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BA Modules 2021-22

The following modules are offered to UCL undergraduate students taking BA History of Art or BA History of Art, Materials and Technology. Also, affiliates registered in the UCL History of Art department, students in the School of European Languages and Cultures (SELCS) who are taking a combined honours degree which includes History of Art in the title, and combined honours students taking BA Philosophy and History of Art.

Year 1 Thematic Seminars are only available to first year students taking BA History of Art, BA History of Art, Materials and Technology, or affiliates in the History of Art Department.

Year 2 Period Modules, Year 2 Methods Modules, and Year 3 Special Subjects are normally available to History of Art students only (single and combined honours).

Please remind yourself of your programme diet before making your module choices. Students should check the prerequisites under each module description to see whether they are eligible to take the module.

BASc Arts & Sciences (Cultures pathway) students may only take Year 2 modules if they have completed a first-year survey module HART0006 and/or HART0005. Details of elective modules open to both UCL degree students and affiliate students who are registered outside the History of Art department are listed on the Art/Architecture in London page.


Year 1

Term 1 / Term 2 

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

Module tutor: Rosemary Moore

Timetabled: Lecture – 14:00 – 15:00 (online), BA1 discussion group either 09:00 – 10:30, 16:00 – 17:30.
Module Description: 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.
Duration of Module: 20 weeks, beginning in first week of Autumn term.
Student Contact Hours: 40, in 20 x weekly 1-hour lectures and 20 x 1-hour seminars
Student Workload:  Reading and other preparation for weekly classes, three pieces of written work and an oral presentation (notes submitted). 
Means of Assessment: Coursework 1 (1500-1800 words) 30%, Coursework 2 (1800-2000 words) 30%, Oral presentation (12-15 minutes and 1 page handout) 10%, Coursework 3 (2000-2500 words) 30%
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

Term 1

HART0006 First-year History of Art Survey (1): Premodernity – c.1600 – 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Aparna Kumar
Timetabled: 09:00 – 11:00, Wednesdays
Module Description: The First-Year History of Art Survey comprises two obligatory modules (HART0006 and HART0005) for all History of Art students. In ten lectures each term, students are introduced to key monuments and central issues in the discipline of art history and are encouraged to consider them critically. The main issues that will emerge throughout the modules are: representation and the image’s relation to the world; art history’s relation to history and context; the role of viewer(s); questions of canon formation and methodology. The Survey covers a wide range of art, architecture and visual culture from ancient times to the present day.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks, beginning in the first week of Autumn term. 
Student Contact Hours: Lectures and question time: 20 hours.
Student Workload:  Attendance at all lectures, reading in support of lectures, exam.
Means of Assessment: 100% by online remote examination in Summer Term.
Prerequisites: Students should normally be in the first year of a Single or Combined Honours degree in History of Art, or History of Art, Materials and Technology.

First Year Summer reading list

HART0004 Thematic Seminar - 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Students will select a thematic seminar at the start of term taught by either Dr Elizabeth Johnson, Prof Alison Wright or another Associate Lecturer (TBC)
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Thursdays
Module Description: 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, beginning in the first week of Autumn term. 
Student Contact Hours: 20+
Student Workload: Attendance at all seminars and site visits, reading in support of classes.
Means of Assessment: Essay one (1500-2000 words) 40%, Essay two (2000-2500 words) 60%
Prerequisites: Students should normally be in the first year of a Single-Honours degree in History of Art or History of Art, Materials and Technology.
 

HART0003 Introduction to Art and Science – 15 credits - MAT students only

Module Tutor:  TBC New Appointment, September 2021 (Associate Professor in Conservation of Contemporary Art)
Timetabled: 14:00 – 16:00, Tuesdays
Module Description: This is an introductory module that covers basic organic and inorganic chemistry in a lab-based environment for first year History of Art, Materials and Technology students. During the course you will learn the scientific foundations needed to understand the relationship between the materials used to make artworks and the physical properties of these materials. The module will cover topics such as the periodic table, bonding, solubility, and pH values. 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, beginning in the first week of Autumn term..
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: Online remote exam 60%, Essay (2000 - 2500 words) 40%
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

Term 2

HART0005 First-year History of Art Survey (1): c. 1600 to the Contemporary – 15 Credits

