This advanced course explores the history of illustration within global, technological, social and cultural contexts and will provide an overview of both historic and contemporary illustration and their intersections with other art forms. The course encourages students to invest in illustrative practices from various global contexts. The course structure will be a combination of lecture, discussion and research resulting in written responses.Illustration MA students only
This course explores master narratives about Black women across time and space and how African American, African and Africana women use the arts – that which is found within and outside of themselves – as inspiration and material to critically engage those narratives. Students examine the ways in which these women are uniquely situated to use art for critical modality of creation and dissemination of counter-narratives, as well as for critical inquiry and critique of the arts. Highlights of the course include Diasporic women’s critical creation and utility of artistic tools that adeptly centers their lives while simultaneously engaging historical, contemporary and future cultural and social discourse(s).
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 students only
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.Seniors and Graduate students only
This course consider unique and influential voices from diverse cultures to ask fundamental questions about the relationship of critical readings and critical theory to contemporary art and design. The course will involve group discussions of readings, student writing, and studio visits with the students enrolled or student presentations of their own work fresh from the studio. Questions considered may include: Why does some art seem theory-driven? Why does there seem to be no central theoretical paradigm in the arts today? What is the relation between multiculturalism and critical theory? Will theory every be eclipsed? Or, is it here to stay?Graduate students only
This seminar introduces key theoretical texts drawn from a range of social and intellectual contexts. Participants will engage cases in art and design using critical tools and perspectives drawn from modern philosophy, psychoanalysis, accounts of modernism and postmodernism, feminism, queer theory, postcolonialism, aesthetics and politics, and the cultural formation of taste, value, and ideology. While the specific emphasis of the seminar changes periodically, this course develops critical analytic and writing skills and prepares students for pressing debates in contemporary art and design.Graduate students only; undergraduates by permission of the instructor
Designed to provide students with the critical and analytical tools needed to engage productively with contemporary urban social justice movements, this course explores the contested intersections of space, urban development, economic justice, inequality, housing, sustainability, displacement, education, and structural racism. In addition to understanding the underlying political economy of these intersections, students learn about structures and strategies for contesting inequities and injustices, by drawing on case studies of recent experiences in the United States – and especially in Baltimore City.
Independent modules of We+ Social Justice with different instructors are designed to provide students with critical and analytical tools that will support productive engagement with contemporary thinking related to topics such as: urban development, economic justice, inequality, housing, and structural racism. Modules will rely on discussion and creative response to case studies and current events, especially as they relate to art practice, Baltimore, and the region.
Students 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 where students 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 is dedicated throughout the semester to evaluating student writing up close. Thesis students will apply the writing exercises to their thesis work.Graduate students only
This course is an introduction to Native American studies with a particular focus on Native American religion. Like other indigenous religions around the world, Native American religions permeate the entire way of life, and their cultural expressions are enormously rich and creative. Native American religion expands usual definitions of world’s great religions by including relationships to land and spiritual dimensions of the material world. The land has religious meaning, and the natural environment is ultimately sacred. Readings focus on Mesoamerican, Lakota (Sioux) and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) traditions. Students will explore Native American cosmovisions, creation stories, giving thanks prayers, vision quests, and ceremonial culture. Readings, films, and discussions address such critical issues as colonization and its consequences for Native Americans, sovereignty, freedom of religion, land rights, responses to climate change and globalization. The course invites students to reflect upon the contentious history of inter-cultural contact between indigenous and immigrant people of the Americas.Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (all programs)
In seminars, studio visits, and online discussion forums, students reflect on how and why particular works of literature might inspire developments in their own art and design practice. Final papers are about how reading of literature has affected and been affected by creative production and studio practice during the semester.
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. This course is designed for students who are interested in doing community-engaged work and 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. Students uncover structural forces and 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
Through readings and active dialogue, this seminar helps students develop their ability to conceptualize, articulate, and integrate into their particular painting practice what they determine to be its central critical issues. Hoffberger second-years only.Hoffberger School of Painting students only
This course offers a different topic each semester it is scheduled.Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (all programs)
Read works by and about sculptors and other artists of various disciplines and theories.Concurrent Enrollment Required in Rinehart Studio I-IV (SC 5570, 5571, 6570, or 6571).
