including Art History 103, 490, at least one 300-level course and one non-Western course. A maximum of two approved courses from outside the department may be used to satisfy major requirements. This includes credit from off-campus programs, transfer credit, and appropriate Whitman courses that focus on the functions and/or production of visual culture (including all studio art courses). The senior assessment, administered during the student’s final semester, is a two-hour oral exam that focuses on coursework in the major completed at Whitman.

The minor: A minimum of 18 credits, including Art History 103. With the approval of the department chair, one course from outside the department may be used to satisfy the minor requirements.

For the art history and visual culture studies major with an art studio minor, no course may satisfy both the major and minor requirements. When the same class is required in both the major and minor, an additional class will be required after it has been approved by the art history and visual culture studies department.

The P-D-F option may not be used for the major or minor.

Learning goals

Major-specific areas of knowledge:

  • Demonstrate an ability to critically situate artists, movements, artworks, artifacts, exhibitions and other visual practices within larger historical frameworks.
  • Demonstrate a familiarity with the historiography of the study of visual texts and artifacts.
  • Demonstrate a facility with contemporary cross and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of visual texts and artifacts.
  • Understand the interconnectedness of cultural production across different geographic and historical contexts.

Accessing academic community/resources:

  • Retrieve and evaluate relevant resources from libraries, databases, archives and collections.

Communication:

  • Express ideas cogently through forms of oral and written communication, including visual analyses, in-class presentations, reviews, curatorial texts, research papers and examinations.

Critical thinking:

  • Synthesize, assess and apply existing scholarship to the study of visual texts and artifacts.
  • Analyze visual texts and artifacts through their socio-political roles, cultural and market values, materiality, iconology, aesthetics and ethics.

Research experience:

  • Generate original analyses of artists, movements, artworks, artifacts, exhibitions and other visual practices based on primary and secondary sources.