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BA module descriptions

BA modules 2019/20

Modules offered to UCL BA History of Art; BA History of Art, Materials and Technology (‘MAT’, 2019 entry); BA History of Art with Material Studies (‘HAMS’, 2017 and 2018 entry); BASc students (Cultures pathway); and Affiliate/Erasmus students registered with the UCL Department of History of Art.

ALL Year 1 Thematic Seminars, Year 2 Period Modules, Year 2 Methods Modules, and Year 3 Special Subjects are restricted to History of Art Students only (SH, CH, BASc/Culture).

Year 1

HART0001 History of Art and its Objects - The Core Course - 30 credits

Module tutor: Emily Floyd
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring Terms; Fridays 2-5pm.
This is an obligatory introductory module for all History of Art students and is not normally available to students from outside the department. The module is an introduction to a range of skills required to study the History of Art, including the first-hand study of works of art. It is designed to familiarise students with some current debates in the subject, and introduce them to a variety of theoretical positions of which they need to be aware in the course of their degree.

Student Contact Hours: 40, in 20 weekly 1-hour lectures and 20 1-hour seminars.
Duration of Module: 20 weeks, beginning in first week of Autumn term.
Student Workload: Reading and other preparation for weekly classes, three pieces of written work and an oral presentation (notes submitted).
Means of Assessment: 4 assessed assignments: assignment 1 - critical object-based response: 1500-1800 words; assignment 2 - exhibition review: 1800-2000 words; assignment 3 - oral presentation task; assignment 4 - final essay: 2000-2500 words (each element worth 25% of the overall mark).
Prerequisites: Students should normally be in the first year of a Single or Combined Honours degree in History of Art.

First Year Summer reading list

HART0006 History of European Art: Classical to Renaissance - The Foundation Course I - 15 credits (Autumn)

Module tutor: Rose Marie San Juan
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Wednesdays, 9-11am.
These are obligatory introductory modules for all History of Art students. In ten lectures each term students are introduced to the dominant narrative of art history as an historical development ('the canon'), and are encouraged to look at that model critically. The subject matter of the lecture series ranges from classical to contemporary art. Space is also given to categories outside the conventional canon.
Student Contact Hours: Lectures and question time: 20 hours for each course.
Duration of Module: 10+ weeks, the first course begins in first week of Autumn term, the second in the first week of the Spring term.
Student Workload: Attendance at all lectures, reading in support of lectures, exam.
Means of Assessment: 100% by unseen examination in Summer Term.
Prerequisites: Students should normally be in the first year of a Single or Combined Honours degree in History of Art.

First Year Summer reading list

HART0003 (MAT only) Introduction to Art and Science - 15 credits

Module tutor: Joshua Hill
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Tuesdays 11am-1pm.
Introductory module covering basic organic and inorganic chemistry in a lab-based environment for first year History of Art students. The module will lay the scientific foundations for understanding the relationship between the composition of artefacts, physical properties, and application. The first part of the module will cover topics such as the periodic table, solubility, pH, and bonding. We will begin with a review of the basics in order to set a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding materials, such as the physical properties of bronze or the deterioration mechanisms of painting.
Duration of module: 10 weeks, beginning in the first week of the Autumn term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Attendance at all classes, prescribed and back-up reading, lab work, essay
Means of Assessment: 20% written-up lab work (1000-1250 words), 20% report/review (1000-1250 words), 60% unseen exam (2 hours).
Prerequisites: Normally only offered to 1st-year MAT students. No previous experience of chemistry is required to undertake this module.

HART0004 Thematic Seminar - 15 credits (Autumn)

Module tutors: Thalia Allington-Wood, Mechthild Fend, Flavia Frigeri & Rye Holmboe
Timetabled: Autumn Term: Thursdays 11am-1pm (except Thalia Allington-Wood: 10am-12pm)
This module is designed specifically for students on the first-year Single Honours History of Art, or History of Art, Materials and Technology programmes. It comprises a number of historical and topical seminar options, which are designed to provide students with smaller group teaching and direct engagement with art objects in museums, galleries and historical sites. Students take one out of the several options on offer during the academic year. The module is taught as a mixture of informal lectures, seminars and/or gallery visits, accompanied by weekly reading projects and group discussion of key issues.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Workload: Attendance at all classes, back-up reading, 2 essays.
Means of Assessment: Two essays, one 1500-2000 words weighted at 40% submitted before Reading Week, the other 2000-2500 words weighted at 60% submitted by the end of term.
Prerequisites: Appropriate background in history or art history.

