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ARTH667 – Collecting New Worlds

Prof. Monica Dominguez
Office Location: 309 Old College
Office Hours: Tuesday 3-4 pm




This seminar explores the afterlife of non-European artifacts (in particular, those created in the Americas) after their integration to early modern collections. Against traditional frameworks that considered these objects as primary sources to “recreate” the native past, we will examine their paradoxical impact on later constructions of indigenous identities.






Since class discussion is a key element for a seminar, each week I will provide a list of readings to be discussed in the next session. Photocopies of those readings will be available at the Art History department (318 Old College). For a list of readings, click here.



There will be two main assignments throughout the term:

a research paper (50%)
a 20-minute presentation in class (40%)

The remaining 10% of the final grade would be assessed taking into account attendance and class participation.



Feb 9: Introduction to the course


Feb 16: Organizing Exotic Materials: Foucault and the Renaissance Episteme


Feb 23: Pieces of an Empire: Habsburg Collections around Europe


Mar 2: New World Exotica for the European Market


Mar 9: First Images of America: The Age of Exploration and its Impact on European Artists


Mar 16: New World Myths: Accounts and Illustrations of the Discovery and Conquest of the New World


Mar 23: Understanding Foreign Religions: Between Paganism and Fetishism


Mar 30: Spring Break – No Class


Apr 6: Representing Race: From Costume Books to Casta Paintings


Apr 13: The Catalogue of Nature: From Sahagún to Malaspina


Apr 20: Digging Out the Past: First Excavations and the Interpretation of Other Cultures


Apr 27: Student presentations


May 4: Student presentations


May 11: Student presentations


May 18: Epilogue: Museums and the Representation of Non-Western Cultures




Bibliographic resources

Electronic resources