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Reading the Faces of Ancient Cultures

Semester and Year SP 2019
Course Number IDSEM-UG1562
Section 001
Instructor Hallie Franks
Days F
Time 9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM, PREMOD



In this class, we will investigate the form, development, and role of images of people in pre-modern societies. Using visual and literary sources, we will focus on how we define a portrait and will confront the variety of problems that the representation of human subjects in the ancient world entails. How essential are the concepts of “likeness” and “realism” to the definition of a portrait, and to its function? How do faces and bodies communicate meaning visually, and how do we access this visual language? Who controls the image, and who is the audience? What is the correlation between the image and the individual? How do we think about these possibilities from our perspective in the modern world? We will address these questions and others, concentrating on the use of portraiture in shaping personal, political, and cultural identities. Our texts may include monuments from Akkad, Egypt, the Nok culture, Greece, Rome, and China. We will make use of objects in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)