HAA Courses


HAA 179X Tectonics Lab: Conference Course

Andrew Plumb

Monday - 9:00am -10:00am and Friday 3:00pm - 5:45pm

Tectonics Lab introduces students to material properties, structural behavior, and fabrication-and-assembly issues in architecture through a combination of lectures, workshops, and design-build projects.  The course emphasizes two modes of architectural experimentation: analytical and intuitive.  Abstract and architectonic exercises involving these modes of experimentation will take place in a workshop format, with students working in teams of varying sizes.  Weekly lectures provide a theoretical basis for the design-build projects, with topics including fundamental, non-quantitative statics (e.g., free-body diagrams, types of forces and reactions) and generic structural approaches; material properties and fabrication; joinery and assembly; scalar transformation; modular construction; kinetic structures; and more.  Design-build projects challenge students to engage lecture material in a hands-on manner; these projects focus on the construction of full-scale artifacts that may be tested against a range of performance criteria.  In each project, students will explore the role of material expression, figuration, and formal gesture in communicating their ideas.  Project documentation through drawing, photography, and video is an essential component of coursework, and a comprehensive course portfolio will be due at the end of term.

The principal objective of Tectonics Lab is to extend our shared knowledge of material properties, structural behavior, and construction techniques by testing new ideas.  Our research model is a hybrid: equal parts scientific laboratory (where narrowly defined hypotheses are tested and evaluated) and artist’s atelier (where expression of ideas, both articulated and ineffable, is the goal).

HAA 17Z Black Rock, White City: Australian Architecture from earliest times to the present

Philip Goad

Monday & Wednesdays - 10:30am - 11:45am

Long regarded, often romantically, as an edge condition both intellectually and geographically, the architecture of Australia has charted theoretical and material practices that have realized a unique place in contemporary architectural production. A former British settler colony, highly urbanized and highly modernized, with divided historical, economic and political allegiances to the United Kingdom and the United States but placed within the context of Asia and the Pacific Ocean, possessing natural landscapes of profound beauty and climatic challenge, yet beset by ethical and competing crises of national identity, migration and indigenous reconciliation, the architecture of Australia has been sustained by an archipelago of discrete urban cultures rooted in deeply self-aware critique and frequent anxiety for participation in a broader global conversation.

This course follows the classical structure of an undergraduate program (weekly lectures and sections) to establish a rhythm between thematic issue and case study. The aim is to provide an overview of Australian architecture from earliest times to the present, to establish the links between this field and the key themes of Australian Studies, and to allow students to develop specific understandings of Australian culture within a local and international context. The course content ensures that students encounter architects and Australian people from diverse backgrounds, practice in diverse landscapes and urban settings, and connections to issues outside of the specialized limits of architecture as an art, discipline and profession. The practices of individual architects and firms studied will also introduce students to important works of Australian art, literature, film, music and popular culture.

Within each section, students are simultaneously introduced to prominent Australian architects, critical debates within Australian Studies and broad methodological and historiographical concepts in the interpretation of architecture and architectural history. In chronology and method, the course proposal parallels the current curriculum emphasis on cross-cultural and political aspects of the art and architecture of the twentieth century with the Harvard History of Art and Architecture program.

HAA 194W Worlds Fairs

Suzanne Blier

Monday - 12:00pm - 2:45pm

This seminar addresses questions of cultural display through the art and architecture of world fairs, mid-nineteenth century to present. Students are introduced to the seminal fair events beginning with the Crystal Palace in London, and extending to fairs in the U.S., France, Belgium, Spain, Japan and China. the history of fairs as artistic and social phenomenon is explored along with how these events shaped national identity, ethnicity, social class, race, imperialism, colonialism, and gender.