Module Tutor: Jacob Paskins
Timetabled: 09:00 – 11:00, Wednesdays
Module Description: The First-Year History of Art Survey comprises two obligatory modules (HART0006 and HART0005) for all History of Art students. In ten lectures each term, students are introduced to key monuments and central issues in the discipline of art history and are encouraged to consider them critically. The main issues that will emerge throughout the modules are: representation and the image’s relation to the world; art history’s relation to history and context; the role of viewer(s); questions of canon formation and methodology. The Survey covers a wide range of art, architecture and visual culture from ancient times to the present day.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks, beginning in the first week of Spring term. 
Student Contact Hours: Lectures and question time: 20 hours.
Student Workload: Attendance at all lectures, reading in support of lectures, exam.
Means of Assessment: 100% by online remote examination in Summer Term.
Prerequisites: Students should normally be in the first year of a Single or Combined Honours degree in History of Art, or History of Art, Materials and Technology.

First Year Summer reading list

HART0144 Thematic Seminar – 15 Credits

Module Tutor: Students will select a thematic seminar at the start of term taught by either Dr Emily Floyd, Prof Fred Schwartz or another Associate Lecturer (TBC)
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Thursdays
Module Description: 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, beginning in the first week of Spring term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+
Student Workload: Attendance at all seminars and site visits, reading in support of classes.
Means of Assessment: Essay one (1500-2000 words) 40%, Essay two (2000-2500 words) 60%
Prerequisites: Students should normally be in the first year of a Single-Honours degree in History of Art or History of Art, Materials and Technology.
 

HART0148 – Introduction to Media and Technologies – 15 credits - MAT students only

Module Tutor: Helia Marcal
Timetabled: 14:00 – 16:00, Tuesdays 
Module Description: This course offers an overview of technologies used to create artworks and cultural objects, from early modernity to the present. These might include but will not be limited to print technologies, still and moving image—photography, video, televised media—and mechanical and electronic projection devices. From paints, prints, daguerreotypes and celluloid strips through electromagnetic signals to bit steams, you will be introduced to the materiality of communication. Challenging the traditional genealogies of media, we will explore the media’s material histories, affordances, and the limits of their use. This class provides a foundation for a profound understanding of the methods and materials used by the makers, at different times and in a multitude of locations, and under consideration of social and technological contexts.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks, beginning in the first week of Spring term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, preparation for classes, independent project work.
Means of Assessment: Online remote exam 60%, Essay (2000-2500 Words) 40%
Prerequisites: Normally only offered to 1st-year MAT students. No previous experience is required to undertake this module.

Indicative Weekly Topics
Summer Reading List


Year 2

Term 1

HART0032 Methodologies of Art History – 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Rose Marie San Juan, Nick Robbins
Timetabled: Lecture – 10:00 – 11:00, Seminar 12:00 – 13:00, Tuesdays
Module Description: 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, beginning in the first week of Autumn term.
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: Essay (2000 - 2500 words) 60%, Response paper (1350 - 1500 words) 40%
Prerequisites: Normally only offered to 2nd-year History of Art students. Other closely similar experience might be acceptable.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

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

Module Tutor: Cadence Kinsey
Timetabled: Online 14:00 – 16:00, Mondays
Module Description: 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, beginning in the first week of Autumn term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, one essay, and exam.
Means of Assessment: Online remote exam 50%, Essay (2000-2500 words) 50% 
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year History of Art programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

HART0054 Theory and History of Conservation – 15 credits - MAT priority

Module Tutor: Rebecca Gordon
Timetabled: 14:00 – 16:00, Thursdays (this will be taught through a combination of online and face to face sessions)
Module Description: 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, beginning in the first week of Autumn term.
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: Online remote exam 50%, Written essay (2000-2500 words) 50%
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year History of Art programme or have equivalent relevant experience. This module is a requirement for MAT students but HoA students may also choose it as one of their ‘period’ options.

