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Graduate Liberal Arts Seminars

View titles and descriptions for graduate liberal arts seminars offered.

Click a Course's Title to read its description .

Course # Course Title Credits
AH5412 Aspects of Contemporary Art 3.00 credits
This course is an introduction to contemporary art using a private collection of resource materials constructed as a series of “art historical combines” to be disseminated in and out of class using a wiki website. These “ah combines” are seminar-specific, multidimensional, and cumulative—each focusing on artists/critics documented since the 1960s whose writings, artworks, and working methods demonstrate specific principles appropriate for the aesthetic development of all. AH412 depicts contemporary art as an investigation into the nature of art, the metaphoric process, and the crucial involvement of the audience. Emphasis is on co-operative interactivity – creative collaboration as the catalyst for each student to construct an end-of-semester “curatorial exposition” representing significant issues in contemporary art. The course procedure aligns conceptually and practically with radical thinking in accordance with the work of Walter Benjamin, André Malraux, Harald Szeemann, Lucy Lippard, Harold Bloom, Dave Hickey, Susan Sontag, Azar Nafisi, Gilles Deleuze, Roland Barthes along with many other cultural critics/artists who have encouraged the individualization of our history of art to enhance the future of art.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

AH5475 The World on Show 3.00 credits
Examines the world’s fair phenomenon from 1851, when the first major international exposition was held in London, to the International Decorative Arts and Modern Industry fair held in Paris in 1925. These large-scale exhibitions were encyclopedic in their scope and were designed to demonstrate western progress in industry, trade, transportation, arts, sciences and culture. This course will closely examine approximately 12 international fairs held in Europe and the United States from 1851 to 1925. Pays special attention to the design of each fair, including its architecture and layout, and importantly, the classification and display of nations, peoples, and objects. Prerequisite: AH 201.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

AH5479 Trauma 3.00 credits
This seminar investigates the connections between artmaking and trauma in the twentieth century. Our particular emphasis will be on the cataclysmic effects of armed conflict, from WWI to Vietnam, 9/11, and Afghanistan. Other modes of disruption and dislocation will also be considered, such as forced migration, slavery and diaspora, economic crisis, and psychic or domestic violence. As such, we will investigate a wide spectrum of artists and practices, from Weimar-era painting and Marcel Duchamp's portable objects to Cindy Sherman's photographs and Mike Kelly's installations. Readings will blend primary sources with passages of military and social history, and will be supplemented be germane film and literature. Key art historical touchstones will be Rosalyn Deutsche, TJ Demos, Susan Emily Apter, Susan Buck-Morss, and Hal Foster.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

AH5582 Grad Srvy Cont. Art/Des/Theory 3.00 credits
This graduate-level survey provides an overview of fundamental themes in art, design, and critical theory from the postwar period to the present. It aims to introduce students to artistic and design movements across the globe as well as critical readings drawn from a range of disciplines. As such, the course generates a rich set of methodological strategies and interpretive practices that equip students with the historical and theoretical tools necessary to advance in subsequent elective courses in art and design history and theory.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

CP5500 Writ: Artists/Critics/Curators 3.00 credits
Students develop writing skills for a variety of exhibition situations. The areas of study cover four different areas: the exhibition catalogue essay; interpretative material for the gallery (wall text, curatorial statements, brochures, labels); press release and marketing texts; and grants and exhibition proposals. Emphasis is placed on clear, informative writing that amplifies, rather than marginalizes, the voice of the artist, critic and curator in the community. The portfolio of writings produced is geared towards initiating and maintaining a conversation with the community at large.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

CP5810 Connecting Audiences 3.00 credits
This course considers the principles and methodologies pivotal to providing diverse audiences with meaningful experiences with art. Students will consider theory related to art, experience, and learning, and will develop relevant tools for community engagement, public programming, and outreach initiatives. Topics include learning theory, socially engaged art and education, audience-centered planning and research, and evaluation techniques. In addition to individual projects, the class will undertake a group project utilizing a community partner/ cultural institution each semester.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

CRST5500 Aesthetics & Critical Theory 1 3.00 credits
Aesthetics and Critical Theory 1 & 2, taught in the fall and spring respectively, provide a survey of the significant philosophical and critical theories that have influenced aesthetic debates in visual art and culture. Knowledge and understanding of the various methodologies used to create and interpret works of art is emphasized. Aesthetics and Critical Theory 1 covers the early history of philosophy and aesthetic discourse since the Enlightenment, and Aesthetics and Critical Theory 2 covers applied aesthetic theory, with an emphasis on contemporary texts.

