Project Course and Field Trip Descriptions

Course Descriptions for Regular Courses taught at GAFA by UofT Faculty

"Introduction to Medieval Art." This survey of medieval art introduces major monuments while also incorporating a global perspective that includes Jewish, Islamic, Christian, and polytheistic arts from the fourth through the fourteenth centuries. (undergraduate lecture, Dr. Safran)

"Perspectives on the Italian Renaissance." This lecture course surveys artistic production in Italy from the early fifteenth to the mid-sixteenth century, placing the Italian Renaissance in a world of artistic mobility, exploring the role of art in religious and secular life in Italy, tracing the reception of Antiquity and Byzantium, and attending to new developments in Northern Europe. (undergraduate lecture, Prof. Periti)

"Methods of Art History." This course introduces art-historical methodology from seminal texts of both Western art history and non-Western traditions of art writing. (graduate seminar, Prof. Purtle)

Course Descriptions for Synchronized Seminars

"Multicultural Arts of Medieval Sicily." This seminar will focus on medieval Sicily and will emphasize issues of conquest, royal power, and patronage. (graduate seminar, Prof. Caskey at UofT and Dr. Safran at GAFA; includes field trip, see below)

"Making Pictures in Medieval China." This seminar will focus on the intersection of commerce, politics, and faith in the production of images in medieval China. (graduate seminar, Profs. Wang at UofT and Li and Zou at GAFA; includes field trip, see below)

"Pilgrimages to Jerusalem." This seminar will consolidate the gains of the prior synchronized seminars and field trips; it will explore multifaith spirituality as materialized in art and architecture and consider postmedieval phenomena, including medievalism and contemporary practices.  (graduate seminar, Profs. Caskey at UofT and Cohen at GAFA; simultaneous teaching integrated with virtual teaching tools.)

"The Arts of Medieval China in a Global Perspective." This course will build on prior synchronized seminars to revisit the arts of medieval China from a multicultural perspective. (graduate seminar, Profs. Purtle at UofT and Wang at GAFA; this seminar will extend the established teaching partnership between GAFA and UofT to entirely virtual, shared classrooms.)

Field Trips for Synchronized Seminars:

Date TBD (likely Reading Week or May) 2016 -- Sicily: "Multicultural Arts of Medieval Sicily."
7-day field trip in Sicily for 8-9 students from each campus; led by Prof. Caskey and Dr. Safran. 

Both Europhone and Sinophone geographies note Sicily as the far western objective of continuous maritime routes, the eastern terminus of which was China. This trip will visit key sites and collections in which Sicily's diverse populations, heterogeneous artistic cultures, and connections to the Muslim world and other points east are manifest. 3 days in Palermo, with visits to museums and churches, including the famous Cappella Palatina, Martorana, cathedral of Monreale, and other churches and palaces; trips to Cefalù, Cefalà Diana (bathing complex), Segesta (ancient temples and archaeological site with excavated mosque), Caronia (Norman castle), Messina (Byzantine and Norman paintings, sculpture, and inscriptions (1 night), and Siracusa (Byzantine and later medieval architecture, painting, and sculpture) (1 night).

Date TBD (likely May) 2016 -- Dunhuang/Turfan: "Making Pictures in Medieval China."
7-day field trip to Dunhuang for 8-9 students from each campus; led by Profs. Li, Wang, and Zou. 

Medieval Chinese texts reveal that Dunhuang and Turfan, flourishing oasis towns at the western edge of Chinese sovereignty, served as overland transport hubs linking China with Byzantium and Europe (they were instrumental in the transmission of The Life of the Buddha tale and its Byzantine and European reception as the Tale of Barlaam and Josaphat, noted above). The sites we plan to visit on this field trip include Dunhuang Mogao Buddhist cave chapels, Dunhuang Yulin Buddhist cave chapels, Turfan Manichean/Buddhist cave chapels, and ancient capital city site of the Qoco Uighur Kingdom (mid-9th to 14th centuries), also at Turfan. In medieval times, the four sites functioned as major sacred centers in a region where Indic Buddhism, Chinese Daoism, and religions from the West -- Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, and Nestorianism -- met and coexisted. Meanwhile, generations of architects, mural painters, illustrators, and sculptors working at the sites also turned them into four centers of art making from the 5th through 14th centuries, revealing the emergence of art works that exhibit in formal terms varied modes of religious multiplicity, artistic mobility, and pictorial intelligence.