Current Graduate Courses

For dates regarding university closures or course drop deadlines, please have a look at the School of Graduate Studies Calendar, or contact the Graduate Office.

Delivery Method
The delivery method for all Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 courses will be Online Sychronous. Course may be completed fully online; some required real-time activities will be held online, as scheduled in the timetable. 

Special Studies Courses
Courses that are part of the Reading Course series (FAH 3000 number) require approval of both an instructor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Please submit an ADD form to the Graduate Assistant.

Program Changes
Any changes in course work for the year following the original enrolment must be within the add/drop deadlines as indicated in the School of Graduate Studies Calendar. If any changes are made after the drop date deadline the ADD/DROP form must be submitted to the department for signature and will then be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies for approval. Failure to make changes to your program within the allowed time limit may result in an “INC” (incomplete) on your transcript. If you have any questions regarding deadlines please do not hesitate to confirm these dates with the administrative staff.

Timetable 2020–21

Fall 2020 (September to December) 

The delivery method for all Fall 2020 courses will be Online Sychronous. Courses may be completed fully online; some required real-time activities will be held online.

Fall 2020 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9 am   MACS1000Y FAH1411H (Cheetham)   FAH1229H (Anderson)
10 am FAH1208H (Purtle) 


FAH1411H (Cheetham)/

FAH1463H (Kavaler & Bear)

  FAH1229H (Anderson)
11 am FAH1208H (Purtle) 


FAH1411H (Cheetham)/

FAH1463H (Kavaler & Bear)


FAH2025H (Kim)

FAH1229H (Anderson)
12 pm FAH1208H (Purtle) 


FAH1463H (Kavaler & Bear) FAH2025H (Kim)  
1 pm FAH1221H (Sohm)     FAH2025H (Kim)  
2 pm FAH1221H (Sohm) FAH1001H (Bear) FAH1757H (Jain) FAH1177H (Mostafa)  
3 pm FAH1221H (Sohm) FAH1001H (Bear) FAH1757H (Jain) FAH1177H (Mostafa)  
4 pm   FAH1001H (Bear) FAH1757H (Jain) FAH1177H (Mostafa)  


  • FAH1001H Methods – J. Bear – Tuesdays 2 pm to 5 pm
  • FAH1177H Architecture of the Umayyads – H. Mostafa (Medieval) – Thursdays 2 pm to 5 pm
  • (CANCELLED) FAH1207H Formalism and Its Objects– J. Purtle (Early Modern) – Mondays 10 am to 1 pm
  • FAH1208H Multiples in Chinese Art – J. Purtle (Early Modern) – Mondays 10 am to 1 pm 
  • FAH1221H Inside the Painters Studio – P. Sohm (Early Modern) – Mondays 1 pm to 4 pm
  • FAH1229H Architecture of the Global Renaissance – C. Anderson (Early Modern) – Fridays 9 am to 12 pm
  • FAH1411H Art & Analogy – M. Cheetham (Modern/Contemporary) – Wednesdays 9 am to 12 pm
  • FAH1463H Realism – J. Bear & M. Kavaler (Medieval/Early Modern/ Modern/Contemporary) – Wednesdays 10 am to 1 pm
  • FAH1757H Animal Images – K. Jain (All Time Periods) – Wednesdays 2 pm to 5 pm
  • FAH2025H Visual Narrative – S.J. Kim (Ancient)  –  Thursdays 11 am to 2 pm
  • MACS1000Y Methods in Mediterranean Archeology – Tuesdays 9 am to 12 pm


Winter 2021 (January to April)

The delivery method for all Winter 2021 courses will be Online Sychronous. Courses may be completed fully online; some required real-time activities will be held online.

Winter 2021 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9 am  

FAH1205H (Levy)/MACS1000Y

10 am FAH1951H (Gu)

 FAH1205H (Levy)/MACS1000Y

FAH1123H (Cohen) FAH1457H1 (Dewan)  
11 am FAH1951H (Gu)

FAH1205H (Levy)/ MACS1000Y

FAH1123H (Cohen) FAH1457H1 (Dewan)  
12 pm FAH1951H (Gu)   FAH1123H (Cohen) FAH1457H1 (Dewan)  
1 pm FAH1960H (Migwans)        
2 pm FAH1960H (Migwans) FAH1224H (Periti)   FAH1922H (Harney)  
3 pm FAH1960H (Migwans) FAH1224H (Periti) FAH2034H (Ewald) FAH1922H (Harney)  
4 pm   FAH1224H (Periti) FAH2034H (Ewald) FAH1922H (Harney)