Indicative weekly topics
Suggested reading list

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

Module Tutor: Mignon Nixon
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Fridays
Module Description: 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, beginning in the first week of Autumn term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, private gallery visits, one essay, one exam, in-class presentation.
Means of Assessment: Online remote exam 45%, Essay (2000-2500 words) 45%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year History of Art programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

HART0167 Colour: Art, Empire, Modernity – 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Natasha Eaton
Timetabled: 14:00 – 16:00, Tuesdays 
Module Description: Colour has long fascinated and frustrated scholars across many disciplines. This interdisciplinary module explores the agency, magical and philosophical notions of colour within the context of modernity. With a strong theoretical emphasis, we will explore the emergence of the observer, pathology and affective qualities of colour and the underpinning of colour as chromophilia or chromophobia. Writers with whom we will engage include Aristotle, Newton, Burke, Goethe, von Helmsholtz, Fechner, Tagore, Wittgenstein, Gandhi and women concerned with colour such as Lubaina Himid. The module takes a roughly ‘genealogical’ approach to the histories of colour from the later seventeenth century to c.1950 – so as to include the legacies of empire and the emergence of the postcolonial. How far do we attempt to decolonize colour? What forms of interface do we project, albeit often anachronistically or by analogy, on the racial and global definitions of colour?
Duration of Module: 10 weeks, beginning in the first week of Autumn term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, one essay, one exam, in-class presentation.
Means of Assessment: Online remote exam 45%, Essay (2000-2500 words) 45%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year History of Art programme or have equivalent relevant experience.
 

HART0171 Black Aesthetics: Theory and Artistic Practices – 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Ramon Amaro 
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Thursdays
Module Description: While the term “Black aesthetics” can be traced back to transnational Black arts movements of the 1960s and 1970s, this module explores the relationship between what is regarded as Black artistic practice and the utilisation of art as a function of Black liberation. The module expands the notion of “Blackness” by placing emphasis on the inter-relation between race, theory and art practices of the African Diaspora, as they relate to anti-colonial and anti-racist thought. From a close exploration of foundational texts and artistic practices in Black Aesthetics to a theoretical corpus spanning key insights in psychoanalyses, phenomenology, metaphysics, this module challenges notions of perception, subject-production, and the politics of representation and difference that have come to define our contemporary understandings of race and racialisation in the African Diaspora.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks, beginning in the first week of Autumn term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, one essay, one exam, in-class presentation.
Means of Assessment: Online remote exam 45%, Essay (2000-2500 words) 45%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year History of Art programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading
Indicative weekly topics

Term 2

HART0031 History of the Category ‘Art’ – 15 credits 

Module Tutor:  Fred Schwartz/Ramon Amaro
Timetabled: Lecture – 10:00 – 11:00, Seminar 12:00 – 13:00, Tuesdays 
Module Description: 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, beginning in the first week of Spring term.
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: Essay (2000 - 2500 words) 60%, Response paper (1350 - 1500 words) 40%
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 

Module Tutor:  Hanna Holling / Helia Marcal  
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Mondays 
Module Description: This module focuses on the experimental system of art making, remaking, collecting, mediating, and conserving. It encompasses readings and discussions centred around theories related to the materiality and the immaterial, makers and their tools, the workings of institutions and collections, alongside 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 theories of making exemplified by artworks and artefacts related to one of the main topics of the module. In the second part of the class, students might be asked to bring and discuss an example of an artwork or an artefact, to develop a statement drawing on the readings, or to engage in structured debates on the topic of the class. 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, beginning in the first week of Spring term.
Student Contact Hours:  20+ hours in 10 weekly 2-hour classes. 
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, preparation for classes.
Means of Assessment: Essay (2000 - 2500 words) 60%, Response paper (1350 - 1500 words) 40%
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

HART0035 Advanced Lecture in the History of Art: Making the Body from Late Medieval to Early Modern – 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Lauren Rozenberg
Timetabled: Online 14:00 – 16:00, Mondays
Module Description: This course focusses on conceptions of the body as they impact upon and are constructed by artistic making. We address how technologies of making, the senses, social and political practice and belief may be explored via materials and an expanded field of crafted works – from reliquaries to table ware, marble statuary to gilded effigies and dress (armour, vestments, courtly and serving bodies). By focussing on the period c. 1300–1550 in Europe religious, social and technological continuities are put in play with radical developments such as the emergence of a notion of the ‘nude’, life casting, and new kinds of self-fashioning that also depend on an encounter with difference. 
Duration of Module: 10 weeks, beginning in the first week of Spring term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, one essay and exam.
Means of Assessment: Online remote exam 50%, Essay (2000-2500 words) 50%
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year History of Art programme or have equivalent relevant experience.
Indicative weekly topics:

