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Module Descriptions

All modules are 30 credits and are taught in a single term.

Autumn Term

Core Module
HA936 Art History and its Methods
Students will begin by familiarising themselves with a range of theories and art-historical methods, which offer possibilities for interpreting meaning in art, or which set limits to interpretation. The module will centre on issues of methodology and will have a strong textual base. It will acquaint students with the major methodologies that have shaped the discipline of art history as an historical discipline. To this end, it will examine several theories of the history of art that either construct art as something with its own (internal) history, or make it into something determined by a wider social and political history. Other theoretical positions that may be covered include the institutional theory of art, aesthetics, theories of taste, and varieties of psychoanalysis. The module may also engage with some of the more pertinent methodological and interdisciplinary issues on the boundaries of Art History, for example Material Culture Studies.
Special Subjects
HA980 Displaying the Renaissance
This module addresses the significance of setting, context and audience for Renaissance works of art – both in the past and today. Museum and exhibition curators have become increasingly exercised by displaying Renaissance objects and works of art in ways that echo practices of display which can be reconstructed within the Renaissance period (vis-à-vis lighting, eye-level, ensembles of objects and material that echo documented groupings). Students on this module will consider the evidence for, and the significance of the display of art objects of different mediums and formats within the historical period 1400-1700. Students will also reflect on how modern museum practice seeks to evoke or copy arrangements that have been investigated through academic research.
HA981 The Art of the African City
This module will explore the relationship between art and architecture in Africa from the mid-twentieth century to the present. The course is organised around several art practices, architectural sites and critical concepts which support the analysis of modern and contemporary art from the continent. ‘The Art of the African City’ takes account of museum practice, the rise of the city biennales, work by artists-as-architects and architects-as-artists, artists critically engaged with urbanism, spatial practices and site-specificity, and the architectural and urban dimensions of contemporary debates about decolonisation, repatriation and memorialisation. The locations under consideration include Johannesburg, Lagos, Luanda, Maputo, Kinshasa, New York, and the mythic-political space, Azania. While we examine places — museums, landscape gardens, harbours, and palaces — which can be found on the map, it is also essential to generate atlases that can locate imagined, digital, unbuilt and speculative practices which orientate African art in relation to the so-called Global North.

Spring Term Venice

HA970: Research in Renaissance and/or Early Modern Art/Architectural History (Spring 2021Topic: Venetian Painting and Its Viewers )
HA971: Research in Modern and/or Contemporary Art and Architecture (Spring 2021Topic: Art and the Urban)
These modules aim to equip students with advanced knowledge and understanding of a specific area of study. They encourage students to develop their prior knowledge and understanding of art history at a higher level and undertake more focused and independent work. Students learn how to make effective use of primary sources, both artistic and textual, in developing and completing a research project and provide opportunities to develop research and writing skills whilst living in the city of Venice.

Spring Term Warwick

Special Subjects
HA961: East meets West: The Visual Arts in Colonial and Postcolonial India
This module examines the production and development of the visual arts in India during its (British) colonial and postcolonial periods (c.1757 to the present day). We look at the ways in which colonial encounter, conquest and knowledge were experienced and articulated through architecture, painting, sculpture and photography, as well as through spectacles such as the Delhi Durbars and Great Exhibition of 1851. The module examines and contrasts the works of British and Indian artists, considering how issues of colonialism and nationalism impacted upon various artistic genres and media, as well as upon the patronage and training of artists. Finally, we consider recent works by Indian artists in relation to issues of local/global politics, diaspora and migration, and to broader structures of the contemporary, global art market. Topics may include: colonial and courtly cities; landscape, power and exploration; native and colonial photography; Indian nationalism and the visual arts; training artists in colonial India; gender and identity in Indian art; artists of the Indian diaspora; the Kochi-Muziris biennale and the globalisation of Indian art.
HA978: Reality after Film
This module will focus on the place of moving image in contemporary art. The theme of reality, explored through different artistic and social approaches to realism, will be at the heart of the works and literature studied in class. This topic will be introduced with the early years of the cinema and its theories concerning film’s future role for writing history. The module will then be dedicated to practices since the 1960s, when video permanently entered the art word and transformed art’s vocation to mediate reality. Through close formal analysis and a historical approach, students will develop a nuanced understanding of the role of sound, movement and editing in relation to contemporary ways of both capturing and constructing reality.