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Spain: Landmark Series

Information Session: Tuesday, September 30th at 7pm AIMM230


Landmarks: The Art and Culture of Spain  is a 200-level course that contemplates the question of Spanish identity through the lens of the arts. It is designed for students interested in learning about the customs, politics, history, and traditions of art and architecture in both what we might call “European Spain” and “Islamic Spain,” at the same time that we call those distinct categories into question. The course is open to all students, but is particularly appropriate for those with a major (or minor) in art history, visual arts, religious studies, history, literary studies, and modern languages. The course also fulfills the Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts and the Global requirement of the Liberal Learning program. (Note: Other LL requirements may be met with a particularized syllabus of readings and appropriately focused research.)


The course will focus on three regions of Spain800px-Cordoba_Mosque_01 that are often thought of as having distinct cultural identities: Central Spain (Madrid and Toledo), Andalusia (Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga), and Catalonia (Barcelona). In Madrid, for example, connections to Renaissance and Baroque Europe can be seen in the architecture and curatorial choices in the royal collections; in Andalusia, the pre-1492 Muslim and Sephardic Jewish heritage of Spain is evident in the function and style of architecture, as well as the urban landscape; in Barcelona, a distinct Catalonian sensibility—quite literally—colors the art and architecture of the city. Students will study significant monuments, museum collections, and other cultural sites in these regions and cities as a way of exploring the question of Spanish identity: Do these regions reveal commonalities in their visual culture? How has art and architecture been employed to negotiate and communicate identity? How have older monuments and artworks been appropriated to contribute to newer constructions of identity throughout Spanish history? And, finally, how does Spain’s visual culture uphold or break down conventional notions that European and Muslim identities are distinct from one another?

Landmarks: Spain is taught by Lois Fichner-Rathus and Deborah S. Hutton of the Department of Art and Art History. They are excited to be collaborating on a study-abroad trip for the first time, although together they have extensive experience leading TCNJ students in various places around the globe.

This program will be part of the Landmarks series in Art History, led by Dr. Lois Fichner-Rathus and Dr. Deborah Hutton.  This will be a Maymester 2015 program and we will provide more data about the program shortly.