The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book A World Art History and Its Objects

A World Art History and Its Objects

David Carrier
  • Copyright: 2008
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 200 pages
  • Illustrations: 11 b&w illustrations
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-03414-0
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-03415-7

Winner of a 2009 AAUP Book Jacket and Journal Show Award for Scholarly Typographic

“Intriguing, provocative, and informative.”

Is writing a world art history possible? Does the history of art as such even exist outside the Western tradition? Is it possible to consider the history of art in a way that is not fundamentally Eurocentric? In this highly readable and provocative book, David Carrier, a philosopher and art historian, does not attempt to write a world art history himself. Rather, he asks the question of how an art history of all cultures could be written—or whether it is even possible to do so. He also engages the political and moral issues raised by the idea of a multicultural art history. Focusing on a consideration of intersecting artistic traditions, Carrier negotiates the way meaning and understanding shift or are altered when a visual object from one culture, for example, is inserted into the visual tradition of another culture. A World Art History and Its Objects proposes the use of temporal narrative as a way to begin to understand a multicultural art history.

David Carrier is Champney Family Professor at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art. He is the author of the Penn State titles The Aesthetics of Comics (2000), High Art: Charles Baudelaire and the Origins of Modernist Painting (1996), The Aesthete in the City (1994), Poussin’s Paintings: A Study in Art-Historical Methodology (1993), and Principles of Art History Writing (1990).


List of Figures and Diagrams




Overture: Islamic Carpets in European Paintings

1. Works of Art and Art-Historical Narratives

2. Monocultural Art-History Narratives

3. Why Monoculturalism Is Not the Whole Story

4. What Happens when Art-Making Traditions Intersect

5. Charts and Works of Art

6. The Importance of an Aesthetic

7. Exotic Aesthetics

8. How Exotic Can Exotic Art Be?

9. Our World Art History Is Imperialism Seen Aesthetically

10. Mutual Respect as an Ethical Ideal

Conclusion: The Coming Transformation of Western Art History

Selective Annotated Bibliography


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