Course Title:  01:082:206  Art of India

Academic Credits:  3 credits

Mode of Instruction:  Lecture

Course Prerequisites and Corequisites:  None

No background in Asian art is necessary for the successful completion of this course.

Core Curriculum:  None

Course Description:

The Indian subcontinent is home to over three dozen world heritage monuments, not the least of which includes the Taj Mahal. This course is an introduction to this rich visual heritage, from the rise of ancient empires to the present era of rapid globalization. Lectures and discussions will cover a range of critical issues, including the ways in which art expressed political aspirations, populist traditions, religious ideals, and creative processes. The course begins with the rise of Buddhist monumental art in the centuries leading up to the advent of the Common Era. From there, it turns to the development of Hindu and Jain temple arts and sculptural traditions. In mid-semester, it moves to the Mughals and emergence of Indo-Islamic aesthetics, and it concludes in the final weeks with visual transformations in the colonial and post-colonial world. In addition to considering the historical circumstances surrounding works of art, this course engages problems of interpretation faced by art historians today. No prior background in art history or Asian studies is necessary for success in this course.

Learning Goals:

  • Gain familiarity with the rich and diverse visual traditions of the Indian subcontinent through exposure to a wide range of artistic media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, and urban form.
  • Engage with key debates in the history of Indian art.
  • Think critically about how museums, archaeological sites, and other institutions of learning inform our interpretation of works of art in the present day.
  • Improve oral and written expression through the participation of in-class discussions and completion of writing assignments.

Course Materials:

  • Asher, Catherine and C. Talbot. India Before Europe. Cambridge, 2006. (ISBN-10: 0521005396)
  • Dehejia, Vidya. Indian Art. London: Phaidon Press, 1997. (ISBN-10: 0714834963)
  • Mitter, Partha. Indian Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. (ISBN-10: 0192842218)


  • 2 Exams: 50% (25% + 25&) There will be two exams held in class during the course of the semester. Each will be worth 25% of your final grade for the semester. Detailed instructions on what to expect will be provided well before each exam.
  • 2 Short Papers (2-3 pages; 3-4 pages): 50% (20% + 30%) During the course of this semester, you will be asked to write two short papers, both of which will focus primarily on creative analysis of art works.
  • Extra Credit Opportunities: Students have the option of taking advantage of up to two extra credit opportunities. Details will be provided in class. Attendance and Participation Questions and active participation in class sessions are encouraged


Professor Tamara Sears

Disclaimer:  These course description/synopses pages have been provided as samples and the information should not be considered accurate or current.  For actual course information, refer to the course site hosted by a Rutgers Learning Management System (Saikai, Canvas, etc.) as of first day of class.