Freshman Seminar 31M In Pursuit of the Ordinary: Genre Painting in Boston-Area Museums

Joseph Koerner 

Monday - 1200pm - 2.45pm

This seminar looks at portrayals of everyday life in art, mostly from Europe and America, and mostly in the medium of painting. Examining original art objects in different Boston-area collections, we investigate this type of imagery as it develops into a distinct tradition. We observe its beginnings in medieval marginalia.  We trace its evolution into a specialty product from the Renaissance and through its heyday in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when it came to be called “genre painting.”  And we consider its rejection by and strange survivals in modern art.  Studying individual artworks closely, we also explore the character and missions of the public collections that house them.

Gen Ed 1083 - Permanent Impermanence: Why Buddhists Build Monuments

Jinah Kim, Yukio Lippit, Eugene Wang

Monday & Wednesday - 12.00pm - 1.15pm

Everything changes. This is, in its simplest and most fundamental formulation, one of the essential teachings of Buddhism. Buddhist communities throughout history have preached, practiced, and written about the ephemerality and illusoriness of our everyday lives and experiences. Ironically, however, many of these same communities have attempted to express these teachings in the form of monumental structures meant to stand the test of time. Some of the world’s greatest cultural heritage sites are a legacy of this seeming contradiction between the impermanence that is a central presupposition of Buddhist thought and the permanence to which these same monuments seem to aspire. If the world is characterized by emptiness and the Self is illusory, how does one account for the prodigious volume of art and architecture created by Buddhists throughout history? This Gen Ed course takes a multicultural and reflective engagement with the challenges presented by this conundrum through a study of Buddhist sites scattered throughout time and space. Pertinent topics such as cosmology, pilgrimage, materiality, relics, meditation, and world-making will be explored. Through these Buddhist monuments in South and Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, Central Asia, China, Korea, and Japan, students will learn about the rich, diverse world of Buddhist practice and experience.

HAA 291R Topics in Pre-Columbian and Colonial Art

Thomas Cummins

Monday - 3:00pm - 5:45pm

Topics to be determined in consideration of interests of students.

HAA 99 Tutorial - Senior Year

Jinah Kim

Monday - 3:00pm - 5:45pm

In the fall term, HAA 99 includes several group tutorial meetings with the senior honors adviser, where assignments are aimed at facilitating the writing of a senior honors thesis; spring term consists of independent writing, under the direction of the individual thesis adviser. Part one of a two part series.

HAA 12Y Genghis Khan and his Successors: Art in the Wake of the Mongol Conquests

David Roxburgh

Tuesday & Thursday - 10.30am - 11.45am

Is Genghis Khan’s characterization “as terrifying as genocide and as dreadful as the plague” (Time, Dec. 31, 1999) sufficient? His legacy entailed the destruction of social and cultural order, but paradoxically, his empire also forged a dynamic relationship between nomadic and sedentary societies. Genghis Khan’s successors fostered a climate of intense cultural activity in art and architecture, producing complex fusions of artistic traditions between the Middle East and China. These are the major concerns of the course, which focuses on the art and architecture produced from the thirteenth century on under Genghis Khan and his successors. Genghis Khan and his Mongol horde traversed Eurasia to create a world empire, their most enduring legacy stamped on the lands of Iran and Central Asia through their successors, the Ilkhanid and Timurid dynasties. This imperial order established a new relationship between nomadic and sedentary societies, an ongoing symbiosis of “steppe” and “sown.” To bolster their claim to rule, successive leaders exploited the knowledge of indigenous bureaucrats and craftsmen to execute their cultural program. Regional artistic traditions were manipulated and transformed into new hybrids that could demonstrate the ruler's power to the nomadic elite and to the multi-cultural urban populations under their control. These works reveal an evolving political structure and social order. The course examines how meanings are encoded through language, forms, and aesthetic features, how they are made legible, and how they may function as propaganda.

The environments from which the Mongols emerged and into which they journeyed are initially considered in terms of the heritage, culture, and ecology of the Mongols and the peoples of the lands they conquered. How did the Mongols remember their nomadic past as the balance of their lives shifted, when they became increasingly sedentarized? Which symbolic elements could be easily translated through the available forms of sedentary art and architecture? In subsequent lectures, key monuments of Ilkhanid and Timurid art and architecture will provide a framework for analyzing different facets of the process of cultural assimilation, the changing Mongol response—at first hostile and then receptive—to the sedentarized cultures that they encountered and then ruled.