Writing well is helpful to designers, illustrators, curators, educators, and artists. In this course, you engage in exploratory writing in order to understand the varied functions of structure and tone. You finish this course equipped with practical tools for writing that will contribute to your success in graduate liberal arts and studio courses. Recommended for English Language Learners (ELL) and all students seeking a better understanding of academic writing conventions. This course complements Writing Workshop: Artist As Researcher.Graduate students only
This course is designed to explore the practice and direct use of “mixed-media literature”–or writing that utilizes additional mediums to both generate and produce meaning in composing original works of poetry, fiction, and/or non-fiction. Often this means that traditional text is joined by new visual elements, additional documents, or changes in the overall design of the page. The class will investigate the rise of mixed-media communication in our daily lives. Students will explore different ways for viewing and creating mixed-media literature, including picture books, graphic novels, and other visual formats.Graduate students only
This course introduces students to multiple ways to tell both fiction and nonfiction stories, encouraging them to develop a personal voice, thereby adding to their skill set. The course focuses particularly on image-heavy narrative texts, such as picture books and graphic novels, but students will develop their personal writing through multiple projects across genre.Illustration MA students only
For students wishing to work with a particular instructor on subject matter not covered by regularly scheduled classes, a special independent study class may be taken. A contract is required, including signatures of the instructor and the student's department chair. A 398 class may not be used to substitute for a department's core requirement or senior thesis / senior independent. Learning contract required before registration. Minimum of junior class standing and 3.0 GPA required.Graduate students only
Research is essential for designers, illustrators, curators, educators, and artists. Discover inquiry-based writing through several short assignments and one sustained project. You conclude this course with a portfolio of written work that will contribute to your success in graduate liberal arts and studio courses. Recommended for English Language Learners (ELL) and all students seeking a better understanding of academic research writing conventions. This course complements Writing Workshop: Artist As Writer.Graduate students only
Writing clearly and persuasively is important for aspiring designers, illustrators, curators, educators, and artists. Like a curator choosing from among many possible artworks, a writer selects the most suitable form from many options, in order to thoughtfully argue a point or passionately tell a story. This course demystifies the writing process by engaging you with critical reading, peer dialogue, and diverse approaches to writing. Students gain confidence in yourself as a writer as you discover that building an argument is central to quality academic writing. Recommended for graduate students familiar with academic writing conventions, who wish to better express themselves using words.Graduate students only
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 only
This course is designed for MFA Filmmaking students and for all graduate students interested in film analysis. The course is an introduction to Pre-World War II film history, film studies and film theory & criticism. The course will survey cognitive, formal and ideology-focused theories of film in order to better comprehend the medium. Students will study the major industrial, technological, aesthetic and cultural developments in motion picture history with a special emphasis on increasing representation in front of and behind the camera and de-colonizing cinematic storytelling.Graduate students only
Previously titled Talking about Art, Design and Media. In Intercultural Discourse at the Intersections of Art, Design + Media, a multi-sensory theme-based interdisciplinary graduate course, you interact with guest artists, designers, scholars, and makers from the community, who come from varied cultural heritages and work in diverse disciplines. Together, everyone engages with topics such as: diversity, equity, language, identity, technology, and globalization. Upon completion of the course, you will have experienced a range of intercultural communication styles, practiced group discussion and facilitation, and developed confidence in oral communication and presentation. Recommended for English Language Learners (ELL) and all students interested in having meaningful conversations with international peers, understanding intercultural issues, or pursuing professional work in global contexts.Graduate students only
What is the role of the media in shaping how various cultures communicate, understand and imagine each other? Through an examination of central cognitive, behavioral and social concepts as well as contemporary communication theories, students critically analyze media case studies situated in historical perspectives, rhetorical movements and social change. Students research key components of the media messaging process such as persuasion, motivation, purpose, sender/receiver variables, visual design and propaganda efficacy. The relationship between audience and the medium is emphasized. Students explore considerations of implications for society.Graduate students only
The foci of this graduate seminar is threefold: 1) to familiarize students with cultural theory drawn from classical and contemporary cultural sociology theorists, 2) to apply theories learned to an empirical research project of choice, 3) to plan a research proposal emphasizing research methodology and design. Taught in an intensive reading, short lecture and workshop format, this course serves as a space for ideation and further exploration of students interested in cultural analysis. Especially for (but not limited to) students earning an Emphasis in Intercultural Communication, this course allows for synthesis with other correlating coursework in the area of intercultural communication. Drawing from key theoretical texts in cultural sociology, students build on the foundations of culture and criticism to plan and execute empirical research. The course culminates in a symposium where students present their research findings through text, multimedia and visual formats. Suited for students from interdisciplinary backgrounds, graduate-level knowledge of sociology theories or research methodology is not a prerequisite.Graduate students only
This course introduces students to language as a cultural phenomena and how it shapes cultural identity positioning within pluralist contexts. As language is one of the most essential factors that contribute to our social identities, this course is designed for non-specialists who desire an introduction to a broad examination of language and society. Students will become more reflective by examining how the role of language and identity affect human perception, attitude and behavior in a diverse culture. Students will develop a linguistic mapping of their community(ies) of discourse both within the United States and across cultural groups represented globally. Students will have opportunities to explore and research sociolinguistic codes such as diverse ways of speaking.
