FA 0150 Ancient Art: The Cosmos and Apocalyptic Visions
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
248 Biddle Hall
T-TH 3:30-4:50 p.m.
Dr. Valerie S. Grash, Associate Professor of Fine Arts
Office: 230B Biddle Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:30-2:00 p.m., and by appointment.
Far more often than we do today, ancient cultures took notice of their natural surroundings and integrated their understanding of the universe with their everyday lives. Solar, lunar, stellar and planetary alignments were often referenced in their art and architecture, not to mention in their religious beliefs and concepts of life and death, as well as in the creation of their universe and in the end of time.
This course will focus on the art and architecture of ancient cultures with this general theme in mind. Our approach will be roughly chronological, but also involve cross-cultural influences, thus a thorough understanding of ancient history is important; a good amount of time will also be spent examining singular monuments and individuals in historical context. Through directed readings, we will also discover ancient myths and legends, as well as documents and treatises related to political power and everyday life. By connecting them to specific works of art and architecture, we can better understand the intention and reception of visual images and constructed form in the ancient world.
At the conclusion of this course, you will:
1. Possess a comprehensive understanding of how ancient peoples perceived, utilized and appreciated works of art and architecture, particularly as an extension of understanding their place in the cosmos.
2. Distinguish unique stylistic characteristics and symbolism employed by specific cultures and individual power figures.
3. Comprehend architectural innovations and technologies exploited by the ancients, and recognize their long-term impact on Western culture.
4. Have detailed knowledge of a specific monument or issue, acquired through formal analysis and research.
There is no required textbook for this course. Rather, we will depend on a collection of original source material and scholarly writings posted on the course web site. Read these in advance of class, with the expectation of participating in discussion.
Course Web Site:
Additional textual and visual materials for this course (including terms and lists of works you will be tested on and PowerPoint presentations of class lectures); additional required readings; your grades; and pertinent announcements concerning class meetings and examinations are found at: http://courseweb.pitt.edu
Notice Regarding Course Changes:
I reserve the right to modify the timing, order and content of the course schedule. It is your responsibility to attend class and be aware of any changes. Check the course website regarding any class cancellations should they become necessary due to adverse weather conditions or other situations.
My role is to facilitate learning through lecture and clarification of specific points through questioning and discussion, whether in the classroom, during office hours or via electronic correspondence. It is your responsibility to attend class, take accurate notes and approach me with any questions and issues for clarification in a timely manner.
While there is no attendance policy for this course, be forewarned that what you will be tested on is discussed thoroughly in class. Even with the textbook, nothing replaces viewing the images projected on screen. Therefore, regular attendance is necessary to succeed in this course. In addition, as classroom discussion is expected, poor attendance will adversely affect you if it comes down to a borderline decision on your final grade.
Notes and Note Taking:
Under no circumstances do I provide notes for missed classes. It is your responsibility, if you miss a class, to acquire the lecture notes from a classmate. Class assignments and announcements are also available on the course website. You may tape-record lectures as long as you do not disturb others in the class.
I give make-up exams only in cases with legitimate, documented reasons (death in the family, personal hospitalization, required fieldtrips, etc.). In such cases, inform me in advance and provide written confirmation of your absence. Do not assume every absence is excused or warrants special consideration. The alternative make-up exam (all essay questions) must be taken within one week of the scheduled test; only one makeup exam per student will be permitted. No one can make-up the final exam, which must be taken at the scheduled time.
No extensions are granted for class assignments. Due dates are clearly noted on the syllabus at the beginning of the semester. You should start each assignment in a timely manner and even complete assignments early. Illness or any other excuse has no bearing on the fact that your work was not turned in on time. Any assignment not turned in by the due date will not be graded, thus earning 0 points for the work. No exceptions are permitted so do not ask!
Be certain your cell phone ringer is turned OFF, as it is both annoying and disruptive to the entire class. Anyone sending or receiving text messages will be asked to leave-this course deserves your full attention. If you can't do that, drop the class immediately.