  • Week 1: The body? Bodies?
  • Week 2: Picturing the Plague
  • Week 3: Sculpting the nude
  • Week 4: Racialised bodies
  • Week 5: Casting human and animal bodies
  • Week 6: Anatomy
  • Week 7: Portraying and Fashioning Bodies
  • Week 8: Wax bodies
  • Week 9: Bodies in transformation
  • Week 10: Conclusion – remaking the body

Suggested summer reading list: 

  • Anderson, Christy, Anne Dunlop, and Pamela H. Smith, ed. The Matter of Art: Materials, Practices, Cultural Logics, c. 1250-1750. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014. [especially chapter 1]
  • Hairston, Julia L., and Walter Stephens, ed. The Body in Early Modern Italy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010. [introduction]
  • Park, Katherine. "Was There a Renaissance Body?" In The Italian Renaissance in the Twentieth Century: Acts of an International Conference, Florence, Villa I Tatti, June 9-11, 1999, edited by Allen J. Grieco, Michael Rocke and Fiorella Gioffredi Superbi, 321-35. Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2002.
  • Smith, Pamela H. The Body of the Artisan. Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2004. [introduction]
  • Smith, Pamela H. "Historians in the Laboratory: Reconstruction of Renaissance Art and Technology in the Making and Knowing Project." Art History 39, no. 2 (2016): 210-33.
     
HART0039 Rome: The Making of Early Modern Visual Culture – 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Rose Marie San Juan
Timetabled: 14:00 – 16:00, Tuesdays
Module Description: 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, beginning in the first week of Spring term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, one essay, one exam, in-class presentation.
Means of Assessment: Online remote exam 45%, Essay (2000-2500 words) 45%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year History of Art programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

HART0056 Prints and Printmaking – 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Emily Floyd
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Fridays
Module Description: Multiple, ephemeral, mobile: prints, be they woodcuts, engravings, etchings, or lithographs, among other techniques, share certain features that make them unique. Printmaking is a profoundly indexical medium, always referencing the matrix (the woodblock, the copperplate, the lithographic stone) from which the resulting impression was reproduced. Prints have served as models for other art forms, as the vehicles for the circulation of new ideas, as devotional or scientific tools, as book illustration, as colonial tools. This module will focus on the technique and theory of printmaking before 1900. Questions to be considered include copies and copying, the multiple image, movement and circulation, and ephemerality.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks, beginning in the first week of Spring term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, one essay, one exam, in-class presentation.
Means of Assessment: Online remote exam 45%, Essay (2000-2500 words) 45%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year History of Art programme or have equivalent relevant experience.
 

HART0071 Methods and Materials of Artists – 15 credits - MAT priority

Module Tutor: TBC New Appointment, September 2021 (Associate Professor in Conservation of Contemporary Art)
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Wednesdays
Module Description: 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. 
Duration of Module: 10 weeks, beginning in the first week of Spring term.
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, examination.
Means of Assessment: Unseen two-hour written examination 50%, one essay (2000-2500 words) 50%
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

HART0166 Repatriation in the Age of Global Dispossession – 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Aparna Kumar
Timetabled: 16:00 – 18:00, Thursdays 
Module Description: Taking the lead from the 2002 “Declaration on the Importance and Value of Universal Museums” and the 2018 “Sarr-Savoy Report,” this course will reconsider 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 does it mean for a museum, nation, or individual to own culture? What are the limits of repatriation as a doctrine of social, political, or economic restitution? What is the role of museums in decolonization? A driving impulse of this seminar will be to rethink the mobility of culture in the twentieth century 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 and museums to the humanitarian crises that have shaped the colonial and postcolonial worlds.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks, beginning in the first week of Spring term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, one essay, one exam, in-class presentation.
Means of Assessment: Online remote exam 45%, Essay (2000-2500 words) 45%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year History of Art programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading
Indicative weekly topics

HART0173 Art and Science in Britain 1740 – 1900 – 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Nick Robbins
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Thursdays
Module Description: 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 and experimented with pigments and materials. 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 – tracing the ways that art responded to, mediated, and intervened in scientific practice. The module will likewise consider the visual cultures of scientific experimentation and communication. 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, beginning in the first week of Spring term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, one essay, one exam, in-class presentation.
Means of Assessment: Online remote exam 45%, Essay (2000-2500 words) 45%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year History of Art programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics

HART0175 Empires of Africa: Introduction to African Art and Archaeology – 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Jacopo Gnisci
Timetabled: 14:00 – 16:00, Fridays 
Module Description: 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, beginning in the first week of Spring term.
Student Contact Hours: 20+ hours.
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, one essay, one exam, in-class presentation.
Means of Assessment: Online remote exam 45%, Essay (2000-2500 words) 45%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Students should have completed a first-year History of Art programme or have equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading
Indicative weekly topics


Year 3  

Independent Study

HART0118 Undergraduate Report in History of Art - 30 credits

Module Tutor: Dissertations will be supervised by staff from across the Department
Module Description: 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.
Duration of Module: 20 weeks
Means of Assessment: Dissertation (10,000 words) 100%
 

HART0119 Independent Study Essay in History of Art – 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Essays will be supervised by staff from across the Department
Module Description: A 4500–5000 word essay to be handed in normally at the beginning of the Spring term. This 15-credit module 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.
Duration of Module: 10 weeks
Means of Assessment: Coursework essay (4500–5000 words) 100%
 

HART0120 (MAT only) History of Art, Materials and Technology Project Paper – 30 credits

Module Tutor: Dissertations will be supervised by colleagues from across the Department
Module Description: A 10,000 word essay to be handed in at the beginning of the Summer term. Students define a History of Art, Materials and Technology research project with the help and approval of the Department and receive guidance while undertaking the research and writing the essay.
Duration of Module: 20 weeks
Means of Assessment: Dissertation (10,000 words) 100%
 

HART0108 (MAT only) Art/Work/Space – 15 credits 

Module Tutor: Rosemary Moore
Module Description: This is a work placement module that entails 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 History of Art, Materials and Technology students. 
Duration of Module: 20 weeks
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours
Student Workload: Students carry out a work placement and write an extended essay.
Means of Assessment: Coursework essay (5,000 words) 100%

Term 1 / Term 2 

HART0077 Ruin and Revolution – 30 credits 

Module Tutor: Richard Taws
Timetabled: 09:00 – 11:00, Tuesdays 
Module Description: The political revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in France transformed how time was understood. The construction and erasure of an “ancien régime,” the introduction of a republican calendar, and successive alternations of revolutionary action and royalist reaction through the course of the nineteenth century all marked radical shifts in temporal order. At the same time, wholesale destructions and reconstructions of urban space meant that the vestiges of the past became visible with a new insistency, while the emergence of new visual technologies, and their co-existence alongside earlier forms of registering images, drew attention to the role of time in the media of representation. This course will examine intersections of time and visual imagery in a range of objects and images, from architecture and paintings to popular prints, photographs and newspapers. Attention will be paid to forms of commemoration and monumentalisation, and to ways in which discourses of ephemerality, obsolescence and ruination were figured in visual terms. Topics to be discussed include: Panthéons, commemorative sculpture, cemeteries and funerary monuments; museums, collections, and other repositories of memory; confections of ‘history’ in painting, printmaking and photography; architecture, ruins and regeneration; clocks, almanacs, maps, timelines, calendars and festivals; temporary and ephemeral works of art; representations of new technologies and those rendered outmoded or redundant; new visualisations and theorisations of speed and slowness, travel and stasis, in both urban and rural environments. Although the focus of the course will be on metropolitan France, a key topic will be the impact of colonialism across the ‘francosphere’. Consequently, we will also consider how events in France intersected with those outside its borders, from the Haitian Revolution to the invasion of Algeria.
Duration of Module: 20 weeks
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours 
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, 2 essays, oral presentation.
Means of Assessment: Coursework (2000-2500 words) 35%, Coursework (3000-3500 words) 55%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant  experience.
 

