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

Undergraduate Course: Outsider Art History (HIAR10153)

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 examines and problematises current representation of outsiders in art history from the early twentieth century to the present day. Framed around a more inclusive definition of outsider art, discussions will focus on a number of marginalised groups by critically evaluating issues such as gender, sexuality and race. A wide range of transgressive and iconoclastic artistic practices will be considered, ranging from painting, photography and performance to body modification, graffiti and digital art.
Course description Beginning with the influence of art of the mentally ill on Jean Dubuffet's conception of Art Brut, each class will explore the work of a specific group of institutional 'outsiders.' Topics include the marginalisation of female artists and performers, Black and minority ethnic artists and queer and transgender identities all of which highlight the lack of visibility of these outsider groups within an 'insider' art historical framework. Arguments around legitimacy and canonicity will be recurring themes. Students will be encouraged to question established notions of art historical practice, exploring institutional critique, activist interventions and on-going debates around censorship.

The course is intended as a bridge between the introductory work at pre-honours and the specialism of the fourth year. It will provide a more detailed understanding of the evolution of 'non-canonical' art history throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, providing students with a grounding in gender analysis, queer theory and race theory as an approach to contemporary art history.

Teaching will be delivered through a mixture of lecture, discussion and student presentation in two-hour classes. Students will also spend approximately an hour a week discussing readings and images as part of student-led peer learning groups.
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. Demonstrate broad understanding of the development of non-canonical art history in the 20th and 21st centuries.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of how theories of gender, sexuality and race relate to visual and historical analysis.
  3. Demonstrate ability to assess primary visual and material sources.
  4. Demonstrate developed skills of visual enquiry, analysis and communication.
Reading List
Biesenbach, Klaus, Anderson, Brooke Davis, Bonesteel, Michael and Watson, Carl [eds.], Henry Darger 1892-1973 (Munich: Prestel, 2009)
Butler, Cornelia and Mark, Lisa Gabrielle, WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution [exh. cat. Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art] (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2007)
Cornell, Lauren and Halter, Ed, Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2015)
Gonzalez, Jennifer, Subject to Display: Reframing Race in Contemporary Installation Art (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2008)
Halberstam, Judith, In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives (New York; London: New York University Press, 2005)
Howells, Richard, Ritivoi, Andreea Deciu and Schachter, Judith [eds.] Outrage: Art, Controversy and Society (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
Kelly, Dennis, Art/Porn: A History of Seeing and Touching (New York: Berg, 2009)
Peiry, Lucienne, Art Brut: Dubuffet and the Origins of Outsider Art (London: Thames and Hudson, 2001)
Pitts, Victoria, In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)
Oguibe, Olu and Enwezor, Okwui, Reading the Contemporary: African Art from Theory to the Marketplace (London: InIVA, 1999)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Visual and critical analysis;
Independent research;
Presentation and communication skills;
Group work;
Organisation and planning.
KeywordsOutsider art,gender studies,sexuality,race theory,digital culture,censorship
Course organiserDr Lucy Weir
Tel: (0131 6)51 8500
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