Key readings are extracted from a wealth of recent literature in addition to primary sources available in English translation. No previous classes in Islamic art and architecture or in Middle Eastern history and culture are required.

HAA 138M From Byzantium to the British Isles: The Materiality of Late Antiquity

Evridiki Georganteli

Tuesday - 12:00pm - 2:45pm

This course explores the extraordinary cultural transformation Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East underwent from Diocletian's reorganization of the Roman Empire in the late third century to the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in the eighth century.  Monuments and sites, sculpture, mosaics, frescoes and ceramics, icons and relics, textiles, coins and seals chart the movement of people, commodities and ideas along routes of warfare, pilgrimage, trade and diplomacy.  Was the world of late antiquity still bearing the hallmarks of Roman connectivity, administration and culture?  Were Ireland and Anglo-Saxon Englans really the edge of the known world?  What was the extent of the Eastern Roman Empire's cultural power in late antique Europe, Africa and the Middle East?  How did religious changes influence urban topographies, geographies of power and artistic choices?

Close-up inspection of works of art in the Harvard Art Museums, the Harvard Business School and the Boston Fine Arts Museum; art making in the Harvard Art Museum Materials Lab and the Harvard Ceramics Studios; and study of archaeological records of the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis offer participants a rare insight into one of the most fascinating chapters in the history of art and architecture.

HAA 265 Topics in Northern Renaissance and Baroque Art

Joseph Koerner

Tuesday - 12:00pm - 2:45pm

 Explores landscape drawing as a specialized genre of art production in seventeenth-century Holland, and considers its historical origins, its practical and wider cultural functions, and its historical afterlife. Special emphasis will be placed on depiction of relations between land and sea, and how such relations might re-thought in light of current ecological crises. Classes are held in the Harvard Art Museums and focused on holdings of the collection, including new acquisitions that are to be featured in a forthcoming exhibition, the nature of which the course will also consider.

HAA 17K Introduction to Contemporary Art

Carrie Lambert-Beatty

Tuesday & Thursday - 1.30pm - 2.45pm

This class is about encountering the art of your time. You will learn why artists today have such a different range of choices than their counterparts in other periods, and how to make sense of the experiences they create, in order to take up the opportunities contemporary art provides: to retune your senses, reassess your assumptions, and reencounter matters that concern you as one of the globally interconnected, differently positioned constituents of the contemporary period.

310A Methods and Theory of Art History

Ewa Lajer-Burcharth

Wednesday - 10:30am - 1:15pm

A team-taught course led by the DGS based on exemplary readings designed to introduce students to a wide range of art-historical methods.

HAA 143M The Art of the Court of Constantinople

Ioli Kalavrezou

Wednesday - 12:00pm - 2:45pm

Concentrates on art and architecture created for the court of Constantinople from the 9th to the 12th century. Focuses on objects and monuments, exploring their role in political, religious, and personal events.

98br Junior Group Tutorial

Sarah Mercedes 

Wednesday - 12:00pm - 2:45pm

Group tutorial, offers concentrators the choice of several study groups investigating a particular field of art of architectural history.

Freshman Seminar 63J - Islam vs. Image?: Visual Representations in Islamic Art

David Roxburgh

Wednesday – 3:00pm - 5:00pm

Is Islam against images? For reasons that are perplexing and hard to pinpoint, this notion appears to have been promoted by ideas about Islamic doctrine and an endemic hostility toward images which has only been magnified after recent years of religious extremism and terrorism. These include the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan in 2001, and the Charlie Hebdo mass shooting in Paris 2015 over the cartoons representing the Prophet Muhammad. And yet there is ample evidence of making and using images across the time and space of Islam. The stereotype of Islam’s antipathy toward paintings and drawings, etc., has fostered the understanding that calligraphy and geometry flourished because of figuration’s illicitness. These ideas and assertions are misleading and incomplete. The Seminar is an opportunity for personal reflection and to study the issues at stake in questions about the values, forms, and functions of images and examines a broad variety of images produced throughout the Islamic lands from 600–1900. Each week focuses on a selected case study that together span diverse subject matters, mediums, functions, and contexts, and invite thought about a spectrum of modes of representation. We will learn that the condition of images in Islam is as diverse and complex as the religion itself which cannot be reduced to a unified or monolithic expression, to a singular system of belief.

