Global Modernisms
General Catalog Course Title:
Global Modernisms
Terms Offered:
Fall 2016
Spring 2016
Spring 2013
Course Thread: 
Cultural Forms in Transit
Gupta, Atreyee
Levine, Greg

The idea of “global modernisms” has now gained significant currency within the academy. But what
exactly does this idea connote? Is the idea of “global modernisms” a ruse, a clever ploy, to render
modernism universal and our knowledge encyclopedic by including the trajectories of modernisms from
diverse cultural contexts? Or is there something more going on here?

While modernity is broadly mapped through the rise of a scientific consciousness and the emergence of
an industrial economy in Europe, aesthetic modernism and avant-gardism is understood as an adversary
culture directed against a bourgeois social and economic modernity. How then do we understand
modernisms in cultures that have not undergone industrialization in the same way and at the same time as
Europe? What about modernisms that are neither oppositional nor have a culture of avant-gardism? How
does the lexicon of modernism change when the “Western” modern is negotiated with the indigenous, the
anti-colonial, and the post-colonial in “non-Western” worlds? This seminar will use specific nineteenth
and twentieth-century artists and art movements in South Asia, Africa, and the Arab worlds as a lens to
examine the questions and challenges “global modernisms” present for art history in specific and world
history more broadly. We will draw on a range of texts including manifestoes and artists’ writings to
critical text

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.