Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 4.5
Hours: 4 lecture, 1.5 laboratory per week (66 total per quarter)
Advisory: Not open to students with credit in WMN 15.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • A successful student will be able to utilize a chronological and thematic approach, evaluate and discuss the culturally diverse arts produced by women in the history of art, from the Middle Ages to the present.
  • A successful student will be able to analyze in written form, the influences on art produced by women of such issues as gender, race, socio-economic and political conditions, increasing urbanization and conceptions of nature.


A chronological, thematic, and cross-cultural examination of artworks and gender issues concerning women artists from the early Middle Ages to the 21st century. Includes the influences on art produced by women of such issues as race, gender, socio-economic and political conditions, increasing urbanization, and conceptions of nature, etc.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Analyze and gain knowledge of the style and content of works of art by women throughout the history of art
  2. Systematically examine, interpret, and develop an appreciation for the roles and significance of women artists throughout history
  3. Compare and contrast images of artworks by women artists with those by their male counterparts, with a view to understanding through critical thinking the limitations placed on women in terms of education, lack of training, broader social values, etc.
  4. Evaluate and acquire knowledge of (and discuss in small groups in class or online) the social, cultural, and historical context of works by women artists from antiquity to the present
  5. Recognize and reflect in writing how art produced by women artists reflects the aesthetic values of their historical period

Course Content

  1. "Why have there been no great women artists?" An examination of issues related to the past perception that there have not been any "great women artists" in the history of art
    1. Introduction to art history and the woman artist
  2. Medieval and Renaissance women artists
    1. Hildegard of Bingen; Herrad of Landsberg
    2. Sofonisba Anguissola; Lavinia Fontana; Elisabetta Sirani; Artemisia Gentileschi
  3. Northern European women artists: 16th and 17th century painters (including France and England)
    1. Caterina van Hemessen; Judith Leyster; Rachel Ruysch; Clara Peeters; Maria Merian
  4. Women Artists in Europe and America: 18th-19th century (including Victorian England)
    1. Rosalba Carriera; Angelica Kauffmann; Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun; Anna Vallayer-Coster; Adelaide Labille-Guiard
    2. Rebecca Solomon; Emily Mary Osborn; Rosa Bonheur; Elizabeth Thompson
  5. Late 19th-early 20th century women artists (including conceptions of the New Woman)
    1. African American quilts; Native American blankets
    2. Lily Martin Spencer; Harriet Hosmer; Edmonia Lewis; Susan Eakins; Berthe Morisot; Mary Cassatt; Mary McLaughlin; Maria Longworth Nichols; Sophie Hayden
  6. Modernism and women artists before and after World War II
    1. Gabriele Munter; Vanessa Bell; Sonia Delaunay; Natalia Goncharova; Alexandra Exter; Luibov Popova
    2. Paula Modersohn-Becker; Suzanne Valadon; Gwen John; Frida Kahlo; Leonora Carrington; Kathe Kollwitz; Camille Claudel; Florine Stettheimer; Romaine Brooks; Georgia O'Keeffe; Emily Carr; Barbara Hepworth; Remedios Varo
    3. Isabel Bishop; Lee Krasner; Louise Bourgeois; Louise Nevelson; Joan Mitchell; Helen Frankenthaler; Agnes Martin; Bridget Riley; Marisol; Niki de Saint Phalle; Eva Hesse; Betye Saar; Faith Ringgold; Audrey Flack; Alice Aycock
  7. Feminist art: North America and Great Britain
    1. Judy Chicago; May Stevens; Miriam Schapiro; Alice Neel; Ana Mendieta; Judy Baca; Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz
  8. Women artists: 1970s and beyond
    1. Barbara Kruger; Jenny Holzer; Cindy Sherman; Sherrie Levine; Jaune Quick-to-See Smith; Catherine Opie; Adrian Piper; Allison Saar; Coco Fusco; Rebecca Horn; Rachel Whiteread; Mary Kelly; Margo Machida; Maya Lin; Guerrilla Girls
  9. International gender issues: women artists around the world
    1. Marta Maria Perez Bravo; Jill Scott; Graciela Iturbide; Yayoi Kusama; Sheela Gowda; Nilima Sheikh; Nalini Malani; Shahzia Sikander; Yi Bul; Fiona Hall; Mariko Mori; Mella Jaarsma; Kimsooja; Shirin Neshat
  10. Women artists: 2000 to the present: reconfiguring representation
    1. Tracey Emin; Ghada Amer; Lalla Essaydi; Rineke Dijkstra; Andrea Zittel; Katarzyna Kozyra; Yu Hong

