Undergraduate Courses

USC Course Catalog 

Learning Goals for Undergraduate Majors


The terms indicated are expected but are not guaranteed. For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes

AHIS 001x Web Site Authoring and Design (2, FaSp) Course focuses on the World Wide Web as a teaching tool. Students will construct a Web site as a final project, utilizing a hands-on computer laboratory. Not available for degree credit. Graded CR/NC.

AHIS 100 Introduction to Visual Culture (4, Sp) The description and analysis of various forms of visual culture, including both mass media and “high” art representations, both Western and non-Western images.

AHIS 120g Foundations of Western Art (4, Fa) European art in its historical, cultural and social context. Painting, sculpture and architecture presented within a theoretical framework that introduces art history as a discipline.

AHIS 121g Art and Society: Renaissance to Modern (4, Sp) European art and its legacy in the Americas. Painting, sculpture, architecture and other visual media considered in relation to social and cultural history.

AHIS 125g Arts of Asia: Antiquity to 1300 (4, Fa) An introduction to the major art forms and monuments of religious art in India, Southeast Asia, China, and Japan from prehistory to 1300.

AHIS 126g Introduction to Asian Art: 1300 to the Present (4, Sp) A survey of the art and architecture of India, China, Korea, and Japan from 1300 to the present.

AHIS 127g Arts and Civilizations of Ancient Middle and South America (4, Fa)A survey of the art, architecture, and archaeology of the diverse array of peoples and cultures in ancient Mesoamerica and the South American Andean Mountains.

AHIS 128g Arts of Latin America (4, Sp) Survey of the art, architecture, and visual culture of Latin America from the colonial period to the present, focusing on connections to culture and society.

AHIS 201g Digging into the Past: Material Culture and the Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean (4, Sp) A broad survey, covering some 8,000 years and focusing on the material culture of the ancient world in a historical and social context.

AHIS 220g Medieval Visual Culture (4, Fa) Medieval visual culture as an introduction to the Christian heritage of western civilization and to the interaction of Church and state from the 3rd to the 13th century.

AHIS 230 Art and Culture in Early Modern Europe (4) Survey of European art from the 15th to the 17th century. Case studies in Renaissance and Baroque art with emphasis on artists in major urban centers.

AHIS 250m Modernity and Difference: Critical Approaches to Modern Art (4, Fa) Consideration of various categories of “The Modern” as they have been constructed in Western art of the late 19th and 20th centuries.

AHIS 255g Culture Wars: Art and Social Conflict in the USA, 1900-Present (4)Examination of social conflicts and political controversies in American culture through the lens of visual art and photography. Concurrent enrollment: WRIT 140.

AHIS 270 L.A. Now: Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (4) Explores the production, display and critical reception of contemporary art, taking Los Angeles as its laboratory.

AHIS 282 Korean Art (4) Introduction to the richness and complexity of artistic expression in Korean art through the study of painting, sculpture, ceramics, and architecture through the 19th century.

AHIS 284g Art in Context: Introduction to the Chinese Visual World (4) A survey of Chinese art from antiquity to the early modern period, emphasizing the context in which art objects were produced, displayed, circulated and consumed.

AHIS 304m Italian Renaissance Art: Old Masters and Old Mistresses (4) An introduction to Italian Renaissance art with emphasis on the role of gender and sexuality in the creation of “masterpieces.”

AHIS 318 Arts of the Ancient Andes (4) Survey of the art and architecture of the ancient cultures of the Andes in South America.

AHIS 319 Mesoamerican Art and Culture (4) Introductory survey of painting, sculpture, and architecture of Mesoamerica before the Spanish conquest presented in their social, cultural, and political contexts.

AHIS 320 Aegean Archaeology (Enroll in CLAS 323)

AHIS 321 Greek Art and Archaeology (4, Fa) An introductory survey of artistic works and monuments of ancient Greece from the Geometric through the Hellenistic period (c. 1000-30 B.C.).

AHIS 322 Roman Art and Archaeology (4, Sp) An introductory survey of the most important works of art and monuments of ancient Rome from the beginnings of the city through Constantine (8th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.).

AHIS 324 Late Antique Art and Archaeology (4) (Enroll in CLAS 324)

AHIS 325 Roman Archaeological Excavation: Methods and Practice (4, Sm)Students learn about archaeological methodology and practice by visiting archaeological sites in Rome and excavating a nearby ancient site.

