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BA Modules 2020/21

BA modules 2020/21

Modules offered to UCL History of Art BA, History of Art, Materials and Technology BA and Affiliate/Erasmus students registered with the UCL Department of History of Art. 

ALL Year 1 Thematic Seminars are restricted to the students listed above.

Please remind yourself of your programme diet before making your choice. Combined honours and BASc/Culture students should check 'prerequisite' under each Module description to see whether they are eligible for this course.

Year 1

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

Module tutor: Rosemary Moore
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 written element worth 30% of the overall mark, presentation task worth 10%).
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

HART0148 (MAT only) Introduction to Media and Technologies – 15 credits (Autumn)

Module tutor: Hélia Marçal
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Tuesdays 11am-1pm.
This course offers an overview of technologies used to produced artworks and cultural objects, from early modernity to the present. These include print technologies, technologies of photography and the moving image, and mechanical and electronic projection devices. From printed pages, daguerreotypes and celluloid strips, through electromagnetic signals to bit steams, you will be introduced to the materiality of communication. The history of these media will be explored through their materiality, challenging traditional chronologies and understandings of the limits of their use. This class will, therefore, be a crucial foundation to understand the methods and materials used by artists at different times and the ways in which artists and artworks are dependent on social and technological contexts of making.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Duration of Module: 20+ hours in 10 weekly 2-hour classes.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, preparation for classes, independent project work.
Means of Assessment: One 2000-2500 word essay due towards the end of the autumn term weighted at 40%, one exam during the summer term weighted at 60%. Students might be asked to focus on one object from the Cabinet of Obsolete Media.
Prerequisites:  Normally only offered to 1st-year MAT students. No previous experience is required to undertake this module.

Indicative Weekly Topics
Summer Reading List

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

Module tutor: Allison Stielau
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 module.
Duration of Module: 10+ weeks, the first module 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

HART0144 Thematic Seminar – 15 credits (Spring)

Module tutors: Allison Stielau, Cadence Kinsey, Aparna Kumar, Jacopo Gnisci, Jacob Paskins
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.

Student Contact Hours: 20+
Duration of Module: 10+ weeks, the first module 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: Two essays, one 1500-2000 words weighted at 40% due mid-term, the other 2000-2500 words weighted at 60% submitted by the end of term.
Prerequisites:  Students should normally be in the first year of a Single or Combined Honours degree in History of Art.

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

Module tutor: Hélia Marçal
Timetabled: Spring Term; Mondays 4-6pm.
This is an introductory module that covers basic organic and inorganic chemistry in a lab-based environment for first year History of Art students. In the course of 10 weeks you will learn the scientific foundations needed to understand the relationship between the materials artworks are made of, their physical properties, and what can emerge from the way they interact with each other. The module will cover topics such as the periodic table, bonding, solubility, and pH. Problem-led lab work will allow you to consolidate your learning and to apply your analytical skills to the study of the materials of art.
Duration of module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours in 10 weekly 2-hour classes, plus supervised optional practical sessions.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, preparation for classes, independent project work.
Means of Assessment: One 2000-2500 word essay, 40%; a 2-hour unseen exam in the summer term weighted at 60%. Formative assessment:  three short group reports detailing the background, methodology, and conclusions for lab-work on weeks 6, 8, and 10.
Prerequisites: Normally only offered to 1st-year MAT students. No previous experience of chemistry is required to undertake this module.

Indicative Weekly Topics and Summer Reading List

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

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.

HART0032 Methodologies of Art History - 15 credits (Autumn)

Module tutors:  Richard Taws and Nicholas Robbins
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 towards or after the end of term, weighted at 60%).
Prerequisites: Normally only offered to 2nd-year History of Art students. Other closely similar experience might be acceptable.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

HART0034 Methodologies of Making - 15 credits (Autumn)

Module tutor: Hélia Marçal
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Mondays 11am-1pm.
This module introduces theories around frameworks of art production and making, remaking, collecting, mediating, and conserving. It engages with theories of materiality to explore makers and their tools, the materials of artworks, what makes an artist, and how histories of art are made, the workings of collections from conservation to the institution itself, alongside 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. For the second part of the class, students might be asked to bring a case-study, to develop a statement drawing on the readings for the class, or to engaged in structured debates around the topic in hands. How is theory performed? How is it entangled with practice? How can we theorise practice or develop a practical aesthetics?