HART0005: History of European Art: Renaissance to Contemporary - The Foundation Course II - 15 credits (Spring)

Module tutor: Jacob Paskins
Timetabled: Spring Term; Wednesdays, 9-11am.
These are obligatory introductory modules for all History of Art students. In ten lectures each term students are introduced to the dominant narrative of art history as an historical development ('the canon'), and are encouraged to look at that model critically. The subject matter of the lecture series ranges from classical to contemporary art. Space is also given to categories outside the conventional canon.
Student Contact Hours: Lectures and question time: 20 hours for each module.
Duration of Module: 10+ weeks, the first course begins in first week of the Autumn term, the second in the first week of the Spring term.
Student Workload: Attendance at all lectures, reading in support of lectures, exam.
Means of Assessment: 100% by unseen examination in Summer Term.
Prerequisites: Students should normally be in the first year of a Single or Combined Honours degree in History of Art.

First Year Summer reading list

HART0002 (MAT only) Methods and Materials of Artists - 15 credits

Module tutor: Joshua Hill
Timetabled: Spring Term; Mondays 4-6pm.
This module addresses methods and materials of the artist. In the context of the history of artistic techniques and technologies used in fine arts, students will have the opportunity to discuss the physical constitution of artworks alongside their concept and materiality. Issues may include traditional painting, print, bronze, installation, film and video sculpture, performance, software-based art, earthworks, and biodegradables. What exactly constitutes an artwork? How does the work endure over time? How does reproducibility, iteration, degradability and obsolescence affect what the work is and what it may become?
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Attendance at all classes, prescribed and back-up reading, practical work, one short written task, possibly one short presentation, and one assessed essay.
Means of Assessment: 40% by coursework essay (2000 words), 60% by unseen exam (2 hours).
Prerequisites: Normally only offered to 1st-year MAT students.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0144 Thematic Seminar - 15 credits (Spring)

Module tutors: Joshua Hill, Rosemary Moore & Lauren Rozenberg
Timetabled: Spring Term: Thursdays 11am-1pm.
This module is designed specifically for students on the first-year Single Honours History of Art, or History of Art, Materials and Technology programmes. It comprises a number of historical and topical seminar options, which are designed to provide students with smaller group teaching and direct engagement with art objects in museums, galleries and historical sites. Students take one out of the several options on offer during the academic year. The module is taught as a mixture of informal lectures, seminars and/or gallery visits, accompanied by weekly reading projects and group discussion of key issues.
Duration of Course: 10 weeks.
Student Workload: Attendance at all classes, back-up reading, 2 essays.
Means of Assessment: Two essays, one 1500-2000 words weighted at 40% submitted before Reading Week, the other 2000-2500 words weighted at 60% submitted by the end of term.
Prerequisites: Appropriate background in history or art history.


Year 2

All modules are 15 credits taught in one term. Note that the modules are arranged with the autumn term options followed by the spring term options.

Autumn Term:

HART0032 Methodologies of Art History - 15 credits

Module tutors: Richard Taws and Maria Mileeva
Timetabled: Autumn Term: Tuesdays 11am-1pm.
This text-based module introduces students to the diverse ways in which art historians engage with and write about visual art and culture. Students will be asked to analyse a range of art historical methods as well as varied approaches to critical writing, with the goals of becoming familiar with recent methodologies that pertain to the visual image and developing ways of bringing critical issues to their research and written work. Topics addressed normally include: formalism, iconography and iconology, the social history of art, psychoanalytic approaches, semiotics, poststructuralism, issues of gender, sexuality and race, postcolonialism.
Duration of module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20 hours, a mixture of lectures and text-based discussion classes.
Student Workload: Attendance at all classes, prescribed and back-up reading, two pieces of written work.
Means of Assessment: Two essays: a short response paper (1350-1500 words, due around Reading Week weighted at 40%); a second essay (2000-2500 words, due last week of term, weighted at 60%).
Prerequisites: Normally only offered to 2nd-year History of Art students. Other closely similar experience might be acceptable.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0036 Advanced Lecture in the History of Art: Action/Re-Action - 15 credits

Module tutor: Cadence Kinsey
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Mondays 2-4pm.
This module explores the histories of live art in Europe, the U.S. and Japan from Gutai to contemporary practice, with a strong emphasis on technologically mediated performance. Structured around the notion of the ‘emancipated spectator’, we will consider works of art that sit at the boundary of art and non-art in order to challenge traditional structures of making, exhibiting and looking at art. Through close study of a range of artistic movements including Fluxus, Situationist International, Relational Aesthetics and Re-Enactment, we will explore some of the major debates within histories of performance and live art, and think about key concepts such as the spectator, participation and ephemerality.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student contact hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, one essay, and exam.
Means of assessment: 50% by essay (2000-2500 words), 50% by unseen 2 hour examination.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0040 Early Modern Art and Architecture: Early Modern Bodies - 15 credits