5 pm     FAH2034H (Ewald)  



  • FAH1123H Art of the Medieval Book– A. Cohen (Medieval) – Wednesday 10 am to 1 pm
  • FAH1205H Early Modern Intermediality – E. Levy (Early Modern) – Tuesdays 9 am to 12 pm
  • FAH1224H Renaissance in Miniature – G. Periti (Early Modern) – Tuesdays 2 pm to 5 pm
  • FAH1457H Vernacular Photography – D. Dewan (Modern/Contemporary) – Thursdays 10 am to 1 pm
  • FAH1922H Contemporary Art & Ethnography – E. Harney (Modern/Contemporary) – Thursdays 2 pm to 5 pm
  • FAH1960H Indigenous Art, Land, and Material Relations in the Great Lakes – C. Migwans (Modern/Contemporary) – Mondays 1 pm to 4 pm
  • FAH1951H Contemporary Chinese Art and Its Discontents - Y. Gu (Modern/Contemporary) – Mondays 10 am to 1 pm
  • FAH2034H Topics in Roman Imperial Art – B. Ewald (Ancient) – Wednesdays 3 pm to 6 pm
  • MACS1000Y Methods in Mediterranean Archeology – Tuesdays 9 am to 12 pm


(FAH1001H) Methods – J. Bear

A close reading of the major texts related to the theory and practice of art history and its related disciplines. Required for all incoming PhD students, unless students receive permission for previous course from the Director of Graduate Studies.

(FAH1123H) Art of the Medieval Book – A. Cohen (Medieval)

This seminar investigates a wide range of questions related to the use and function of imagery in medieval books. What are the origins of medieval book illustration in the transition from roll to codex; what kinds of books were typically illustrated—and how; who conceived of the complex pictorial programs found in medieval manuscripts, and how did these programs function? Issues of patronage, audience and reception are central to this seminar, which focuses on specific case studies of manuscripts from throughout Europe dating from the late antique period until the advent of printing.

(FAH1177H) Architecture of the Umayyads – H. Mostafa (Medieval)

The Umayyads present a unique opportunity for the study of Medieval Mediterranean architectural history. As religious and political leaders, Umayyad caliphs and their patronage manifest a rootedness in late antiquity that challenges notions of Islamic art as “other.” By considering key Umayyad monuments, cities and material culture we will problematize binaries of east vs. west, sacred vs. secular and center vs. periphery to reveal what makes the Umayyads empire builders of the first order. Contextualized through ceremonial, pilgrimage, trade, praxis and governance, the built environment operates as a vehicle to access deeper and more nuanced understandings of Islamic history.

(FAH1205H) Early Modern Intermediality – E. Levy (Early Modern)

With the material turn, art historians have been engaged in imaginative explorations of the uses and meanings of materials in early modern art and visual culture. This course focuses on crossings from one medium to another (intermediality or intermateriality) whether through conscious imitation (material mimesis) or translation. We will look at explicit statements of medium-specificity in treatises; the situating of drawing as the unifying art; border crossings in the well-known art theoretical debate of the 16th century, the paragone; anxiety about deception (terracotta that feigns stone, stucco that imitates gold). A principal preoccupation will be with the intermedial effects of the introduction of printed images. For while intermediality is as old as art itself, there is an intensification with the introduction of print, when all media became graphic, only to be remedialized again. The chronological span is 15th–18th centuries and the geographic reach is global, with a particular focus on Europe and Latin America (where print was translated into painting and architecture often and in unexpected ways). We will spend time on signal works of intermediality (Roger van der Weyden, Rubens, Gianlorenzo Bernini) as well as many anonymous works, especially in the Americas (16th–18th centuries). This course is historiographically-oriented, tracking the reception of these historical artefacts alongside the modern call for truth-to-materials and the post-war call for medium-specificity in abstract art. A goal of the course is to develop a lexicon of terms specific to intermediality (pictorialization, linearization, resurfacing, flattening, modelling, etc.).

