Information in the Degree Programme Tables may still be subject to change in response to Covid-19

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


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
SummaryAs art historians, an unprecedented range of theoretical and methodological tools are available to assist our understanding of and engagement with the complex field of contemporary art. Since the mid-twentieth century, art┐s shift towards dematerialised, performance-based and politically-engaged practices has rendered art history┐s traditional methods of analysis less readily applicable. In the 1970s, the ┐New Art Histories┐ arose in response to these changes and remade the methods of the discipline along new contours, critically informed by Marxist and feminist theory. However, is this ┐new┐ theoretical and methodological framework, introduced by the likes of TJ Clark and Griselda Pollock, still appropriate for making sense of art today? This course will provide an introduction to Marxist, feminist, queer, postcolonial and poststructuralist perspectives ┐ as well as the intersections between these positions ┐ through a survey of contemporary art after 1970. Considering the range of critical approaches required to comprehend the diverse forms that contemporary culture often takes, we will also pay close attention to the significant influence such theories and methods have had upon studio and curatorial practice in recent decades. Artists as diverse as Damien Hirst, Marina Abramovic and Renzo Martens will be discussed in terms of issues such as globalisation, gender, identity, the institution, labour and production.
Course description 1: Introduction: What is Contemporary Art History? (VH&HW)
2: Aesthetics and Autonomy (HW)
3: Institutional Critique (VH&HW)
4: Psychoanalysis and Identity (VH)
5: Cultural Studies, Postcolonialism and Globalisation (VH&HW)
6: The Postmodern Condition (HW)
7: Sexuality and Queer Politics (VH)
8: Feminism (VH)
9: Marxism (HW)
10: The Unhappy Marriage: Marxist-Feminism (VH&HW)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012) OR Architectural History 2a: Order & the City (ARHI08006) AND Architectural History 2b: Culture & the City (ARHI08007)
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
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

    Be aware and knowledgeable of a range of critical approaches to contemporary art.
  2. Understand the methods of art history, and how these methods may be applied to writing on contemporary art.
  3. Be able to engage with complex theoretical texts, and apply their understanding of theory to contemporary art practices.
  4. Have a broad overview of the landscape of contemporary art and its key developments.
  5. Be able to engage critically with the theories and practices of contemporary art, articulating their own views on developments in art practice since the 1970s in written and verbal formats, using appropriate academic conventions.
Reading List
Anna D┐alleva. Methods and Theories of Art History. London: Lawrence King, 2005.
Charles Harrison, Paul Wood (eds.). Art in Theory: 1900-2010. London: Blackwell, 2002.
Jonathan Harris. The New Art History. London: Routledge, 2001.
Amelia Jones. Contemporary Art since 1945. London: Blackwell. 2006.
Robert S Nelson, Richard Schiff (eds.). Critical Terms for Art History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
Julian Stallabrass. Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: OUP, 2006.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsContemporary art, theory, criticism, methodology
Course organiserMs Victoria Horne
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