Department of Anthropology

Jacob Stewart-Halevy

Assistant Professor

Visiting Assistant Professor



ANT 324L • Art-Speak

31641 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CBA 4.326
(also listed as ARH 374)

Since the birth of Aesthetics, Art is often thought to communicate through sheer perception, ritual, mimesis, and other seemingly non-linguistic means. Nevertheless, whenever we try to report on, ascribe value to, or merely talk to one another about artworks, we rely on communicative practices ranging from styles of academic discourse to registers of natural talk. This course outlines a brief history of the manifold ways artists, critics, sociologists, conversation analysts, and linguistic anthropologists have already tried to address the art world’s uses of language.

This initial outline provides students the tools to analyze recent shifts in art-speak at its paradigmatic sites: around commercial art fairs and auction house sales; artist talks, studio visits, and interviews; openings, curator walk-throughs, and biennial round-tables; press releases, show reviews, and list-serves; on- and offline art-activist provocation, art-fashion cross-branding, alongside academic publications and lectures. Through a multi-sited approach, we isolate emergent structural features of language to get a sense of how the art world speaks today.

Each week we will spend one session discussing the readings and the other as a lab, working through relevant snippets, dialogue, and other examples of art-speak assigned through the listening sessions. 

ANT 391 • The Behavioral Image

31834 • Spring 2020
Meets F 9:00AM-12:00PM WCP 5.124
(also listed as ARH 394)

How do we visualize our behaviors and what do we do with these images? This upper-level course takes place at the intersection of two major traditions during the Cold War period: The attempt by artists, critics, and art historians to locate styles of comportment within artworks broadly defined; and the creation of images of behavior across the social sciences. The course should be of interest to those concerned with connections between aesthetic and scientific approaches to conduct, the history of photography, film, video art, and media theory.

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