Fall 2017
Winter 2018
Spring 2018
Class Size: 50
Credits per quarter

Compare offerings and share your lists with others.

Taught by

Stacey Davis
European history
visual arts, painting, drawing

Important Note:  This program is taught by Stacey Davis and Shaw Osha. An intermittent error in the catalog incorrectly displays Steve Davis. 

This program investigates the relationship between modern cities and the art that shapes and responds to their historic, geographic, and contemporary socio-cultural identities. Urban living brings with it an immediacy of culture clash, social mixing, and the loss of local identities for new denizens, yet also the potential for the reconstruction and/or reconfiguration of both individual and collective identities. Cities are sites of social, economic, ethnic, and gender hierarchies, yet have also been at the forefront of radicalization and revolution in terms of gender, class, and race.

New York and Paris will be our focus. Through the intertwined disciplines of art and history, we will take a visual and critical studies approach to how these cities are formed by social, cultural, and political history, including the legacies of aristocracy, revolution, slavery, and waves of immigration. We will consider how the vestiges of the past are present in the architecture, geography, community structures, and social and cultural landscapes of each city. By accounting for their particular American and European histories, we will study contemporary issues and visual landscapes that reveal tensions over resources and the myriad social and political realities in these cities. How did past artistic movements, like impressionism in Paris and the Harlem Renaissance in New York, reflect and challenge the cultural norms and tensions in those cities? What sort of art became codified in museums, salons, and academies, and what art broke boundaries and created its own rules?

Our inquiries will be shaped by studies of major current sociopolitical and artistic events occurring as the 30 weeks unfold. These may include conflicts over immigration, social movements, political change, violence and fears of terrorist attacks, as well as issues of free speech, discrimination, and social justice. Students will be instructed in theory and practice in arts and humanities methodologies of investigation, including work in history, art history, urban and gender studies, and a visual arts practice. In fall quarter, instruction in drawing and painting will acquaint students with formal issues in visual language so they can represent and visualize ideas. Students will practice modalities of research in the humanities that will prepare them to conduct research and write a research paper later in the year. In winter, students will practice following lines of investigation in art-making and writing through assignments and working in small collaborations. In fall and winter, there will be short field trips to study local cities and their art scenes.

During the 10-week period spanning the second half of winter and the first half of spring quarters, students will hone their own artistic practice or academic research in response to their growing understanding of the identities and tensions present in New York, Paris, or another city of their choice. Students will have the opportunity for individual travel to study a city in depth for this independent research or artistic project. Students will return to the classroom in the middle of spring quarter to reflect on, critically examine, and integrate their fall quarter theoretical and methodological learning with their winter and spring quarter research or artistic practice.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

visual arts, urban studies, history, European and American studies, gender studies, and art history


Credits per quarter

Online learning:
  • Fall: Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
  • Winter and Spring: Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.
Special expenses:

Additional expenses, for supplies or travel, will vary by individual project. Approximately $2,000 in winter for an optional ten-day study of contemporary art in New York City, including travel, lodging, meal, and individual project expenses. Students will be responsible to make arrangements for their own travel, lodging, meals, and individual project expenses. An additional $225 is required for museum passes, studio visit artist fees and travel to Dia Beacon. Students will take projects and unused supplies with them at the end of the program. The program will be structured as it is on campus with 16 hours of class time, which includes seminar, lectures, field trips and project work. Students will have the opportunity to experience NYC in context, in terms of its history and culture including a study of art from throughout history and from all over the world in museums, galleries and in artists’ studios. This is an opportunity for students to situate launch their research projects will also be able to situate their own line of inquiry within the context of what is being made and shown in a major contemporary art center.


$200 in fall, $75 in winter and $100 in spring for museum and theater tickets, art supplies, and overnight field trips.

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 50

Scheduled for: Day

Advertised schedule:

First class meeting: Monday, January 8 at 10am (tbd)

Located in: Olympia

2018-01-31Winter fee reduced (from $200 to $75).
2017-05-02Fees updated ($200 in fall, $200 in winter, and $100 in spring). An optional trip to New York will cost an additional estimated $2225.
2017-05-02Variable credit section added.