We live in an image-saturated world but few of us possess the critical tools to analyze images and to understand their use.
The Art History major introduces students to the specialized language and strategies of image making as well as provides them with a comprehensive history of the creation, interpretation, and circulation of images.
Drake’s curriculum employs new models of teaching and theorizing Art History in response to changes in the field. For example, rather than following an outdated emphasis on chronology in beginning surveys of Art History, a chronology that was almost exclusively Western in scope, the introductory courses at Drake employ a thematic approach that traces formal and conceptual concerns across multiple time periods and cultures. Upper-level courses offer critical re-examinations of the categories fundamental to the founding of Art History including national tradition, stylistic periods, and definitions of modernity. Throughout the curriculum, students learn appropriate methods for conducting independent research and presenting their findings, culminating in the Senior Capstone.
Unlike many comparable programs, the study of Art History at Drake is fully integrated within the studio and design areas of the department. The Art History major combines studio experience with an introduction to the practices, theories, and debates of the discipline. Students therefore gain experience in interpreting visual images as well as in creating them.
The Art History degree is intended for students who wish a career in art history or in another arts-related field. It may also be pursued as a complement to other academic disciplines, including studio art, graphic design, art education, and disciplines in the humanities. Additionally, the Art History program offers quality elective coursework for all students at Drake University.