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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Postgraduate Course: Theorising Contemporary Art (HIAR11036)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course focuses on recent attempts to provide theoretical contexts for art since 1989 - that is, after the end of the Cold War and the emergence of globalisation as an important reference in the analysis of art.
Course description The course will revisit theorisations of art in earlier decades that help us understand and situate critically these more recent developments. The course will not examine conclusively one particular theoretical position or present major theoretical paradigms in exhaustive detail; the aim is, rather, to help us approach critically how the paradigm of ┐contemporary art┐ is shaped. The course title's 'theorising' points therefore to a particular process for approaching contemporary art: one that acknowledges the significance of the theoretical text/essay for decoding and recoding the complex and varied fields of action that 'contemporary art' has become. Our main aims will be a) to acquaint ourselves with a range of arguments referring to contemporary art, and b) to understand the process by which certain viewpoints gain currency in defining ┐the contemporary┐ in art. In its selective presentation of material, the course encompasses the following themes, each to be explored over two or three weeks: (1) Postmodernism and Globalisation; (2) The Avant-garde and Institutional Critique; (3) Art and Social Movements (examples: feminism, anti-racist and decolonial critique, anti-capitalism, etc). Where relevant, we will look at curatorial efforts, as well as different conceptions of the artwork, in relation to theoretical expositions.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 4,000 word essay
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
The learning outcomes of this course are:

Knowledge and understanding :
Having successfully completed the course, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

? The importance of a theoretical context for experiencing and ascribing meaning to contemporary art, indeed for defining the ?contemporary? in art
? The complexity and diversity of available positions
? How certain theoretical contexts become more prominent than others
? The conflicts between, and alliances of, theory and practice

Cognitive (thinking and creative) skills :
Having successfully completed the course, you will be able to:

? Understand and review the impact of theory on contemporary art practice
? Approach critically the wide variety of images in contemporary spaces of representation
? Participate with confidence in debates that continue to fuel arguments in contemporary art theory and practice
? Formulate and assess own theoretical position and informed views in relation to relevant texts (and images if and where appropriate)

Practical, subject specific skills :
Having successfully completed the unit, you will be able to:

? Identify and bring together diverse texts (and images where appropriate), and assess their relevance to the application of specific concepts
? Structure arguments that respect the complexity of the positions you encounter in contemporary art and its theory
? Apprehend the significance of adequately theorised research for conveying your positions to peers and tutors
Reading List
NB: The reading list is in order of date of publication so that you are offered a trajectory of theorising the contemporary in art from the 1990s to date.
┐ Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Duke University Press 1991
┐ Hal Foster, The Return of the Real: Art and Theory at the End of the Century, The MIT Press 1996
┐ Julian Stallabrass, Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press 2006
┐ Gerald Raunig and Gene Ray, eds, Art and Contemporary Critical Practice: Reinventing Institutional Critique, Mayfly 2009
┐ Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, Verso 2012
┐ T.J. Demos, The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary during Global Crisis, Duke University Press 2013
┐ Angela Dimitrakaki, Gender, ArtWork and the Global Imperative: A Materialist Feminist Critique, Manchester University Press 2013
┐ Maria Hlavajova and Simon Sheikh, eds, Art and the Contemporary after 1989, The MIT Press 2017
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Location will be confirmed in Handbook
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Angela Dimitrakaki
Course secretaryMrs Anna Johns
Tel: (0131 6)51 5740
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