HA3AW-Art, War and Gender in the Twentieth Century

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Dr Sue Malvern

Email: s.b.malvern@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module will undertake a comparative study of the function of art in relationship to major twentieth-century conflicts. Art and war are two terms which seem to hinge on a series of oppositions. Art is not disruption, pollution, mutilation, destruction, abjection, violence or horror. Attempting to represent the indescribable and giving form to human suffering raises issues of decorum for art about the limits of depiction and what lies beyond in an unbridgeable gulf between experience and representation. Material will be drawn from all periods of the twentieth century including the First and Second World Wars, the Spanish Civil War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and Bosnia, and extend to contemporary interest in issues such as commemorating the Holocaust or the representation of women's experiences in war. Works of art will be discussed within the context of issues such as patriotism and the body of the nation state, the gendering of nations, propaganda, censorship (including self-censorship), questions of love and hate, masculinities and femininities at war, art and protest, and ideas about abjection and the unrepresentable. The aftermath of war including questions about the bodies of war's victims, the production of war memorials and rituals of remembrance will also be discussed.

Aims:
This module aims to study major social phenomena and social change, in this instance war, for the implications these have for analysing art and for the methodology of art history.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

  • evaluate sources critically and, in the case of sources which seek to explain the effect of social phenomena on art, demonstrate an understanding of the methodology used and an ability to discuss the advantages and limitations of particular approaches
  • demonstrate initiative in identifying and using material relevant to the topic
  • organize material into effective and coherent arguments in oral presentations, and timed examination papers

Additional outcomes:
This module will foster interpersonal skills, including the ability to comprehend and respect differences of opinion and understanding, particularly in relationship to complex moral issues.

Outline content:
This module will undertake a comparative study of the function of art in relationship to major twentieth-century conflicts. Art and war are two terms which seem to hinge on a series of oppositions. Art is not disruption, pollution, mutilation, destruction, abjection, violence or horror. Attempting to represent the indescribable and giving form to human suffering raises issues of decorum for art about the limits of depiction and what lies beyond in an unbridgeable gulf between experience and representation. Material will be drawn from all periods of the twentieth century including the First and Second World Wars, the Spanish Civil War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and Bosnia, and extend to contemporary interest in issues such as commemorating the Holocaust or the representation of women's experiences in war. Works of art will be discussed within the context of issues such as patriotism and the body of the nation state, the gendering of nations, propaganda, censorship (including self-censorship), questions of love and hate, masculinities and femininities at war, art and protest, and ideas about abjection and the unrepresentable. The aftermath of war including questions about the bodies of war's victims, the production of war memorials and rituals of remembrance will also be discussed.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Normally two hours of seminars per week. Seminars involve structured group discussion requiring preparatory research and reading. Study visits are arranged to appropriate galleries, reserve collections and exhibitions. One or two revision classes in the summer term.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10 6 4
Guided independent study 66 10 36
       
Total hours by term 96.00 16.00 40.00
       
Total hours for module 152.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 20
Project output other than dissertation 60
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Other information on summative assessment:
Students give one assessed oral presentation 20%; and marks of 20% for an essay and 60% for a research project.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    None.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Coursework to be submitted by 1 September if it carries an original mark of less than 40%.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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