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Professor Deborah Hutton incorporates social activism into a new WGS Art History course

AAH 270 / WGS 270: Gender and politics in global contemporary art.

Professor Deborah Hutton was disappointed in how American Art History can reinforce harmful stereotypes, so she created a curriculum that goes beyond primarily studying well-known artists. 

Hutton shared, “I wanted to highlight the portrayal of women of color within the mainstream art industry, so I facilitated a way that students could study artists whose perspectives often get overlooked.”

Gender and Politics in Global Contemporary Art will cover renowned transnational feminist artists who use their work as a medium for social activism. Some topics of discussion will be the work of Palestinian artists and their struggles while lacking a state, exhibitions of art made by Guantanamo Bay prisoners, and Bangladeshi artwork emphasizing the dangers of fast fashion.

Hutton will teach this course for the first time in the Spring semester. The class will include several smaller research assignments, a new global art textbook, and photos of artwork taken by Professor Hutton herself. “I am thrilled to be attending a biannual contemporary art fair in Kochi, India, and showcasing some of the work to my students,” Hutton said.

Hutton’s goal for this course is for students to take a social activist approach to their own lives. “This class is designed so that students will not need any background in art. I want as many people as possible to show interest,” Hutton shared. She believes that students of all majors can benefit from this course because social justice advocacy should be incorporated into any career path.

Hutton will use artwork to encourage students to explore alternative perspectives and be global citizens. “Art is a way to get people to see the humanity of others,” stated Hutton.

-Madison Rubino ’22, M.A. in Counseling Candidate


School of the Arts and Communication
Art and Interactive Multimedia Building
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628