Francis Barker: The Tremulous Private Body 

In the seventeenth century there was a profound change in the conditions and representation of the body. Reflecting on a wide range of works, including the Jacobean drama, Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress, rembrandt’s painting, the philosophy of descartes, milton’s areopagitica and Samuel Pepys’ diary, Francis Barkers essay maps a transformation of the spectacular corporeality of the dramatic stage and the scaffold of public execution in the course of which a sexually embarrassing body is redefined, privatized and pushed away from discourse into a furtive half-life beyond the text. The new regime separates the body from the soul and divides the body into two components: the absent body whose desires and appetites are denied, and the positive body which is eventually reinscribed as an object of rational knowledge, prepared for productive and disciplined labour. Built into the argument is an evocation of the way in which this process defines not only the new body, but equally the conditions of modern subjectivity and subjection. The self-gendered subject is constructed comes to define the orders of discourse and of representation which typify the bourgeois epoch. Drawing on the theoretical work of foucault, Derrida, and lacan, and the Marxism of Louis Althusser, the tremulous private body engages the central theme of post-structuralism- discourse, sexuality, textuality and power- but is not a post structuralist work and rejected many of the positions characteristic of post-structuralism, particularly its tendency to depoliticize discourse.
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John White: The Birth and Rebirth of Pictorial Space 

Dr White’s careful historical study of the rediscovery of pictorial space during the Renaissance, and its origins in antiquity, was acclaimed when first published as a pioneering and highly important work. For the second edition he has revised the notes and bibliography, and has taken account of the new importance accorded to the distance point construction in Italian painting of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 

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Howard Zinn: Artists in Times of War 

“Political power,” says Howard Zinn, “is controlled by the corporate elite, and the arts are the locale for a kind of guerilla warfare in the sense that guerillas look for apertures and opportunities where they can have an effect.” In Artists in Times of War, Zinn looks at the possibilities to create such apertures through art, film, activism, publishing and through our everyday lives. In this collection of four essays, the author of A People’s History of the United States writes about why “To criticize the government is the highest act of patriotism.” Filled with quotes and examples from the likes of Bob Dylan, Mark Twain, e. e. cummings, Thomas Paine, Joseph Heller, and Emma Goldman, Zinn’s essays discuss America’s rich cultural counternarratives to war, so needed in these days of unchallenged U.S. militarism.
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Additional Resources: 

A People’s History of the United States (PDF)
Zinn Education Project
Author’s Website
Lecture: A People’s History of the United States, 1999 (video)
Lecture: How History Should be Taught in Schools, Studied and Written, 1997 (video)
Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn on Democracy Now, 2007 (video)
Lecture: On the Interpretation of History (video)

Tim Ingold: Lines: A Brief History 

What do walking, weaving, observing, storytelling, singing, drawing and writing have in common? The answer is that they all proceed along lines. In this extraordinary book Tim Ingold imagines a world in which everyone and everything consists of interwoven or interconnected lines and lays the foundations for a completely new discipline: the anthropological archaeology of the line.

Ingold’s argument leads us through the music of Ancient Greece and contemporary Japan, Siberian labyrinths and Roman roads, Chinese calligraphy and the printed alphabet, weaving a path between antiquity and the present. Drawing on a multitude of disciplines including archaeology, classical studies, art history, linguistics, psychology, musicology, philosophy and many others, and including more than seventy illustrations, this book takes us on an exhilarating intellectual journey that will change the way we look at the world and how we go about in it.
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Additional Writings by the Author 

Being Alive (PDF)
Perceptions of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill (PDF)

Bringing Things To Life: Entanglements in a World of Materials (PDF)
Introduction to Ways of Walking (PDF)
From Science to Art and Back Again (PDF)

Additional Resources: 

Lecture: Thinking Through Making (video)
Lecture: Anthropology Beyond Humanity (video)
Lecture: The Sustainability of Everything (video)
Lecture: On Human Correspondence (video)

James Elkins: The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing 

At first it appears that nothing could be easier than seeing. We just focus our eyes and take in whatever is before us. This ability seems detached, efficient and rational – as if the eyes were competent machines telling us everything about the world without distorting it in any way. But those ideas are just illusions, James Elkins argues, and he suggests that seeing is undependable, inconsistent and cauthg up in the threads of the unconscious. Blindness is not the opposite of vision, but its constant companion, and even the foundation of seeing itself. Using drawings, paintings, diagrams and photographs to illustrate his points, Elkins raises intriguing questions and offers astonishing perceptions about the nature of vision.
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Kirkus Reviews
Optometry and Vision Science Journal

Further Writings by the Author: 

How to Use Your Eyes (PDF)
Why Art Cannot be Taught: A Handbook for Students (PDF)
The Three Configurations of Practice Based PHDs (PDF)

Additional Resources: 

Author’s Website
Lecture: What is Research (video)
Lecture: On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art (video)
Panel: Art History in a Post Secular Age (video)

Tamara Trodd: The Art of Mechanical Reproduction 


“Medium” is a central concept in 2th-century art criticism. This is the first book-length exploration of how the status of traditional mediums (painting, sculpture, drawing) has been transformed in modern and contemporary art by the rise of photography, film, broadcast tv and other technologies. It presents original research on many famous artists together with a fresh theoretical approach that challenges some of the most entrenched criticism of the past several decades. It reconsiders key practices in modern art in relation to specific technologies of the time rather than through the strict current idea of medium. Thus we get to watch Paul Klee tinker in the darkroom, Hans Bellmer figuring out how to make doube-exposures in motion pictures, an aging Chris Marker gleefully experimenting with digital technology, Robert Smithson taking apart a Xerox machine, Douglas Huebler brushing up on basic chemistry, and Gerhard Richter adapting his technical knowledge of mass printing and photo reproduction to produce a full-blown aesthetic agenda and set of artistic protocols for painting. Other artists considered include Ellsworth Kelley, Tacita Dean, and networks that draw in Duchamp, Kiesler, Picasso, Twombly, Rauschenberg, Mel Bochner, and more.

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Reviews: 

Film Quarterly
Washington Book Review
Art Libraries Society of North America
Additional Resources:

Tamara Trodd on Thomas Demand (audio)
Round Table: Screen/Space: The projected image in Contemporary Art (from October)
Walter Benjamin: Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproducibility (PDF)

Margaret R. Miles: Carnal Knowing: Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West

An exploration of the power of visual and verbal representations of female nakedness throughout Western Christian history. Margaret Miles looks at how men have treated women's bodies – in their actions, art and writings, and why, in Christian history, naked female bodies have symbolized shame.

Margaret R. Miles is Emeritus Professor of Historical Theology at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. As Bussey Professor of Theology, she taught the history of Christian thought for 20 years at Harvard University Divinity School. Her previous books include Plotinus on Body and Beauty (Blackwell, 1999), Reading for Life (1996), Seeing and Believing (1996), Desire and Delight (1993), Practicing Christianity (1988), Carnal Knowing (1988), Seeing and Believing (1996), and A Complex Delight (2007).

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Additional Resources:
Margaret R. Miles: Religion and the Common Good (lecture)
Living Lovingly in a Culture of Fear (Lecture)
Gender and Teaching in Education (Essay)

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy: The Dance of Shiva: On Indian Art and Culture

Ananda Coomaraswamy, late curator of Indian art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, was unexcelled in his knowledge of the arts of the Orient, and unmatched in his understanding of Indian culture, language, religion, and philosophy. In this excellent reprint of a rare volume of essays, he reveals the essence of the Indian experience, rooted in "a constant intuition" of the unity and harmony of all life. Everything has its place, every being its function and all play a part in the divine concert led by Natarājā (Śiva), Lord of Dancers.
In a series of 14 stimulating and provocative essays, Coomaraswamy unfolds the vast metaphysic of India: the magnificent revelation of its art; its conception of the universe; social organization; attitudes toward feminism; problems of family; romantic love, and marriage. His sweeping commentary considers the "intellectual fraternity" of mankind; the venerable past as it survives side by side with emerging modern India; and the individual, autonomy, and repudiation of "the will to govern."
Enhancing the text are 27 black-and-white photographs — mostly of masterpieces of painting and sculpture from the second century B.C. to the eighteenth century, and including the glorious "Cosmic Dance of N taraja." This handsome volume offers rich insight into the art, philosophy, and culture of a fascinating forty-centuries-old civilization.

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Further Readings by the Author Available as PDF:
The Essential Ananda Coomaraswamy
Introduction to Indian Art
Buddha and the Gospel of Buddhism
The Aims of Indian Art (text only)

Additional Resources
A Tale of a Curator and a Collector: The Ross-Coomaraswamy Bond (Asia Society Lecture)

Roger Shattuck: The Banquet Years: The Origins of the Avant-Garde in France 1885 to WWII


The definitive chronicle of the origins of French avant-garde literature and art, Roger Shattuck's classic portrays the cultural bohemia of turn-of-the-century Paris who carried the arts into a period of renewal and accomplishment and laid the groundwork for Dadaism and Surrealism. Shattuck focuses on the careers of Alfred Jarry, Henri Rousseau, Erik Satie, and Guillaume Apollinaire, using the quartet as window into the era as he exploring a culture whose influence is at the very foundation of modern art

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Further Reading available as PDF:
Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography

Lewis Hyde: Trickster Makes This World

Trickster Makes This World solidifies Lewis Hyde's reputation as, in Robert Bly's words, "the most subtle, thorough, and brilliant mythologist we now have." In it, Hyde now brings to life the playful and disruptive side of human imagination as it is embodied in trickster mythology. He first revisits the old stories–Hermes in Greece, Eshu in West Africa, Krishna in India, Coyote in North America, among others–and then holds them up against the life and work of more recent creators: Picasso, Duchamp, Ginsberg, John Cage, and Frederick Douglass. Authoritative in its scholarship, loose-limbed in its style, Trickster Makes This World ranks among the great works of modern cultural criticism.

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Profile of Lewis Hyde: What is Art? (NYT)
Review: The Guardian
Introduction to The Gift
Essay: Common as Air