In an organizational move discussed for more than five years, the Fine Arts Department has decided to triple the number of introductory survey courses offered and to bring more individualized instruction to its junior concentrators.
The curriculum changes, to be implemented next fall, will not significantly after the content of the department's only current survey course, the popular Fine Arts 13, "Introduction to the History of Art."
Instead, the additional courses--totalling at least four semesters initially--are intended to supplement Fine Arts 13, which traces the history of art and architecture from prehistory to Picasso.
The new sequence will include courses on Near Eastern and Far Eastern art and architecture, ancient and medieval architecture, and Renaissance and modern architecture, said Department Chairman Neil Levine.
Third World Perspective
Levine said the Third World art courses were added "to make the history of art at Harvard reflect the history of art, not the history of Western art." In addition, Levine said, Harvard is considered to have the nation's foremost program in Near Eastern and Far Eastern-art, and the new survey courses will allow students to study "what they can only study at Harvard."
"The department has expanded, but that's not reflected in Fine Arts 13. It's almost criminal that Third World art in not included in our survey course," Levine said.
The creation of specific architecture courses will reflect the growing view that the study of buildings is a self-contained discipline independent of art history.
Levine said department members are still discussing the possibility of creating two additional semester-long courses, one on the art of tribal societies and another on the art and architecture of the Americas. But the department will likely need to hire additional faculty members to teach these courses.
The six semester-long surveys will be taught every other year.
It has not yet been decided how the new survey sequence will fit into departmental requirements for the 70-plus concentrators.
The department also decided to return to an individualized junior tutorial program, which has fallen by the wayside in recent years, Levine said. Instead of meeting in larger groups, junior concentrators will, for one semester, have one-on-one or two-on-one tutorials with a professor.
Levine also said the department will investigate ways in which to create Core Curriculum courses that are more thematic in the hopes that they will lure students into departmental offerings.
"Any revision of this sort brings excitement and new interest to the department," Levine said of the curriculum changes.