Duration of module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours in 10 weekly 2-hour classes.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, preparation for classes.
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 towards or after the end of term, weighted at 60%).
Prerequisites: Normally offered to 2nd-year History of Art students, but also relevant for other disciplines that engage in theoretical discourses on forms of making.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

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

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: One essay of 2,000-2,5000 words (60%) and a 48-hour take-home exam (40%)
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

*Subject to change due to potential covid-19 mitigation measures

HART0073 Histories of Photography – 15 credits (Autumn)
Module tutor: Stephanie Schwartz

Timetabled: Autumn term; Thursdays 9am-11am. 
This course 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 course 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: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay and exam.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 50%;  and 2-hour exam in exam term weighted at 50%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weeky topics

HART0074 Questions of Feminism in Modern and Contemporary Art – 15 credits (Autumn)

Module tutor: Mignon Nixon
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Tuesdays 2-4pm.
Feminism of the 1960s and 1970s galvanized profound changes in art and art history. Those changes form the focus of this module. We learn about art informed by feminism and about feminist perspectives on art. Considering influential texts in the fields of art history, cinema studies, psychoanalysis, politics, and gender studies, among others, we examine the pivotal role of art in stimulating and shaping feminist thought. We also consider how feminism challenged the intellectual and institutional traditions of art and art history. Finally, we reflect upon the historical, methodological, and political ramifications of these debates over time.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay and exam.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 50%;  and 2-hour exam in exam term weighted at 50%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

HART0082 Black Aesthetics: Theory and Artistic Practices (Short Advanced Undergraduate Course post-1800) – 15 credits (Autumn

Module tutor: Ramon Amaro
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Tuesdays 4-6pm.
What is the Black aesthetic? While the term “Black aesthetics” can be traced back to transnational Black arts movements of the 1960s and 1970s, this module explores the relation between what is regarded as artistic practice and the utilisation of art as a function of Black liberation. Then module expands the notion of “Blackness” by placing emphasis on the inter-relation between race and various art practices, as they relate to anti-colonial and anti-racist thought. We look at classic texts that inaugurated the study of visuality and race, as well as the contributions in feminist, queer and visual study. With a theoretical corpus spanning key insights in psychoanalyses, phenomenology, metaphysics, and Frantz Fanon, the module interrogates how the visual field itself has been analysed, while paying close attention to theories of subject-production, the politics of representation, and production of difference in visual culture. 

Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student contact hours: 20+ hours (10 two-hour classes).
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay and exam.
Means of assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 50%;  and 2-hour exam in exam term weighted at 50%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading

Indicative weekly topics

HART0084 Repatriation in the Age of Global Dispossession (Short Advanced Undergraduate Course in History of Art post-1800) - 15 credits (Autumn)

Module tutor: Aparna Kumar
Timetabled: Autumn term; Wednesdays 11am-1pm.
Taking the lead from the 2002 “Declaration on the Importance and Value of Universal Museums,” this course will reconsider burgeoning debates around the repatriation of museum collections acquired during periods of colonization, global violence, repression, and persecution. This course will ask such questions as: what makes a universal survey museum? What does it mean for a museum, nation, or individual to claim ownership of culture? What are the limits of repatriation as a doctrine of social, political, or economic restitution? What is the role of museums in processes of decolonization? How should art history, as a discipline, respond to the complexities of repatriation politics? A driving impulse of this seminar will be to rethink the mobility of culture and cultural artifacts (particularly between Asia and Europe) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in terms of global histories of migration, displacement, and dispossession. Through a variety of case studies, students will probe how the politics of repatriation may help us to better understand the relationship of culture, heritage, and museums to the larger humanitarian crises of forced migration, dispossession, and exile that have shaped the colonial and postcolonial worlds, and continue to define our present. Field visits to the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum will consider the relationship of local collections to histories of colonialism, decolonization, and the broader politics of repatriation in South Asia.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours (10 two-hour classes, and 3 perambulations around London).
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay, and exam.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 50%;  and 2-hour exam in exam term weighted at 50%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading

Indicative weekly topics

HART0083 Empires of Africa: Introduction to African Art & Archaeology  (Short Advanced Undergraduate Course pre-1800) – 15 credits (Autumn)

Module tutor: Jacopo Gnisci
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Fridays 11-1pm.

Africa is the cradle of humankind but also the cradle of art making. Archaeologists have discovered perforated shells in caves in South Africa and Morocco that date back at least 76,000 years ago and represent the oldest datable human body decorations. This module introduces students to the arts of pre-modern Africa though a series of case studies. We will focus on the rich material culture and extensive trade networks of several prominent African civilizations, starting with Ancient Egypt and ending with the Kilwa sultanate on the Swahili Coast, to counter negative images of the continent. The module serves as a foundation for those who wish to study African art and architecture further or to engage with global art histories. By the end of this module, students will be familiar with some key methods and issues of the field and will have gained knowledge of the artistic heritage and history of some of the most prominent African states before AD 1500.
Duration of Module:  10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay and exam.
Means of Assessment:
2000-2500 word essay weighted at 50%;  and 2-hour exam in exam term weighted at 50%.
Prerequisites:  Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading

Indicative weekly topics

HART0054 (MAT Priority) Theory and History of Conservation – 15 credits (Autumn)

Module Tutor: Rebecca Gordon
Timetabled: Autumn Term; Fridays 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 museums and sites of conservation and special tasks will enrich classroom discussions.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Attendance at all classes, prescribed and back-up reading, one piece of written work and one exam.
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 50%;  and 2-hour exam in exam term weighted at 50%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience. This module is a requirement for MAT students but AH students may also choose it as one of their ‘period’ options.

Indicative weekly topics

Suggested reading list

Spring Term:

HART0031 History of the Category 'Art' – 15 credits (Spring)

Module tutor: Alison Wright and Ramon Amaro
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 examines the emergence of Aesthetics as a distinct branch of philosophy in eighteenth-century in Britain, France and Germany, and will consider subsequent nineteenth-century developments 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. It is based on the study of texts in Seminars.
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 towards or after the end of term, weighted at 60%).
Prerequisites: Normally only offered to 2nd-year History of Art students. Other closely similar experience might be acceptable.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

HART0071 (MAT Priority) Methods and Materials of Artists II – 15 credits (Spring)

Module Tutor: Hélia Marçal
Timetabled: Spring Term; Wednesdays 11am - 1pm.
This module will provide you with knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of artists' techniques and application and highlight some of the issues surrounding their preservation and conservation. You will be asked to demonstrate the knowledge you have acquired through an independent project work, which will allow you to develop some of the skills needed to approach objects through their materiality, namely experimental design, and analysis of results. In addition to seminars and lectures, the module will (where possible) include object-based learning at museum and heritage institutions, and some of the classes will be integrated with the course ‘Technologies of Vision’.
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: Students will be asked to develop an independent project work that will result in a 2000-2500 word essay or scientific report weighted at 50% . A 2-hour unseen exam weighted at 50% will take place during the summer term.*
Prerequisites
Normally, this course is for MAT students who have completed the first-year course on “Introduction to Art and Science”. HoA students who have equivalent relevant experience may request to attend.

Indicative weekly topics

Suggested reading list

*Subject to change due to potential covid-19 mitigation measures.

