History and Theory 1 serves as an introduction to contemporary craft discourses published in the English language. Rather than focus on a content driven, single narrative, and resolution-based approach, this course examines the challenges and struggles of researching, examining, and making craft history. Using comparative strategies, students will: consider a variety of types of archives and what they do or do not contain; study the structures of survey textbooks; analyze media-specific and geography-centric examinations from different historical moments and narrative approaches in South African ceramics and craft histories(pre- and post-Apartheid); and compare art-centric approaches with material culture texts from a craft history course taught in the early 2000s by Tara Leigh Tappert.
The structure of a low-residency program presents a challenge to providing students with a survey in a canonical and art historical way - and an opportunity to consider alternative strategies to teach craft histories. For example, in a traditional 10 or 16 week quarter or semester program, The Studio Craft Movement might be mapped historically, with each week dedicated to a time period and "key concepts" of that time period -- modeled after the art history survey. The MA in Critical Craft Studies, however, takes a different approach to focus instead on the information, how that information is conveyed, and how this creates a sense of knowledge. We will also examine what these forms leave out to understand how history -- specifically craft histories -- are created.
From archives -- what they contain, why, and how to navigate them -- to dissecting multiple forms of knowledge construction in the form of textbooks, catalogs, and course syllabi, the course introduces craft histories through a historiographical approach.
- Teacher: Namita Wiggers