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.
Art History and Visual Culture Studies graduates go on to work in a host of fields. Many pursue advanced degrees and all continue to put the critical and creative skills they’ve acquired to use. A degree in AHVCS opens up an array of possibilities. Read more about the experiences of our graduates in their Alumni Reflections and by clicking on one of their quotes below.
Annotations & Announcements
Along The Columbia River: Maya Lin and The Confluence Project
February 1, 2021 • In 2018, the Confluence Project donated their archival materials to Whitman College. These include blueprints, site surveys, models and maquettes, drawings and sketches by Maya Lin and the artists, architects and engineers with whom she collaborated. Over the past two years, students in ARTH 352 Art/Environment, along with Associate Professor Matt Reynolds, Penrose Library archivists, and Maxey Musuem Director and Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor Libby Miller, have been planning an exhibition of this material on Whitman’s campus. Along the Columbia: Maya Lin and the Confluence Project, will be on display at Whitman’s Maxey Museum from April 23 to July 30, 2021.
Lisa Uddin Papers, 2004-2014
January 1, 2021 • The Lisa Uddin Papers consists of the research materials for Zoo Renewal: White Flight and the Animal Ghetto, adesign history of zoological parks in the United States. The collection spans from approximately 2004-2014, and contains ephemera and research materials from zoos in Detroit, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Diego, Portland, Rochester, Providence, Baltimore, and Toronto.The collection reflects Uddin's particular interest in the revitalization of the U.S. zoo space and institutional identity in the 1960s and 1970s as it pertains to urbanization, wildlife conservation, and American race relations.
New Scholarship on Race and Modern Architecture
August 11, 2020 • Prof. Uddin publishes new research on race and modern architecture.