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

Undergraduate Course: Aztec Imperial Art (HIAR10195)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces students to the artwork of the Aztec and related Indigenous societies of Mexico during the late prehispanic period (1200-1521), examining political and religious imagery produced in a wide variety of different materials.
Course description On the eve of the arrival of Spanish colonists, the Aztec were the most powerful Indigenous society of North America, as their empire extended throughout what is now Mexico. This course will provide an intensive look at artworks produced by the Aztec and their imperial subjects predominantly during the last several centuries prior to contact with Europe (1200-1521), with consideration also given to various colonial works produced later in the sixteenth century. We will examine works produced in a wide range of materials, including monumental architecture and sculpture, lapidary mosaic work, ceramics, precious metals, textiles, and painted manuscripts. These works provide powerful windows into the ideologies and worldviews of this ancient society, and students will gain a firm understanding of Aztec religion and politics as a result. The course will pay special attention to some of the most famous works of Aztec art housed here in the UK, and will conclude with critical considerations of current issues surrounding globalisation and heritage.
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).
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) You will be assessed for this course in two ways:
(1) ESSAY (worth 50% of your overall mark)
One 2,500-word essay, the title to be chosen from a list supplied; due at the end of the semester.
(2) EXAM (worth 50% of your overall mark)
One 3-hour online exam in April/May diet.
Learning outcomes will be tested equally in both components of assessment.
Feedback Students are given feedback on FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT as follows:
You will be asked to prepare a presentation to deliver to the class and to submit a short (c.300 word) summary of your presentation with references. You will receive verbal feedback at a one-to-one meeting afterwards (in person or online). The presentation will demonstrate knowledge and understanding that will contribute to your performance in your summative assessment.

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT: There will be an essay and an exam, equally weighted. Written feedback on student essays will be provided, in addition to the opportunity for a one-to-one meeting towards the end of semester.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)3-hour online exam3:15
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of a selection of the art and culture of Aztec and late prehispanic Mexico in the period 1200-1521;
  2. Show a critical understanding of relevant theories and concepts for interpreting this material;
  3. Develop a broader global perspective on the discipline of art history through engagement with non-Western cultures;
  4. Critically review and consolidate knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in history of art and visual and material culture;
  5. Clearly present and convey information on the history of art in written and oral forms.
Reading List
Townsend, Richard. 2010. The Aztecs. Third edition. Thames and Hudson: London.

Pasztory, Esther. 1998. Aztec Art. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman.

Matos Moctezuma, Eduardo and Felipe Solis Solguin. 2003. Aztecs. Royal Academy Publications: London.

Boone, Elizabeth Hill. 2007. Cycles of Time and Meaning in the Mexican Books of Fate. University of Texas: Austin.
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.
KeywordsAztec,prehispanic Mexico,colonialism,fine and applied arts,Latin America,architecture,museums
Course organiserDr Jamie Forde
Course secretaryMr Nathan Ross-Hammond
Tel: (0131 6)51 5880
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