Anthropology of art, ethnographic film and photography
Time: 10:15 - 12:15
Location: Keeley Street
Course Code: HA005
Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)
What is the course about?
The Anthropology of Art overlaps with art history, aesthetics, material culture studies, and visual anthropology. On this introductory course we shall critically explore the role and meaning of masks, paintings, photography, museums, tourist and street art, and the human body. Some of the questions we discuss are “Is there a universal concept of beauty or an indigenous aesthetic? Why do different cultures decorate their walls and floors on different ways? Is the human body increasingly seen as a visual canvas? What is the role of museums and ethnographic collections”. We address how an anthropological approach to art is distinguished by a global and local understanding, and the social relationships involved in the making of art objects. How does a culture produce different art styles and to what extent does the value of art change when transported cross culturally? By analysing C19th colonial and contemporary ethnographic photographs and the role of fieldwork, an understanding of the parallels and perspectives of how anthropologists and photographers equally step inside and outside society is revealed On a practical level students will additionally analyse the form and function of objects and the status of artists in the community through role play and handling visual material.
What will we cover?
- What is the Anthropology of Art?
- Anthropology of the body, tattooing, scarification, hair and skin.
- 20thc tribal art influences on Picasso and Matisse
- Anthropology of the line- Aboriginal dreamtime and land art
- Anthropology of Art and the Senses
- Anthropology of colonial and contemporary ethnographic photography
- The ritual and cultural decoration of domestic walls and floors.
- The role of museums and ethnographic collections.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Students will have gained knowledge and an understanding of the key theorists, concepts and debates relating to
the anthropology of art.
- Evaluate key anthropology theories and develop critical analysis relating to the anthropology of art and its
significance in human society
- Demonstrate an understanding of anthropological methods and practice in relation to our material world
- Develop an academic, personal and professional understanding of the anthropology of art through role play, class
discussions and debate.
- Apply an ethnographic appreciation to a variety of cross cultural values and beliefs relating to anthropology of art and the visual image, through practical handling of material art objects, photographic material and a museum visit.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course that requires no prior experience of anthropology. Your enjoyment will be enhanced if you approach this course with an open and critical mind and a curiosity for learning. You will benefit from reading and commenting upon the anthropology texts distributed in class and be prepared to discuss with your peers. As anthropologists seek to raise awareness of the cross-cultural difference of human behaviour, overall you should be willing to re-evaluate your own understanding, perceptions and assumptions of art from cultures different to your own.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The Anthropology of Art course will comprise of talks, individual and group work, handling photographs and art objects, observing ethnographic films, seminar discussions and optional student presentations. There will also be a class visit to an art exhibition or gallery that complements the course content.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No compulsory costs. Please bring writing tools for class work, a pen and paper or electronic equivalent. You will also be asked to bring in an object of art you may have collected whilst travelling, bought in a market or a family item to discuss in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
This course will be followed by HA007 Anthropology of space, place and the cultural landscape next term. Pleae visit our website for more details and our range of Anthropology courses.
Yasmin completed a BA (Hons) in Social Anthropology and an MA in the History of South Asian Art and Architecture which complemented her role as a museum educator and curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Her research interest in the social use of space, indigenous art and architecture was consolidated through ethnographic fieldwork in India, and latterly commenced doctoral research in the Anthropology of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University and UCL. Yasmin has lectured at various academic institutions including Birkbeck and University of Arts, and is currently based at City Lit and Goldsmiths University, teaching Anthropology modules including Intro to Anthropology, Anthropology of Art, Film and Photography and the Anthropology of Space, Place and the Landscape. She is currently involved in research at the UCL Media Anthropology Lab, working with digital research methods and indigenous Amazonian communities in South America. Yasmin has also curated a Tamil, South Indian community exhibition called the ‘Talking Streets’. ways. She is a freelance anthropology consultant, tutor and delivers a range of successful independent cultural workshops at Anthropology for all.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.