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As part of your studies you may work as a docent or help with an exhibit at the College’s Wellin Museum of Art, an acclaimed facility. With guidance from your professors, you may secure an internship at the nearby Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, home to an important American art collection, or in a great art city such as New York or Boston.

About the Major

Art history at Hamilton focuses on understanding the rich cultural and historical contexts in which art is created and experienced. Coursework covers a range of periods, cultures and critical approaches. The department’s links to Hamilton programs in history and culture will encourage students to make connections to other fields of critical inquiry.

Hamilton is just one of those places that is really special. Everyone there is just so motivated and into their own thing, and they get you excited about it as well.

Teddy Altman ’15 — art history major

Students may choose to explore not only the European-American tradition, but Chinese and Japanese art and the arts of the Islamic and Buddhist traditions. Other courses, such as museum studies, women in art and contemporary critical theory, are organized around a particular theme.

Careers After Hamilton

  • Account Manager, Sotheby’s
  • Vice President and Real Estate Counsel, Lehman Brothers
  • Cataloguer, Lang Antiques
  • President, McGraw-Hill Professional
  • Sales Manager, NBC News
  • Senior Vice President, William Doyle Galleries
  • Tour Coordinator, Academic Arrangements Abroad
  • Presidential Innovation Fellow, The White House
  • President, Nye & Co. Auctioneers

Contact Information


Art History Department

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4380 315-859-4464 arthistory@hamilton.edu

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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Introduction to the History and Theory of Film 120S


A general introduction to the wide world of cinema and cinema studies, focusing on crucial films from many cinematic traditions. Topics include the evolution of film from earlier forms of motion picture, the articulation and exploitation of a narrative language for cinema, the development of typical commercial genres, and the appearance of a variety of forms of critical cinema. Focuses on basic film terminology, with the cinematic apparatus and ongoing theoretical conversation about cinema and its audience.

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Architecture in History 150F


A critical examination of the development of the designed and built environment from the Paleolithic Period to the Industrial Revolution, with consideration given to urban, social and landscape issues. Writing-intensive.

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Proseminar in Art History 152FS


A writing intensive course designed to introduce students to ways of critically evaluating differing viewpoints on the meaning and social significance of art. Writing assignments provide opportunities to engage students in a critical examination of the power of images to promote certain social values and to shape viewers' understanding of themselves, their relations to others, and to the world around them. (The Fall term will focus on examples from the Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance periods.) Writing-intensive. Proseminar.

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Visual Narratives: Images With(In) Books 220


How do you read images with(in) books? Can images persuade, seduce, or even lead the narrative astray? Drawing from the works on text and image from Visual Culture scholars, this interdisciplinary course focuses on visual textuality—the ‘book’ as a visible object of cultural consumption and production in the West and Mediterranean. Students will undertake the task of understanding and analyzing this multifaceted art form by examining illuminated manuscripts, woodcuts, printed texts, and illustrations (Duc de Berry, Goya, Max Ernst, Edward Gorey, Orhan Pamuk).

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Show and Tell: Comics and Graphic Narratives 288


In Reading Comics, Douglas Wolk states “The cheap way of referring to them is “comics” or “comic books”; the fancy way is “graphic novels”. Erasing these common prejudices, this class reinforces that comics is a sophisticated and complex medium that bears close affinities with art, film, and literature. This is an introductory study of comics across cultures and within global contexts—Tintin, Astro Boy, Wonder Woman, Watchmen and others—one that emphasizes visual narrative storytelling as well as the socio-political and visual trends that have shaped the powerful creative industry of comics.

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Seminar: History of Design and the Decorative Arts. 490S


Study of style and social function in the arts of design, with special emphasis on furniture and interior design. Student presentations may include such media as ceramics, glass, metalware and textiles. Visits to public and private collections. Writing-intensive.

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