SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Theory and Method I

Module Code:
154900190
Credits:
15
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 1
This unit introduces students to a range of critical, theoretical and practical approaches to the study of art and archaeology in Asian and African contexts. Co-taught by faculty members, the course covers a series of key transferable skills and methodologies, and encourages students to adopt a critical perspective in applying these methods to the study of material culture in Asia and Africa. Themes and issues addressed on the course vary each year but may include: Style, Iconography, Formalism, Material Culture: Context and Value, Museums and Museology, Primitivism, Gender, Archaeology (Excavation, Context and Analysis), Semiotics, Modernism, Postmodernism and Modernity, Gestalt, Phenomenology and Hermeneutics. Weekly teaching comprises a two-hour lecture and a one-hour tutorial, and the course is assessed by two essays and a written exam. As a core course for first year BA History of Art and Archaeology, it will prepare students for further study and research, equipping them with the skills they will need to successfully pursue their degree and encouraging them to establish and articulate their position within a range of disciplines.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module s student will be able to:

  • demonstrate a broad overview of different theoretical and methodological approaches used by art historians and archaeologists.
  • critically assess the value of these approaches for the study of History of Art and Archaeology in Asia and Africa.
  • selectively and critically apply appropriate theories and methodologies in their written work.
 

Workload

Two hour lecture; one hour tutorial

Method of assessment

  • Précis (500 words; 10%)
  • Dialogical Essay or Position Paper (1,000 words; 30%)
  • Participation in lectures and tutorials (worth 10%)
  • Final Essay (1,500 words; 50%)

Suggested reading

  • Fernie, Eric (1995) Art History and its Methods: A Critical Anthology London
  • Grove Art Online - www.oxfordartonline.com
  • Nelson, Robert and Robert Shiff (eds) Critical Terms for Art History Chicago and London
  • Preziosi, Donald (ed) (1998) The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology Oxford
  • Renfrew, Colin and Bahn, Paul (2004, 4th edition) Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice London

Disclaimer

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules