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IP103 Art and Revolution

Painting of the French Revolution
Dr William Rupp. Dr Rupp is smiling at the camera, wearing a suit

Module leader: Dr William Rupp

Core module | Assessed

10 weeks | 10 discussion hours

Not available to students outside the School for Cross-faculty Studies

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Principal Aims

This module explores the ways in which art and artistic expressions ("the things we make") prompt, influence, or resist moments of crisis and change. Using Problem-Based Learning, students explore four rich case studies that cut across a range of historical, cultural, and conceptual boundaries. The case studies are organized around four central themes that require students to connect theoretical frameworks and methodologies to specific actions, conceptual and material objects, texts, datasets, and academic fields in order to tackle complex problems. While the specific content of the case studies are dynamic, changing year on year in response to specific cohort interests, the four case studies retain their thematic structures to help students build knowledge transfer and critical thinking skills. Students will work individually and in groups with a wide range of diverse materials; these student-led activities require that students interrogate existing professional, academic, and cultural paradigms through the lenses of race, gender, colonialism, and cultural theory.

In 2020-21, we will explore the Franco-Haitian Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Cultural Revolution in China, and Aboriginal Australian revolutionary movements. While this module draws on a diverse range of case studies, students are expected to take a leading role in bringing their own interests, goals, and lived experiences into the classroom.

Principal Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, you'll be expected to:

  • Understand the ways in which artistic expression has positioned itself in relation to revolutionary events
  • Examine in-depth the historical contexts of each revolution and relate them to specific artistic productions
  • Explore the political and social contexts of each revolution and understand how they impacted on artistic production
  • Critically analyse specific artistic productions by deploying an appropriate theoretical framework
  • Compare artistic productions from various eras and in different parts of the world, and attempt to theorise their contributions
  • Compare dominant revolutionary narratives and scholarship with marginalized ones in relation to scholarly theory and practice
  • Have demonstrated foundational research and professional communication skills


Term 1
  • Term 1 Week 1 — Introduction: Art & Revolution I

  • Weeks 2-5 —The Franco-Haitian Revolution

  • Weeks 6-9 —The Russian Revolution

  • Week 10 — Critical Reflection

Term 2
  • Week 1 -- Introduction: Art & Revolution II

  • Weeks 2-5 – The Cultural Revolution

  • Weeks 6-9 –The Aboriginal Revolution

  • Week 10 --Critical Reflection and Group Presentations

Term 3
  • Weeks 1-2 –Revision workshops

Reading List

The indicative reading list for IP103 Art and Revolution can be found here.


Practical Work

Group presentation 15 minutes (10%)


Archival analysis: 1,500 words (15%)

Analysis of a painting: 1,500 words (15%)

Analysis of a film: 1,500 words (15%)

Critical essay: 3,000 words (30%)

In-class Analytical Exam

May/June, 2 hours (15%)

"This module was one of my favourites"

"During this (module) we learnt about a variety of revolutions such as the Hatian, Iranian ect. But, rather than being restricted to just learning the 2D facts such as dates and places, we looked at the larger context of the revolutions by looking at the art being produced at that time and what it said about the conditions of the time. This module was one of my favourites last year because it really challenged me to turn my back on the way I’d been learning in past."

Olamide Ajisafe

Liberal Arts student

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