Graduate Art History

Current Graduate Courses

Consult the School of Graduate Studies Calendar or contact the Graduate Office for dates regarding university closures or course drop deadlines.

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 SGS Add/Drop Course(s) 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 Graduate Assistant.

Department of Art History Graduate Timetable

Special Studies and Language Courses

Timetable 2021–22

Delivery Method

The delivery methods for all Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 courses will be announced soon.

Course Materials

The majority of courses in the Art History program use Quercus to generate web material including syllabi, lecture slides, and handouts. Log in using your UTORid and password. Please consult with your course instructor to verify which learning management system is used.


Fall 2021 (September to December)

Fall 2021 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9 am   MAC1000Y | COL5127H
TUES 9 am–12 pm | 10 am–12 pm
Knappett | Ricco
THURS 9 am–12 pm
10 am   FAH1231H
WED 10 am–1 pm
11 am    
12 pm        
1 pm FAH1001H
MON 1 pm–4 pm
WED 1 pm–4 pm
2 pm FAH1759H
TUES 2 pm–5 pm
3 pm    
4 pm   FAH2037H
WED 4 pm–7 pm
5 pm        
6 pm        


Bear (Other) Monday 1 pm–4 pm

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.

Caskey (Medieval) Wednesday 1 pm–4 pm

This course examines medieval church treasuries, their contents and architectural settings, and the ways they have been conceptualized from the Middle Ages to the present. It highlights the diversity of treasury contents, from liturgical chalices to legal documents, who contributed to the shape of such collections and why, and how the collections were documented. Major themes in present-day art history create the conceptual underpinnings of the course, including materiality, collecting and display, mobility, and patronage. The course will provide opportunities for students to work with objects in local museums and to develop research projects in the Digital Humanities. Recommended: Reading knowledge of French, German, Italian, and Latin helpful.

Kavaler (Medieval, Early Modern) Wednesday 10 am–1 pm

This course examines varieties of sculpture in Northern Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth century with particular emphasis on the Netherlands and Germany. The course questions the near-exclusive focus on painting as the quintessential artistic medium of Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Sculpture was an essential medium for the expression of power relations. Tombs of the high nobility framed and controlled the communal space of churches and chapels. Towering sacrament houses offered magnificent stages for the Eucharist—the material focus of the central drama of the church. Mantelpieces in town halls asserted the complex relationship between competing groups within the city. Carved altarpieces found visual formulas for metaphysical notions of sacred space and time. And smaller works like bronze statuettes became treasured objects in Renaissance collections.

Clarke (Modern/Contemporary) Tuesday 2 pm–5 pm

This seminar examines significant buildings, movements, and ideas in nineteenth- and twentieth-century architecture. We will pay particular attention to relationships between art and architecture: the built environments in which art is created and exhibited, forms of graphic representation that have been instrumental in the development of modern architecture, and methodological links between architectural and art history scholarship. Finally, we will engage with the contested question of architecture’s medium-specificity or autonomy. Previous study of architecture is not required.

Cheetham (Modern/Contemporary) Thursday 9 am–12 pm

We will examine the extensive visual culture of voyages in the Arctic from the 16th century to the present, with an emphasis on the long 19th century and the Angloshpere. Topics include Western and Inuit perspectives on the Northwest Passage, the magnetic and geographic north poles in print culture, imaging technologies, commercial enterprises in the Arctic and in Europe, the USA, and Canada, nationalism, colonialism, and scientific understandings of the unique meteorological, human, and animal phenomena of this region. We will also interrogate the notion of the Anthropocene and competing contemporary ideas of the human impact on nature as a way to explore ecological understandings of the Arctic in the 19th century and today.

