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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 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course looks at how sexual politics is implicated in the production and reception of images in art and related visual fields. Encountered in feminist criticism since the 1960s, the term 'sexual politics' has revolutionised approaches to the image in art history (and the humanities at large) as it allows us to think of sex and gender in relation to frameworks of power that can, and should, be negotiated in the public domain. A focus on 'sexual politics' helps illuminate 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 and unequal social groups are expressed in the image, which can therefore never be 'neutral' and autonomous from social processes - even if it appears so. On the contrary, both making and looking at images should be understood as social practices.
Drawing on groundbreaking feminist theory, the course examines a variety of practices since the 1960s that have defined the expanded field of the visual, and artistic practice in general. Key moments in this review may include: the connection between gendered identities in real life and spaces of representation; the intersection of gender, race and class; sexual politics and curatorial practices; the impact of feminism on art history as a discipline; the emergence of performance and video and their impact on challenging mainstream attitudes; the significance of feminist film theory; post-feminist approaches to the sexed subject; gender in relation to technology; social reproduction, biopolitics and the socio-economic processes known 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 completed at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above, and we will only consider University/College level courses. **Please note that 3rd year History of Art courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  21
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 24, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 150 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 24 hour online examination paper (50%) and 1 extended essay of 2000 words (50%)

Feedback Formative Assessment

The formative assessment for this course is a short text (300 w) where you discuss a key concept relating to feminist critique and sexual politics OR a short critical review of an article relating to this material. A list of KEY CONCEPTS or ARTICLES will be provided by the tutor and made available in the Syllabus and in the relevant section on LEARN. Indicatively, key concepts may include ¿intersectionality¿, ¿male gaze¿, ¿performativity¿, ¿social reproduction¿ etc. Articles will be made available through the appropriate channels. Should you want to discuss a concept or article NOT on the list, you will need to consult your tutor by Week 3.

The purpose of this formative assessment is (a) to advance your writing skills in ways that can impact positively your essay-writing, and (b) to help you understand possibly challenging concepts and/or texts that have been important to the field. You are therefore asked to submit your formative assessment by Friday of Week 6, so that there is time to discuss your work with your tutor well in advance of submitting your essay.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)24 hour online exam0:05
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
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