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

Postgraduate Course: Modern and Contemporary Art of the Black Atlantic (HIAR11120)

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
SummaryThis course introduces students to the cultural, artistic and social exchanges of the Black Atlantic focusing on modern and contemporary artists of the Americas, Africa, Europe and Britain.
Course description This seminar-based course looks at the art, shared histories and cultures of what is known as the Black Atlantic, a transnational network of intellectual and social exchanges born from the African diaspora. Moving from the twentieth century to the present day, we'll take a cross-contextual approach to modern and contemporary art practice by Black artists from the Americas, Africa, Europe and Britain. Specific seminar topics and themes may vary from year to year but illustrative examples of what the course is likely to cover include: In what ways did the N├ęgritude movement counteract European notions of primitivism central to Surrealism? How did Harlem Renaissance artists like Aaron Douglas, Archibald Motley, and Hayden Palmer make visible W.E.B. Dubois's notion of 'double-consciousness'? And how do contemporary artists and filmmakers like Sonia Boyce, Ellen Gallagher, Isaac Julien, and Steve McQueen visualise the legacies of slavery and diaspora? We will trace changes in modes of expression, formal concerns, and pictorial themes to think about how modern and contemporary art deconstructs and constructs race and identity.
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
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate skills of visual analysis and interpretation by looking in detail at key examples of art by Black artists from the Americas, Africa, Europe and Britain.
  2. Analyse the ways in which the experiences of slavery and diaspora are registered and explored in works of twentieth and twenty-first century art.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of concepts including the Black Atlantic and related models of cultural exchange and transmission.
  4. Critically examine how and why broader historical changes in society contributed to developments in art.
  5. Apply developed skills of analysis, communication, and organisation
Reading List
Barson, Tanya, and Peter Gorschl├╝ter, eds. AfroModern: Journeys Through the Black Atlantic. (London: Tate Publishing, 2010.)

Bernier, Celeste-Marie. Stick to the Skin: African American and Black British Art, 1965-2015.
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019.)

Finley, Cheryl. Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018.)

Gilroy, Paul. 'The Black Atlantic as a Counterculture of Modernity.' The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. (London: Verso, 1993. 1-40.)

Mercer, Kobena. Travel and See: Black Diaspora Practices since the 1980s. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.)
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; Teamwork through group discussion
KeywordsBlack Atlantic; slavery; diaspora; cultural exchange; network
Course organiserDr Maryam Ohadi-Hamadani
Tel: (0131 6)51 5800
Course secretary Yijia Chen
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