ARTHIST 115G Global Art Histories

ARTHIST 115G | BE, EDSW, EMHSS, LC | Semester Two 2021 | City Campus | 15 points


This course will provide a broad survey of art and visual culture spanning the early modern world leading up to an examination of the contemporary world we live in today. This course is an important meeting of history, politics and art. In history and in different cultures images, materials and art practices are used to express and extend power and authority. Yet such images have also been used for revolution and change. In this unique course, students will be introduced to art, history and politics in a global context including European and American, Māori, Pacific, African and Asian traditions. Taking this comparative approach, the course provides students with the knowledge to recognise how power manipulates vision, concepts and materials, and how artists have challenged this power.

The classes are structured within thematic topics which include the expression and representation of authority and power; the emergence of different perspectives on modernity and different cultural and political explorations of feminism and identity, migrations and diasporas.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students will have acquired the following skills and competencies:

  • To be able to visually analyse artworks, images and examples of visual culture using reliable methods and terms 
  • Confidence in comparing and contrasting artworks and examples of visual culture across cultures 
  • The ability to situate artworks in their social, historical, cultural and economic contexts 
  • The skills to sustain an argument and logically compose a narrative in essay writing 
  • Techniques to find and research quality resources and information in the library and online 

The course aims to be exciting and exploratory featuring digital media, online learning, discussion groups, multimedia bibliographies and tutorials to encourage fresh and innovative ways of learning, understanding and engaging with artworks.

Recommended Reading

Adrienne Kaeppler, The Pacific Arts of Polynesia and Micronesia. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008)

Gregory Minissale, Images of Thought: Painting in Islamic India. (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009)

Partha Mitter, Indian Art. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)

Nicholas Thomas, Oceanic Art. (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995)

Caroline Turner, ed. Art and Social Change: Contemporary Art in Asia and the Pacific. (Australia: Pandanus Books, 2005)

Frank Willett, African Art (London: Thames & Hudson, 2003)

David Joselit, American Art Since 1945. (London: Thames & Hudson, 2003)

Jessica Rawson China: the three emperors, 1662-1795 (London : Royal Academy of Arts, 2005)

Student Feedback

'The lectures were informative and the readings were interesting. I really loved this course! Especially as a gen–ed student I didn't feel disadvantaged being a science student and found everything really engaging. I loved it!'

'It was such an enjoyable course! one of my favourites! the teachers were so dedicated and helpful and I've learnt so much!'

'I found the reassurance and support of lectures and tutors helpful such as the ability to ask questions as well as the easy access and navigation of the canvas set up.'

'Really clear, concise and relevant teaching methods and information. Enjoyable and stimulating lessons. The lecturer was very clear about assignments, what was expected and open to give any feedback or help if needed.'

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