What is the course about?
‘Critical theory’ has had a profound impact on how we think and write about visual art, or even how we experience it, whether it would be a medieval panting or contemporary multi-media installation. In this 5-week course we will continue to explore the role that critical theory plays in the field of art history. The course is an introduction to the theoretical writing about art, how we look and how we respond to it. We will focus on the theory of the death of the author, feminist writing on art and the impact of post-colonial theory on reception and production of art. We cover such key authors as Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Linda Nochlin, Laura Mulvey, Lucy Lippard, Edward Said and Homi K. Bhabha. The course can be taken either in conjunction with Art and Critical Theory – Ways to Think about Art – Vision and Gaze or separately.
What will we cover?
• Introduction to critical theory including the authors such as Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Linda Nochlin, Laura Mulvey, Lucy Lippard, Edward Said and Homi K. Bhabha.
• The impact of feminist and post-colonial theories on art practice and criticism.
• The relevance of the concepts developed within critical theory for thinking about and experiencing art.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Discuss at least three key thinkers and their contribution to critical theory.
• Demonstrate improved critical analysis skills and an ability to situate artworks in a broader theoretical context.
• Evaluate the role of theoretical texts for looking at and thinking about art.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for most levels. Entry-level knowledge of art history and/or philosophy will be an advantage; readiness to engage with theoretical texts is crucial.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, handouts and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught with slide presentations, group discussions and short group exercises. There will be assigned weekly reading.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You might wish to bring a notebook. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list given out in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
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