HISTART 394 - Special Topics in the Humanities
Section: 001 Race and Identity in Ancient Roman Tombs
Term: WN 2019
Subject: History of Art (HISTART)
Department: LSA History of Art
Requirements & Distribution:
Other Course Info:
F, W, Sp, Su.
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

The ancient Roman world covered an area occupied by hundreds of people groups and tribes, stretching from Britain to Arabia, and from Germany to Africa. Individuals could simultaneously carry multiple identities—local, tribal, regional, and imperial. This course looks at the monuments that the peoples of the Roman world erected for themselves, for their friends, and family members; it examines the cultural identities that were constructed and communicated through these works and structures. The imperial house itself ultimately incorporated this cultural diversity, with Emperors hailing from Spain, North Africa, and Syria, ruling its territory. We will thus consider Roman monuments varying in status from Imperial Mausolea to the portrait memorials of former slaves, ranging in geographic type from the rock-cut facades of Syria to painted Romano-Egyptian mummies, and covering seven hundred years of Roman civilization. The course will examine how the Roman visual culture of remembrance provides insight onto the complex layers of identity—and familial self-presentation—that were negotiated by many who lived within the Roman world. Particular attention will be paid throughout to the varying (non-/)representational strategies monuments employed—narrative, symbolic, an iconic and textual—over space, time, and amongst differing economic, social, and cultural groups—as well as to the possible motivations behind these. We will additionally be concerned with the various effects of selective memory and forgetfulness that each object or form seeks through its visual strategies—what aspects of the commemorated person are focused on, or set aside, and, how the body (whether present, or absent) is referenced, or covered up. The course will thus trace the complex practices of cultural navigation and code-switching that Roman tombs embody, as well as the strategies they employ in the visual identities they represent and help to create. HISTART Concentration Distributions: A, Middle East D. Europe and US 1. Ancient Textbooks/Other Materials: All readings will be on Canvas

Course Requirements:

1.Attendance and participation in class 10%

2.Online forum postings 10%

3.Visual analysis paper, 2–3 pages, size 11 standard font, double spaced 20%

4.Mid-term 25%

5.Final paper. c. 4000 words. 35%

Intended Audience:


Class Format:


HISTART 394 - Special Topics in the Humanities
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
002 (LEC)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for HISTART 394.001

View/Buy Textbooks
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for HISTART 394 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)