Nadya Bair is a historian of photography, mass media, and global visual culture.
Art history is the study of visual and material culture. From Neanderthal cave paintings to contemporary street art, from monumental architecture to photography and performance art, it addresses the history of visual expression across geographies, media, and technologies.
About the Major
The transdisciplinary nature of art history means that students draw upon a broad range of subjects and approaches that span the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
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 — art history major
Courses encourage students to explore an expansive understanding of the field of art history, including not only visual art and architectural history, but also popular imagery, new media, and material culture. Our students learn to bring a diverse range of interdisciplinary practices and critical interests to bear upon the interpretation of their visual environment.
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
Introduction to Visual Studies 130FS
Our world is saturated by images, from the screens that surround us to retinal projection, yet most of us struggle to interpret what we see. We are immersed in visual technologies that shape our behavior, from computer games to AR, yet few of us know how such technologies are created. The course introduces students to a critical examination of images both by tracing current visual technologies to their historical origins and by working with emerging technologies to produce such applied examples as: logo design, digital mapping, and 3-D modeling within the context of a Digital Studio component. Proseminar.View All Courses
Intersections in Global Art 152F
In this course we will look closely at 32 objects (roughly one per day) that embody significant intersections among different cultures and/or periods. The objects range from a prehistoric African axe to contemporary street art in Athens, Greece. We will be learning about how to look at works of art and how to effectively express our thoughts about them in spoken and written words. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar). Open to first- and second-year students only. Maximum enrollment, 16. McEnroe. Writing-intensive. Proseminar.View All Courses
The Portrait from Pharaoh to Facebook 230S
The course is both a chronological study of portraiture and an exploration of the complex strategies by which individuals and groups have deployed visual forms to construct representations of their identities. We will explore the myriad purposes to which such representations have been put, including tomb effigies and commemoration, state-certified identification, mug shots, and the digital construction of self. Ultimately, we will try to better understand the power and persistence of the portrait genre, from self-portraits to wax seals, from selfies to statues, and from pharaoh to Facebook.View All Courses
Political Power and Cultural Authority: The Arts of China 258F
Historical examination of the ethico-aesthetic, religio-philosophical and socio-political values expressed in the indigenous arts associated with the imperial court, the scholar's studio, the marketplace and the subtle art of dissent. Chinese material culture, including painting, calligraphy, sculpture, ceramics, jade, ritual bronzes, architecture and silk robes.View All Courses
Greece, Rome, and the Mediterranean 262S
Traditionally we have studied ancient Greece and Rome in isolation from the surrounding world, as places that shaped the beginnings of “western” civilization. This course takes a broader view. We shall explore the ancient Mediterranean as a place of dynamic interaction from the Levant though Egypt, North Africa, Greece, Italy, and the islands in between. Far from standing in isolation, the arts of ancient Greece and Rome participated in these transnational cultural networks. Writing-intensive.View All Courses
Avant Garde: Cinema as Theory and Critique 301F
A history of alternatives to commercial movies, focusing on surrealist and dadaist film, visual music, psychodrama, direct cinema, the film society movement, personal cinema, the New American Cinema, structuralism, Queer cinema, feminist cinema, minor cinema, recycled cinema and devotional cinema. While conventional entertainment films use the novel, the short story and the stage drama as their primary instigations, experimental and avant-garde films are analogous to music, poetry, painting, sculpture and collage.View All Courses
Getting Schooled in Museum Education
Connections and Careers
On the Path to Art Conservation
After graduation, art history major Lila Reid ’20 will spend the year as an intern at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center in Massachusetts. The paid opportunity will provide her with the experience necessary to study art conservation at the graduate level.