HA3BD-Bodies of Difference: Mapping contemporary art

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Sue Malvern

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

Summary module description:
This module will focus on the representation of the body in contemporary visual theory and visual representation including photography and contemporary art which combines installation, text and performance. Different kinds of body image and forms of embodiment will be encountered including work which has strong bodily resonances but which does not obviously picture the human figure, such as abstract bodies, fragmented or artificial bodies, and objects that suggest something of the affective power of a body. It will draw on material from the contemporary field after the break with canonical modernism in the late 60s and discuss the emergence of different communities and voices including the post-colonial. Drawing on diverse theoretical contexts including psychoanalysis and feminism, the module will discuss narcissism, spectacle and commodification, empowerment and repression. The body images we will examine will include the infantile or polymorphous, where gender differences proliferate and are not necessarily fixed, and those where masculinity or femininity are more firmly inscribed, but in ways that often destabilise conventional gender norms. Our concerns will range across all forms of embodiment in visual art including the artist's body, the viewer's body, and the body of the art work itself.

Aims:
This module aims to provide a specialised understanding of contemporary art practices from diverse cultures including Europe and America and their diasporic communities, with particular reference to the body and its representation. It aims to provide students with a foundation in key theoretical sources in contemporary culture and to explore the relationship between writing and making, seeing and theorising,that has been germane to contemporary art since the late 1960s.

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

  • analyse key aspects of contemporary art practice
  • articulate the ways in which the body has been understood and represented in contemporary art
  • analyse key theoretical concepts and ideas relevant to understanding contemporary art such as feminism and psychoanalysis
  • 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:
With its requirement to present one seminar paper, this module encourages the development of oral communication skills. It also develops students' library research skills and IT skills by the use of relevant Web resources and databases.

Outline content:
This module will focus on the representation of the body in contemporary visual theory and visual representation including photography and contemporary art which combines installation, text and performance. Different kinds of body image and forms of embodiment will be encountered including work which has strong bodily resonances but which does not obviously picture the human figure, such as abstract bodies, fragmented or artificial bodies, and objects that suggest something of the affective power of a body. It will draw on material from the contemporary field after the break with canonical modernism in the late 60s and discuss the emergence of different communities and voices including the post-colonial. Drawing on diverse theoretical contexts including psychoanalysis and feminism, the module will discuss narcissism, spectacle and commodification, empowerment and repression. The body images we will examine will include the infantile or polymorphous, where gender differences proliferate and are not necessarily fixed, and those where masculinity or femininity are more firmly inscribed, but in ways that often destabilise conventional gender norms. Our concerns will range across all forms of embodiment in visual art including the artist's body, the viewer's body, and the body of the art work itself.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
One two-hour seminar per week requiring preliminary reading and research. Group discussion, individual seminar presentations; and one or two revision classes in the summer term. Normally at least one study visit to a relevant gallery or exhibition, such as Tate Modern or The Serpentine.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 20 6 4
Guided independent study 56 10 84
       
Total hours by term 96.00 16.00 88.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

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:
Coursework
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 Convenor 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:
    No exam.

    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%.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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