University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: Sexual Politics and the Image (HIAR10066)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines art and related visual fields in relation to sexual politics. Widely encountered in feminist criticism since the 1960s, the term 'sexual politics' has revolutionised approach to the image in art history and the humanities. This is because it positions the production of the sexed/gendered subject as a complex political issue that is neither fixed nor exclusively private but rather actively negotiated in the public domain of culture.
A focus on 'sexual politics' in approaches to the image helps illuminate how images are produced and used by different social subjects; and how images play a role in the social demand for gender equality and the exploration of sexual difference. The deployment of the word 'politics' in this context suggests that the interests of diverse social groups are expressed in the image, which can therefore never be 'neutral' and completely autonomous -even if it appears so. On the contrary, both making and looking at images are understood as social practices. Ultimately, 'sexual politics' far from displacing the allure of the image, empowers us as spectators by helping us grasp the complex processes that draw us to the image as such.
The course examines a variety of media and practices currently defining the expanded field of the visual and artistic practice in general. Key moments in this review include: the connection between gendered identities in real life and spaces of representation; the intersection of gender, race and class; debates concerning feminist politics in art; sexual politics and curatorial practices; the impact of feminism on art history as a discipline; the production and viewing of 'subversive' artworks; the emergence of performance and video and their impact on challenging mainstream attitudes; the impact of feminist film theory and practice; post-feminist approaches to the sexed subject; gender in relation to technology and the socio-economic processes currently described as 'globalisation'.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012) OR Architectural History 2A (ARHI08002) AND Architectural History 2B (ARHI08003)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  16
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 two-hour examination paper (50%) and 1 extended essay of 2000 words (50%)

Visiting Students in Semester 2 are assessed as home students ie 1 extended essay and 1 two-hour examination paper.
Feedback Formative Assessment

On the first day of the course students will be allocated an individual or group oral seminar presentation (depending on numbers of students taking the course). The presentation will be 15-minutes long and afterwards they will submit the material in a portfolio to the tutor. Guidance on how to structure an academic oral presentation and the criteria for its informal assessment are included in the Course Syllabus on LEARN. Following the presentation, there will be a feedback session with the tutor to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the presentation and progress in the course so far. Students are also welcome to attend individual tutorials with the tutor, at a separate time, to discuss their essay progress.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Sexual Politics and the Image2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand and have knowledge of the diverse ways by and through which conscious or unconscious positions on gender and/or sexuality structure the making and reception of images, especially those in art, and the role of feminist scholarship in the analysis of such positions.
  2. Understand and have knowledge of a wide range of images as well as well as a core body of theory pertaining to the course subject; also of the significance of specific media and theoretical paradigms of relevance to the course subject.
  3. Understand and have knowledge of how and why artists, filmmakers, theorists and historians, sought to subvert the conventions defining geneder and sexual norms in connection with broader social demands in their historical context.
  4. Approach critically (in writing and orally; please see Feedback below) a variety of images and arguments relating to images; and how to contextualise in an academic context the role of sexual politics in relation to the production and use of images.
  5. Participate with confidence in debates that continue to fuel arguments in contemporary art theory and practice but that concern everyday life as well; how to formulate and assess your own theoretical position/s and informed views in relation to images and texts; how to structure arguments that respect (do not underplay) the complexity of the positions encountered in art and its theory.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Angela Dimitrakaki
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information