(FAH1207H) Formalism and Its Objects – J. Purtle (Modern & Contemporary) *CANCELLED*

This seminar, to be co-taught by Kenneth Brummel, Associate Curator of Modern Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) seeks to problematize the discourse and practice of formalism – i.e., critical approaches to the study of visible and material features of an art object – in the discipline of art history. Weekly seminars will alternate between the gallery spaces of the AGO, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), and other local collections, in order to facilitate the kind of first-hand looking at objects practiced by true formalists. First-hand engagement with objects will be combined with the reading of various methodological, historiographical, and theoretical texts, including those by the British art critic Roger Fry (1866-1934), who wrote extensively about both Chinese ceramics and modern art, and Henri Focillon (1881-1943), the French formalist who was also a Director of the Musée de Beaux Arts de Lyon. By developing critical, analytical, and object-focused skills, this seminar has three goals: to problematize the division between the fine and decorative arts; to consider the possibilities and limitations of established methods of formalism that have been resurgent with the rise of “Global Art History;” and, to suggest the importance of formalism in an era of methodological experimentation that at times eclipses the object. Ultimately, this seminar will equip students with tools for thinking through and making sustained art-historical arguments about diverse types of objects that are both methodologically rigorous and materially grounded

*NEW* FAH1208H Multiples in Chinese Art – J. Purtle (Early Modern) 

This seminar “Multiples and their Articulations in Chinese Art,” seeks to recover pre-modern Chinese notions of what contemporary art history terms “the multiple” in order to understand the ways in which pre-modern Chinese objects were understood in their own cultural context in dialogue with terms and concepts established in the implicitly European discipline of art history. The course will introduce the theory, methods, and historiographic foundations of the idea of the multiple and probe the corresponding relationship of the idea of the multiple to concepts such as originality, uniqueness, and the masterpiece in pre-modern China and in the discipline of art history.

(FAH1221H) Inside the Painter's Studio – P. Sohm (Early Modern)

Painters at work in Italy, France and Germany, 1550-1700. The aim of this seminar is to understand studios as places for painting, teaching, selling and modeling, and hence painters as craftsman, teacher and team boss, negotiator and salesroom manager. Research topics include: the physical location and environment of painters’ studios; painting as a corporeal act; painting as a performance for studio visitors; self-representation of painters at work; bodily traces in paintings (fingerprints and finger painting); visual and literary evidence of production. An eclectic array of approaches and sources will be used: material culture, anthropology, scientific conservation, social and economic history, and literary analysis. Source material will include biographies, letters, diaries, account books, inventories, testaments, lawsuits, technical manuals and (naturally) prints, drawings and paintings. Reading knowledge of Italian, German or French is required.

(FAH1224H) Renaissance in Miniature – G. Periti (Early Modern)

The development of Renaissance art has often been traced on the basis of large scale works, including grandiose palaces, monumental chapels, colossal sculptures, imposing frescoes and massive tapestries. Small format works, however, constitute an area of artistic performance that deserves further scrutiny and critical attention. This seminar explores miniaturization in several media works produced ca.1400-1600. We will be looking at a corpus of small-size works that provide some of the most compelling responses to questions of scale, crafting, performativity and portability. 

Readings include chapters by Mack, Payne, Lévi-Strauss, and Bredekamp, among others.

There may be visits to local museums if the situation allows.

(FAH1229H) Architecture of the Global Renaissance – C. Anderson (Early Modern/Architecture)

Renaissance architecture is no longer understood as simply an Italian or even a European phenomenon. This course looks at the architectural interactions between regions as the result of trade, war, pilgrimage and diplomacy. Students will study architectural exchange between Europe and South Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, and Africa in order to understand how the conditions of a global economy shaped the development of architecture in the early modern era.

(FAH1411H) Art and Analogy – M. Cheetham (Modern/Contemporary)

Analogy and metaphor are central to the way humans think and make sense of the world, whether in culture (the pattern is common in literature, music, and architecture), politics, or science (Rutherford’s foundational analogy between the atom and solar system, for example). People think analogically because it is a potent shorthand that makes a connection, a comparison. It places its terms in useful but also restrictive ways. Art and Analogy investigates a fundamental range of questions in art history and the practice of artmaking: in what ways are art objects, the processes of their making, and their reception analogues? How is art related to the world: as a mirror, a material segment, a copy? Perhaps digital technologies have altered the nature of art itself by challenging the ancient pattern by which the arts are compared and ranked (“Ut Pictura Poesis,” for example). We will also examine how the narratives that make up art history are extensively based on analogical thinking, including the pattern that sees artist X as the artist Y of country Z (“Tom Thomson was the van Gogh of Canada,” for example). Are such analogies helpful? In what ways can they be misleading? Can we validly analogize across cultures and temporalities, as when Liu Haisu was dubbed the “Cézanne of China”? While analogizing is ubiquitous and forms a link between art history, the visual arts, and both scientific and humanistic cultural norms generally, we will seek to understand the roots and implications of analogical thinking in visual art and writing about art from c. 1700 to the contemporary period.

(FAH1457) Vernacular Photography – D. Dewan (Modern/Contemporary)

This course will introduce students to key texts from the 2000s onwards associated with what has been described as the “vernacular turn” in the history of photography. The focus of much of the class will be the category of ‘family photography’ with some discussion and comparison with other genres within the vernacular framework. Throughout, we will return to the question ‘what is a vernacular photograph?’ and will use case studies from the ROM’s South Asian and Family Camera photo collections, alongside visits to other GTA collections. The class will examine photo history from its beginnings in 1839 to the present day, including studio and amateur photography, as well as work by contemporary artists. It will allow students to examine the social, economic, and cultural practices that produce vernacular photography, while trying to understand it aesthetic and discursive dimensions.

(FAH1463H) Realisms – M. Kavaler & J. Bear (Medieval/Early Modern/Modern)

In 1921 the Russian structuralist Roman Jakobson lamented that the history of art was remarkably imprecise in its vocabulary. One word received particular disapprobation: “the term ‘realism’…fares especially badly. The uncritical use of this word, so very elusive in meaning, has had fateful consequences.” In this seminar we will address the consequences that have attended the invocation and variability of “realism” by examining a series of episodes in Western art from the late medieval and early modern periods to the Twentieth Century.

We will explore—and attempt to disentangle—the most influential historical and theoretical accounts of realism and its relatives, including mimesis; naturalism, the comic, pictorial realism; social realism; photo-realism and photography. We will examine the invocation of these terms with respect to such phenomena as medieval sculpture, Van Eyck, Caravaggio, Dutch genre painting, Courbet, nineteenth-century photography, and cubism. The fundamental aim of this exercise is to become familiar with the various discourses around notions of realism, to assess how disparate artists have sought to link visual representation with the world.

Meetings will be organized around readings from Boccaccio, Rabelais, Johan Huizinga, Lorraine Daston, Roman Jakobson, Erich Auerbach, Ernst Gombrich, Roland Barthes, John Tagg and other relevant writers. Students will be evaluated on their participation in weekly discussions, oral presentations, and final paper.

(FAH1757H) Animal Images – K. Jain (All Time Periods)

Both art practice and scholarship in the humanities over the past two decades have been described as taking an “animal turn,” influenced by posthumanism and a resurgence of ecological thinking. This conceptual and thematic seminar explores the unfolding of this turn in art history, examining key texts and trends in relation to images across a range of geographical areas and periods. It aims to provincialize the terms of debate in this area by opening it up to a diverse set of image traditions related obliquely, if at all, to Western narratives of humanism and posthumanism. In doing so it illuminates a range of approaches not only to imaging animals, but also to the animation of the image.

(FAH1922H) Contemporary Art and Ethnography: Renewed Exchanges – E. Harney (Modern/Contemporary)

With the rise of various models of “global” art history and the proliferation of biennale culture, the complicated relationships between the practice and theory of art and ethnography seem newly relevant. Contemporary artists and curators, working across global histories refer to methods of “field research/work/site” and engage with the participatory and performative aspects of art making. Some of the questions we will consider: What does it mean to curate as a form of ethnographic practice? How have these disciplines addressed the complexities of material cultures, the agency of objects, and indigenous and local ways of knowing? How do we understand tropes of “crisis” and calls for “reflexivity” in both these arenas of study, in the wake of renewed concerns about cultural appropriation and calls for decolonization and cultural restitution?  Finally, what kinds of imaginative or speculative fictions have been articulated through both ethnographic and archival research by contemporary artists and researchers? The work of ethnographers, art historians and artists has drawn repeatedly on tropes of travel, discovery, hybridity, cultural proximity and distancing. How might we usefully draw these common threads into productive conversations to clear space for more radical ways of doing art history?

(FAH1951H) Contemporary Chinese Art and its Discontents – Y. Gu (Modern/Contemporary)

This seminar offers a survey of contemporary Chinese art with an emphasis on the contested conditions of art production, display, and interpretation. Organized as a series of case studies, this seminar will encourage students to situate contemporary Chinese art within the critical debates on glocalisation, neoliberal world order, and postsocialist condition. Special attention will be given to the positions and interventions of writers from the disciplines of philosophy, anthropology, and sociology together with the leading authors of contemporary Chinese art such as Wu Hung, Ackbar Abbas, Karen Smith, Minglu Gao, and Hanru Hou.

(FAH1960H) Indigenous Art, Land, and Material Relations in the Great Lakes – M. Migwans (Modern/Contemporary)

This course introduces methodologies for the study of Indigenous customary arts (both historical and contemporary), taking as our point of departure the materials and practice of these arts from a maker's perspective, and the land- and trade-based relations they enact. We will focus locally on Great Lakes arts by Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee artists, with an eye to wider movements and connections. Beads, black ash, porcupine quills, clay, copper and more will be explored through theorizations of place, process, sovereignty, and relationality, as well as through artist talks and hands-on engagement in exploratory workshops.

(FAH2025H) Visual Narrative and Time in Ancient Greek and Roman Art – S.J. Kim (Ancient)

There are numerous ways in which a picture is worth a thousand words. This course investigates the complex relationship between narrative and image, and the ensuing notions of temporality in spatially based pictorial media. The focus on ancient Greek and Roman visual culture—from Greek vase painting to Roman historical reliefs—provides a rich ground for exploring different narratological methodologies, which the students will learn throughout the course. The readings, thus, will be partly drawn from a wide range of theoretical sources in narrative studies, from Aristotle’s Poetics to Roland Barthes, as well as more recent approaches to visual narratology in contemporary film studies. The course will also address broader philosophical issues regarding notions of time and art, going beyond the domain of narratology proper, and consider the ways in which artworks can acquire temporality, both in and out of their proper socio-historical contexts.

(FAH2034H) Topics in Roman Imperial Art: Monuments and Metanarratives – B. Ewald (Ancient)

A seminar on Roman Imperial Art and the metanarratives and conceptual frameworks that have shaped its study over the past 120 years. Topics include: the problem of style/form and the transformation of Roman art during the first four centuries of our era; Roman “classicism”; “propaganda” and the function of “state monuments” and “official” art; the figure of the “viewer” in archaeological scholarship; spolia and “damnatio memoriae”; historical commemoration. Monuments under discussion will include the Ara Pacis, Triumphal Arches, Columns of Trajan, and Marcus Aurelius, Roman “Historical Reliefs.”

Only one full-course equivalent with these prefixes are permitted in any one degree program. To enrol in a reading course, please contact the Graduate Assistant for details.

(FAH3011H) Readings in Ancient Art

(FAH3012H) Readings in Medieval Art

(FAH3013H) Readings in Early Modern Art

(FAH3014H) Readings in Modern/Contemporary Art

Only one full-course equivalent of courses outside the department are permitted in any one degree program. To enrol in courses outside the department, please obtain approval from the course instructor and forward the email with the approval and the SGS Add/Drop Course(s) form to the Graduate Assistant.

Centre for Comparative Literature

Centre for Medieval Studies

Department of Anthropology

Department of Classics

Department of East Asian Studies

Department of History

Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

Department of Philosophy

Master of Visual Studies Program

Please note that these courses do not count towards the seminar work required for the doctorate.

(FSL6000H) Reading French Course for Graduate Students

Open to Masters and PhD graduate students who need to fulfill their graduate language requirement. On a case by case basis, students with prior language qualifications can access the exam-only option (still with course registration) after prior screening by the home department in support of the exam-only option. A grade of Credit/NonCredit (70% is the minimum grade for CR) will be entered on their transcripts. Students are not permitted to audit this course. This course is designed to develop students' reading skills particularly as they pertain to research interests. Some remedial grammar, but the primary emphasis is on comprehension of a wide variety of texts in French. Please visit the Department of French for more information.

(GER6000H) Reading German for Graduate Students

In this course German reading knowledge is taught following the grammar-translation method designed for graduate students from the Humanities. It is an intensive course that covers German grammar with focus on acquiring essential structures of the German language to develop translation skills. The course is conducted in English, and consequently participants do not learn how to speak or write in German, but rather the course focuses exclusively on reading and translating German. Prior knowledge of German not mandatory. By the end of the course, students should be able to handle a broad variety of texts in single modern Standard German. Please visit the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures for more information.

Undergraduate Language Courses

Graduate students may enrol in any undergraduate language course at no additional cost. A grade of Credit/NonCredit (70% is the minimum grade for CR) will be entered on their transcripts. Please consult the undergraduate timetable for course listing and description.