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

Module Tutor: Diana Dethloff
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Tuesdays
Module Description: 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, gallery visits, 2 essays, oral presentation.
Means of Assessment: Coursework (2000-2500 words) 35%, Coursework (3000-3500 words) 55%, oral presentation 10%
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: 14:00 – 16:00, Tuesdays
Module Description: 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, gallery and site visits, 2 essays, oral presentation.
Means of Assessment: Coursework (2000-2500 words) 35%, Coursework (3000-3500 words) 55%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Indicative weekly topics
Suggested reading

HART0107 Postcoloniality, Colonialism and Art in the British Empire – 30 credits 

Module Tutor:  Natasha Eaton
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Fridays 
Module Description: Today ‘empire’ and postcoloniality are central to how we engage with the world. From debates surrounding globalization, to the ways in which we are rethinking Britishness, imperialism and its troubled legacies continue to occupy our political landscape and to inform the entanglements of British and non-western art. As leading anthropologist Nicholas B. Dirks warns, ‘in calling for the study of the aesthetics of colonialism, we might end up aestheticising colonialism, producing a radical chic version of Raj nostalgia’. With this cautionary agenda in mind, the aim of the course is to problematise the aesthetic and political underpinnings of these cultural encounters. In so doing, this module will provide an alternative history of art in the British Empire. Instead of focussing only on ‘conquest’ and racial subordination, it will also emphasise cross-cultural exchange and a range of indigenous techniques for resisting British art. Its agenda is to make you aware of the critical intervention of other cultures in the formation and subversion of imperial artistic identity. In so doing, you will engage with contemporary debates preoccupied with postcoloniality and British visual culture. The focus of this course is the relationship between Britain and South Asia in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, although you will also be encouraged to contextualise this colonial experience with other spaces of empire. Material covered includes graphic media, Mughal miniatures, Anglo-Indian architecture, Bengali folk art and performance, ‘picturesque’ landscape paintings, caricatures, history painting, indigenous photography, ethnographic sketches and creole portraiture. An effort will be made to understand the phenomena of colonial and metropolitan collecting, “the exhibitionary complex” and the cultural underpinnings of imperial and vernacular museums.
Duration of Module: 20 weeks
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours 
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, 2 essays, oral presentation.
Means of Assessment: Coursework (2000-2500 words) 35%, Coursework (3000-3500 words) 55%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

HART0164 The Social Life of Artworks – 30 credits 

Module Tutor: Helia Marcal
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Thursdays 
Module Description: This module will explore the social lives of artworks. It will focus on biographical and ecological approaches to the study of objects, characterised by a focus on the interactions between people, objects, technology and nature. This approach will allow students to understand artworks through their means of production, to situate both art objects and themselves within the network of interactions art objects occupy, and to analyse processes of historicisation, acquisition, collection management, and conservation as part of a social-material context.
Duration of Module: 20 weeks
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours 
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, 2 essays, oral presentation.
Means of Assessment: Coursework (2000-2500 words) 35%, Coursework (3000-3500 words) 55%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.
 

HART0165 South African Photography – 30 credits 

Module Tutor: Tamar Garb
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Wednesdays
Module Description: Photography has been practiced in Southern Africa since the middle of the nineteenth century and was widely used to survey populations, classify peoples and organise knowledge. Hierarchical assumptions about race, gender and sexuality inform the way photographic figuration developed from early on. We will explore how the residue of the slave trade, Imperial plunder and Enlightenment ‘science’ produced a dehumanizing photographic iconography of the ‘African’. But alongside the classificatory and coercive, new forms of picturing emerged, from honorific portraits to family records, studio performances to parodies, providing sites through which multiple subjectivities and alternative African-based modernities imagined. The colonial archive constitutes a resource for contemporary South African artists. Crucial too is the centrality of documentary photography and a particular version of this realist project emerged in the middle of the twentieth century that was harnessed to the anti-apartheid struggle. Documents of social life and resistance to the apartheid-era racial order emerged. After the advent of democracy in 1994, photographers and artists looked to reinvent the medium by mobilising photographic history at the same time as exploring its capacity to invent new subjectivities and identities. Contemporary South African lens-based practices (analogue, digital, video, animation) navigate this complex photographic archive from typological imagery to the family album, from photojournalism to the snap-shot. The course will look at the critical debates and historical developments that this rich trajectory reveals, focussing on the way that human figures are mediated and framed through technology, genre and medium within the specific context of modern South Africa.
Duration of Module: 20 weeks
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours 
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, 2 essays, oral presentation.
Means of Assessment: Coursework (2000-2500 words) 35%, Coursework (3000-3500 words) 55%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested summer reading: 