AHIS 328 Colonial Latin American Art (4, FaSpSm) A survey of the art, architecture, and visual culture of colonial Latin America, focusing on connections to culture and society.

AHIS 330 Medieval Art (4) Introductory survey of art and architecture of Christianity from 300-1300; biblical themes and classical traditions; cultural and historical analysis of medieval art.

AHIS 343 Renaissance Art (4) Painting, sculpture and architecture in Renaissance Europe, north and south, from 1300-1600. (Duplicates credit in former AHIS 340 and AHIS 342.) Recommended preparation:AHIS 120 or AHIS 121.

AHIS 344 Baroque Art (4) Painting, sculpture and architecture in 17th century Europe, north and south. (Duplicates credit in former AHIS 353 and AHIS 356.)

AHIS 357 History of French Art 1860-1920 (4, Sp) (Paris Semester only) Exploration of the main movements of late 19th and early 20th century French art using the resources of Parisian museums and monuments. Visits to Paris museums are an integral part of the course work.Recommended preparation: familiarity with modern European history.

AHIS 361 British Art, 1730-1890 (4) A survey of art and architecture in Britain from the age of Hogarth to Art Nouveau. Among the artists studied are Constable, Turner, and the Pre-Raphaelites. (Duplicates credit in former AHIS 461.)

AHIS 363m Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Contemporary Art (4) Focuses on issues of race, gender, and sexuality in American art of the last three decades. Recommended preparation: AHIS 121.

AHIS 364 Myths, Arts, Realities: Visual Culture in California, 1849 to the Present (4) Diverse interpretations of “the California experience and lifestyle” in paintings, sculpture, photography, cinema, public art and popular culture of the last 150 years.

AHIS 365m African American Art (4) A survey of the fine arts produced by people of African descent in the United States from the nation’s inception in the late 18th century until the contemporary movement.

AHIS 368 Modern Art I: 1700-1850 (4) A cultural and historical examination of European art and architecture from 1700 (Rococo) to 1850 (Realism), focusing on the beginnings of modernism in the age of revolution. (Duplicates credit in former AHIS 360.)

AHIS 369 Modern Art II: 1851-1940 (4) An examination of European modern art and design, focusing on industrialization, urbanism, primitivism, colonialism, and their relations to the arts.

AHIS 370 Modern Art III: 1940 to the Present (4, Sp) Questions of social engagement and political address structure this examination of major movements in art since 1940.

AHIS 373 History of Photography (4, Irregular) Explores key moments in the history of photography from its invention to the present. Issues include modernity and mass culture; photography as a fine art; technologies of vision.

AHIS 376 Introduction to African Art (4) An introduction to sub-Saharan art (sculpture, textiles, architecture, masquerades, performances and body arts) in the context of issues of function, gender, politics and ethnic diversity.

AHIS 377 Spanish Colonial Art and Architecture (4) Spanish Colonial Revival arts and architecture examined in view of Spanish, Mexican and Indian ethnic sources and regional movements of the 1920s, ’30s and ’70s.

AHIS 378 Modern Russian Art (4) (Enroll in SLL 378)

AHIS 381 Visual Culture of Asia (4, max 8, FaSp) Exploration of one or more major traditions of visual culture in Asia through cross-cultural,interdisciplinary perspectives.

AHIS 384 Early Chinese Art (4) A survey of Chinese architecture, ceremonial bronzes, sculpture, ceramics and painting from antiquity through the T’ang Dynasty.

AHIS 385 Later Chinese Art (4) A survey of Chinese painting from 900 to the present, emphasizing the role of painting within the context of Chinese intellectual history.

AHIS 386 Early Japanese Art (4) A survey of Japanese Buddhist and secular architecture, sculpture and painting from antiquity to 1333, stressing the relation of art to cultural context.

AHIS 387 Later Japanese Art (4) A survey of Japanese architecture, garden design, ceramics, and painting from 1333 to the present, stressing the role of art within cultural context.

AHIS 390 Special Problems (1, max 4) Supervised, individual studies. No more than one registration permitted. Enrollment by petition only.

AHIS 400x Undergraduate Apprenticeship (2, max 4, FaSpSm) Independent work in art museums, galleries or art history related institutes supervised by on-site professionals and USC faculty. Not available for credit to art history majors. Available to upper-division art history majors only. Graded CR/NC.

AHIS 411 Studies in Arts of the Ancient Americas (4, max 16) In-depth exploration of a specified topic in the arts of the ancient Americas, which includes North, Central, and South America.