HART0035 Advanced Lecture in the History of Art: Rome – The Making of Early Modern Visual Urban Culture – 15 credits (Spring)

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.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

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

Module tutor: Richard Taws
Timetabled: Spring Term; Tuesdays 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, private gallery visits, 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.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics 

HART0081 Art and Science in Britain, 1750-1900 (Short Advanced Undergraduate Course in History of Art before 1800) - 15 credits (Spring)

Module Tutor: Nicholas Robbins
Timetabled: Spring Term; Thursdays 11-1pm.


“Painting is a science, and should be pursued as an inquiry into the laws of nature.” John Constable, 1836

In eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain, the domains of art and science were intimately entwined. Scientists trained themselves to draw; artists studied botany and geology to ensure the accuracy of their pictures; photography and new modes of mechanical reproduction challenged artists and scientists alike to think anew about the epistemological status of images. In this module we will explore the constant, complex interweaving of art and science in Britain in order to understand how art responded to, mediated, and intervened in scientific knowledge. Particular attention will be paid to how aesthetic and scientific practices were interwoven with questions of empire and social history. Through this exploration we will gain a broad overview of key developments in British art between 1750 and the late nineteenth century.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours (10 two-hour classes, and 3 perambulations around London).
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, 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.

Suggested reading list

Indicative weekly topics

HART0154 Locating Latin American Art: Mexico at the British Museum - 15 credits (Spring)

Module Tutor: Emily Floyd
Timetabled: Spring Term; Thursdays 2-4pm

2021 marks 500 years since the fall of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. In commemoration of this anniversary, this module will engage this year with curatorial staff at the British Museum’s new Santo Domingo Centre for Excellence in Latin American Research to plan an intervention into the museum’s Mexico Gallery, which houses Aztec works as well as works by contemporaneous and earlier civilizations from the geographic region that is now Mexico, including Olmec, Tarascan, Teotihuacan, Mixtec, and Maya works. Students will learn about the art histories of these cultures and will think critically about the politics of display within the British Museum. Issues to be addressed include, but are not limited to, nationalist and colonial legacies, controversies around the display of human remains, debates about what dimensions of a culture get emphasized in museum contexts, considerations around approaches to naming and titling of works, and questions around repatriation and ownership of cultural heritage. The potential intervention into the gallery resulting from this course might take the form of added texts in the gallery itself, the production of virtual materials and/or mobile applications to enhance visitor experience of the galleries, and/or a series of talks or tours aimed at the public, among other possibilities. Students will be expected to take an active role in shaping the curriculum, mission, and goals of the module.
Duration of Module10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours (10 two-hour classes, and 3 perambulations around London).
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay and exam.
Means of Assessment:
2000-2500 word essay weighted at 50%; and 2 hour exam in exam term weighted at 50%.
PrerequisitesStudents should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

 

HART0007 Technologies of Vision – 15 credits (Spring)

Module tutor: Rebecca Gordon
Timetabled: Spring term; Thursdays 4-6pm.
This course seeks to decipher and problematise approaches to making and perceiving visual art. It draws attention to a wide range of issues and technologies from the Early Modern period onwards, from how art and visual images are made to how they are analysed. These technologies of vision broadly fall into three groups: different technologies that enable the making and dissemination of artworks (e.g. perspectival construction, camera obscura, photography); technologies that assist and inform the analysis of art objects (e.g. microscopy, X-ray, infrared); and invisible technologies that may frame the way art is constructed and received (e.g. institutional frameworks, cultural epistemologies).
The course draws attention to the historical and cultural contingency of different types of visual analysis and technologies, their applications and implications within art history, museology, conservation, and artistic practice. Discussion is brought up-to-date by looking at recent developments in technologies of vision, such as digital imaging, virtual reality, and online platforms for the dissemination of visual art. Throughout, there will be opportunities for hands-on experience with some of these different technologies, such as constructing a pinhole camera and making a ‘visual object’ using that tool. These practical assignments will be contextualised theoretically, encouraging students to historicise and engage critically with these technologies in relation to changing notions of art and art history.

Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours in 10 weekly 2-hour classes.
Student Workload: Regular attendance of lectures, seminars, site visits and participation in practical assignments. Completion of weekly readings. Ongoing formulation of discussion questions and active participation in class discussion
Means of Assessment: 2000-2500 word essay weighted at 50%; and 2 hour exam in exam term weighted at 50%.
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year Art History programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested 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 (HAMS only) 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: Rosemary Moore and Hanna Holling
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: 5,000 word essay
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year HAMS module.


FINAL YEAR SPECIAL SUBJECT COURSES

HART0076  The Body and Anatomy in the Early Modern Cabinet of Display (Advanced Undergraduate Course in the History of Art) - 30 credit

Module tutor: Rose Marie San Juan
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring Terms; Fridays 2-4pm.

This course will address the fraught yet crucial interrelation between early modern re-conceptions of the human body and the practices and images of anatomical study. In early modern Europe, the human body was entirely remade to occupy a new place in the formation of world knowledge. Whether through new ethnographic knowledge about people outside of Europe, or revised religious knowledge about the body’s possible conversion from human imperfection to the perfection of divine sanctity, the body physical presence became crucial to understanding an increasingly conflictual world. The human body reasserted Christian origins through the familiar narrative of Adam and Eve, which carried powerful notions of perfection before the ‘Fall’, and legacies of human hubris after the departure from paradise. But it was also this very narrative that led to justifications for the pursuit of Artificial Life (automatons, talking statues etc) by medical studies that claimed to seek the body’s earlier state of perfection. In this course we will explore the early modern idea of the body: as imperfect entity always in search of perfection, as doomed by gender and increasingly visible markers of physical and psychological difference, and as the primary entity over which secular rulers and religious enterprises claimed their authority. We will consider how this body emerged in relation to anatomical knowledge and its own presumption about the right to define the mechanisms and materiality of the human body. Our approach will be experimental and will focus on the changing image of the human body. For these images, we will turn to anatomical treatises (Vesalius, On the Fabric of the Human Body), psychological studies (Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholia), and travel accounts (Theodor de Bry, Cannibals in Brazil) as well as a wide range of early modern painting (Caravaggio, Carracci, Ter Brugghen), print (Callot’s Commedia del Arte, Braccelli’s Bizzare figures) and sculpture (antiquities, public sculpture and monuments) that tested new possibilities for a human body now unleashed as the primary source of power but also contained through new forms of authority.
Duration of Module:  20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, 2 essays.
Means of Assessment:
Assessment by essay only. Autumn term essay 2000-2500 words (40%); Spring term essay 3000-3500 words (60%) due towards or shortly after the end of term.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant  experience.

Suggested reading

*Subject to change due to potential covid-19 mitigation measures.

HART0077 Civilizations of the Book: The Global Middle Ages Through Illustrated Manuscripts (Advanced Undergraduate Course in History of Art) – 30 credits

Module tutor: Jacopo Gnisci
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring Terms; Tuesdays 4-6pm.

This module focuses on the birth and development of manuscript illumination in the Christian world between the late antique and medieval periods. We will: examine the classical background of manuscript illustration and the emergence of different centres of manuscript production in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East; explore and discuss the interconnections between images, texts, and Christian identity and the value of illuminations as historical sources for studying our global past; and reflect on how the material evidence has shaped existing approaches to these objects. By the end of this module you should be able to: a) identify the main visual and material features of a manuscript; b) outline the chronology of manuscript illustration between ca. 350 CE and 750 CE; c) recognize the differences between manuscripts produced in the Latin, Byzantine, Syriac, Armenian, Coptic, and Ethiopic traditions and demonstrate familiarity with key examples of these traditions; and d) critically analyse interconnections between images, texts and identity in the late antique and early medieval Mediterranean world.
Duration of Module:  20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, 2 essays.
Means of Assessment:
Assessment by essay only. Autumn term essay 2000-2500 words (40%); Spring term essay 3000-3500 words (60%) due towards or shortly after the end of term.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant  experience.