Module tutor: Rosemary Moore
Timetabled: Autumn term; Thursdays 2-4pm.
The body was at the centre of artistic, religious and 'scientific' concerns throughout the period 1500-1700. These included, for example: the religious and political controversies of the Reformation and Counter Reformation, which raised questions over the relationship between body and image, sensation and the sacred; the renewed interest in mythology and anatomy; as well as encounters between Europeans and the peoples of the Americas. This module will engage with a range of artworks, from watercolours, frescoes and paintings on canvas, to drawings, prints and sculpture. Case studies will include works by well-known and celebrated artists such as Raphael, Dürer and Titian, in addition to images that students may be less familiar with, for example woodcuts from medical treatises or books of marvels and 'monsters'. Today, just as in the early modern period, the body continues to be a locus of heated debate concerning identity, gender, race, sexuality and eroticism. Readings will therefore encompass a wide variety of theoretical approaches to the body.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours (10 two-hour classes, including a perambulation around London and gallery visits).
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay, class presentation, and exam.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and 2 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0042 Modern Art & Architecture: Women Artists in Modern and Contemporary Art - 15 credits

Module tutor: Flavia Frigeri
Timetabled: Autumn term; Wednesdays 11am-1pm.
This module will examine the history, theory and practice of female artists during the twentieth century and up to the present. Following a chronological structure, we will discuss the development of major art historical movements such as: Surrealism, Bauhaus, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism and Conceptualism, among others. As part of this we will critically discuss and examine the role of feminism and its discourses in relation to key terms such as modernism, avant-garde, abstraction and figuration. Feminist thought and specifically feminist perspectives on art will play a key role in this module. Finally, we will maintain an interdisciplinary outlook, by considering examples of design, fashion, painting, performance, photography, sculpture, and theatre. 
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours (10 two-hour classes, including a perambulation around London and gallery visits).
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay, class presentation, and exam.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and 2 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weeky topics

HART0045 London and Paris, c.1700-1850 - 15 credits

Module Tutor: Ciarán Rua O’Neill
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Fridays 11am-1pm.
The module deals with the development of London and Paris as sites of visual fascination through their architecture, sculpture and the emergence of the public art exhibition, alongside alternative sites of urban spectacle such as panoramas and spaces of consumption. The module will consider mediation of London and Paris through a range of examples which may include print culture, literature and unbuilt architectural designs. The module will also explore conceptual frameworks such as spectacle, ‘modernity’, politics, the ‘marginalised’ city, commodities and the ‘urban imaginary’.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours (10 two-hour classes, including a perambulation around London and gallery visits).
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay, class presentation, and exam.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and 2 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0051 Architecture and Modernity - 15 credits

Module tutor: Jacob Paskins
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Tuesdays 2-4pm.
Architecture today is dominated by international design firms that produce spectacular buildings across the world. But how did architecture become global? This module asks how architectural knowledge and styles spread across continents during the past 150 years. We will confront how European colonialism exported architecture and urban planning to North Africa, the Middle East and India. How did the striking architecture of universal expositions transmit ideas about modernity? How did the so-called International Style of modernism spread through Europe, the United States, Japan, China and South America? Guided by the work of postcolonial theorists and historians, we will examine the reactions to an apparently global form of modern architecture in the twentieth century. Ultimately, we ask if there is any room for regional difference in globalised architectural production? 
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay, class presentation, and exam.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and 2 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0070 Relics, Saints, Images and Power - 15 credits

Module tutor: Lauren Rozenberg
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Thursdays 11am-1pm.
Saints were the celebrities of medieval Europe. From the miracles they worked to the rituals and journeys they inspired, holy bodies were invested with immense spiritual and political power. Relics were also hugely important as a source of aesthetic inspiration. This module explores art and architecture associated with physical remains of saints. Focusing especially on three cult sites in the Middle Ages – Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela and Canterbury – we will see how imagery associated with saintly bodies adapts and morphs to suit the needs of different times and places. Looking at this imagery through the prism of categories such as translation, liminality, the simulacrum and the souvenir, the module asks how modern critical frameworks can reconnect us with the potency of the relic. As well as considering reliquaries and cult statues, we will explore such phenomena as mappaemundi or world maps, acheiropoieton or relics not made by human hands, virtual or armchair pilgrimage, as well as buildings designed to host relics or to 'translate' sites associated with the Holy Land from East to West. At the end of the module we will also consider the afterlife of the relic. Why, in some parts of Europe, did the power of saintly remains seemingly diminish? Where and how has it re-emerged? How do modern technologies provide new insights into medieval saints' lives?
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours (10 two-hour classes, including a class outing).
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay, class presentation, and exam.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 45%; oral component 10%; 2-hour exam in exam term, weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.  