Ewald (Ancient) Wednesday 4 pm–7 pm

The course, entitled “‘In the flesh’: Empathy, Embodiment and Emotion in Ancient Art’” explores different facets of its topic. Using a representative selection of works in a variety of media (mainly sculpture and painting) we will examine how ancient art both depicted and elicited affects, “emotions,” and bodily responses. No matter if we are looking at a Hellenistic symplegma (“entanglement”), a sarcophagus depicting the killing of the Niobids, a painting showing the violent death of Pentheus, or the decapitation of enemies of the Roman order – ancient art wanted to be experienced “in the flesh.” To this we can add scenes that—self-referentially and recursively—evoke the bodily experience of interacting with the object they decorate. But how exactly, and why, do ancient works of art seek to evoke bodily responses? How do the viewer responses they imply relate to the emotional protocols that can be reconstructed from a variety of ancient sources? (For example, in ancient theories of emotions, and in stark contrast to modern conceptions, viewers are supposed to feel “pity” in response to viewing the suffering of others only under certain circumstances). How does the emotional economy of ancient art, from the late archaic to the Roman periods, reflect a shifting corporeal habitus and changing concepts of personhood and subjectivity? Can the recent sub-discipline of “neuro-art history” provide a productive perspective, and has it made good on its claim of unravelling the “neural bases of empathy and emotion”? And if so, where does that leave us? Can the bodily responses they register really be “automatic” and universal, and how do their more reasonable practitioners account for the significant historical modulations in the responses to images? Readings will include some “classics” from the fields of Aesthetics and Phenomenology, but also more recent work produced in disciplines as diverse as Neuro-Art History and Classics.

Knappett Tuesday 9 am–12 pm (Note: course runs from September to April)

A year-long core course with the aim of providing students with a critical understanding of what constitutes method within the different domains of Classical archaeology, ancient history, and prehistory, and the challenges and opportunities in working across these methods to produce new frameworks for researching the ancient Mediterranean. Students will examine ways in which historical and archaeological methods might be applied comparatively or diachronically across traditional chronological or geographical boundaries. Readings will be drawn from several core ‘classic' texts on the ancient Mediterranean and specific case studies.

Ricco (Modern/Contemporary) Tuesday 10 am–12 pm

This course examines recent work in Queer Theory, Philosophy, Literature, and Visual Culture, in which questions of ethics and aesthetics are of principal concern in thinking about friendship; sexual pleasure; intimacy; decision; anonymity and identity; social encounters and relations. We will read works by: Leo Bersani, Tom Roach, Tim Dean, William Haver, Michel Foucault, Herve Guibert, Jean-Luc Nancy, Lauren Berlant, and others.

Winter 2022 (January to April)

Winter 2022 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9 am   MAC1000Y
TUES 9 am–12 pm
WED 9 am–11 am
Ricco and Hayes
FRI 9 am–12 pm
10 am   FAH1961H
WED 10 am–1 pm
THURS 10 am–1 pm
11 am  
12 pm      
1 pm FAH1177H
MON 1 pm–4 pm
2 pm FAH1758H
TUES 2 pm–5 pm
WED 2 pm–5 pm
THURS 2 pm–5 pm
3 pm  
4 pm    


Mostafa (Medieval) Monday 1 pm–4 pm

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.

Periti (Early Modern) Wednesday 2 pm–5 pm

Two major exhibitions, symposia and several new publications have recently re-considered the art of the Italian painter Correggio (1489–1534), but its understanding remains problematic within the current paradigms of Renaissance art. Correggio’s art has generated oppositional responses in the scholarship, ranging from its being considered an embodiment of “Renaissance classicism,” to its characterization as “proto-baroque,” or to the artist’s supposed exemplary status as a “post-classical” master. One of the central questions underlying the seminar is: where does Correggio’s art fit in the current Renaissance art history? The work of Correggio and its reception will be examined not just in and of itself, but as paradigmatic of the interpretative impasse that characterizes Renaissance art history as it is currently practiced. The seminar will consider Correggio’s most ambitious projects – his altarpieces, domes decorations and erotic images – and reconstruct their referential structures and meanings. But the examination of this still undervalued protagonist of Renaissance art will serve as a springboard for reflecting upon larger problems in the field: the ontological status of Renaissance art history, its methods and approaches, and the present-day “crisis” of interpretation.

Anderson (Early Modern, Architecture) Friday 9 am–12 pm

Water comprises the majority of the earth's surface, and has shaped the creation of art, architecture, and objects as the means of travel and transport as well as a powerful cultural metaphor. This course offers students the opportunity to study the environmental conditions, imagery, and mechanisms used by artists and craftsmen as well as the everyday experiences of water. Each week will offer a particular case study and point of view through which to study the connections between liquid contexts and art objects. Themes will include flows, surfaces and depths, water edges, and technologies. Students may work on projects in their choice of geographical and historical moments.

