Fall 2008 Syllabus for Feminism and Art class

Aug 20, 2008 - Sep 29, 2008

Department of Philosophy; Women's Studies
Herron School of Art and Design
Indiana University
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Phone Number: 317 274-8851
Contact: Peg Brand

Feminism and Art: History, Philosophy, Practice has a new name and syllabus for Fall 2008. Team-taught by Peg Brand and Jean Robertson at the Herron School of Art and Design, Indiana University, Indianapolis campus, it serves to promote women's art, history, and feminist aesthetics.

Fall 2008

Feminism and Art:
History, Philosophy, Practice

H400 (R511): Art History
I300: SLA Integrator
P367 (P600):  Philosophy of Art
W300 (W701): Topics in Women’s Studies

12:00 – 2:40 p.m. Wednesdays
HR 194 (Herron School of Art and Design)

Dr. Jean Robertson (Professor: Art History, Herron)
Office: HR 238 Office Phone: 278-9483 Email: jerobert@iupui.edu

Dr. Peg Brand (Associate Professor: Philosophy & Women’s Studies, SLA)
Office: CA 344A Office phone: 274-8851 Email: pb@indiana.edu


How does the women’s movement, begun in the 1960s and ‘70s, continue to affect the world today in spite of claims we are post-feminist?
What are the major themes of feminist art and how do they intersect with ethics and politics?
What role do the history of art, art criticism, and philosophical aesthetics play in the creation, interpretation, and appreciation of feminist art?

In accord with the faculty-approved IUPUI Principles of Undergraduate Learning (PULs) which form a conceptual framework for all students’ general on-campus education, this course teaches a variety of skills of core communication and critical thinking, integration and application of knowledge, the application of disciplinary (i.e., art historical and philosophical) ways of knowing to specific real-life issues and problems, and the analysis and understanding of society and culture – including its values and ethics – particularly with regard to the importance of aesthetics in one’s personal life and society.

Thanks to the Honors Program for a grant that supported the development of this course.

Final grades and assignments (totaling 1000 points):
Attendance (10 points per class x 15 classes)                                                  150
Participation and possible extra credit:                                                              100                  
                  Writing assignments listed on schedule:
- #1: Do you identify yourself as a feminist? due Week Two, Aug. 27                 50
- #2: Does gender influence . . . ?                 due Week Four, Sep.10               100
- #3: The Other                                              due Week Seven, Oct. 1              100
- due Week Ten, Oct. 22 - Paper topic/1-page abstract                                     100
- due Week Thirteen, Nov.12 - Paper outline                                                     150
- due Finals Week, Dec. 10 - Paper and Revised Abstract                                250
                                                                                                     Total             1000
No exemptions from writing assignments are allowed except for instructor-approved emergencies or illnesses. Missing an assignment results in a grade of 0 for the assignment. Make-up assignments for emergencies will be arranged on an individual basis. Turning in late assignments will result in a reduced grade. Final grades will be based on the following scale of a total of 1000 points: 980-1000 = A+; 930-979=A; 900-929=A-; 870-889=B+; 830-869=B; 800-829=B-; 770-799=C+; 730-769=C; 700-729=C-; 670-699=D+; 630-669=D; 600-629=D-; 599 or below=F. 

Note for graduate students: In addition to the assignments listed on this syllabus, students enrolled in graduate sections will be assigned additional work. Allocation of points will be adjusted to reflect the additional work. Graduate students will consult with the instructors early in the semester to agree on expectations for graduate credit.

Attendance has been proven to be a key factor in academic success. A basic requirement of this course is that you will participate in class and conscientiously complete writing and reading assignments. Keep in touch with the professors if you are unable to attend class or complete an assignment on time. If you miss more than half our class meetings within the first four weeks of the semester, you may be administratively withdrawn from this section. Our class meets once per week; thus if you miss more than two classes in the first four weeks, you may be withdrawn. Administrative withdrawal will take place after the full refund period, and if you are administratively withdrawn from the course you will not be eligible for a tuition refund. If you have questions about the administrative withdrawal policy at any point during the semester, please contact one of us http://registrar.iupui.edu/withdrawal-policy.html. If a conflict with a religious observance exists, make a written request for a reasonable accommodation for that observance by the end of the second week of the course.

Academic Misconduct: Plagiarism and double dipping are expressly prohibited by the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct and are subject to punishment (see Part III Student Misconduct, A Academic Misconduct, 1. Cheating, section g). For complete information on the Code of Conduct, including student rights and responsibilities and procedures for students’ academic misconduct, please see http://life.iupui.edu/help/code.asp.

