Art and Politics in Africa
- Start date
- End date
- Year of study
- Term 1
- Module code
- FHEQ Level
- Department of History of Art and Archaeology & School of Arts
How might we understand art as a site of politics? In this module we consider how visual artists and art collectives have taken positions on political change in Africa since the early 20th century, spanning from anti-colonial resistance and the struggle against apartheid to the Arab Spring and Rhodes Must Fall movement.
Through case studies ranging from early portrait photography in West Africa to recent live art protests, we think through aesthetic approaches to the political. How, for example, did artists critically engage with ideas of Négritude, African Socialism and International Solidarity to negotiate new national subjectivities in the wake of independence? How have artists outlined new approaches to decolonisation, understood not only as a political rupture, but as an on-going process of critical reflection and action? And how artists have confronted the legacies of state violence in Africa to develop new visual practices for today’s global struggles?
Students on this module will work collectively to produce a special issue for the online journal ‘Art and Politics in Africa’.
Objectives and Learning Outcomes
At the end of the course, a student should be able to:
demonstrate broad knowledge of art and politics in a range of historical contexts in Africa
understand, and contribute to, contemporary debates about art and politics in Africa
apply critical analysis to case studies of visual art, with reference to broader political, theoretical and art historical context in Africa
develop collaborative skills applicable to art historical writing, editing, curating and publishing
Method of Assessment
- 1500-word essay (60%)
- 500-word critical reflection on the collaborative journal (40%)
Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.