2023-2024 Catalog

ARTH 240 The Traveling Object: 1492-1820

Trade, economic migration, and violent displacement caused an unprecedented number of people and things to travel across the early modern globe. This seminar explores the portable objects that were created within, and impacted by, the global mercantilismes and colonialism’s of the Spanish and Portuguese empires. We will follow a series of moving items that defy the traditional categories of singular authors or cultures. Their travels span distant points in the colonial maritime world, such as Goa, Manila, Mexico City, Nagasaki, Antwerp, Lisbon, and Potosi. Each class will center around 1-2 select “Objects in Focus.” Ranging from the high-end to the everyday, these works will include ivories, feather mosaics, silver work, lacquer, ceramics, paintings, prints, textiles, and more. They will intersect with a series of discussions on appropriation, reuse, display intent, theft, copying, gifting, erasure, fashion, labor and race. The paths of things past offer a more nuanced view of our own current systems of globalized capitalism and its reflection in artistic production and display to this day.


4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • Global Connections
  • Fine Arts
  • Pre-1800