Suggested reading

Indicative weekly topics

HART0078 Digital Poetics and Global Performance (Advanced Undergraduate Course in History of Art) – 30 credits

Module tutor: Ramon Amaro
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring Terms; Thursdays 11am-1pm.

This module brings together contemporary visual practice into what Ira Livingston calls a poetics or “theory of everything,” whereby the field of art is compelled to work within the discomfort of racial subjection towards a practice of radical self-affirmation. A poetics, as such, re-defines racial duress as that which promotes opportunity for self-exploration and communal belonging. In this module, we employ various forms of experimental art and visual practices of the global south in order to assign new meanings to the substances of race and concepts of personhood. Our goal is to “air out” the terms of race with regard to the familiar, knowable, and coherent, by investigating more transgressive spaces of racialised life. Through critical reflections in poetry, computational art, performance, feminism, queer study, and black aesthetics, we trace and then re-articulate crucial links between racial perception and the languages of personhood. The ultimate aim is to develop new methodologies for healing and reconciliation as a way of being within realms of art and the everyday. 
Duration of Module:  20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, 2 essays.
Means of Assessment:
Assessment by essay only. Autumn term essay 2000-2500 words (40%); Spring term essay 3000-3500 words (60%) due towards or shortly after the end of term.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading

Indicative weekly topics

HART0079 Art and Visual Culture in Modern South Asia (Advanced Undergraduate Course in History of Art Modern & Contemporary) – 30 credits

Module tutor: Aparna Kumar
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring Terms; Tuesdays 2-4pm.

This course examines developments in painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, film, museums, and exhibitionary culture across the Indian subcontinent from 1850 to the present through modalities of the nation and national identity in South Asia. This was a dynamic period in the region’s long history that saw the rise and fall of colonial empires, the emergence of nationalism(s), global conflict and crises of territory, migration and displacement. Our discussions will map the major stylistic movements arising from Bombay, Calcutta, Santiniketan, and Baroda, major centers of South Asian art and discourse at the turn of the twentieth century. We will probe the artistic achievements of pioneering modernists such as Abanindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gil, Jamini Roy, M.F. Husain and Shakir Ali, alongside contemporary voices, to elucidate the complex social, political and cultural coordinates across which histories of art and modernism in South Asia emerged and continue to unfold. We will also interrogate how art and art history participates in the broader shifts in the region’s social, political, economic, geographic and cultural infrastructure. Of central concern to this course will be the role of art and art history in the formation of Indian and Pakistani nationalism in the early twentieth century. Topics for examination include artistic responses to empire and colonial patronage, the rise of “Swadeshi,” the relationship of modern art practices to notions of indigeneity, tradition and the “subaltern,” the crisis of partition in the 1940s and its epistemological ramifications for art and culture in South Asia, and aesthetic cultures of nation-building in India and Pakistan. Field visits to the British Library, Tate Modern, and the Wallace Collection will be essential to this course.
Duration of Module:  20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, 2 essays.
Means of Assessment:
Assessment by essay only. Autumn term essay 2000-2500 words (40%); Spring term essay 3000-3500 words (60%) due towards or shortly after the end of term.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading

Indicative weekly topics

HART0080 Changes in the Landscape: Empire, Industry, Environment (Advanced Undergraduate Module in the History of Art) – 30 credits