Learning Disabilities: Accommodations will be given to any student needing accommodations because of disability, provided the student has registered with Adaptive Educational Services (AES) at IUPUI and completed the appropriate forms issued by that office. AES is located in Cavanaugh Hall (CA) 001E. The telephone number is 274-3241. Email: aes@iupui.edu

Honors Option: Students registered under the Honors option will consult with instructors for more ongoing substantive interaction throughout the semester and to agree on expectations for honors credit; as stipulated in the Honors Program guidelines, students will be expected to complete a longer research project that “builds on, yet goes beyond, material regularly covered in the course.” [See http://uc.iupui.edu/honors/courses.asp] Students enrolling under the “H” Option must submit paperwork to the Honors Program office before the third week of classes.

For additional help or unanswered questions, consult the Student Advocate Office: Jennifer Thompson, MSW, LSW, at UC002, 278-7594 or stuadvoc@iupui.edu. Also,

Dr. Robertson’s (jerobert@iupui.edu) mailbox is located at the Herron School of Art and Design, Eskenazi Hall HR 146; phone is 278-9483. Office hours are held Wed. after class, 2:40 until 3:45 p.m. as well as from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. on Thursdays in Dr. Robertson’s office in HR 238 and by appointment.

Dr. Brand’s (pb@indiana.edu) mailbox is located in the Philosophy Department Office, Cavanaugh Hall 344; phone is 274-8082. Office hours are held Wed. after class, 2:40 until 3:45 p.m. in Dr. Robertson’s office in HR 238 as well as from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.  on Tuesdays in Dr. Brand’s office in Cavanaugh 344A and by appointment.

Class cancellation policy: Class will be canceled on any day that the Indianapolis Public School system declares a cancellation on account of snow or other weather emergency. Finally, although it is not anticipated except for special circumstances (illness, etc.), instructors reserve the right to make changes to the syllabus.


Unless indicated otherwise, presume class readings are available on the Ereserves system which requires that you logon at https://reserves.ulib.iupui.edu/. Other readings are noted as available through Oncourse under the “Resources” tab or as class handouts.

Week One.  August 20 | Feminism and Art
Introductions. Review syllabus. Expectations and goals of class.
Visit to Indiana State Museum: “Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting” exhibit
Facilitators: Professors Brand and Robertson Curator: Rachel Perry


Magdalena Abakanowicz, Abakan Red (1969), sisal weaving on metal support, 300x300x100 cm. (or 13’ diameter)

Writing Assignment #1 due Week Two, Aug. 27: Do you identify yourself as a feminist? Why or why not? What do you understand “feminism” to mean? What specific events in your life affect your identification as a feminist or not?  (2 pages double-spaced max.)                            

Week Two.  August 27 | What is feminism? What are feminisms?
Exercise #1 due in class (submit two copies).
Video:  No Compromise: Lessons in Feminist Art with Judy Chicago (1999; WTIU 2002)
Facilitators: Professors Brand and Robertson
1. Rosalind Delmar, “What is Feminism?” (1986), reprinted in Anne C. Herrmann and Abigail J. Steward, eds., Theorizing Feminism: Parallel Trends in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Westview Press, 2001), pp. 5-28.
2. Rory Dicker and Alison Piepmeier, Introduction,” in Dicker and Piepmeier, eds., Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century (Northeastern University Press, 2003), pp. 3-28.
3. Sally Haslanger and Nancy Tuana, “Topics in Feminism,” Sections 1-3, pp. 1-13 Stanford Ency. of Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-approaches/.


Week Three.  Sept. 3 | What is feminist art? What is feminist art history?
The art historical canon. Issues of essentialism, difference, and representation.
Facilitator: Professor Robertson
1. Anne D’Alleva, “Feminisms,” in D’Alleva, Methods and Theories of Art History (Laurence King, 2005), pp. 60-70.
2. Laura Meyer, “Power and Pleasure: Feminist Art Practice and Theory in the United States and Britain,” in Amelia Jones, ed., A Companion to Contemporary Art since 1945 (Blackwell, 2006), pp. 317-342.

Writing Assignment #2 due Week Four, Sept. 10: Based on your readings from both Weeks Three and Four, does gender influence the creation, presentation, interpretation, and evaluation of art? If so, how? (2 pages double-spaced max.)

Week Four. Sep. 10  | What is feminist aesthetics?
Philosophy of art, aesthetics and feminism. Discussion of methodologies: differences.
Writing Assignment #2 due in class (submit two copies).
Facilitator: Professor Brand
1. Carolyn Korsmeyer, “Feminist Aesthetics,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy online at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-aesthetics/ (2008)
2. Peg Brand, “Feminist Aesthetics,” forthcoming Blackwell Companion to Aesthetics
3. Anne Eaton, “Feminist Standpoint Aesthetics,” forthcoming Blackwell Companion…
Readings #2 and #3 are available as files in the “Reading Assignments” folder under the “Resources” tab on Oncourse.