HAA 206 Science and the Practice of Art History

Narayan Khandekar

Wednesday - 3:00pm - 5:45pm

This course leads students through the examination of a work of art from the collection of Harvard Art Museums using the perspectives of a curator, conservator and a conservation scientist. Students will examine and interrogate a work using these different perspectives to understand how and from what the object is made and how it has changed since its creation using visual and instrumental techniques. The course will conclude with a presentation of a forgery/attribution/authentication case by individuals. The course will be taught by curators, conservators and conservation scientists from the Harvard Art Museums.

HAA 267K Old Masters in a ‘New’ World

Shawon Kinew

Wednesday - 3:00pm - 5:45pm

As the territory of early modern European studies continues to expand, mimicking the colonization of the period under study, art historians inevitably become explorers of terra incognita claiming “marvelous possessions.” Now is an ideal moment to take stock of recent global-facing literature and methods in the art history of early modern Europe: where are we, and where are we going? The first half of this graduate seminar will do just that. At the same time, in this experiment, each seminar participant will be encouraged to choose an “old master” as their compass and test the limits of the canon. 

HAA 92R Design Speculations: Senior Design Tutorial

Megan Panzano, Lisa Haber-Thomson

Thursday - 9:45am - 11:45am

This seminar will serve as a design platform for inquiry, documentation and analysis in relation either to the thesis topic or capstone project of interest to each student. Thesis students will be responsible for selecting a Thesis Advisor (or Advisors) with whom they will meet regularly to develop specific intention, substance and methodology of the thesis research and paper. This seminar is a support of independent thesis and/or independent project research, extending methodological inquiry of the project topic to design where students may convene to collectively discuss and experiment with design speculations – design tests that explore research through the visual and spatial language of architecture. The course will cover topics general to design research with discussions, assignments, and readings focused on three main themes in relation to architectural design: Discourse, the development of a proposition for the role and significance of architecture relative to the project topic of interest; Method, the design steps/process of working through a design application/inquiry of those ideas; and Context, the relationship of the project topic of study to broader surroundings which include but are not limited to the discipline of architecture, cultural contexts, technical developments and/or typologies. The seminar will emphasize and support the translation of ideas emerging from independent research into visual forms of representation including, but not limited to, drawings, diagrams, images, study models, and short
animations. The techniques of representation reviewed will be catered to the project topics of individual students, but will also form a part of the general discussion of the course.
HAA 96A Transformations or HAA 96B Connections design studios is a pre‐requisite to the Design Speculations course.

HAA 97R Sophomore Methods Tutorial

Yukio Lippit

Thursday - 12:00pm - 2:45pm

Group tutorial, offers an introduction to the methods and research skills of art and architectural history.

HAA 124E Architectural Icons and Landscapes of Early Modern Islamic Empires: Between Transregional & Local

Gulru Necipoglu-Kafadar

Thursday - 12:00pm - 2:45pm

Course Description: Between the 16th and 18th centuries, three empires - the Mediterranean-based Ottomans, Safavids in Iran, and Mughals in the Indian subcontinent - developed interconnected yet distinctive architectural, material and visual cultures with individualized ornamental idioms by fusing their common transregional Timurid heritage with local traditions. The course explores connections between empire building, iconic monuments, and garden landscapes with respect to design, materiality, aesthetics, religion, imperial identity, and theories of dynastic legitimacy. Interactions with neighboring regions will be considered (Europe, Uzbek Central Asia, the Deccan and Gujarat Sultanates).

