ARTH 260 * Introduction to Art History * Professor Sarah Benson * Spring 2005

schedule | requirements | PDF

Unit 1: week 1


    section | paper 1 | paper 2 | paper3 | journal

online resources
Cornell Library | Grove Dictionary of Art | Encyclopaedia Britannica | Oxford Dictionary of Art | Oxford Companion to Western Art | Oxford Dictionary of Architecture | History of Art Dept. | Cornell Homepage

PDF version

Devil in the White City: Murder, Madness, and Magic at the Fair that Changed America provides a rich account of urban life and its dangers and entertainments at the close of the 19 th century. For this assignment you will trace the development of one of our eight course themes in LARSON's book. In your paper, explain the various ways that this theme surfaces in the book. In order to relate your theme to the visual arts, include discussions of three works we have covered in class.

* Your essay should have an introductory paragraph in which you set up your argument as a question that you will answer. Divide the body into paragraphs (with clear topic sentences) that demonstrate this argument with specific examples from images and readings.
* Papers should be 5-6 pages (double spaced), typed/word-processed, in a 10- to 12-point font (such as Courier, Times, or Garamond); include your name on every page; staple.
* Include on your title page your TA's name and the class theme you wrote about.
* Give your paper a title that addresses your main argument.
* Your argument and wording must be your own.
* Cite arguments and examples from the readings with footnotes or parenthetical references.

Possible topics:
1 & 2) the invention of "art"
* what is the range of spectacles and entertainments in urban Chicago and its Fair?
3) individualism and artists as models for the modern individual
* how is women's independence and role in the work place changing in the time of the Fair? how does this contribute to their safety or vulnerability in the city?
* how do experiences of travel and life in a large metropolis affect or define individuals and their ability to recreate themselves?
* what picture of 19 th -century individualism develops through the major figures discussed in the book?
* to what extent are individuals subject to police surveillance? how are criminals tried and punished under the law?
4) art in the service of politics and social critique
* what is the role of 19 th -century fairs and exhibitions in politics (whether foreign or domestic)?
5) Western visions of foreign cultures
* how does the Fair present the U.S. to the world and how does it represent cultures such as the French, African, Asian, or the American west to its visitors?
6) consumerism and mass culture
* how was the Fair planned or marketed as mass entertainment?
7) interest in/development of technology and new sensory experiences
* how does LARSON describe labor and industrialization in Chicago and in the building of or exhibitions at the Fair?
* what examples does LARSON give of displays and visual models used by scientists and doctors?
* what is the relationship between urban infrastructure and life in new urban centers like Chicago?
* what new technologies and sensations were presented at the Fair and developed in conjunction with it?
8) the classical tradition: its survival   or rejection
* what is the importance of BURNHAM's decision to   choose classical architecture for the Fair? how does this classical style compare to the modern American architecture of its day?


in section week of March 1 st :
1-paragraph statement of theme
& preliminary list of 3 works for comparison

Final Paper
Tue. 15 March, beginning of lecture
late papers will not be accepted