Week Five.  Sept. 17 | What is feminist criticism?
The gaze. The Other.
Facilitator: Professor Robertson
1. Fiona Carson, “Feminist debate and fine art practices,” in Fiona Carson and Claire Pajaczkowska, eds., Feminist Visual Culture (Routledge, 2001), pp. 25-35.
2. bell hooks, “The Oppositional Gaze” in Black Looks: Race and Representation (South End Press, 1992), pp. 115-131.
3. Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel, “Profile: Renée Cox,” from Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980, Second Edition (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2009). This reading is available as a file in the “Reading Assignments” folder under the “Resources” tab on Oncourse.
4. Laurie E. Hicks, Excerpt from “The Construction of Meaning: Feminist Criticism,” Art Education, 45 (2) (1992), pp. 23-27.



image                                     image

Lyle Ashton Harris in collaboration with Renée Valerie Cox                   Sara Baartman, so-called "Hottentot Venus"
Venus Hottentot 2000 (1995), photograph                                              sketch from 1810-1816 (England, France)

Week Six.  Sep. 24| Gazing in the Museum (The Eurocentric Gaze)
Class visit to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Meet in the main lobby at 12:00 p.m.
Facilitators: Professors Brand and Robertson    At 12:30 p.m.: Tour of the Contemporary Art Galleries with Lisa Freiman, IMA Curator of Contemporary Art.
1. Lida Abdul brochure from the Indianapolis Museum of Art (handout).
2. Laura Leffler James, “Convergence: History, Materials, and the Human Hand—
An Interview with El Anatsui,” Art Journal 67 (2), pp. 36-53.

Writing assignment #3 due Week Seven, October 1: The Other.

Week Seven.  Oct. 1 | Feminism and practice panel.
Writing assignment #3 due in class (submit two copies).
Guest speakers: Paula Katz, Director of Herron Galleries; Anila Agha, Assistant Professor of Drawing; Jennie Stoelting, Assistant Professor of Photography; Danielle Riede, Assistant Professor of Painting; Lesley Baker, Assistant Professor of Ceramics
Facilitators: Professors Brand and Robertson
“Feminism and Art [9 views]” (Panel Discussion), Artforum International, vol. 42 (October, 2003), pp. 140-150.

Week Eight.  Oct. 8 | Expressive bodies
Sexuality and bad girls.                            
Facilitator: Professor Robertson
1. Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel, “Chapter Three: The Body,” from Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980, Second Edition (Oxford University Press, forthcoming January, 2009). This reading is available as a file in the “Reading Assignments” folder under the “Resources” tab on Oncourse.
2. Michelle Falkenstein, “What’s so good about being bad?” Art News, vol. 98 (November, 1999), pp. 158-163.
3. Eleanor Heartney, “Kiki Smith: A View from the Inside Out,” in Heartney et al., After the Revolution: Women Who Transformed Contemporary Art (Prestel, 2007), pp. 188-207.                       
Week Nine. Oct. 15 | Going Global/Global Feminisms/Transnational Feminisms
Women and politics in the art world. Gendered bodies in contemporary Chinese art.
Visit TFAP (The Feminist Art Project) at http://feministartproject.rutgers.edu/ and
the Feminist Caucus page of the ASA (The American Society for Aesthetics) at
http://www.aesthetics-online.org/feminist/ for links to additional material.
Facilitator: Professor Brand
1. Peg Brand, “The Feminist Art Project (TFAP) and Its Significance for Aesthetics,” in Feminist Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art: Critical Visions, Creative Engagements (Springer/ Kluwer, 2009) This reading is available as a file in the “Reading Assignments” folder under the “Resources” tab on Oncourse.
2.  Mary Bittner Wiseman, “Gendered Bodies in Contemporary Chinese Art,” in Beauty Revisited (Indiana University Press, 2009). This reading is available as a file in the “Reading Assignments” folder under the “Resources” tab on Oncourse.



Cui Xiuwen. Sanjie (2003). Digitally manipulated chromogenic
printmounted on plexi. 18”x118”.

Paper topic/1-page abstract due October 22: selection of artist to be added to the “canon,” with brief biography; selection of artwork; working bibliography; answer to basic question: What issues in feminist art history do you think a discussion of this artwork will help illuminate? We will email our reactions and suggestions to you individually.
Help for writing your abstract can be found in the “Handouts” section of the IUPUI University Writing Center at http://www.iupui.edu/~uwc/handouts.html under:
- Summaries, Writing Effective (use this for writing your abstract).