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0071 (HAMS only) Methods and Materials II - 15 credits

Module tutor: Joshua Hill
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Mondays 11am-1pm.
This module will expand on, and extend, the materials and methodologies covered during the first year’s module, presenting an overview of the major classes of materials found within museum collections, and addressing their application as artist’s materials. In this second module, focus will be given to the more obscure materials found in works of art, including modern contemporary materials. Discussion will be given to issues of materiality and the ambiguity of material properties, leading to discussions around both tangible and intangible properties. In addition to seminars and lectures, the module will include object based learning at museum and heritage institutions. This module will provide the student with knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of artists' techniques and application, and highlight some of the issues surrounding their preservation and conservation.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student contact hours: 20+ hours in 10 weekly 2-hour classes, plus supervised lab/project work.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, preparation for classes, independent project work.
Means of assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and 2 hour unseen exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed the first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list


Spring Term:

HART0031 History of the Category 'Art' - 15 credits

Module tutor: Mechthild Fend and Ben Pollitt
Timetabled: Spring term; Tuesdays 11am-1pm.
This module aims to familiarise students with the ways in which the concept of art has evolved in Europe. It argues that the term ‘art’ does not refer to a clearly defined group of objects and is not an ahistorical or universal idea, but is defined by a range of social practices and discourses that have undergone a complex process of change. We will examine the emergence of aesthetics as a distinct branch of philosophy in eighteenth-century Britain, France and Germany. We shall equally consider subsequent nineteenth-century developments (e.g. Hegel’s philosophy of art or links made between art and socialism) especially in relation to the role of the category art in Modernism, and the ways in which it has informed more recent philosophies and histories of art. As well as discussing more recent critiques of these concepts, we are interested in the longevity of these historic propositions and in their potential for today's thinking about the arts. It also allows students to transfer philosophical knowledge and aesthetic theory to art historical studies and writing. 
Duration of module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20 hours, a mixture of lectures and text-based discussion classes. 
Student Workload: Attendance at all classes, prescribed and back-up reading, two pieces of written work.
Means of Assessment: Two essays: a short response paper (1350-1500 words due around Reading Week weighted at 40%); a second essay (2000-2500 words due the last day of class weighted at 60%).
Prerequisites: Normally only offered to 2nd-year History of Art students. Other closely similar experience might be acceptable.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0034 Methodologies of Making - 15 credits

Module tutor: Hélia Marçal
Timetabled: Spring Term; Wednesdays 11am-1pm.
This module introduces the discursive frameworks of art production and making, remaking, collecting, mediating and conserving. It encompasses readings and discussions centred around theories related to the materiality of the art work/object and the immaterial, makers and their tools, the workings of collections, including questions of conservation, and the notions of time and archive. For the most part, classes will begin with a lecture followed by a discussion. In the first part of the class, students will be introduced to theoretical underpinnings and case studies related to the main topic of the class. During the second part, students will try to apply these theories to one exemplary case study of art production, curating or conservation across the centuries. How is theory performed? How is it entangled with practice? How can we theorise practice or develop a practical aesthetic?
Duration of module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Attendance at all classes, prescribed and back-up reading, two pieces of written work.
Means of Assessment: Two essays: a short response paper (1350-1500 words, due towards the end of term weighted at 40%); a second essay (2000-2500 words due at the beginning of the Exam term weighted at 60%).
Prerequisites: Normally only offered to 2nd-year History of Art students. Other closely similar experience might be acceptable.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0035 Advanced Lecture in the History of Art: Rome - The Making of Early Modern Visual Urban Culture - 15 credits

Module tutor: Rose Marie San Juan 
Timetabled: Spring term; Mondays 2-4pm.
Visual culture in many diverse forms was crucial to the modernization of the city of Rome in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The module will focus on new forms of painting, sculpture, printing, architecture, urban planning, and street performances and rituals through which a new kind of city and urban life was forged. It will take into account the existing city, with its charged historical legacies that physically marked the city and was constantly re-appropriated or suppressed. We will consider attempts to centralize political and cultural authority but also to open up visual forms to exchanges within increasingly wider and contested communities. The emergence of papal power with its grandiose architectural and fresco decoration will be considered but also shown to be in conflict not only with civic and private uses of visual arts but also with the larger forces of the new technology of printing, the emergence of the art market and the formation of public pace. The module will work between the visual image and urban space, and will be attentive to the ways our thinking of the past is itself constructed through these contested visual histories.  
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, one essay and exam.
Means of Assessment: 50% by essay (2000-2500 words), 50% by unseen 2 hour examination.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0044 Modern and Contemporary Art: The Anti-Aesthetic - 15 credits

Module tutor: Rye Holmboe
Timetabled: Spring Term; Thursdays 11am-1pm.
This module considers thematic categories that have come to be associated with the anti-aesthetic: the abject, the carnivalesque, the grotesque, the primal and the formless, among others, and thinks about the ways in which these categories have been mobilised in modern and contemporary art. Areas considered are, for example, the theoretical writings of Georges Bataille; the question of the Dionysiac in the performances of the Viennese Actionists; and the mobilisation of the body in 1960s performance art. Later parts of the module will think about how the anti-aesthetic might be understood in the context of the art institution and in its relationship to commodification and the art market. This interdisciplinary module, which considers examples from painting, sculpture, performance and theatre, explores the extent to which anti-aesthetic categories can be seen to be transgressive, asking what the critical and political stakes of this category might be today.
Duration of module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay, class presentation, and exam.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2,500 word essay weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and 2 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list tbc