Module tutor: Nicholas Robbins
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring Terms; Mondays 11am-1pm.
If W.J.T. Mitchell has described landscape as the “dreamwork of imperialism,” it was also the dreamwork of industrial capitalism. The era in which landscape attained prominence as an artistic genre in Britain (c. 1750-1900) coincides both with key phases in British imperial expansion and with the (intimately linked) development of fossil-fuel intensive industrialisation. So what do we do with landscape now? This module revisits the study of landscape imagery, focused on Britain and its former empire, in order to critically engage its continuing relevance for histories of ecology, power, and the social functions of representation. While major artists in the canon of British landscape painting will be considered, the course will take a broader approach to landscape imagery and its circulation across mediums. Special attention will be paid to moments in which the stability of the landscape genre is disrupted or diverted—by issues of mis-translation and dislocation; by resistant or oppositional knowledge systems; by active revolt against territorial regimes; and by the materiality of artworks and natural forces themselves. This module will make extensive use of London’s collections.
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, 2 essays.
Means of Assessment:
Assessment by essay only. Autumn term essay 2000-2500 words (40%); Spring term essay 3000-3500 words (60%) due towards or shortly after the end of term.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience

Suggested 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, patronage and performance in the formative period of Britain’s artistic history, covering the period from 1558 to c. 1650. Topics will include: the importance of the visual arts in the ‘cult’ of monarchy, in particular Elizabeth I; ephemeral spectacles such as masques, progresses and courtly entertainments; the representation of power and authority; the representation of women; the representation of dress and fashion; the influence of continental practice on English art and architecture; printed and medallic imagery; studio training and workshop practice; the effects of the Civil War on established patronage systems and art collecting and the beginnings of an art market.
Duration of Module: 20+ weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, 2 essays.
Means of Assessment:
Assessment by essay only. Autumn term essay 2000-2500 words (40%); Spring term essay 3000-3500 words (60%) due towards or shortly after the end of term.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

HART0113 Place, Space and the Imagination: Reviewing the Italian City c. 1300-1520 - 30 credits

Module Tutor: Alison Wright
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring Terms; Thursdays 2-4pm.
This advanced-level art history course takes Henri Lefebvre’s concept of space as ‘socially produced’ as a point of departure for examining and questioning practices of urban planning, forms of religious space, performance, representation (artistic and political) and mapping in Italian cities from the late Medieval period to the early sixteenth century. Moving between actual and imagined spaces – civic, religious and domestic – the course tracks and seeks to account for changes in spatial experience and understanding in a period that encompassed the radical spatial developments of early Renaissance art. The course draws on cross-disciplinary concerns in historical anthropology, sociology, and ideological criticism as well as art history, theories of vision, materiality and reception to re-consider monumental spaces, Italian (and some Netherlandish) works in all media. We have flexibility, so you will be invited to bring your own interests to the table at the start of the course.

Duration of Module: 10 weeks.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, 2 essays.
Means of Assessment:
Assessment by essay only. Autumn term essay 2000-2500 words (40%); Spring term essay 3000-3500 words (60%) due towards or shortly after the end of term.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Indicative topics

Suggested reading list

HART0116 Psycho - 30 credits

Module tutor: Mignon Nixon
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring Terms; Wednesdays 11-1pm.
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, private gallery visits, 2 essays.
Means of Assessment:
Assessment by essay only. Autumn term essay 2000-2500 words (40%); Spring term essay 3000-3500 words (60%) due towards or shortly after the end of term.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

HART0153 Inventing Incas, Aztecs and Europeans - 30 credits

Module Tutor: Emily Floyd
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Mondays 4-6pm.
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, private gallery visits, 2 essays.
Means of Assessment:
Assessment by essay only. Autumn term essay 2000-2500 words (40%); Spring term essay 3000-3500 words (60%) due towards or shortly after the end of term.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

HART0106 Architecture and the Modern City - 30 credits

Module Tutor: Jacob Paskins
Timetabled: Autumn and Spring terms; Mondays 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, private gallery visits, 2 essays.
Means of Assessment:
Assessment by essay only. Autumn term essay 2000-2500 words (40%); Spring term essay 3000-3500 words (60%) due towards or shortly after the end of term.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Indicative weekly topics

Suggested reading