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

Undergraduate Course: The Art of Revolution: A Century of Russian Visual Culture (HIAR10174)

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 the relationship between politics and visual culture in Russia and the Soviet Union from the early twentieth century up to the present day. The course is structured as a series of two-hour seminars, which will cover a century's worth of content, encompassing Suprematism and Constructivism, to socialist realism, lens-based media, and contemporary performance art.
Course description This course explores the relationship between politics and visual culture in Russia and the Soviet Union from the early twentieth century up to the present day. Beginning with a thorough examination of Russia's political and cultural context at the turn of the century, we will move through a series of major avant-garde movements, from Cubo-Futurism and Suprematism to Constructivism. The focus then shifts to the Stalinist period, where a socialist realist aesthetic prevailed, though these sessions will highlight the significance of body culture and lens-based media in the mid-twentieth century. The course will draw to a conclusion with the collapse of the Soviet Union, looking at the often-fraught relationship between art and politics in contemporary Russia.

A wide range of artistic practices will be considered throughout the course as a whole, ranging from painting, graphic design and film to ballet, theatre and body art. Analysis of visual content will be interwoven with discussion of the relevant political and social context. Students will thus be equipped with a comprehensive understanding of the development of Russian visual culture across a century of political upheaval.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2A Reason, Romance, Revolution: Art from 1700 to 1900 (HIAR08027) AND History of Art 2B From Modernism and the Avant-Gardes to Postmodernism and Globalisation (HIAR08028)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who have passed at least 60 credits of Architectural History at Level 8 can also take these courses. If the pre-requisites cannot be met, entry to this course can be negotiated in consultation with either the Course Organiser or Programme Director (History of Art).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have completed at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above, and we will only consider University/College level courses. **Please note that 3rd year History of Art courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, 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, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 24, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 150 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 x 2000 word essay 50% - submitted weeks 8-10.
1 x 3-hour online exam 50% - April/May diet.
Feedback Students are given feedback on formative assessment as follows:

You will be asked to complete a 500-word essay proposal mid-way through semester and will receive written and verbal feedback at a one-to-one meeting within 15 working days.

Summative Assessment

There will be an essay and an exam, equally weighted. Written feedback on student essays will be provided within 15 working days of submission, in addition to a one-to-one meeting towards the end of semester.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)3-hour online exam3:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the political, cultural and aesthetic dimensions of Russian and Soviet art.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key artists and their works in Russia and the Soviet Union, as well as the evolution of a range of art forms across a century of political upheaval and societal change.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to analyse connections across a range of artistic practices and media.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to analyse primary visual and material sources in a range of formats and demonstrate skills of visual enquiry, analysis and communication.
  5. Demonstrate developed skills of analysis, communication, and organisation.
Reading List
Bryzgel, Amy, Performing the East: Performance Art in Russia, Latvia and Poland since 1980 (London: I.B. Tauris, 2013)

Cullerne Bown, Matthew and Taylor, Brandon, Art of the Soviets: Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in a One-Party State, 1917-1992 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993)

Ezrahi, Christina, Swans of the Kremlin: Ballet and Power in Soviet Russia (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012)

Lodder, Christina, Russian Constructivism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983)

Miller, Jamie, Soviet Cinema: Politics and Persuasion Under Stalin (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2010)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Visual and critical analysis;
Clear thinking and the development of an argument;
Independent research;
Presentation and communication skills;
Organisation and planning.
Special Arrangements Students MUST have passed the appropriate number of second year level credits in any suitable subject. History of Art manage the quota for this course. If you wish to enrol, please contact Sue Cavanagh.
KeywordsRussia,Soviet Union,communism,film,performance,censorship
Course organiserDr Cole Collins
Course secretary Yijia Chen
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