HAA 282S Japanese Buddhist Sculpture

Yukio Lippit

Thursday - 3:00pm - 5:45pm

This course explores the golden age of Japanese Buddhist sculpture from the seventh through thirteenth century. Each week focuses on one famous work in terms of style, iconography, technique, materials, sculptor, patronage, and ritual. Special emphasis will be placed upon the relationship of the sculpture to its temple setting, inclusive of mural décor, other sculptures in the ensemble, the mandorla, dais, and canopy. Similarly, the recent discoveries of conservation science will be debated, as well as the significance of interred objects and an interregional purview. Insofar as possible, meaning will be explored in relation to sculptural process. All readings will be in English. Several sessions will take place at the Harvard Art Museums, and there will be at least one group excursion during the semester.

Freshman Seminar 63I - The First Americans: Portraits of Indigenous Power and Display

Shawon Kinew

Friday 12:00pm - 2:45pm

Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is home to 25 oil portraits of indigenous American leaders painted in the first half of the 19th century. Originally commissioned to preserve cultures an American bureaucrat feared would be extinct, these paintings transcend a moribund history. In fact, the Native American nations represented are still here. Moreover, these portraits have much to teach us about diplomacy, power, representation and indigeneity in 2019. The Peabody portraits, painted by the American artist Henry Inman, represent some of the most fascinating political leaders of the American nineteenth century—chiefs, spiritual leaders and diplomats, who all traveled to Washington, D.C. to negotiate with the U.S. government on behalf of their tribal nations. Through the close examination of these artworks in person at the Peabody, this seminar will focus on the stories, histories and teachings communicated by these portraits and their sitters.

HAA 98ar Faculty Tutorial

Yukio Lippit


Junior Tutorial consisting of weekly meetings with designated faculty, where regular reading and writing assignments are focused on a topic of mutual interest.

HAA 11 Landmarks of World Architecture

David Roxburgh, Lisa Haber-Thomson

Tuesday & Thursday - 12:00pm - 1:15pm

Examines major works of world architecture and the unique aesthetic, cultural, and historical issues that frame them. Faculty members will each lecture on an outstanding example in their area of expertise, drawing from various periods and such diverse cultures as modern and contemporary Europe and America, early modern Japan, Mughal India, Renaissance and medieval Europe, and ancient Rome. Sections will develop thematically and focus on significant issues in the analysis and interpretation of architecture.


16D Northern Renaissance and Baroque Painting and Sculpture: Van Eyck to Vermeer

Joseph Koerner

Monday & Wednesday - 10:30am - 11:45am

Surveys the major monuments of Netherlandish and German painting and sculpture between 1400 and 1600. Special attention will be given to questions of function, genre, and relations between art and literature.


19z Introduction to the Art of Pre-Columbian America

Thomas B.F. Cummins

Tuesday & Thursday - 1:30pm - 2:45pm

This is a general introduction to and survey of the arts of Ancient America.  We will look at both Mesoamerica and the Andean art and architecture beginning with some of the earliest cultures and ending with Aztec, Maya, Muisca and Inca.  Questions about the materials, urban planning,meaning and aesthetics will be addressed.  The course will also take advantage of the great collections at the Peabody Museum as well as the MFA.  There are no prerequisites.


56g Spanish Golden Age Painting: Truth and Deceit

Felipe Pereda

Monday & Wednesday - 1:30pm - 2:45pm

The art of the Spanish Golden Age is well known for its radical naturalism, on the one hand, and its intense religious imagery, on the other. This course will be an introduction to the major artists of this period –Murillo, Velázquez, Zurbarán and others— from the point of view of painting’s power to produce visual illusions and deceive their spectators. Consequently, the course will consider artistic tropes of illusion and disillusionment in relation to early modern debates on belief and skepticism.


61P Between Life and Art: Sculpture in Italy and Spain, 1400 - 1700

Felipe Pereda, Shawon Kinew

Tuesday & Thursday - 10:30am - 11:45 am

This course examines sculpture and its principles during the early modern period between the Iberian and Italian peninsulas. Between 1400-1700, sculptors pushed the boundaries of their medium, imbuing the inert with qualities we might consider antithetical: life, motion, color, and narrative. At the same time, sculpture, potent in its three dimensionality, prompted vigorous questions and debates around its form and function. Each week this course considers a different genre, material or technique. Of particular interest is the theory and practice of sculpture by Donatello, Michelangelo, Benvenuto Cellini, Leoni, Giambologna, Martínez Montañés, la Roldana and Bernini.