HART0045 London and Paris, c.1700-1850 - 15 credits

Module Tutor: Ciarán O’Neill
Timetabled: Spring Term; Fridays 11am-1pm.
The module deals with the development of London and Paris as sites of visual fascination through their architecture, sculpture and the emergence of the public art exhibition, alongside alternative sites of urban spectacle such as panoramas and spaces of consumption. The module will consider mediation of London and Paris through a range of examples which may include print culture, literature and unbuilt architectural designs. The module will also explore conceptual frameworks such as spectacle, ‘modernity’, politics, the ‘marginalised’ city, commodities and the ‘urban imaginary’.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours (10 two-hour classes, including a perambulation around London and gallery visits).
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay, class presentation, and exam.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and 2 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0054 Theory and History of Conservation - 15 credits

Module tutor: Rebecca Gordon
Timetabled: Spring Term; Tuesdays 2-4pm. 
When thinking about artworks and artefacts, conservation provides an extensively rich area of study of their modes of conception, creation, dissemination, display and perpetuation. This is due to the premise that in order to engage with an artwork, conservation first and foremost seeks to understand what the work is and how it functions within and beyond its historic moment. Outsiders often refer to conservation as a homogenous field of activity that aims at prolonging the cultural objects' lives into the future. But there are, in fact, different conservations that operate with respect to diverse theories, types of artefacts, institutional settings, historic contexts, and the cultures that produce them. During this module, we will sketch a picture of conservation that always exists between a set of dichotomies of hands and minds, practice and theory, the tangible and the intangible, and the traditional and the new. By putting today's conservation into an historical perspective, we will examine how more recent conservation became of necessity a reflective, critical practice. Visits to conservation studios and sites of display, as well as special tasks, will enrich classroom discussions.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours (10 two-hour classes, including visits).
Student Workload: Attendance at all classes, prescribed and back-up reading, two pieces of written work.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and 2 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience. This module is a requirement for HAMS students but AH students may also choose it as one of their ‘period’ options.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0068 Art and the Everyday: Visual Culture and Social Life, 1750-1850 - 15 credits

Module tutor: Richard Taws
Timetabled: Spring Term; Thursdays 2-4pm.
This module examines manifestations of the complex category of the ‘everyday’ in European visual culture, between 1750 and 1850. At once mundane and repetitive, the everyday has also been accorded a unique power as the site of social change. This was particularly the case in the fifty years either side of 1800, when political and industrial revolutions transformed the conditions of artistic production and display. Taking up the challenge posed by Henri Lefebvre’s claim that ‘Modernity and everydayness constitute a deep structure that a critical analysis can work to uncover’, we will consider the ways in which a critique of the everyday has been crucial to art historical investigation. Focusing in particular on France and Britain, we will explore a range of artistic practices, from genre painting and printmaking to panoramas and early photography, examining too diverse and largely non-canonical objects drawn from the material culture of the period (fashion, furniture, money, printed ephemera etc). We will pay particular attention to the locations and consequences of these works’ circulation and display, considering, among other issues, historical and theoretical accounts of ‘publicness’ and ‘interiority’, work, consumption, criminality, entertainment, gender, and urban life.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Attendance at all classes, prescribed and back-up reading, two pieces of written work.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and 2 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0073 Histories of Photography - 15 credits

Module tutor: Stephanie Schwartz
Timetabled: Spring term; Fridays 2-4pm.
This module surveys the history of photography from its invention in the 1830s to its postmodern iterations in the 1970s. More specifically, it considers several key episodes in photography’s history through discussions of the contentious and public debates about the ways in which photography has been historicized. Is photography an art? Is it—was it—a threat to art? Is photography something closer to a tool or technology? Is it media? Throughout the module we will consider the myriad ways in which these questions have been posed and pondered by poets, critics, scientists, photographers and art historians.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Attendance at all classes, prescribed and back-up reading, two pieces of written work.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and 2 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0075 Sense and Sensation in Early Modern Art - 15 credits

Module tutor: Thalia Allington-Wood
Timetabled: Spring term; Thursdays 9-11am.
Early modern art was experienced not simply through the eyes, but also through the full range of human sense perception. This module considers the complex web of sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound within which artworks were embedded and out of which spectacles—like banquets and triumphal entries—were created. Although material will be drawn from across the continent, a particular focus rests on northern Europe in the period 1400 to 1600. Sites for exploration of sense-experience include the court, the street, the communal bath, the kitchen, the artist’s workshop, and the anatomy theatre. The role of the senses in late medieval piety and the rejection of sensuous worship by Protestant Reformers constitutes one unit of the module. Visits to local collections and films of historical reenactment offer opportunities for close-looking, analysis, and critique.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Attendance at all classes, prescribed and back-up reading, two pieces of written work.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and 2 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics


Year 3

The essay options are set out first. All Special Subject modules are 30 credits and are taught over both terms.


