Arts of the African Diaspora

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 2, Year 3 or Year 4
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Arts & Department of History of Art and Archaeology

Module overview

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module students will be able to

  • Have gained knowledge and understanding of the themes, issues and debates of African and diasporic art traditions relating to the trajectories of their development within and outside Africa and to understanding the ways in which they are constituted in their local, regional and inter-continental circumstances through in depth examples of particular art traditions within and outside Africa.
  • Identify and compare different approaches to understanding art traditions within and outside Africa.
  • Assess critically the materials and themes explored in the module through the use of particular examples from within and outside Africa.
  • Have been introduced to the range of skills used in art history and developed independent study and research skills.
  • Enable an appreciation of the variety of cultural values and their implications for equality issues such as class, "race", gender, sexual orientation, age and disability.


  • Lectures: 1 hour per week  
  • Seminars: 1 hour per week 

Method of assessment

  • Book review of 750 words (worth 20%)
  • Essay of 1,500 for non-finalist students, 1,750 words for finalist students (worth 40%)
  • 2-hour exam (worth 40%)

Suggested reading

  • Gell A, 1998: Art and Agency: an anthropological theory
  • (ed.) Plankensteiner, Barbara, 2007, Benin Kings and Rituals: Court Arts from Nigeria
  • Ross D et al, 1998: Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity
  • W MacGaffrey & M Harris, 1993, Astonishment and Power
  • Loughran K S, et al [eds], 1986: Somalia in Word and Image


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules