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Theory for Art Historians - HOA00002C

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Information currently unavailable
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2018-19

Module aims

This module introduces fundamental concepts in the humanities that have become important for art-historical thinking. It is organised roughly chronologically, according to the time periods when the ideas were introduced, although it was particularly starting in the 1970s and 1980s that art history began to engage with a much wider range of methodologies than had previously been prevalent in the discipline.

Most seminars centre on two main texts, each read closely and critically: the first written by a theorist (usually outside of art history), and the second an example of an art historian engaging with that methodology. Thus this module explores where influential ideas in the humanities/social sciences have come from, and how they have had an impact in art-historical research and writing.

Module learning outcomes

  • Critical knowledge of theories that have had a significant impact on art-historical research and writing over the last century.
  • Understanding of the origins of those theories, and their relevance to art history as an academic discipline.
  • Ability to assess the relative merits of different methodological approaches to art history.
  • Critical awareness of the relationships between art history and theory.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 90
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Oral Seminar
N/A 10

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 90

Module feedback

Feedback on formative essay within one week.

Feedback on summative exams within six weeks.

Indicative reading

  • Anne D'Alleva, Methods and Theories for Art History, 2nd edition (2012)
  • Laurie Schneider Adams, The Methodologies of Art: An Introduction, 2nd edition (2009)
  • Michael Hatt and Charlotte Klonk, Art History: A Critical Introduction to its Methods (2006)
  • Jae Emerling, Theory for Art History (2006)
  • Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff, eds, Critical Terms for Art History, 2nd edition (2003)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students