AHIS 415 Object-World: Histories and Theories of Things (4) This seminar-style course develops strategies for analyzing what material culture of the past can tell us about the individuals and cultures that interacted with it.

AHIS 420 Studies in Ancient Art (4, max 16, Irregular) In-depth exploration of specified topics within the area of Ancient art and architecture.

AHIS 425 Interdisciplinary Studies in Classical Art and Archaeology: Research and Methodology (4, max 8, Irregular) Each year a different topic in Greek and Roman art and archaeology will be examined in depth. Emphasis on interdisciplinary methodological approaches and research techniques.

AHIS 427 Archaeological Theories, Methods, and Practice (4, FaSp) Examined are various theoretical approaches, methods, and practice of archaeology in a seminar style format, with lectures, oral presentations, and museum visits.

AHIS 428 Studies in Colonial Latin American Art (4, FaSpSm) In-depth exploration of specified topics within colonial Latin American art.

AHIS 429 Studies in Art, Science, and Technology (4, FaSpSm) Examination of the connections between art, science, and technology, focusing on a specific time period and/or set of questions.

AHIS 430 Studies in Renaissance Art (4) In-depth exploration of specified topics within the area of Renaissance art and architecture. (Duplicates credit in former AHIS 444 and AHIS 446.) Recommended preparation:AHIS 230 or AHIS 330.

AHIS 433 Studies in Medieval Art (4, max 16) In‑depth exploration of specified topics within the area of Medieval art and architecture.

AHIS 449 History of Prints and Drawings (4, Irregular) Aspects of the history of the graphic arts; stylistic and technical considerations may both be included or specific areas stressed at the choice of the instructor.

AHIS 453 Studies in Baroque Art (4, max 16) In‑depth exploration of specified topics within the area of 17th century art and architecture.Recommended preparation: AHIS 230 or AHIS 344.

AHIS 460 Studies in 18th and 19th Century Art (4, max 8) In-depth exploration of specified topics within the area of 18th and 19th century art and architecture.

AHIS 465 Studies in American Art (4, max 8) In‑depth exploration of a specified topic in the history of American art.

AHIS 466 Studies in the Decorative Arts and Design (4) Exploration of a specified topic in the history of the decorative arts and design in Europe and America.

AHIS 467 19th Century French Art (4, FaSp) Exploration of the main movements in 19th century French art, using the city of Paris and its museums. Field trips in conjunction with classwork. Advisement is required for credit for art history majors.

AHIS 468 Studies in Modern Art (4, max 8, Irregular) In-depth exploration of a specified topic in art of the late 19th and/or early 20th centuries.

AHIS 469 Critical Approaches to Photography (4, Irregular) Selected problems in the history, theory and criticism of photography; recent scholarship considered in relationship to specific photographers and photographic images.

AHIS 470 Studies in Contemporary Art (4) In‑depth exploration of specified topics within the area of contemporary art and architecture.

AHIS 475m Blackness in American Visual Culture (4) A historical overview of how people of African descent have been represented visually in American culture.

AHIS 477 Studies in Visual and Material Culture (4, max 16) In-depth exploration of selected topics in visual and material culture.

AHIS 481 Studies in Japanese Art (4, max 16) In‑depth exploration of specified topics within the area of Japanese art and architecture.

AHIS 484 Studies in Chinese Art (4, max 16) In‑depth exploration of specified topics within the area of Chinese art and architecture.

AHIS 486 Introduction to Museums: Past, Present, and Future (4, Sp)Comprehensive exploration of the role of art museums in society. Inquiry into the present and future potential of museums as a complex force in society. Not open to graduate students.

AHIS 490x Directed Research (2-8, max 8, FaSp) Individual research and readings. Not available for graduate credit.

AHIS 494 Undergraduate Proseminar in Art History (4, FaSp) Historiography and methodology: introduction to techniques of research and writing. Required of all art history majors, preferably in the junior year.

AHIS 495ab Undergraduate Honors Thesis (2-2, FaSp) Research and writing of original thesis under guidance of faculty member. Departmental approval.

AHIS 496 Paintings in the Prado Museum (4, Irregular) (Madrid Center only) From Romanticism through Goya in relation to European and Mediterranean antecedents using paintings in the Prado Museum. Field trips in conjunction with classwork.

AHIS 497 Senior Seminar in Early Modern Studies (4, Sp) (Enroll in ENGL 497)

AHIS 499 Special Topics (2-4, max 8) Comprehensive exploration of particular aspects of the history of art.