The concentration in History of Art and Architecture introduces students to the history of art, architecture, and visual culture. Students in HIAA explore Western and non-Western areas ranging over a wide period of time (Ancient, Medieval, Islamic, East Asian, Latin American, Early Modern, Modern/ Contemporary). Concentrators often focus on a particular period (e.g. ancient, modern architecture), a particular branch of the field (e.g. urbanism), or a methodology (e.g. semiotics, critical interpretation, archaeology), but students may choose to create their own program of study. Concentrators will receive essential training in perceptual, historical, and critical analysis. Concentrators often study abroad for first-hand knowledge of works of art and monuments as well as for exposure to foreign languages and cultures. Because foreign language skills are essential for pursuing art historical studies in a professional environment or in graduate school, HIAA requires two years of foreign language study.
The concentration total ten courses (eleven for honors). There are no prerequisites, but our general survey in history of art and architecture is an excellent foundation for the concentration. Students may receive concentration credit for this course. Please remember that these figures are only the minimum requirements and that we expect concentrators to take more than just the minimum number of classes in the subject of their choice.
Students must demonstrate reading proficiency in another language, since foreign language skills are essential for pursuing art historical studies in a professional environment or graduate school. Students with previous language experience will be asked to take a placement test and/or demonstrate a 400 level reading ability.
Since the history of art and architecture addresses issues of practice within specific historical contexts, concentrators are asked to take at least one studio art course, and courses in history that pertain to their area of emphasis. Study abroad can be a valuable enrichment of the academic work available on campus, in that it offers opportunities for first-hand knowledge of works of art and monuments as well as providing exposure to foreign languages and cultures. Study abroad should be planned in consultation with the concentration advisor in order to make sure that foreign course work will relate meaningfully to the concentrator's program of study. Only two courses taken outside the department may count for concentration credit (including courses taken abroad and at other institutions in the United States). These credits will be counted as lecture courses, not seminars and cannot replace any of the six core classes. There is a maximum of two outside credits for courses taken at other universities (transfer credits or from study abroad programs), or courses that also count towards a second concentration. No concentration credit for High School AP, Subsidiary AP, A level etc. courses. No concentration credit for language classes.
Courses are taught on three levels. HIAA 0010 - HIAA 0940 are lecture courses meeting for three to four hours a week of lectures and discussion. HIAA 0020 - HIAA 1890 are seminars dealing with specific problems or issues in, art, architecture and theory and are designed for concentrators or otherwise well-prepared students. Courses with numbers above 2000 are graduate courses, which can, in exceptional cases, be opened up to particularly qualified seniors.
The core courses of four lecture classes and two seminars have to be taken in the department without exception. Those classes cannot be replaced with classes taken in other departments or universities.
Enrollment in seminar courses requires permission of the instructor.
The concentration consists of ten courses (eleven for honors):
- 4 general lecture core courses, (HIAA 0020 - HIAA 0940) distributed between 3 of the 7 available areas of the discipline. (Ancient / Medieval/ Islamic / East Asian / Latin American / Early Modern (ca. 1400-1800 / Modern, Contemporary)
- 2 seminar core courses (numbered between HIAA 1040 and HIAA 1890)
- 4 courses that can include other courses taught in the department and cross-listed courses elsewhere. will count as 1 of these courses, but will not count as 1 of the 4 core lecture classes. Students are encouraged to take 1 studio class as part of these 4 courses.
- The 6 core lecture courses and seminars have to be taken in the department and can NOT be replaced with an independent study/honors thesis/classes taken in other departments, universities, or high schools.
- Language requirement: (A recent placement test for a 400 level reading capacity, or passing of a 400 level language class has to be provided and will become part of the record.)
- Maximum 2 outside credits for courses taken at other universities (transfer credits or from study abroad programs), or courses that also count towards a second concentration. No concentration credit for High School AP, Subsidiary AP, A level etc. courses. No concentration credit for language classes.
Architectural Studies Track
The Architectural Studies concentration track within the Department of History of Art and Architecture blends a variety of disciplines toward the study of buildings and the built environment. The concentration prepares students for the continued study of architecture and the history of architecture in graduate school as well as careers in related areas such as urban studies. The concentration requires four lecture courses and two seminars in the history of architecture and urbanism that are offered by the Department of History of Art and Architecture. One of the seminars is a project seminar, taken in junior or senior year, and is designed as a capstone experience for the Architectural Studies concentrator. Courses that may be counted toward the concentration are listed with an "A" at the end of their descriptions in the Course Announcement Bulletin.
Because the architectural studies program was especially designed for students wishing to gain greater experience in the practical skills necessary for a career in architecture or a related field, concentrators are required to take a course in design from the Visual Arts Department, the Rhode Island School of Design or an introduction to architectural design, theatre set design at Brown University or the Harvard GSD’s summer school or similar six week+ courses in drafting or design instruction.
- Students will be able and are encouraged to take cross listed pertinent courses from such departments or programs as American Civilization, Center for Old World Archaeology and Art, Engineering, Mathematics, History, Modern Culture and Media, Urban Studies, and Visual Art, and Engineering, in addition to those offered by the Department.
