You are here

DRAMA 416 A: History of Style - Dress, Architecture and Functional Decor

Meeting Time: 
TTh 5:30pm - 7:20pm
HUT 130
Joint Sections: 
Kira Ann Franz-Knight

Syllabus Description:

Meeting Time & Location: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-7:20pm in Hutchinson 130

Office Hours and Contact: Office Hours are by appointment only; please e-mail or text Kira directly at or 562-253-1052

Course Objectives:

This combined lecture and seminar course surveys the role of the functional arts in the formation of cultural identity in Western Civilization from Ancient Egypt through today. Occupying that tenuous space between fine art and the everyday, functional art refers to aesthetic objects that serve utilitarian purposes such as clothing, architecture, furniture and functional design.

While examining the specific cultural, socio-economic, and political functions of these objects, we will investigate the multifaceted ways that shifting concepts of gender, religion, status, and place have informed history and visual arts in the west.

Required Reading:

There is no single textbook for this course, but rather recommended History of Clothing and Architecture books that you might want to purchase (see this list on our canvas page). We will also read excerpts from scholarly texts, museum didactics, articles on material culture, etc. These will be made available on canvas.

Course Policies:

  • Please arrive on-time and ready to take notes.
  • Food and Drink are allowed, but please be respectful and take care of our shared environment.
  • Lecture images will be made available after each Thursday class meeting; however, no notes will be provided, so please check in with your colleagues to get notes.
  • Please text or e-mail me if you anticipate an absence or need 0065tra help with the course work.


Access and Accommodations:

Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodation with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course. If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-542-8924 or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students.

Course Pacing Calendar (please note: this calendar is tentative and subject to change based on student needs and at instructor’s discretion. Please check Canvas for announcements regarding any changes.)






Thu. 9/26/19: Course introduction, Review syllabus, Canvas page, and Website



Tue. 10/1/19 : Ancient Egypt

Thu. 10/3/19 (No in-class meeting). See on Canvas: Ancient Greece Assignment


Tue. 10/8/19 : Minoan, Ancient Greece

Thu. 10/10/19: Film Review


Tue. 10/15/19 : Quiz covering Ancient Egypt & Greece, Rome,Byzantium

Thu. 10/17/19 : No class, Review Middle Ages PPT



Tue. 10/22/19 : 15th C.

Thu. 10/24/19 : 16th & 17th C.



Tue. 10/29/19 : 18th C.

Thu. 10/31/19 : 1800s-1840s



Tue. 11/5/19: Quiz covering 16th-18th C., 1850s-Bustle Period

Thu. 11/7/19 (No in-class meeting) Please watch and critique film from approved list.



Tue. 11/12/19 : 1890s-1920s

Thu. 11/14/19 : 1930s-1950s



Tue. 11/19/19 : (Quiz covering first half 20th C.)

Thu. 11/21/19 : 1960s-1970s


Tue. 11/26/19 : 1980s-1990s

Thu. 11/28/19: NO CLASS Thanksgiving



Tue. 12/3/19 : Compendium Project Work Day

Thu. 12/5/19 : Designer Reviews and/or Compendium Project work time, check in with professor as needed.



12/10/19 FINALS WEEK

Thu. 12/12/19 FINALS WEEK



Required Work:

Each student (both graduate and undergraduate will curate a digital compendium of accumulated chronological research that represents fourteen of the twenty-eight periods covered (your choice). In the compendium you will compare contemporary functional art with their historical antecedents. Exemplars will be shown the second week of class. You should expect to spend approximately eight to ten hours on the project. It is strongly recommended that you collect images as we go through the course. The compendium is due Thursday 12/12/19 by 11:59pm to Canvas.


Each graduate student will write a short research paper that will be used to facilitate a current design and/or curatorial project. This will include: an analysis of four to six peer-reviewed academic journal articles on the topic, a visual dictionary on the topic (this can be imbedded within the text of the paper), a justification of the academic/design/curatorial choices for the topic, a summation of findings, an APA-Style annotated bibliography, and at least one creative element. Directions and rubric will be given the second week of class. (Note: undergraduates do not need to complete this assignment).


Link to website:

Catalog Description: 
Surveys the history of western design and visual culture from Ancient Greece through today. Covers a range of artistic fields, including clothing, the decorative arts, and architecture and pays particular attention to the sociological, religious, political and economic climates that shape the way we dress and decorate the world around us. Historic representations of the functional arts in film, television and theatre will also be analyzed. Offered: A.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
December 21, 2019 - 9:02pm