The art history program is designed to expose students to a history of visual expression that includes different time periods, cultures, and media with a special emphasis on modern and contemporary art history, criticism, and theory. It also emphasizes critical thinking through discourse with works of art and artists made available to the Dominican community through the art department and O'Connor Art Gallery and supplemented by visits to Chicago art museums and galleries.

The art history program is committed to offering students a broadly based knowledge of art history while preparing them for experiences and careers that may include graduate school, teaching, art writing, art conservation, art auction houses, and gallery or museum work. Other goals of the program include instilling a deepened cultural awareness, an appreciation of art's relationship to social, political, religious, and ideological contexts, and a significant understanding of the discursive nature of the field of art history.

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