HAA 96A Architecture Studio I: Transformations

Iman Fayyad

Wednesday & Friday - 1:30pm - 4:15pm

Architecture assembles multiple models, surfaces, and materials; it is not a single monolithic thing, rather it is comprised of disparate parts and organizational systems operating at different scales.  Design, the bringing together of these elements, requires sensitivity, registers scale, and renders perceptual effect.  This course is an introductory architectural design studio focused on building foundational architectural concepts and design methodologies studied through a process of making.  A series of physical modeling/fabrication assignments explore spatial and organizational transformations as a consequence of the changing interactions among material, fabrication technique, and form.  Resultant expressions of space, scale, and perceptual effects are discussed and evaluated in relation to a series of course readings that frame the intentions of each assignment within architectural theory and history discourse. 
Both studios in the Architecture Studies Track (Transformations HAA 96A and Connections HAA 96B) explore architectural means and methods of design.  Each begins from a different scale of inquiry, but converges at a similar end.  This studio originates at the scale of material - focusing on specific capacities and effects thereof as well as the details of assembly - and expands from this to an investigation of an occupiable architectural scale in relation to a dynamic site. 
The course emphasizes fluency in the visual and spatial communication of ideas through instruction in 2D drawing and 3D modeling techniques.  Technical workshops are provided in choreography with serial assignments encompassing drafting and 3D modeling (AutoCAD + Rhino), techniques of fabrication (Rhino to various outputs), 3D printing, and representational processing (Adobe Creative Suite).   The studio exposes students to critical architectural thinking and design methods for more broad disciplinary application following.  No particular skill set, technical or otherwise, is a required prerequisite for this course; students from all backgrounds are welcome.


HAA 96B Architecture Studio II: Connections

Elle Gerdeman

Tuesday & Thursday - 1:30pm - 4:15pm

The practice of architecture fundamentally asks us to continuously engage with, and re-conceptualize, the world for which we are designing. As such, architecture as a discipline is not only about designing buildings, but also about challenging us to imagine new ways of seeing the world.  This studio takes on the challenge through a series of design exercises focused on understanding, engaging with, and reimaging the urban condition. Throughout the course, we will approach architectural design as both a method of producing urban environments, and also as an avenue through which to understand our cities. We will be directly confronting the social, political, and environmental contexts that are necessarily implicated in any design process.
Both studios in the Architecture Studies Track (Transformations HAA 96A and Connections HAA 96B) explore architectural means and methods of design. Each begins from a different scale of inquiry, but converges towards a similar end. This studio originates at the scale of the urban site, and begins with a set of design research assignments that ask students to imagine the city from the perspective of a non-human agent. Extrapolating abstract principles from these agents, we will be mobilizing the possibilities of architectural representation to reimagine the city through mapping, diagraming, and collage.
The studio culminates in a design proposal for a site in Harvard Square. Students will be given an architectural brief, and will produce projects that address existing site conditions, programmatic space requirements, and projected users of the site. Technical workshops will provide all the necessary skills required for the course, and will allow students to develop aptitude in architectural drawing, mapping, rendering, and simple animation. No existing expertise or technical proficiency is necessary for this course. Students from all backgrounds are welcome; we will be encouraging interdisciplinary thinking throughout the design research process.


HAA 97R Sophomore Methods Tutorial

Yukio Lippit


Group tutorial, offers an introduction to the methods and research skills of art and architectural history.


HAA 98BR Junior Group Tutorial

Yukio Lippit


Group tutorial, offers concentrators the choice of several study groups investigating a particular field of art of architectural history.