FINAL YEAR ESSAY OPTIONS

HART0118 Undergraduate report - 30 credits

Module tutor: All Staff
A 10,000 word essay (the 'dissertation') to be handed in at the beginning of the Summer term. Students define a research project with the help and approval of the Department and receive guidance while undertaking the research and writing the essay.

HART0119 Independent Study Essay in History of Art - 15 credits

Module tutor: All Staff
A 4500-5000 word essay to be handed in normally at the beginning of the Spring term. This 15 credit unit is designed to enable students to present an essay for assessment in connection with their own private studies. Students define the topic with the help of a member of staff in the Department and receive guidance while undertaking the research and writing the essay.

HART0120 History of Art and Material Studies Project Paper - 30 credits

Module tutor: All Staff
A 10,000 word essay to be handed in at the beginning of the Summer term. Students define a History of Art and Material Studies research project with the help and approval of the Department and receive guidance while undertaking the research and writing the essay.

HART0108 (HAMS only) Art/Work/Space - 15 credits

Module tutor: Hanna Hölling
Timetabled: This is a work placement module that entails a work experience in a museum, heritage institution, collection, gallery, conservation studio or in the art trade. On the basis of the experience acquired during this module, students write an essay on a topic relating to one of the aspects of this experience. This module is available only to HAMS students. 
Duration of Module: 10+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Students carry out a work placement and write an extended essay.
Means of Assessment: 5000 word essay
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year HAMS module.


FINAL YEAR SPECIAL SUBJECT MODULES

HART0076 Advanced Undergraduate Course in the History of Art: Art After the Internet - 30 credits

Module tutor: Cadence Kinsey
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Mondays 9-11am.
This module explores the relationships between art and the Internet, from the birth of the World Wide Web in 1989 to the present day. Beginning with an analysis of the construction of the digital as fundamentally ‘immaterial’, we will think about how this gave rise to a model of the Web as a utopian arena of promise. In the first half of the module we will survey some of the earliest artistic practices to engage with the Web and consider both their aims and limitations in addressing questions of identity, surveillance, and authorship. In the second half we will focus on the emergence of ‘post-Internet Art’, and the shift to re-thinking the digital as ‘material’ through an attention to embodiment, infrastructure, and the environmental effects of new technology.
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, class presentation, private gallery visits, 2 essays, exam.
Means of Assessment: Two 2500–3000 word essays weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and a 3 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience. 

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0077 Advanced Undergraduate Module in the History of Art: Russian Art and Culture: Realism and Avant-Garde, 1900-1953 - 30 credits 

Module tutor: Maria Mileeva
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Mondays 11am-1pm.
This module will examine conflicts and developments in Russian and Soviet visual culture, from the turn of the century, through the October Revolution and to the death of Stalin in 1953. Focusing on the complex relationship between art and politics during this tumultuous period of war, revolution and social change, the module examines aspects of rupture and continuity in the development of Russian cultural identity. We will investigate Russian twentieth-century artists in active dialogue with artistic developments in Europe and America, discussing case studies of travel, exhibition, official export and emigration. We will study Russian art both inside and outside of Russia, as its makers and commentators crossed cultural and geographical borders making contact with artistic developments in Paris, Berlin, Munich, and New York.
The module will follow broad changes in Russian painting, graphic art, architecture, film and design, alongside artistic movements such as Symbolism, Primitivism, Cubofuturism, Constructivism, Suprematism and Socialist Realism. We will consider competing and often contradictory desires amongst artists and critics to construct a national artistic language based on the traditions of Russian folk and icon painting, whilst embracing aesthetic and theoretical experiments drawn from the European avant-garde. Specific artists under investigation will include Wassily Kandinsky, Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, Kazimir Malevich, and El Lissitzky, amongst others.
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, class presentation, private gallery visits, 2 essays, exam.
Means of Assessment: Two 2500–3000 word essays weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and a 3 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience. 

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0079 Advanced Undergraduate Module in the History of Art: Modern and Contemporary Art: The Body as Seismograph - 30 credits

Module tutor: Rye Holmboe
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Mondays 2-4pm.
This module examines notions of embodiment in performance through its interdisciplinary relationship with dance, theatre, painting, sculpture, and video/television in modern and contemporary art. We consider the mobilisation of the body as a critique of bourgeois modernity. Equally, we analyse performance and embodiment as therapeutic, pedagogical or transformative processes, and as attempts to form different modes of consciousness. Some of the areas explored include: Antonin Artaud and the Theatre of Cruelty; Isadora Duncan and the advent of free dance; Samuel Beckett, absurdity and negation; the figure of the marionette in the history of modern art; performance and counterculture in the 1960s, particularly as it relates to anti-psychiatry; the place of performance within feminist art; the relationship between gender identification, race and queer subjectivity; the current interest in dance within contemporary art; and the positioning of performance within participation and relational aesthetics.
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, class presentation, private gallery visits, 2 essays, exam.
Means of Assessment: Two 2500–3000 word essays weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and a 3 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list tbc

