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Semester 1

Imaging/Imagining the Americas: Cartography and Ecology across the Renaissance Atlantic (HIAR10188)


History of Art





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This course cannot be taken alongside History of Art 2A or 2B. Visiting students must have completed at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above; we will only consider University/College level courses. **Please note that History of Art courses have extremely limited spaces available, and are very popular, so students cannot be guaranteed a space in any History of Art course.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the History of Art department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

This course examines a variety of different types of representations of land and nature that were produced in the wake of the discovery of the Americas, by both European colonists and Indigenous peoples. Critical attention is paid to how transcultural exchanges were crucial to the production of knowledge during the Early Modern period, and how images like those under study blur modern distinctions between art and science.

Course Description

Immediately following the discovery of the Americas, Europeans made copious efforts to render the New World visually intelligible. This included mapping out its terrain cartographically, as well as representing its plants, animals, and peoples, in various media. Moreover, Europeans were not alone in these endeavours. Indigenous peoples at times at the behest of colonial authorities, at others independently created their own representations of the lands and peoples of the Americas during the Early Modern period, even developing entirely new genres of visual media. A rapidly emerging body of art historical scholarship has examined how representations of the Americas produced both in the New World and the Old were figurative in the production and exchange of knowledge across oceans during the Early Modern period. These images were crucial to the development of bodies of scientific knowledge that came to construct and define the Americas as a bounded space, as well as understandings of its people, flora, and fauna. These bodies of knowledge were often marshalled in service of colonial European exploitation, yet Native groups also produced images that were meant to help assert their own rights and privileges, working both within and against colonial power structures and knowledge regimes.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 50%, Coursework 50%, Practical Exam 0%

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