- They can receive concentration credit for a maximum of two of these courses. Study abroad can be a valuable enrichment of the academic work available on campus, in that it offers opportunities for first-hand knowledge of architecture and the built environment as well as providing exposure to foreign languages and cultures. Study abroad should be planned in consultation with the concentration advisor in order to make sure that foreign course work will relate meaningfully to the concentrator's program of study. Only two courses taken outside the department may count for concentration credit (including courses taken abroad and at other institutions in the United States). These credits will be counted as lecture courses, not seminars.
The equivalent of two years of foreign language study are required for concentrators, in order to read scholarship in at least one other language and to sensibly interact with an architectural culture other than your own. Students with previous language experience will be asked to take a placement test and demonstrate a 400 level reading ability.
- Four lecture courses distributed over three areas in architectural history (numbered between HIAA 0020 and HIAA 0940 and marked with an A) from the following areas: Ancient / Medieval / Islamic / East Asian / Latin American / Early Modern (ca. 1400-1800) Modern / Contemporary)
- One seminar or independent study in architectural history (numbered between HIAA 1100 and HIAA 1890 and marked with an A).
- The project seminar (HIAA 1910A-1910F or acceptable substitute to be chosen in discussion with the concentration advisor) is required of all concentrators and is taken in junior or senior year. Priority is given to architectural studies concentrators. In years when no project seminar is offered, any seminar that qualifies for architectural studies can become the starting point for a senior project.
- The two above seminars can NOT be replaced with an independent study/honors thesis/classes taken in other departments or universities.
- One studio art course in design (at Brown, RISD, Harvard Career Discovery and similar 6 week + summer courses)
- Three additional courses. These can include other courses taught in the department (including ) and cross-listed courses in another department that are pertinent to architectural studies. They also include a select number of non-cross listed courses that are approved by the concentration advisor. These include (but are not limited to HIAA 1910A-1910F and , and , , urban studies and engineering courses, and scenic design and technical production (Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies)
- Language requirement (A recent placement test for a 400 level reading capacity, or passing of a 400 level language class.)
- Maximum two outside credits for courses taken at other universities (transfer credits or from study abroad programs), or courses that also count towards a second concentration. No concentration credit for High School AP, Subsidiary AP, A level etc. courses. No concentration credit for language classes.
It is expected that concentrators will wish to focus on a particular period (e.g. ancient, modern architecture), a particular branch of the field (e.g. urbanism), or a methodology (e.g. semiotics, critical interpretation, archaeology). Students are encouraged to formulate their own coherent program of study.
The Honors program in History of Art & Architecture and Architectural Studies will be administered as follows: accepted students will sign up for in the Fall and in the Spring. In the Fall, students will meet regularly with the whole Honors group and HAA faculty to discuss methodology and general research and writing questions. In the Spring, students will continue to meet to present their research in progress to each other for comment and feedback. They will also be meeting regularly with their advisors and second readers throughout the year. Finished drafts of the thesis (which will generally be no more than 30-35 pages in length (exceptions to be determined in consultation with the instructor), not counting bibliography and visual materials) will be due to the advisor and second reader on April 1 of the Spring semester. Comments will be returned to the students for final corrections at that point. There will be a public presentation of the Honors work at the end of the Spring semester.
Students wishing to write an honors thesis should have an A average in the concentration. It is advisable for them to have taken at least one seminar in the department and written a research paper before choosing to undertake a thesis. While acceptance into the Honors program depends on the persuasiveness of the thesis topic as well as the number of students applying, students may refine their proposals by speaking in advance with potential advisors. No honors student may take more than four classes either semester of their senior year-- being considered one of your four classes. Students who are expecting to graduate in the middle of the year are encouraged to discuss a different capstone project with individual advisors or the concentration advisor.
Honors Application Process
Towards the end of the Spring semester all concentrators will be notified via the DUG Listserve that the application process is open. In order to apply to the Honors program each student should write up a proposal of no more than two double-spaced pages stating the topic (subject and argument) of the research to be undertaken as clearly as possible, along with a one-page bibliography of the most relevant books and major articles to be consulted for the project. This three page application should be submitted, along with a résumé and a printout of the student's most recent available transcript and submitted to the department with a short cover letter stating who you feel the most appropriate advisor and second readers are for the thesis and why, and what your preparation is for this project. Clarity and brevity are considered persuasive virtues in this process. Applicants will be notified about the success of their applications at the end of the Spring semester.
Those students who are not enrolled in the honors program are encouraged to develop one of their seminar papers into a capstone project, in consultation with the instructor. This paper can contain additional research, the application of the research to a catalog or website project etc.
While capstone projects will not be mandatory, they will be highly recommended. Capstones can include honors theses, UTRA’s, undergraduate TA-ships, internships, perfecting a seminar paper, GISP, GILP, etc. The capstone and any related course of study, including internships, must be approved and overseen by a faculty sponsor.
All concentrators are required to write an essay when they file for the concentration that lays out what they expect to gain from the course of study they propose. All second semester seniors will be required to write a final essay that takes measure of what they have learned from the concentration, including their capstone and other experiences relating to their study of the history of art and architecture. For students doing a capstone, their capstone director will read this essay. A department subcommittee will read essays written by students not electing to do a capstone. The self-assessment should be turned in with a revised list of courses actually taken and the final paperwork for concentration approval.
Attendance at lecture events and conferences in the HIAA department is strongly encouraged.