Decolonising the Arts
- Module Code:
- FHEQ Level:
- Year of study:
- Year 2
- Taught in:
- Term 2
This module builds incrementally on the first year module Histories of Art: In/Out of Asia and Africa to give robust theoretical and historical training in decolonising the curriculum with regard to the discipline of Art History.
Co-taught by faculty members, the module will offer students a series of key transferable skills and a range of analytical, theoretical and practical approaches to the decolonisation of the study of art and archaeology.
The module comprises a number of thematic blocks, of which at least one is theoretical and two historical. The themes of these blocks will vary each year but may include: Postcolonial or Decolonial?; The Stakes of Decolonisation; Why Decolonise the Canon?; Decolonising Archaeology; The History of Islamic Art History; The History of Art History in [a region of] East Asia; The History of Art History in [a region of] South and South-East Asia; and The History of African Art History. In addition to essay assessments, alternative assessments will be included; for example, group debates, literature reviews and weekly e-logs.
Objectives and learning outcomes of the module
On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
- Demonstrate fluency in a range of decolonising topics specific to the discipline of Art History.
- Appraise the various approaches, key issues and concerns of these topics, with particular concern for their relevance to Asian and African contexts.
- Apply decolonising frameworks appropriate to their own research and professional interests.
- Demonstrate a range of skills necessary for successful academic and vocational pathways, including general research and transferable study skills.
- See and understand a variety of often opaque cultural values and explore their implications for redressing forms of disadvantage associated with racism and colonialism in academia and the wider world.
- Lectures: 2hrs per week
Scope and syllabus
- Week 1: Introduction
- Weeks 2-3: Thematic Block 1 - Situating Decolonialism
- Postcolonialism and the decolonial option
- The end of decolonialism?
- Weeks 4-5: Thematic Block 2 - Perspectives on the History of Islamic Art History
- European collectors of Islamic art in the nineteenth century
- Museums and the study of Islamic art in the twentieth century
- Weeks 7-8: Thematic Block 3 - Perspectives on the History of Art History in Korea
- Japanese colonial interest in Korean archaeological sites
- Korean postcolonial approaches to Japan’s cultural hegemony
- Weeks 9-10: Thematic Block 4 - Perspectives on the History of Art History in India
-Collecting the Hindu image: from ethnography to art
- The Hindu image in museums and temples
- Week 11: Conclusions and student presentations
Method of assessment
- 750-word annotated bibliography (worth 20% of marks)
- 1,500-word essay (worth 40%)
- Seminar participation and logbook entries (worth 10%)
- Exam: 2 hours (worth 30%)
- Mignolo, Walter and Catherine Walsh On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Practice (2018).
- Cuno, James Who Owns Antiquity?: Museums and the Battle Over Our Ancient Heritage (2011).
- Capistrano-Baker, Florina “Whither Art History in the Non-Western World: Exploring the Other('s) Art Histories," The Art Bulletin 97: 3 (2015): 246-57.
- Grant, Catherine and Dorothy Price (eds), “Decolonizing Art History,” Art History 43: 1 (2020): 8-66.
- Jay, Martin and Sumathi Ramaswamy (eds), Empires of Vision: A Reader (2014).
- Hassan, Salah and Iftikhar Dadi (eds), Unpacking Europe: Towards a Critical Reading (2001).
- Shiner, Larry The Invention of Art: A Cultural History (2001).
- Nelson, Robert S., “The Map of Art History,” The Art Bulletin, 79: 1 (1997): 28-40.
- Gregor Langfeld, “The Canon in Art History: Concepts and Approaches," Journal of Art Historiography 19 (2018): 1-18.
- Baetens, Jan Dirk and Dries Lyna, Art Crossing Borders: The Internationalisation of the Art Market in the Age of Nation States, 1750-1914 (2019).