ARTH 340 – Contemporary Art: Visualizing Colonialism, Gender, and Globalization from 1945 to the Present

  • Discipline(s): Art History

  • Credits: 3

  • Available: spring semester 2025

  • Instructor: Francesca Marini, Ph.D.

  • Taught in: English

Course description

This course investigates contemporary art from the Post War Era to the present considering how issues such as globalism, diaspora, and hybridity have affected its field of production. The class considers the subject combining the current theoretical frameworks with a strong exposure to the ongoing practices of the international contemporary art world. As a result, the course combines in class lectures with visits to museums, art galleries, and exhibition hubs in Florence, Rome and Venice encountering guest speakers such as artists, curators, dealers, and museum professionals.

The course content will comprise a focus on art theory starting from about 1945 and up to the present to foster the students’ critical skills. Different interpretative models, as those that artists themselves propose, will be studied to facilitate the understanding of the artistic production of the Western area alongside that of other regions of the world.

The issue of gender – as addressed by Martha Wilson or Cindy Sherman – or the discourse on colonialism and globalization – as in Yinka Shonibare’s work – are going to be framed in a broader analysis on the notion of cultural identity in the visual arts.


The fundamental goals of the course are:

  • introducing students to the work of the main artists active from the Post War Era to the present
  • making them familiar with the main techniques and with the strong shift determined by technological changes (i.e. Internet)
  • mastering basic concepts and terminology of art studies
  • developing critical thinking skills in assessing past and current cultural and artistic frameworks

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