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Abstract

Our pedagogical choices make art history classrooms political spaces of cultural production. Through a global exchange of ideas we consider questions of imbalance between western and non-Western materials and differing art history pedagogies in introductory courses and reveal teaching methods shaped by varied local contexts.

Kristen L. Chiem suggests re-routing students to the fundamentals of art historical inquiry rather than to a specific time or region. Abigail L. Dardashti’s essay re-configures the global art history course by focusing on artworks that defy the neat West and non-West categories. Radha J. Dalal discusses a curriculum that includes a series of courses on Islamic arts in a global context, which highlight shared visual cultures as an alternative to the traditional perspective. Ellen Kenney discusses the complexities of teaching Islamic art history in a city where the art the author teaches is located. Sadia Pasha Kamran explores the post-1970s Islamization of Pakistan’s art history curriculum and stresses the necessity of educators to foreground the syncretic nature of Pakistan’s past and the diversity within Islamic art. Nina Murayama presents methods of teaching the global survey to Japanese students within a monocultural setting and stresses that the importance of local narratives in world art courses.

There is potential in the interdisciplinary nature of art history and specifically in the way we approach introductory courses that can enable students to become global citizens. To be globally competent is to understand the interconnectedness of our increasingly complex world and to appreciate its diversity – precisely the skills that global art history courses, that challenge the canon, can provide. The purpose of these introductory courses, then, is to cultivate students’ empathy, so that they can become aware of their assumptions and welcome challenge rather than feeling threatened by difference.

 

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