HART0080 Advanced Undergraduate Module in the History of Art: Early Modern Technologies of Vision - 30 credits

Module tutor: Rosemary Moore
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Wednesdays 11am-1pm.
This module will examine the impact of new technologies of vision (for example: print, optical lenses, systems of perspective etc.) and ask: how did these shape the production and dissemination of knowledge in early modern Europe? From botanical illustrations by Dürer to studies of the human anatomy by Leonardo, Raphael and other artists, we will examine artworks that seem to suggest a renewed interest in the study of the natural world, along with woodcuts and engravings from medical or ‘scientific’ treatises. Some of the earliest known European images of the landscapes and peoples of the so called ‘New World’ of the Americas will also be addressed. Print will be central to our discussion of these ‘new technologies of vision’ and while it is often conceptualised as a medium that transmits clear, verifiable and accurately replicable information about the world, we will also consider some of the problems that this language masks.
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, class presentation, private gallery visits, 2 essays, exam.
Means of Assessment: Two 2500–3000 word essays weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and a 3 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0088 Art and Visual Culture in Early Modern England - 30 credits

Module tutor: Diana Dethloff
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Tuesdays 11am-1pm.
This module examines art production and consumption; artistic networks and patronage; and performance, ritual and display in Britain from 1555 to 1650. In this important and formative period in Britain’s visual and cultural history, topics will include: the importance of the visual arts in the 'cult' of monarchy, with a particular emphasis on Elizabeth I; ephemeral spectacles such as masques, progresses and courtly entertainment; the representation of power and authority; the representation and role of women in the visual arts; the influence of Continental practice and cultures on British art and architecture; studio training and workshop practice; the politics of dress; Van Dyck and royal portraiture; prints and propaganda; the effects of the Civil War on established patronage systems and art collecting and the beginnings of a London art market.
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, class presentation, private gallery visits, 2 essays, exam.
Means of Assessment: Two 2500–3000 word essays weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and a 3 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience. 

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0094 Abstraction since the Second World War - 30 credits

Module tutor: Briony Fer
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Tuesdays 2-4pm.
The module has three main aims. Firstly, to examine developments in abstraction from c. 1945 to the present day, with special emphasis on the work of Latin American artists - as well as the more familiar narratives of European and US abstraction; secondly, to show how the forms of abstraction have been contested and fought over in key episodes in modern and recent contemporary art; thirdly to explore ways of interpreting the work in the light of contemporary theoretical and critical interests in the body, in technologies and in process.
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, class presentation, private gallery visits, 2 essays, exam.
Means of Assessment: Two 2500–3000 word essays weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and a 3 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list tbc

HART0105 The Body and the Politics of Colour - 30 credits

Module tutor: Mechthild Fend
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Fridays 11am-1pm.
This module engages with the longstanding entanglement of body and colour in European culture. It seeks to explore the ways in which artistic practices as well as art theories have contributed to shape changing notions of complexions and skin colour. We will start with a more long-durée perspective in which we consider, for example, how the ancient Greek term for colour developed from the word for flesh, medieval recipes for the mixing of flesh tones, and the early modern gendering of colour as the feminine element of the arts, or Rubens’s flesh tones. The focus of the module will be on late seventeenth- to nineteenth-century French art and art theory. We will look in particular at the ways in which skin colour became a racialized category during the eighteenth century and discuss questions of visibility and of the politics of representation with regards to colour and skin colour. 
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, class presentation, private gallery visits, 2 essays, exam.
Means of Assessment: Two 2500–3000 word essays weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and a 3 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0106 Architecture and the Modern City - 30 credits

Module tutor: Jacob Paskins
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Fridays 2-4pm.
Architecture is inhabitable, multi-dimensional space. But film, photography, drawings and texts provide much of our understanding of architecture and the modern city. This module asks what different forms of architectural dissemination can tell us about the design and meaning of buildings and urban space. How does cinema, television and radio represent architecture to a mass public? How has architecture become a touchstone in the art of comics? How do written texts including guidebooks and magazines communicate architectural knowledge to diverse audiences? How do manifestos and the architecture book transmit new ideas about architectural design? Asking these questions, we will explore how historians have used these different modes of architectural representation to write the history of architecture in the twentieth century. Finally, we will consider how these varied artefacts continue to inspire architecture and urban design.
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, class presentation, private gallery visits, 2 essays, exam.
Means of Assessment: Two 2500–3000 word essays weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and a 3 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0110 Between Realism and Modernism: Documentary Work in the Early Twentieth Century - 30 credits