Graduate and Post-Bacc students, and Undergraduates with AH 201

CRST5525 Critical Voices 3.00 credits
This course, open to all graduate students, is an opportunity for students to develop their command of critical language. In addition to participating in studio visits with students enrolled in graduate programs in various media, students in this course will also lead and participate in a number of in situ discussions of art and design on campus and at local museums, galleries, and public spaces. Aimed at developing both oral and written critical expression, classes will be conducted as seminars around interdisciplinary issues that will address the interests and will reflect the fields of the various members of the class. Assignments will range from design research to written exhibition and film reviews to oral critiques and the analysis of the various languages through which cultural production is realized today: social media, the web, design, printed matter, etc.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

CRST5600 Graduate Colloquium 1 3.00 credits
In this intensive, year-long colloquium, under the guidance of MICA faculty and visiting critics, students will consider different criteria that come into play when evaluating a work of culture. The course will focus on students gaining an understanding of the connection of their own work to various currents of critical discourse in contemporary art and culture. They will consider the interconnections between various art and cultural forms, examine judgments made by others, and articulate informed analyses of their own. By deepening their scholarship and broadening their audience, students will learn to master different forms of verbal communication. The colloquium will be devoted to a special topic of contemporary significance each semester.

Open to Graduate, Post-Bac, and Senior level students only.

CRST5700 Thesis Methods Workshop 3.00 credits
This workshop will cover such issues as topic identification; steps in the thesis process; library research (including a brief overview of style requirements); the use of secondary texts; formulating a research problem; defining concepts; situating an argument in the literature; locating, using and presenting data; and the writing process itself. Students will gain skills in the design of conceptually cogent and methodologically rigorous thesis proposals.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

CRT5402 Design Theory and Practice 3.00 credits
Students build their knowledge of design discourse and professional design methodologies through a mix of readings, writings, lectures, and discussions. Students deepen their vocabulary for discussing, evaluating, and observing a broad range of design practices, including typography, branding, experience design, service design, information design, social design, and design for sustainability. Students are required to respond each week to intensive writings by contemporary and historic designers, critics, and theorists. This course prepares students for framing and producing an independent thesis project. Graduate students take this course with senior-level undergraduate students; graduate students are expected to take a leadership role in the course.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

CRT5524 Crisis Century I 3.00 credits
3 credits. Druckrey. Offered fall As the millennium turned, the frenzy to re-evaluate the 20th century reached fever pitch. Apocalyptic, celebratory, sobering – the descriptions covered the gamut. From the point of view of the arts, the 20th century has been one of crisis aesthetics beginning with the explosive works of Cubism, Fauvism, Futurism, and ending with post-deconstruction, post-post-modernism and even celebrations of “bad art” (as hailed recently in the New York Times). Yet, a serious look at the various cultures of the century demonstrates that creativity, science, and technology are linked in an ongoing battle over representation and expression. This course focuses on the “permanent revolution” in the arts of the century in a multidisciplinary way, attempting to provide a framework for understanding both the destructive framework and the imaginative potential that emerged from some of the most rapacious and revealing works ever produced. As such it looks at the intertwined links between art, music, photography, and cinema in the light of literature, philosophy, and critical theory. Graduate students only. Required for MA in Digital Arts students.

Open to Graduate, Post-Bac, and Senior level students only.

CRT5525 Crisis Century II 3.00 credits
3 credits. Druckrey. Offered spring. As the millennium turned, the frenzy to re-evaluate the 20th century reached fever pitch. Apocalyptic, celebratory, sobering – the descriptions covered the gamut. From the point of view of the arts, the 20th century has been one of crisis aesthetics beginning with the explosive works of Cubism, Fauvism, Futurism, and ending with post-deconstruction, post-post-modernism and even celebrations of “bad art” (as hailed recently in the New York Times). Yet, a serious look at the various cultures of the century demonstrates that creativity, science, and technology are linked in an ongoing battle over representation and expression. This course focuses on the “permanent revolution” in the arts of the century in a multidisciplinary way, attempting to provide a framework for understanding both the destructive framework and the imaginative potential that emerged from some of the most rapacious and revealing works ever produced. As such it looks at the intertwined links between art, music, photography, and cinema in the light of literature, philosophy, and critical theory. Graduate students only. Required for MA in Digital Arts students.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

CRT5574 Design/ Writing/ Research 3.00 credits
In this graduate seminar, students will read and discuss key texts from such areas as critical theory, communications, and semiotics as well as from design’s ongoing internal discourse. The course places strong emphasis on writing. Students will consciously study writing as a form, engaging in a variety of short-form and long-form exercises to gain control of voice, style, structure, and narrative as well as appropriate uses of research and documentation. Using a workshop approach, time will be dedicated throughout the semester to evaluating student writing up close. Thesis students will apply the writing exercises to their thesis work.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

CRT5610 Visualizing Baltimore 3.00 credits
"In order to effect social change, it is essential that one understands and is grounded in a local community. This crucial element of social change is often overlooked, resulting in social interventions that miss the mark and misuse valuable resources. In order to effect social change, it is essential that one understands and is grounded in a local community. This crucial element of social change is often overlooked, resulting in social interventions that miss the mark and misuse valuable resources. Visualizing Baltimore designed for students who are interested in doing community-engaged work and provides skills for engaging in and understanding local communities. The course is designed for students who are interested in doing community-engaged work. It provides skills for engaging in and understanding local communities. This course is premised on the idea that social problems are often perpetuated by structural forces that remain hidden to everyday citizens. The goal of this course will be to uncover these structural forces and to present them in visualizations that make the root causes of social issues easier to understand. While the course takes Baltimore City as its subject, these skills can be transferred to any local setting."