  • The Cambridge History of South Africa, an excellent anthology of essays. Available online at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/the-cambridge-history-of-south-africa/3871F39AF7DF0C9CE4DADE721787DDB0 - look particularly at chapters by Saul Dubow, Stanley Trapido, Deborah Posel, Anne Kelk Mager, Tom Lodge. 
  • Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 1994
  • Darren Newbury, Defiant Images, Photography and Apartheid South Africa, 2009
  • Tamar Garb, Figures and Fictions, V & A, 2011
  • For those of you who like fiction, why not try some of the following: Nadine Gordimer; John Coetzee (especially ‘Disgrace’), Ivan Vladislavic (especially ‘Portrait with Keys’), Marlene van Niekerk (‘The Way of the Women’ and ‘Triomf’), Zakes Mda (especially ‘The Madonna of Excelsior’, Zoe Wicomb (especially ‘David’s Story’), Athol Fugard (Especially Sizwe Bande is Dead’)  Damon Galgut (especially ‘The Promise’).
HART0168 Civilizations of the Book: The Global Middle Ages Through Illustrated Manuscripts

Module Tutor: Jacopo Gnisci
Timetabled: 14:00 – 16:00, Thursdays
Module description: 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, gallery visits, 2 essays, oral presentation.
Means of Assessment: Coursework (2000-2500 words) 35%, Coursework (3000-3500 words) 55%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

NB. The module will adopt a blended learning approach and will feature online as well as face-to-face components. The online component of the course, which will run during Term 1, will involve a mix of live seminars and flipped classes, after which participants will take part in individual and group-based problem-solving activities during the teaching sessions. The f2f component of the course, which will run during Term 2, will include museum visits and hands-on activities with manuscripts and scrolls to enable participants to get a better sense of the materiality of these objects and of the technologies involved in their production. 

Suggested reading
Indicative weekly topics

HART0170 Black Poetics: History and Theory of Poetry and Performance in the African Diaspora, 20th Century to Present

Module Tutor: Ramon Amaro
Timetabled: 11:00 – 13:00, Mondays
Module description: This module explores the centrality of poetry and the assertion of Black aesthetics in the Global South, with a particular focus on various interpretations of the poetic that reach beyond Anglo-European notions of the figurative and nonliteral. From theories of feminist poethics and Caribbean poetry to Afro-futurist literature and contemporary dance, students will explore the poetic as a key site of experimentation and political necessity, which derives from an analysis of twentieth century to present Black aesthetics, and the history of race and caricature. Ultimately, the module opens new pathways to the study of race through various methods of performance and Black thought that reflect on the relationship between lived experience and broad claims of aesthetic practice.
Duration of Module: 20 weeks
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours 
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, 2 essays, oral presentation.
Means of Assessment: Coursework (2000-2500 words) 35%, Coursework (3000-3500 words) 55%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

HART0172 Art and Visual Culture in Modern South Asia – 30 credits 

Module Tutor: Aparna Kumar
Timetabled: 14:00– 16:00, Fridays
Module Description: This module 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. In addition to mapping the major centres of South Asian art and discourse in the twentieth century, this module will probe the artistic achievements of pioneering South Asian modernists, alongside contemporary voices to open a window into the complex social, political and cultural coordinates across which histories of art and modernism in South Asia emerged and continue to unfold. This module will also probe the role of art and art history in the formation of Indian and Pakistani nationalism in the early twentieth century.
Duration of Module: 20 weeks 
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours 
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, 2 essays, oral presentation.
Means of Assessment: Coursework (2000-2500 words) 35%, Coursework (3000-3500 words) 55%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading
Indicative weekly topics

HART0174 Landscape: Empire, Industry, Environment – 30 credits 

Module Tutor: Nick Robbins
Timetabled: 16:00 – 18:00, Mondays
Module Description: 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. 1750–1850) coincides both with key phases in British imperial expansion and with the 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 and geographies. 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.
Duration of Module: 20 weeks
Student Contact Hours: 40+ hours 
Student Workload: Prescribed and back-up reading, gallery visits, 2 essays, oral presentation.
Means of Assessment: Coursework (2000-2500 words) 35%, Coursework (3000-3500 words) 55%, oral presentation 10%
Prerequisites: Completion of 2nd-year History of Art module or equivalent relevant experience.

Suggested reading list
Indicative weekly topics