HART 2611 Prehispanic Art

The art of the ancient Americas arguably provides the most important window into the history of its original peoples. This history has become material in myriads of objects created over 15.000 years of precolonial human occupation and has opened to systematic inquiry from the complementary perspectives of archaeology, anthropology and history of art as well as, more recently, material sciences and technology studies. Such research provides important keys for informed interpretation and more truthful understandings and readings of “material texts”.


This course will provide a panorama of the main artistic traditions and styles that developed across South America. It will address a broad range of media: from rock art, sculptures and buildings in the landscape to the carvings and friezes in stone and adobe set in architecture on the one hand, to bodily modification and painting, music and dance as well as objects fashioned from clay, stone, wood, shell and metals, on the other hand. The course seeks to provide a regional, spatial, temporal and ecological framework and offer tools for contextual analysis, as well as lay out principal current debates, with an emphasis on the material outputs of complex societies of the Andes. A practical with ceramic pieces from the university study collection is envisaged.


In the first term of 2020, this course also aims to help students develop and improve their communication skills in English. Students will learn key strategies for effective presentation, argumentation, discussion and academic writing, and practice them throughout course activities. Students’ communication performance will be evaluated and translated into part of the final grades. If necessary, the accompanying English teacher can provide assistance to students who have weaknesses in their English language skills. The working language for this course is English.



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