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AH 3250 Decolonializing Contemporary Art in the Americas

Common Course ID:AH 3250 Decolonializing Contemporary Art in the Americas

CSUSB Instructor Open Textbook Adoption Portrait

Abstract: This open textbook is being utilized in a [discipline] course for undergraduate [description if any] students by [Instructor's name] at [Educational Institution name]. The open textbook provides [brief description of highlights and any instructor supplements]. The main motivation to adopt an open textbook was [supply reason]. Most student access the open textbook in [format and/or access method].

Reviews: The book has been reviewed by faculty [link to COERC reviews] from within the three segments (CCC, CSU, and UC) of the California higher education systems.

About the Textbook

No Textbook was used

Formats: List formats available including PDF, web, ePub, bookshare, etc. Link to any publisher information including print copy availability.

Supplemental resources: List resources including online homework systems, interactive study guides for students, and faculty-only resources such as solutions and slides that are available. [Link to publisher information]

Peer reviews: Link to COERC faculty peer reviews.

Cost savings:
New Book: Alejandro Anreus, Robin Greeley, and Megan Sullivan eds., A Companion to 

Modern and Contemporary Latin American and Latina/o Art (Blackwell Companions to Art History, 2021)  $195.00


Jacqueline Barnitz, Twentieth-century Art of Latin America. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015: $53.00


Estimate saving per student in Fall, 2020 ($53.00)

Estimate saving per student in the course is offered again after Fall, 2020 ($248.00)

Total of students: 28
Total estimate saving in Fall, 2020 ($1,484)
Total estimate saving if the course is offered again ($6,944)


Accessibility and diversity statement:
Are the technologies used readily available and affordable for students? Yes


Do the pedagogical strategies support learners with diverse cultural, ethnic, and gender backgrounds? Yes. At the core of the bibliography for this course are critical texts critiquing euromerican forms of masculinity and celebration of whiteness, making visible artistic practices and discourses developed from diverse cultural, ethnic, and gender backgrounds. 


Class Syllabus
AH 3250 Fall 2020.docx


About the Course

AH 3250 Decolonializing Contemporary Art in the Americas  (3 units)
This upper-division course examines the ways in which decolonial theories and methodologies have impacted and shaped radical contemporary artistic practices and discourses in the Americas. Acknowledging the origins of traditional colonial rule in the 16th century with the so-called “discovery” of the Americas and its conceptual continuity in the 19th century following independence revolutions in the region, the periodization of this course commences in the mid 20th century, coinciding with massive decolonial struggles developed from the Caribbean by writers and activists including Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon. Divided into four sections, this course explores decolonial theories in relation to art historical discourses and practices that question modernity’s imperatives regarding issues of race, gender, sexuality, time, space, and the discipline of art history itself. Throughout the term, we will read a range of texts and think about them by looking at, and reflecting on, images, performances, sites, exhibitions, films, and art historiographies from a transdisciplinary lens that, in the words of Nelson Maldonado-Torres, “involves the de-investment from modern forms of validation and a commitment to forging values, practices, and forms of relation with others that can bring about a different order.” In a present still dominated by heteronormative, capitalist, racist, and Anthropocene constraints, this course acknowledges the urgency of studying the art of the Americas from a decolonial eye, mind, and heart, paralleling growing decolonial efforts globally within artistic, academic, curatorial, and pedagogical scopes.

Learning outcomes:  
Become familiar with major decolonial theories and methodologies vis-à-vis critical artistic practices and discourses developed by artists and art professionals from the Americas since the mid 20th century to the present.


Recognize the multiple and diverse struggles encompassing the decolonial, and the ways in which artists and art professionals have been understanding and visualizing this mode of being, doing, and thinking in the hemisphere in the last seven decades. 


Recognize the role of the Caribbean in the shaping of decolonial theories in, but also beyond the Americas.


Understand the historical and cultural relevance of a hemispheric and transdisciplinary approach for the study of decolonial art and visual culture in the region. 


Reassess institutional structures of knowledge and challenge conventional wisdom through approaches that question and decenter the West.


Demonstrate use of critical art historical knowledge leading to intellectual confidence to promote human respect, social justice, and equality.

Curricular changes:   What did you change as part of the OER adoption?   This is the first time I teach this course, and the first time this course is offered at CSUSB as part of the new BA in Art History and Global Cultures.  

How and where do students access materials?  Students access to all the readings and related material through Blackboard. 


Teaching and learning impacts: Collaborate more with other faculty : Yes.  I now use a wider array of internet-based resources which have also become available due to COVID. This has been productive for both my research projects including collaborative special issues, and for students, who were able to conduct solid research from home with online tools for their final papers. 

Textbook Adoption

OER Adoption Process

Briefly describe what motivated you to adopt OER for this course  Art History textbooks are very expensive, and in the last few years, many journals in the field have appeared as open access. In addition, the university library holds a large collection of digital sources that are important for the topic of this course. Considering in turn that there is not yet a comprehensive textbook on decolonial theory and contemporary art of the Americas, and taking advantage of the quality of open sources and CSUSB library’s   collection, I decided to adopt the OER process for this course. Students spent $0 in this course. 


How did you find and select OER for this course?  In the summer, I reviewed recent publication on the theme of decolonial theory and contemporary art in the Americas and the global context while researching for a proposal for a book titled Decolonizing Art History that I am co-editing with Tatiana E. Flores (Professor at Rutgers) and Charlene Villasenor Black (Professor at UCLA) that is forthcoming with Routledge in 2022. I simultaneously spent the summer creating my syllabus and searching for more bibliography accordingly, which I did through the John M. Pfau Library and by discussing these sources with my co-editors. Following copy rights laws, I downloaded these sources and uploaded them to my courses' sites. I also worked with Stacy Magedanz, Liaison for Art at the library. She was able to purchase two important e-books that were not open source and that the university didn’t have. 


Describe any challenges you experienced and how you resolved them.  Some important resources were not available online or at the John M. Pfau Library. Stacy Magedanz, Liaison for Art at the library, bought these online books so students were able to read assigned chapters from Blackboard.  

Student access: Students acceded to the information through Bb. All the open sources texts were posted on Bb. In addition, there were assigned readings that were digitalized by the library.  There were also links to texts that the students found on the Syllabus. Here is the syllabus, just in case. 

Sharing Best Practices:  The sustainability of open education relies on sharing with others. It was important for me to be in contact with the library person while drafting my syllabus in the summer, 2020. She was very helpful and introduced me to online sources available at the library. I would recommend colleagues to content the library liaison of their department in advance. We are also living an exciting moment regarding the publication of critical sources as open access material. I believe it is important as scholars committed to education and social change to make use of these sources.

How do you plan to share this OER experience with other faculty, staff, etc. who develop curriculum and teach?

This was the first step. I am also teaching the art history survey to 48 students, and I am using OER as well. The textbook I used in the past--Marilyn Stokstad and Michael W Cothren, Art: A Brief History (6th Edition)—is $102.83. At CSUSB, I implemented OER, so students in the Fall saved, in total, 4,896 and, in the spring, they are saving the same. This means that in my art history surveys course in the 2020-21 AY, students will save 9,792. My plan is to continue using this methodology in the future, advocating for both excellence and affordable solutions.


Dr. Florencia San Martin
California State University, San Bernardino

The majority of students were junior and senior, and many of them transferred last year. I also had two MFA students. While many students were Studio Art majors, I also had students majoring in Art History, Sociology, Phycology, Anthropology, Spanish, Biology, Administration, and Criminal Justice. Students come from a wide range of socio-economic demographics. There are not any prerequisites for this course.