Module tutor: Simon Constantine
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Thursdays 2-4pm.
This module examines the rise of documentary practice in Europe and the United States in the interwar period. Focusing upon the photographic strategies of the European avant-garde and the U.S. government’s use of photography as a means to remedy the Depression and orchestrate Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the module organizes a media history of documentary work—in books, films and illustrated magazines. Students will be encouraged to mine the overlaps and intersections between these media, and to develop a transatlantic history of documentary practices. In addition to exploring the relationship between the rise of documentary work and the emergence of new mass media, this module also aims to position documentary film and photography within debates upon the multiple and radical politics of realism and modernism. Module materials include the books, films, and illustrated portfolios produced by Europe’s and America’s documentary vanguard, including August Sander, Dziga Vertov, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Walker Evans, Margaret Bourke-White, Paul Strand and Pare Lorentz. We will also consider the legacies of the interwar period by exploring developments such as MoMA’s New Documents exhibition (1967), the Düsseldorf School of photography and the 1970s ‘reinvention’ of documentary alongside recent studies of documentary practices and media histories.
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, class presentation, private gallery visits, 2 essays, exam.
Means of Assessment: Two 2500–3000 word essays weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and a 3 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0116 Psycho - 30 credits

Module Tutor: Mignon Nixon
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Mondays 4-6pm.

Since its inception in Freud’s work, psychoanalysis has demonstrated its awareness that psychoanalysis and art share their operational terrain of unconscious processes: the question of how they do so is another matter—one which is largely still up for grabs. 
--Juliet Mitchell, 2019

This module investigates dynamic interactions of art, psychoanalysis, and politics. From the Surrealist revolution to the present, art, film, performance, and visual culture have seized on radical ideas of psychoanalysis to articulate—to connect--subjectivity and politics. Psychoanalysis for its part has looked to art to develop its theories of the unconscious, sexuality, violence, and death. The fundamental proposition of psychoanalysis, its core idea, is the unconscious. In this module, we look at the role of the unconscious in representation, focusing especially on trends of sexuality, gender, and violence. We reflect upon the family, war, sexual violence, and groups. Among the concepts we explore are: dream-work, free association, play, the drives, sexual difference, gender difference, bisexuality, the symptom, hysteria, polymorphous perversity, humour, the death drive, the uncanny, fetishism, work of mourning, melancholia, mastery, repression, resistance, and transference. We may read selections from the theoretical writings of Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, Wilfred Bion, Jacques Lacan, D.W. Winnicott, Marion Milner, André Green, Franz Fanon, Franco Fornari, Hanna Segal, Julia Kristeva, and Juliet Mitchell, among others. We may consider the work of artists and filmmakers including Louise Bourgeois, Claude Cahun, Sophie Calle, Andrea Fraser, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Mona Hatoum, Isaac Julien, Mary Kelly, Silvia Kolbowski, Yayoi Kusama, Glenn Ligon, Sarah Lucas, Steve McQueen, Ana Mendieta, Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, Senga Nengudi, Yoko Ono, Carolee Schneemann, Cindy Sherman, Rosemarie Trockel, Kara Walker, and Carrie Mae Weems. We may draw upon the critical writings of Parveen Adams, Sara Ahmed, Jo Applin, Leo Bersani, Rizvana Bradley, Judith Butler, Douglas Crimp, Tim Dean, Briony Fer, Shoshana Felman, Hal Foster, Margaret Iversen, Kobena Mercer, Jose Muñoz, Griselda Pollock, Jacqueline Rose, Christine Ross, Kalpara Seshadri-Crooks, Hortense Spillers, Susan Suleiman, and Michele Wallace, among others. There will be occasional film screenings and exhibition visits, and students will be encouraged to explore the plethora of lectures and public events on and around psychoanalysis and culture at UCL and in London. 
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, class presentation, private gallery visits, 2 essays, exam.
Means of Assessment: Two 2500–3000 word essays weighted at 45%; oral component 10% and a 3 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0153 Inventing Incas, Aztecs and Europeans - 30 credits 

Module Tutor: Emily Floyd
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Thursdays 11am-1pm.
At the time of the Spanish arrival to Mexico and South America, the Aztecs and Incas controlled two of the largest empires in the world. What we know about these two empires is mediated through the violence of conquest: this is the problem at the centre of this module. Students will be introduced to both empires and the first hundred years of the post-conquest era, focusing on the problem of how the Spanish Empire came to absorb these two previous ones, how early modern European ideas about art, religion, and history shaped our understanding today of these empires, and how Europe was changed by its encounter with the “New World.” Students will be asked to interrogate historiographic narratives that have shaped our conceptions of the Aztecs and Incas and analyse the complicated biases, lacunae, and misunderstandings of the sources available to us in order to interpret these empires. We will also consider the viability of art historical methodologies for approaching the material culture of these civilisations.
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, class presentation, private gallery visits, 2 essays, exam.
Means of Assessment: One 2500–3000 word essay weighted at 20%, due autumn term; one 2500-3000 word essay weighted at 25%, due spring term; oral component 10%; and a 3 hour exam in exam term weighted at 45%.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Summer reading list

Indicative weekly topics