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

Undergraduate Course: Landscapes of Empire (ARHI10058)

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 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.
Course description 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)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed ( Architectural History 1A: Introduction to World Architecture (ARHI08009) AND Architectural History 1B: Revivalism to Modernism (ARHI08004)) AND Urbanism and the City: Past to Present (ARHI08010)
Prohibited Combinations 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? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. 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.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to critically review and consolidate knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in the history of exchanges between empire and the built environment.
  3. Possess presentation skills that convey, formally and informally, information about the histories of architecture and science to informed audiences.
  4. Act autonomously in carrying out professional/equivalent activities in the histories of architecture, landscape and empire by synthesizing new ideas through individual research.
Reading List
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
Additional Information
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 organiserDr Kirsten Carter McKee
Course secretaryMr Daniel Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)50 2309
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