Undergraduate Course: Landscapes of Empire (ARHI10058)
|School||Edinburgh College of Art
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course explores conversations around empire, conflict, slavery and white supremacy through its architectures and landscapes. Within this, it will discuss how the design and development of landscape is linked with notions of land ownership and control, and consider these through political, cultural and environmental dialogues. Through explorations of archival material and historic texts, it will explore political geographies, and link these with communities, the climate emergency and racial inequality, and will use these to better understand the ongoing legacies of historic imperialism found throughout the globe in the present day.
Landscapes of Empire begins by outlining the premise of our understanding of landscapes and their role in aesthetic, political and cultural discourse from the 1700s onwards. In particular it will explore how conversations around the development and ownership of land were set up to support particular objectives and processes for the furtherance of imperial gain. Through thematic, geographic and chronological case studies, this course will then highlight how the built and natural environment - in both the U.K. and abroad - have developed and/or evolved as a result of financial gain from the transatlantic slave economy, and the exploitation of resources of colonised nations throughout the British Empire. These case studies will be assessed alongside archival analysis and seminal texts that decolonise conversations around race, Empire and the built environment, in order to consider the lasting legacy of the impact of imperial operations of Britain throughout the last c. 300 years. The course will finish by addressing the legacies of imperial practices in the present day. This will address the impact of Empire on the resources, economies and environments of postcolonial nations, to the recognition of current societal conversations around anti-racist practices, and how this relates to discourses on climate change and a post-Covid society in the future management and development of our built and natural environments.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| Students should normally have passed at least 60 credits of Architectural History or History of Art/History courses at Level 8. If the pre-requisites cannot be met, entry to this course can be negotiated in consultation with either the Course Organiser or Programme Director (Architectural History).
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
Each student will present one reading from the Syllabus to the entire class during the week in which that reading is scheduled to be discussed. The ten-minute presentation will 1) review the content of the article or chapter and 2) critically assess the thesis, methods, and conclusions of the text. The presenter will thereafter lead a brief discussion with the entire class and answer questions that arise from the presentation. Constructive, verbal feedback from the Instructor will follow the presentation in a private meeting during Office Hours.
Log: 40% of course grade
Each student will write a log with evaluations of each week's readings and/or seminar discussion. This log will include a roughly 300-word log entry for every week. For each entry, the student can choose to respond critically to one of the weekly readings or to develop a line of inquiry covered in class discussions. Students should submit the completed logbook of around 3,000 words during the Examination period.
Research Paper: 60% of course grade
Each student will write a 3,500-word research paper focusing on one of the themes presented during the course. Students can elect to compose either a literature review of one of the weekly themes or an original research paper on a more specific topic, i.e. individual monument(s) or architect(s). Primary sources should be examined and included as supporting evidence (in the case of a literature review, the primary sources are the scholarly texts). Students should clear the selected topic with the Instructor by mid-semester. The research paper is due during the Examination period.
||Students will receive written feedback on the log and research paper. This will be returned within 15 working days.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand the key theories, concepts and principles of how the histories of landscape and architecture intersect with the history of empires between the 17th and 20th centuries.
- Demonstrate the ability to critically review and consolidate knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in the history of exchanges between empire and the built environment.
- Possess presentation skills that convey, formally and informally, information about the histories of architecture and science to informed audiences.
- Act autonomously in carrying out professional/equivalent activities in the histories of architecture, landscape and empire by synthesizing new ideas through individual research.
|Beckert, S., 2014., Empire of Cotton: A New History of Global Capitalism |
Dresser, M. and Hahn, A., 2013. Slavery and the British Country House (English Heritage Report)
Gopal, P., 2020. Insurgent Empire: Anticolonialism and the making of British Dissent
Nelson, Louis P., 2016. Architecture and Empire in Jamaica
Wilson, Mabel O. et al, 2020. Race and Modern Architecture
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||1. A critical understanding and reflective skill related to landscape and the legacies of empire.
2. A creative engagement with a wide range of research methods.
3. Ability to contribute effectively in peer discussion.
4. Ability to communicate skilfully with informed audiences.
|Course organiser||Dr Kirsten Carter McKee
|Course secretary||Miss Fanny To
Tel: (0131 6)51 5773