HAA 100R Sophomore Excursion Course

Jinah Kim, Melissa McCormick, Gulru Necipoglu-Kafadar

Tuesday - 9:45am - 11:45am

This course introduces sophomore concentrators to on-site study of art and architecture through the case study of a particular geographic and cultural area. This year: India


HAA 127m Medieval Architecture in Greater Iran and Central Asia

David Roxburgh

Thursday - 3:00pm - 5:45pm

The seminar examines cities and monuments built in Greater Iran and Central Asia from the 11th through 15th centuries spanning three principal dynastic periods (Seljuqs, Mongols, and Timurids). Various functional types—mosques, madrasas, minarets, tombs—, urban systems, and spatial organization are studied including the cities of Baghdad, Bukhara, Herat, Isfahan, Mashhad, Nishapur, Rayy, and Samarqand. We will examine the materials, construction and design processes of buildings, their typologies and morphologies, as well as their relationships to law, religion, climate, social and political life. A variety of primary sources are also considered ranging from geographies to histories and travel narratives.


HAA 170G Harvard Square

Suzanne Blier

Monday - 12:00pm - 2:45pm

Harvard Square has a rich history; under its earlier name of Newtowne (founded in 1630), it was once the site of the Massachusetts capital. Much has changed. This class looks back on the many changes Harvard Square has undergone, recent challenges it has faced, and asks class members to think forward about how it might be re-envisioned. This class will combine work in local archives on issues related to history and policy, meetings with local Cambridge officials, and an array of local design and drawing assignments. Learn how Harvard fits in; Be part of the change.


HAA 171X Exoticism & Orientalism

Ewa Lajer-Burcharth

Tuesday - 12:00pm - 2:45pm

Explores cultural and artistic engagement with the trope of the “other” in 18th-and 19th-century France. Paintings, drawings, prints, travel books, and architectural decor are considered in broader social and cultural contexts. Different interpretive paradigms are also discussed. Special emphasis is placed on the distinction between the 18th and the 19th-century forms of aesthetic curiosity about otherness. Issues of knowledge, power, subjectivity, sexuality, embodiment, imagination, documentation, and visual geography are addressed. Artists include: Watteau, Boucher, Liotard, Van Loo, Delacroix, Chasseriau, Gérôme, Renoir. Objects from Harvard Art Museum will be examined. There will also be an excursion to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


HAA 179P Press/Reverse/Resist: Introduction to print in contemporary art

Jennifer L. Roberts

Monday & Wednesday 3:00pm - 4:15pm

We are told that print is dead. But the codes and processes of printmaking continue to shape contemporary art, culture, and technology in powerful ways. The most basic physical fact of printing -- its use of pressure in the creation of images and texts -- makes it an ideal tool for confronting questions of oppression and resistance. The collaborative qualities of printmaking are models for new understandings of distributed creativity and intelligence. The image reversals that occur in all print processes open ways of thinking about the world from a critical perspective, approaching it from "the other side.” Even the most advanced digital information technologies draw on the traditions of print in fundamental ways. This course will provide an introduction to printmaking processes and will trace the life of print in art of every medium since 1960. Along with the lectures, there will be frequent study sessions with original works in the Harvard Art Museums, and hands-on print workshops. Artists covered will include (among many others) Robert Rauschenberg, Glenn Ligon, Christiane Baumgartner, Andy Warhol, Ellen Gallagher, Julie Mehretu, Edgar Heap of Birds, Willie Cole, Corita Kent, Richard Hamilton, Ed Ruscha, and Jasper Johns. 


HAA 184X Painting of India

Jinah Kim

Monday - 12:00pm - 2:45pm

The course explores the history of Indian painting based on the collections of Harvard Art Museums and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. We will investigate the theory of pictorial form in India and its relationship to the society at large against the historical currents by probing the development and changes in artistic styles and material culture of painting production.  We will pay particular attention to the role of media, such as palm-leaf, birch bark, paper, and pigments, along with consideration of changing symbolic and material meanings of color. Regular visits (sections) to the museums and conservations labs to examine the paintings in person are to be scheduled throughout the semester.


