DEPARTMENT OF AESTHETICS AND ART HISTORY
The Department of Aesthetics and Art History was established in 1949 with the start of the new Faculty of Fine Arts at Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku, replacing the teachers' course under the previous Tokyo Fine Arts School. Since its founding, the Tokyo Fine Arts School had made important contributions to the study of art history and aesthetics in modern Japan. With the establishment of the new university, this academic field was made into an independent Department of Aesthetics and Art History.
From its founding, the objective of the Department of Aesthetics and Art History has been to develop individuals capable of integrating art theory and practice. It has steadfastly maintained this fundamental policy up to the present day. At the same time, the department's organization has developed with a focus on developing a full understanding of aesthetics and art history. Various related courses such as Artistic Anatomy have been established around this core. Under this structure, the Department of Aesthetics and Art History has graduated large numbers of outstanding figures in a wide range of arts-related fields, including art-museum curators, art critics, researchers, and journalists.
Based on this history, the educational philosophy of today's Department is to develop individuals capable of contributing in a wide range of artistic fields through theoretical analysis and interpretation, by deepening awareness of various related fields revolving around art, by gaining experience in creating their own works, and through training in aesthetics and art history.
Educational and research structure
The department's educational and research structure consists of four studios established in the fields of aesthetics, Japanese and Asian art history, Western art history, and history of crafts. The curriculum for first- and second-year undergraduates has been designed to familiarize students with a broad range of knowledge related to art. As they advance through their third and fourth years, students identify their own specialized research domains; in their fourth year, students are expected to write dissertations in their own specialized domains, with guidance from the studios.
Postgraduate students receive guidance from instructors in studios to which they are assigned, depending on their areas of specialization. The goal of the master's degree program is to write a research paper with a more advanced degree of specialization. In doctoral programs, students are expected to acquire the capacity to present their own results as researchers.
Curriculum (undergraduate education)
The undergraduate curriculum has been designed to familiarize students with a broad range of knowledge in aesthetics and art history as students also gain experience in creating their own works of art, thereby enabling students to understand abilities that serve as the foundations for more specialized research in graduate school.
In the first and second years, all students are required to learn practical techniques in the fields of Japanese painting, oil painting, and sculpture. Students are also expected to gain basic knowledge in the areas of aesthetics, Japanese and Asian art history, and Western art history and to acquire the language skills needed to read and discuss the literature. In the second year, students are required to travel on a research trip to the university's Institute of Ancient Art Research in Nara, Japan.
The goal of studies in the third year and beyond is to allow students to attain more highly specialized knowledge through seminars and special lectures held in the aesthetics and art-history studios. During the fourth year, each studio provides individual guidance in writing graduation theses.
Each studio holds general courses on aesthetics and art history as well as more specialized seminars and special lectures to implement this curriculum.
Curriculum (graduate education and research)
In the master's degree program, students are assigned for two years to specific studios to acquire a deeper, more specialized knowledge through seminars and special lectures. Each student is expected to give presentations on topics assigned based on the content of his or her own research, with guidance and support from the studio. In the final year of the program, students write a master's thesis with individual guidance from instructors.
The objective of doctoral programs is to help each student develop the research abilities needed to generate his or her own results, in each student's own specialized domain, as well as acquiring comprehensive and more highly specialized knowledge in aesthetics and art history. Students are expected to report on the results of their research and present their papers both inside and outside the department as opportunities arise and to accumulate experience as specialized researchers. Another requirement is to produce a doctoral thesis in the final year of the program, under the guidance of instructors.
From time to time, each studio will hold lectures and courses in the form of seminars led by researchers from overseas. Support, guidance, and related materials are provided to allow each student to study overseas. In addition, depending on areas of specialization and research subjects, visiting researchers, government-sponsored and privately-financed overseas students, research students, and exchange students are accepted proactively, with three to five overseas students taking part in the program each year.
Paths taken by students after graduation cover a wide range of fields, including publishing, curator work at art museums and other museums, art criticism, research in specialized domains, and education. For students seeking to become curators or instructors, courses are available for attaining the qualifications required in each of these professions.
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