Lab Content

Lab hours consist of one or more of the following options:

  1. Online students must (and traditional classroom students may) participate in one and one half hours per week of online discussions based on questions posed in weekly lessons. This participation consists of students' postings in answer to written questions provided by the instructor and/or postings in response to other student comments in an online discussion forum
  2. Traditional classroom/online students will visit local museums and view actual works of art in preparation for a written museum report assignment. Time spent on museum visits and the related essay assignment must be at least one and one half hours per week

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. When taught on campus: an adequate slide collection and/or access to digital images, and projection equipment (e.g., DVD/VCR, slide projector, screen, etc.)
2. When taught via Foothill Global Access, ongoing access to a computer with email software and capabilities; email address: JavaScript-enabled internet browsing software

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Discussions based on required readings in text and related online weekly lesson modules. Questions posed in lessons to be discussed in online (written) discussion forums or in traditional classroom
Weekly essay assignments based on readings of text and lesson modules online to evaluate ongoing student learning; written research paper/museum report essay assignment project may be assigned
Two midterms and one final examination; examinations may include any/all of the following: slide identification, term definition and slide comparison essay, short answer and objective questions. In some instances, a written paper may be assigned in lieu of the objective exams

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Reading online lessons/lectures introducing student to a history of women artists, presented in weekly modules
Participating in group/individual discussions in response to lesson questions posed in modules (twice weekly posts minimum required)
Writing weekly essays submitted in response to questions based on lessons and readings in textbook
Visiting a fine art museum in preparation for viewing and writing an extensive essay analysis of an individual work of art by a woman artist (or taking three objective exams based on readings in text and lessons)

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Chadwick, Whitney. Women, Art, and Society (A World of Art), 5th or 6th ed.. 2020.

Although the 5th edition of this text is older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it remains a seminal text in this area of study.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Reading of one or more textbook chapters for each weekly lesson (e.g., Chapter 1-3: Medieval and Renaissance Women Artists) plus online lesson/module. Additional reading and research required for museum report assignment project
  2. Weekly writing assignment based on text and lessons, such as the following:
    1. Whitney Chadwick, the author of your textbook, claims that she is a "feminist art historian" who, like Nochlin in her early feminist essay "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" (see Lesson 1), is critical of attributions such as "genius" and "hero" in describing "great" artists (Chadwick: 15).
      1. Using your own words and your understanding of the validity of such terms as "genius" and "hero" in art history, describe the differences between Chadwick's critique of these terms/usages and Nochlin's. Can we attribute differences between these two authors to their historical contexts? Why are these distinctions significant?
      2. Why is it important to our understanding of art history that we critically examine the words we use to describe "great" art?
      3. What other gendered terms/words direct us to think about art production in certain ways?
      4. What has feminism contributed to the development and revision of art history?
    2. Chadwick's introduction to Women, Art, and Society reveals to the reader a number of instances where art history was been revised after the discovery that art works, which were originally attributed to male artists, were actually created by women.
      1. Based on your reading of Chadwick section beginning on page 17, explain what it was in particular about the discipline of art history that contributed to these misattributions. Consider what Chadwick describes as "how art history is written and the assumptions that underlie its hierarchies" in answering this question (Chadwick: 17).
      2. Which of the three cases of misattribution described by Chadwick intrigued or surprised you the most? Explain why you found this example particularly fascinating.


Art History