Colonialism and the Art of Race

What can art teach us about the history of race? In this course students will examine paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, caricatures, illustrations, maps, and all manner of visual and textual materials that depict racial difference, racial contact, and racial conflict. With a focus on the British Empire—the vastest empire ever known—this course will consider the ways in which artists working both in the British metropole and at the colonial periphery reinforced and undermined the biological theories of racial difference that were used to justify colonial rule. In addition to engaging with colonial history, students will study postcolonial theory and think collectively about the ways in which contemporary artists in places like Australia continue to respond to colonialism and its legacy. This course (ARTH-441) is taught by Keren Hammerschlag.

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