Debates and Contestations in Art History (AHV2002)
|Staff||Professor David Jones - Convenor|
|Duration of Module||Term 2: 11 weeks;|
This module will introduce you to significant works of art and visual culture with their attendant scholarly literature. It makes a feature of the fact that different approaches to the same objects can prompt different readings of where their significance lies.These differing interpretations may be introduced by way of a) a longitudinal account, comparing approaches to a topic within a relatively long time-frame (for example, evaluations of the early Renaissance (c. 1300-1450) from the sixteenth to the twentieth century; or Victorian art and design, its denigration and recuperation); b) by looking at interventions that have polarised opinion in contemporary scholarship (for example, visual vs. symbolic emphases in the interpretation of Dutch seventeenth-century art; formalist vs. contextual readings of American modernism [the example given below]); or c) by examining the impact of one or more new frameworks for scholarship (for example, gender studies/Queer theory; post-colonial theory). The topic to which differing approaches have been applied may be thematic (e.g. representations of the body; or art and popular culture); period-based (e.g. French painting c. 1870-1900 or the American Modernism example given below); or specific (e.g. Cubist collage; or the Pazzi Chapel). The selection of the topic under review will be at the discretion of the module convener.
You will be encouraged to engage closely with the works of art and visual culture under review and the scholarship on them. It is expected that this scholarship will be subjected to deep analysis, assessing its strengths and weaknesses, and that accounts provided of the topic in assessed outcomes will articulate a well-informed and independent position. You will acquire by this means a proficient in-depth understanding of the art in question and will comprehend the extent to which the meaning and identity of works of art and visual culture is open to revision.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. Describe and analyse selected works of art in detail
- 2. Situate works of art in appropriate historical and/or crtical contexts
- 3. Work with a variety of methodologies and theoretical approaches for the interpretation of works of art
- 4. Critically discriminate between different art historical approaches in terms of their explanatory power
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 5. Research, present and evaluate relevant historical and critical material with increased independence?
- 6. Interrogate and evaluate works of art and their attendant literature and relate them to the wider context of cultural and intellectual history.
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 7. Through writing and project assessments, demonstrate good research and bibliographic skills, an informed capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose.
- 8. Through research for projects and essays, demonstrate good proficiency in information retrieval and analysis.
- 9. Through project work, demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively orally and/or in written form, and in teams towards the development, research, organization, and expression of ideas under pressure of time.
NB As the precise topic is at the discretion of the convener it is not possible to give a generic indicative syllabus plan. As an example, if the selected topic was photographic theories and histories, an indicative syllabus plan might be as follows:
Week 1: Introduction: Photography & its Origins
Week 2-4: Humanism, War, Photojournalism & Art
Week 5-7: Postmodernism, Documentation and Photographic Histories
Week 8-10: From Documentary to Forensic Photography
Week 11: Conclusions
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled learning and teaching||11||Weekly lectures|
|Scheduled learning and teaching||5||Seminars - these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar and to present on a given topic on at least one occasion|
|Guided independent study||134||Independent study including reading, research, preparation for seminars and assessments.|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Mini-Essay||750 words||1-8||Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up|
|Oral presentation||5-10 minutes||1-9||Peer-assessment recorded on feedback sheet with tutorial follow-up|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Essay||100||2500 words||1-8||Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
Anfam, D. Abstract Expressionism, 1990
Ashton, D. American Art since 1945, 1982
Baigell, M. Artist and Identity in Twentieth-Century America, 2001
Colpitt, F. Minimal Art: The Critical Perspective, 1994
Corn, W. The Great American Thing – Modern Art and National Identity 1915-1935, , 1999
Cox, A. Art-as-Politics: the Abstract Expressionist Avant-Garde and Society, 1982
Crow, T. The Rise of the Sixties: American and European Art in the Era of Dissent, 1996
Doss, E. Benton, Pollock and the Politics of Modernism: from Regionalism to Abstract Expressionism, 1991
Frascina, F. Art, Politics and Dissent: Aspects of the Art Left in Sixties America, 1999
Frascina, F. (ed.) Pollock and After: The Critical Debate, 1985
Frascina, F. and Harris, J. (eds) Art in Modern Culture: An Anthology of Critical Texts, 1992
Fried, M. Art and Objecthood, 1998
Guilbaut, S. How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art: Abstract Expressionism, Freedom, and the Cold War, 1983
Haskell, B. The American Century: Art and Culture 1900-1950, 1999
Hemingway, A. Artists on the Left – American Artists and the Communist Movement, 1926-56, 2002
Krauss, R. The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths, 1985
Leja, M. Reframing Abstract Expressionism: Subjectivity and Painting in the 1940s, 1993
O’Brian, J. (ed.) Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and Criticism, 1988
Phillips, L. The American Century: Art and Culture 1950-2000, 1999
Seitz, W. Abstract Expressionist Painting, 1983
Wood, P., Frascina, F., Harris, J. & Harrison, C. Modernism in Dispute: Art since the Forties, 1993
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Key words search
Visual Culture; Media; Art History