Please read carefully the Academic Integrity Guidelines in your student handbook. They will be followed to the letter in this course. There is ZERO tolerance for cheating or plagiarism. Any time that you use another person's words or thoughts as your own without giving them proper credit is plagiarism, including copying and pasting from the Internet. Any instance of cheating or plagiarism will result in an automatic "F" (0 points) for that assignment, and steps will be taken, according to the Academic Integrity Guidelines, to receive an "F" for the course and for action leading to expulsion from the university. I will not permit re-writing any suspected plagiarized assignment.
If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and the Office of Health & Wellness Services (OHWS), G-10 Student Union Building, (814) 269-7119 to schedule an appointment as early as possible in the term. OHWS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.
Grading and Course Requirements:
Overall, you can earn 500 points during the semester. On this scale:
500-490 (A+) 489-465 (A) 464-450 (A-)
449-440 (B+) 439-415 (B) 414-400 (B-)
399-390 (C+) 389-365 (C) 364-350 (C-)
349-300 (D) 299 and below (F)
Your grade will be determined in the following manner:
Examinations (390 points):
There will be three exams during the semester (September 27, November 1, December 10), each worth 130 points. The format will be multiple choice and essay questions drawn from class notes and readings. The final will NOT be comprehensive, but will cover only the material since the previous exam. Study guides will be posted in advance of each exam.
Term Paper (110 points):
In consultation with the professor, each student will select a specific topic to research during the semester. Ideally, it will be focused around a single monument or type of monument, but it may also be a comparative paper dealing with a common concept addressed across two or more cultures. In order to fine-tune your topic, you must meet with the professor early in the semester, and receive approval for your topic before proceeding. Appointments will be scheduled sometime after the first exam, but if you want to get started even earlier, we can always make arrangements to do so.
By October 16, everyone must submit a well-crafted proposal which not only articulates clearly what the thesis (subject and argument) of your paper will be, but also provide a preliminary bibliography of at least ten (10) specific books and articles you plan to consult during your research. These sources would include not only articles accessible from library databases such as EBSCO, JSTOR, and Project Muse, but also books found in our library or acquired through interlibrary loan. Very important: no Internet sources are acceptable, and will result in an automatic 0 (F) for this assignment (and your final paper if you use an Internet source for it). The proposal (10 points) will be returned to you with comments and suggestions.
The finished term paper (100 points) must be at least 2,000 (but no longer than 2,500) words long, typewritten 12-point and double-spaced. Specific guidelines regarding technical requirements and layout are found on the course website under "Assignments." They must be followed to the letter in order for your paper to be acceptable. Please reference the earlier passage on Academic Integrity Policy regarding issues of plagiarism. This most definitely includes "cut and pasting" passages from the Internet, which I can readily spot, so use your own words and ideas at all time, and properly note other people's contributions. The idea is to not simply present a "book report" about a monument or topic, but to truly examine it from various points of view and arrive at your own informed understanding of the issues involved in its creation and meaning.
Due date for final submission of term paper: December 4
August 28 Introduction
August 30 Neolithic Malta and the Orkney Islands
September 4 Megalithic Menhirs and Rings
September 6 Stonehenge
September 11 Mesopotamia
September 13 Mesopotamia
September 18 Mesopotamia
September 20 India
September 25 China
September 27 Exam I
October 2 Kemet: The Black Land of Ancient Egypt
October 4 Old Kingdom Egypt
October 9 No Class-due to Fall Break, Monday classes meet on Tuesday
October 11 New Kingdom Egypt/Eighteenth Dynasty
October 16 The Heretic Akhenaten and the Amarna Period * Proposal due
October 18 The Ramessides and Their Successors in Egypt
October 23 Early Aegean Civilizations: Minoans and Mycenaeans
October 25 Greek Humanism in Art
October 30 Greek Temples and Sanctuaries
November 1 Exam II
November 6 The Etruscans and Early Republican Rome
November 8 Augustus and the Julio-Claudians
November 13 Trajan and Hadrian
November 15 Late Rome, including Constantine
November 20 No Class-Thanksgiving Recess
November 22 No Class-Thanksgiving Recess
November 27 Mesoamerica
November 29 Mesoamerica
December 4 Mesoamerica * Term Paper due
December 6 Andean Cultures: Nazca and Incas
Final Exam: Monday, December 10, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.