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.Graduate students only
The landscape and our interaction with it comprise one of the most fundamental and complex of all human experiences. In this transdisciplinary seminar, we investigate how humans, as self-aware beings, strive to find meaningful relationships with the landscape around them, including theories about the Earth, concepts behind mapping, Eastern and Western painting traditions, site-specific sculpture, architecture, land art, and manipulation of the land from Easter Island to suburbia.Graduate students only
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 students only; undergraduates by permission of the instructor
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 students only
Examines case studies in the history of cultural flows stimulated by trade, colonization, and globalization with special attention to the unique power dynamics as well as political, and social repercussions of these flows. This course will aim to develop a richer vocabulary and critical framework to understand how cultures adapt, borrow, combine, misuse, buy, and steal from each other, and how they represent, hybridize, and mimic one another in the realms of design and craft. The course will also consider ways that cultures have represented and packaged themselves for export and consumption by others.Graduate students only
This graduate seminar investigates the construction of a purported unitary art world and the actual global and local networks of knowledge production it represents. Students will critically engage and analyze how and why works of art have traditionally been validated within museums, the art market, and academic art discourse. Students will use multi-disciplinary readings and research to interrogate genealogies of authority, material exchange, and meaning, and to arrive at new perspectives for understanding cultural production.Graduate students only
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 students only
In this course students engage in ongoing thesis research and analytical writing in order to make sense of their thesis project and share it effectively with a broader audience. Through a supportive workshop environment, students focus on formulating an argument, engaging with relevant literature, and refining prose in order to creatively and effectively craft a written work that supports their thesis project. Recommended for graduate students comfortable with critical and analytical writing methods.Graduate students only
In this course students engage in ongoing thesis research and analytical writing in order to make sense of their thesis project, and share it effectively with a broader audience. Through an intensive workshop environment, students focus on academic conventions and diverse writing genres, explore the options available for writing about a thesis project, and then compose a final written work that informs their thesis. Recommended for graduate students, including English Language Learners (ELL), who seek support with critical and analytical writing methods.Graduate students only
In this course students engage in ongoing thesis research and analytical writing in order to make sense of their thesis project, and share it effectively with a broader audience. Through a supportive workshop environment, students focus on formulating an argument, engaging with relevant literature, and refining prose in order to creatively and effectively present a thoughtfully-argued research article appropriate for publication in a scholarly or mainstream journal. Recommended for graduate students comfortable with critical and analytical writing methods, who are interested in publishing in academic journals or with university or commercial presses.Graduate students only
In this course, students will use research methodologies to challenge institutional hegemony and entrenched narratives. Through readings, discussion, and guided research and fieldwork, the class will consider strategies for decolonizing archives and collections and facilitating critical discourse inside and outside of institutions. Students will explore the concept of counter-archives, developing alternative resources for a variety of practices—and engaging audiences with new approaches to curating public history.Graduate students only
Take part in editing, designing, and producing a new journal devoted to art and cultural criticism. As an assistant editor for the journal, you will gain hands-on publishing experience as we curate and edit original content, design the journal (digital and print), and produce and distribute the finished product. Each issue of this annual journal will be dedicated to a topic of contemporary relevance to artists, designers, and writers. In addition to taking part in the editorial work and production of the journal, students in the class will study selected texts concerning the issue’s given theme.Seniors and Graduate students only
Graduate students only
The Professional Practice series provides hands-on professional development preparation for artists, designers, and creative professionals. Each module offers an in-depth exploration of a core professional topic and provides opportunities for applied work in the topic.Graduate students only