Graduate students only (All programs of study)

CRT5618 Thesis Writing and Research 3.00 credits
This three-credit Critical Studies course is designed for graduate students in their final semester. The writing process supports ongoing thesis research and helps students make sense of their work and share it effectively with a broader community. Outcomes of the course include an essay about each student's culminating degree project at MICA. The course includes a combination of on-campus meetings and online feedback to written work. Class meetings will combine group critiques, individual meetings, and discussion of readings.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

CRT5635 Graduate Reading Seminar 3.00 credits
Learning from Three Great Teachers-- Paulo Freire, bell hooks, and Frank McCourt. In Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks wonders whether the gap between theory and practice perpetuates social class and other kinds of conflict between those who grasp social practices as inevitable and those who wish to change them. In Teacher Man, Frank McCourt “asks the Big Question: What is education anyway? What are we doing in this school? . . . I’ve had to ask myself what the hell I’m doing in the classroom. I’ve worked out an equation for myself. On the left side of the blackboard I print a capital letter F, on the right side another capital F. I draw an arrow from left to right, from FEAR to FREEDOM.” In seminars, individual studio visits, and film discussions, this course will follow Paulo Freire’s maxim in Pedagogy of the Oppressed that the most educational investigations are the most critical, presented not as lectures, but as existential problems.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

CWRT5403 Advanced Creative Writing 3.00 credits
The advanced topics courses offer students opportunities to go deeply into a particular genre. Where the emphasis in introductory and intermediate writing workshops is on exploration, experiment and on developing a critical sensibility, the advanced courses invite a commitment to a specific body of work: a collection of poems; personal or critical essays; a novella or collection of short stories. Each semester faculty teaching these courses will offer specific, focused topics for their particular course.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

CWRT5559 Finding Words: Artist's Statem 3.00 credits
Rediscover creative writing and find its connection to your work as a visual artist or a designer. This course will get you writing regularly, provide opportunities for reflection, inspiration, and interaction, help you develop an artist’s statement, and build the confidence, awareness, and skills you need to write from a place of truth and strength. We will read widely and take inspiration for our writing experiments from a variety of forms in poetry and prose. Our aim will be to develop an agility with language that allows us to say what we really mean. We will read artists, designers, musicians, scientists, and others who have written memorably about their work.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

ED5533 Philosophy and Pedagogy 3.00 credits
Seminar in the College Teaching of Art for M.F.A. candidates 3 credits in Graduate Critical Studies What are the artistic behaviors of contemporary artists? How do today's young people experience learning? And how do we construct new pedagogical paradigms-postmodern, multi-narrative-that reflect what we know of artists and learners in the 21st century? This seminar course is designed to provide graduate students who wish to become teachers and leaders in the field of post-secondary visual arts education a better understanding of the open questions that exist within contemporary studio art education. It is highly recommended that seminar participants engage in a Graduate Teaching Internship in the Foundation program simultaneously with taking this course so that the intersections of theory and practice might be more richly explored. This course is divided into six integrated parts, each of which will contain opportunities to conduct action research based on the teaching internship experience, conversations with guest faculty, selected readings from a bibliography, and components for the Professional Teaching Portfolio. This integrated design will allow graduate students to become familiar with a variety of contextual factors that are woven into the learning of art at the college level, including artist-teacher narratives, postmodern theory, adolescent and adult development, creativity theory, and pedagogical paradigms. These explorations will provide a background for students to reflect on-and look critically at-their own experiences as practicing artists, students of studio art, teaching interns in undergraduate courses. This course is highly recommended for those undertaking Graduate Teaching Internships. The course satisfies one requirement of the Certificate Program in the College Teaching of Art.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

ILP5550 Critical Seminar II 3.00 credits
The Critical Seminars will gather first-year MFA students together each week to discuss theoretical and historical readings on and related to illustration within social, political, technological and cultural contexts, and the dearth critical theory concerning illustration practice. Course requirements include but are not limited to writing on critical, historic or theoretical issues, extensive research, analysis, curation, with occasional field trips and presentations by each student.

Prerequisite: ILP 5500

PD5570 You+ Professional Development 1.00 credit
The Professional Practice series provides hands-on professional development preparation for graduate -level artists, designers, creative professionals. Each module offers an in-depth exploration of a core professional topic and provides opportunities for applied work in the topic. Students who complete two or more modules are eligible to apply for Meyerhoff Continuum funding to advance real-world professional goals and projects inspired and developed within the series coursework.