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Periodization of the Arts - What Is A Period?, Periodization And Globalization: Mesoamerica As A Case Study, Feminism And Periodization

periods visual intellectual centuries

Notions of boundaries, categories, and periods frame discussions of art and visual culture. The desire to organize visual information and material into clearly defined, manageable units has provided an irresistible impetus for periodization since the emergence of art historical and critical studies in the Renaissance. The application of periods to art and visual culture was extended in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when philosophers, historians, and critics of the arts searched for objective ways to explore their world. Their search for objectivity resulted in their conceptualization of periods as a metalanguage rooted in empiricism through which to communicate ideas. Centuries of scholarship have produced a multiplicity of periods underscoring diverse perspectives and serving diverse ends. For some observers, the study of periodization is an exercise in disillusionment. The absence of any single, consistent system of periodization is construed as a symptom of the failure of the intellectual disciplines surrounding the arts. For other observers, the study of periodization is an affirmative endeavor. The existence of alternative schemas for periodization indicates that intellectual discourse about the arts is open to debate, reconsideration, reorganization, and reinterpretation.

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