[OPTIONAL: The MACAA (Mid America College Art Association) conference will be held on campus October 15-18 (http://www.herron.iupui.edu/community/macaa1008) and an organizing Indiana statewide TFAP meeting for artists interested in a 2010 exhibit will be held on campus on Saturday, October 18.]

Week Ten. Oct. 22 | Going Global/Global Feminisms continued
Paper topic/1-page abstract due October 22 (submit 2 copies).
Feminism in international contexts. Feminism in diasporas.
Facilitator: Professor Robertson
1. Excerpt from Maura Reilly, “Introduction: Toward Transnational Feminisms,” in Maura Reilly and Linda Nochlin, eds., Global Feminisms: New Directions in Contemporary Art (Merrell, 2007), pp. 28-43.
2. Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel, “Profile: Shirin Neshat,” from Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980, Second Edition (Oxford University Press, forthcoming January, 2009). This reading is available as a file in the “Reading Assignments” folder under the “Resources” tab on Oncourse.
3. Tina Sherwell, “Bodies in Representation: Contemporary Arab Women Artists,” in Fran Lloyd, ed., Contemporary Arab Women’s Art: Dialogues of the Present (Woman’s Art Library, 1999), pp. 58-69.


Shirin Neshat. Rebellious Silence (1994) Black and white RC print and ink, 27.9 x 35.6 cm.
Courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York.

Week Eleven. Oct. 29 | Expressive Bodies (continued from Week Eight)
View DVD: Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. Discussion of Orlan and beauty.
Aesthetics, ethics and politics: the limits of art. How are women’s bodies portrayed?
Facilitator: Professor Brand
1. Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party (Penguin Books, 1996), pp. 219-223.
2. Peg Brand, “Disinterestedness and Political Art,” in Aesthetics: The Big Questions (Blackwell, 1998), pp. 155-171.

Week Twelve. Nov. 5 | Popular Visual Culture
The power of images in the wider visual culture (advertising, fashion, television)
View DVD: Killing Us Softly 3. Wear your power clothes!
Facilitator: Professor Robertson
1. Sarah Niblock, “Advertising,” in Fiona Carson and Claire Pajaczkowska, eds., Feminist Visual Culture (Routledge, 2001), pp. 295-307.
2. Rebecca Arnold, “Fashion,” in Carson and Pajaczkowska, eds., Feminist Visual Culture, pp. 207-222.
3. Patricia Pender, “’Kicking Ass as Comfort Food’: Buffy as Third Wave Feminist Icon,” in Stacy Gillis, Gillian Howie and Rebecca Nunford, eds., Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), pp. 224-236.

Paper outline due November 12:  See Final Research & Writing Assignment handout. Include an outline of the key points you will make in response to the following questions: How would you write about the artist and exemplary artwork for an art history textbook? For an aesthetics text?
Help for writing your outline can be found in the “Handouts” section of the IUPUI University Writing Center at http://www.iupui.edu/~uwc/handouts.html under:
- Outline, Making an

Week Thirteen. Nov. 12 | Popular Visual Culture continued
Paper outline due November 12 in class (submit 2 copies) 
The power of images in the wider visual culture (music, sports, men’s magazines, film)
View DVD by Byron Hurt: Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes (2006)
      (DVD is on reserve at IUPUI Main Library ML3531 H56 2006)
Facilitator: Professor Brand
Janell Hobson, “The ‘Batty Politic’: Toward an Aesthetic of the Black Female Body,” in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy (2003), pp. 87-105.

Week Fourteen. Nov. 19 | Visit to Eiteljorg Museum exhibit “Our Land: Contemporary Art from the Arctic”
Class visit to the Eiteljorg Museum to see exhibition of contemporary Inuit art.
Tour led by Jennifer Complo McNutt, Eiteljorg Curator of Contemporary Art
(Meet first in classroom; 1:00 at Eiteljorg Museum.)
Facilitator: Professor Brand
Janet C. Berlo & Ruth B. Phillips, “The Arctic,” in Native North American Art (Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 152-172.

Week Fifteen. Thanksgiving Break begins on Wednesday, November 26: No class

Week Sixteen. Dec. 3 | The Future of Feminism(s)
What do you now understand ‘feminism’ to mean? Do you identify yourself as a feminist? Why or why not? Has your study of a feminist artist affected your views on feminism or your view of yourself as a feminist?
Discussion of Final Research Paper topics.
Facilitators: Professors Brand and Robertson               

Exam Week.  Wed. Dec. 10: no class
Final Research Papers and Abstracts due no later than Dec. 10 (submit 2 copies)

Event Type: Course