HAA 188P Edo Painting

Yukio Lippit

Wednesday - 3:00pm - 5:45pm 

This seminar explores the history of painting during Japan’s Edo period (1615-1868). Along with an introduction to major artists and schools, the course will examine themes such as the formats and materiality of Japanese painting, aesthetics and connoisseurship, display practices, seasonality, the relationship to poetry and literary traditions, the influence of European pictorialism, and the status of the painter. There are no prerequisites. Offered concurrently with the major exhibition of Edo painting from the Feinberg Collection featured at the Harvard Art Museums during the spring semester, numerous sessions will be held in the galleries and study centers of the museum. 


HAA 228n Islamic Ornament: Aesthetics of Abstraction and Theories of Perception

Gulru Necipoglu-Kafadar

Thursday - 12:00pm - 2:45pm

Course Description: Critically explores the historiography and interpretations of Islamic ornament. Themes include ornamentality and abstraction, theories of perception, orientalist discourses on the so-called "arabesque," resonances of non-figural abstraction with modernism and postmodern aesthetics


HAA 270g Transnational Exchange and Australian Architecture, 1900 - 2019Phillip Goad

Tuesday 3:00pm - 5:45pm

This course, designed as a graduate level seminar, has as its focus the question of transnational exchanges in architecture and urbanism. Themes of reception, transaction, technology transfer, the flows of capital and resources, professional networks and expertise are intrinsic to the seminar. Australian architecture is seen as a complex amalgam of traditions, that, like the United States, does not carry the weight of British and European traditions, but instead, as a welcome receptor, become a fluid setting for dynamic change in aesthetic thought, construction technologies and urban form.


HAA 272M Painting and Mass Culture after 1945 : Rauschenberg, Warhol, Hamilton, Richter

Benjamin Buchloh

Thursday - 12:00pm - 2:45pm

This graduate seminar (qualified undergraduates will be admitted after interview), will investigate the complex relationships between painterly practices and mass cultural formations (photography, advertisement, television) from 1955 – 1965. The limited focus on two American and two European artists, and on one specific decade will allow us not only to study individual works in greater detail, but it will also provide time to pursue parallel readings in historical contextualization. These would include not only the study of actually occurring interactions with the newly expanded culture of technological and industrial media (e.g. exhibition design, advertisement commissions for artists), but also the more specifically art historical questions concerning the belated reception of Duchamp, Dada and photography in post WWII cultural production. The critical reflection of the epistemological shifts defining the nature of painting in the changing dialogues with action painting and abstract expressionism will be of equal importance, as will be the questions concerning the redefinition of the place and functions of the artist in post WW II consumer and spectacle culture.


HAA 277k The Contemporary

Carrie Lambert-Beatty

schedule TBD


HAA 279p The Object in the Art Museum

Makeda Best, Mary Schneider Enriquez

schedule TBD


HAA 292 Colonial Art of Mexico and the Andes

Thomas B.F. Cummins

Monday - 3:00 - 5:45pm


“Something New, Something Old:  A Marriage Made in Hell”   This seminar will examine how the new is rendered as something known. This conundrum is, in and of itself, an unprecedented problem.  As such, the seminar will examine the relationship between differing theoretical approaches to urban spaces, architecture, pictorial production and consumption, and the historical investigation of colonial Latin American art and architecture in the 16th and 17th centuries.  Some questions to be explored through specific readings and works are:   What is the intersection between formal studies of colonial objects and images with the questions formed to interpret them? Is it the same as in the study of European studies, or are there differences?  Is pictorial perspective a visual imperative once it is introduced? What is the nature of hybridity/syncretism, emulation, copying and materiality?  How does one study synesthetics in the colonial period?  Do the differences between European and American languages affect space, vision and object?  How do text and image operate in the various publics of Mexico and Peru?


HAA 310B Works of Art: Materials, Forms, Histories

Ewa Lajer-Burcharth

Wednesday - 10:30am - 12:30pm

A series of team-taught workshops designed to sharpen skills in the observation, analysis, and historical interpretation of works of art and architecture.