Fall 2022 - HUM 106 D100

Art and the Humanities (3)

Class Number: 6216

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    WMC 2532, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 13, 2022
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    RCB 8100, Burnaby



An introduction to the study of art across cultures and periods. Breadth-Humanities.


A description of my image

This course introduces students to different approaches to the study of art. Students will learn and develop skills in viewing, analyzing, and interpreting works of art from different historical artistic traditions. The course comprises two modules, focusing on analytical approaches and historical approaches. The first module will address principals of art, such as line, shape, form, depth and color, but also how the medium contributes to the impact of the artwork. The second module will address history and context by looking at art from a historical point of view across different cultural areas.

Our material will range from cave art to gothic cathedrals, from sacred Buddhist images from China and India to the Japanese Zen Garden, from the Maya carving of Shield Jaguar in Mesoamerica to Benin plaques from Africa, from Northwest Coast art to Australian rock art, as well as examples from Islamic art, the Near East, and the contemporary world. We will examine closely individual artworks to understand formal and thematic interests, and compare works of art that make similar formalistic choices or depict similar events. We will discuss art that addresses issues that have preoccupied human beings across millennia, and art that expresses unique personal concerns.

The course will appeal to students who are interested in comparing art across time and space, in reflecting on the function of art in different cultures, and in reflecting on how visual culture influences our values, knowledges, and the way in which we look at the world. But also, quite simply, students who want to be introduced to the enjoyment of art!


Through in-class discussions and a range of written assignments, students will be able to sharpen their critical skills, and, at the end of the course:

  1. Gain an appreciation of art by using formal, perceptual, and personal responses.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of artistic forms in different cultural contexts, from antiquity to modernity.
  3. Understand the significance of medium in the creation of art.
  4. Demonstrate familiarity of the terminology and concepts developed in the field of art studies.
  5. Compare artworks that address similar formalistic or thematic concerns.


  • Attendance and active participation in weekly seminars 10%
  • Canvas posts (4 X 5%) 20%
  • Paper 20%
  • Midterm 20%
  • Final Exam 30%


This course counts towards a concentration in Art and Material Culture for students enrolled in a Humanities major or minor program.



Slides will be presented in class and articles on art history and art criticism will be provided by the instructor through Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html