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TEXTL-316

Chromophilia, n. The property possessed by cells of staining readily with dyes. The title of this course is derived from a chapter in David Batchelor's book, Chromophobia. The author eloquently traces concepts of color in nineteenth and twentieth-century Western art and literature as they relate to notions of purity and contamination. This course analyzes how color is folded into a complex set of Western cultural narratives and how the so-called neutrality of "whiteness" in the museum setting is constructed on racist and gendered stereotypes. Through readings, discussions and assignments, students investigate the history of natural and chemical dyes and pigments and study of divers meanings of color in different cultural landscapes. Texts are selected from multiple disciplines including anthropology, art criticism, art history, and fashion theory. Students will be expected to work independently on a body of work, which will be critiqued in the context of this course.