Legge (Modern/Contemporary) Thursday 2 pm–5 pm

In the wake of Hannah Gadsby’s influential film Nanette (2018), and in the context of the Me Too movement, particular pressure is put on the ways that Picasso has been constructed, and the claims and counter-claims made for his work over the course of the 20th century into the present. These include the biographical Picasso, the formalist genius Picasso, the intellectual semiotician Picasso, the political Picasso, the colonialist Picasso, the “late” Picasso in view of postmodernism, and the misogynist Picasso. We will consider the principal critical and academic texts, as well as popularizing photographs and key films

Jain (Modern/Contemporary) Tuesday 2 pm–5 pm

This seminar examines approaches to the efficacies of images from the standpoint of South Asia, where—as elsewhere, only more clearly—the force of the aesthetic far exceeds the arena of “fine” art. In doing so, this seminar explicitly reflects on postcolonial and decolonizing challenges to art history’s Eurocentric presuppositions. While based in South Asian materials, the course therefore has wider relevance to issues of art historical method. Each week, representative scholarship and critical texts on South Asian images, mostly (but not exclusively) from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, will be examined in relation to the questions they pose about art history’s objects, categories, methods, and narratives. The course does not require background knowledge of South Asia, however participants will be expected to fill this in as required for the weekly reading, as they are for unfamiliar Western materials.

Kaplan (Modern/Contemporary) Thursday 10 am–1 pm

What are the ways in which photography as a visual and narrative medium induces laughter and provides amusement? This course explores this question by focusing on major photographic genres throughout the history of the medium and by examining major photographic humourists in particular. The course is particularly concerned with the analysis of key images (both old and new) that mock conventional assumptions made about the nature and function of photography in terms of its claims to truth, identity and reference. The course also includes readings of major philosophers and cultural theorists on the subject of humour and applies them to thinking about photography.

Migwans (Modern/Contemporary) Wednesday 10 am–1 pm

This course will explore activism within art contemporary movements as well as art strategies used by activist movements, with a specific focus on the local and ongoing. The course will span theory and praxis, asking how we might bring the critical and decolonial lenses of our texts into the world and vice versa. We will learn from artists and activists working locally, and from these conversations move into a wider global framing.

Ricco and Hayes (Modern/Contemporary) Wednesday 9-11 am

Working at the juncture of Art and Visual History and Philosophies of the Image and marshalling a set of critical-theoretical approaches to address the politics and aesthetics of sociality and community, this seminar investigates the role that photography and the field of photo studies together might play in imagining and creating collective futures, afterlives, and other lives. The seminar will provide a unique transcontinental focus on photography in relation to Africa, Europe, and the Americas; ecology, and species extinction; postcolonial and decolonial histories; and race and temporality—including their heretofore unexplored intersections.

Knappett Tuesday 9 am–12 pm (Note: course runs from September to April)

A year-long core course with the aim of providing students with a critical understanding of what constitutes method within the different domains of Classical archaeology, ancient history, and prehistory, and the challenges and opportunities in working across these methods to produce new frameworks for researching the ancient Mediterranean. Students will examine ways in which historical and archaeological methods might be applied comparatively or diachronically across traditional chronological or geographical boundaries. Readings will be drawn from several core ‘classic' texts on the ancient Mediterranean and specific case studies.

Special Studies and Language Courses

Type Description
Reading Courses

Only one full-course equivalent from the Reading Course series (FAH3011H–3014H) is permitted in any one degree program. Reading courses require approval from both a Department of Art History faculty member and the Director of Graduate Studies. To enrol in a reading course, obtain approval and submit the SGS Add/Drop Course(s) form to the Graduate Assistant.

  • FAH3011H Readings in Ancient Art
  • FAH3012H Readings in Medieval Art
  • FAH3013H Readings in Early Modern Art
  • FAH3014H Readings in Modern/Contemporary Art
Collaborative Program Courses

Please visit the participating degree programs’ pages for course listing and timetable.

Courses Outside the Department

Only one full-course equivalent of courses outside the department is 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.

Language Courses

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

  • 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 a 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.


Please refer to the FAQ page and/or contact the Graduate Assistant.

Graduate Studies FAQ