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The Varied Practices of Art History Today - HOA00105M

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Jeanne Nuechterlein
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

This module examines the variety of methodological approaches in recent art-historical practice.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

Since art history became a western academic discipline in the mid-nineteenth century, the material that it studies and the questions it asks have changed over time. In this module, we investigate varied examples of art-historical research and writing to explore the conceptions underlying the diversity of current practice, with occasional comparisons to earlier texts. Topics studied might include: how art-historical methodology can vary in the study of different time periods, geographies, objects; micro vs macro art histories; the role of the self-aware art historian; collective research projects vs the individual researcher; the role of objects and spaces in art history compared with other disciplines such as anthropology or archaeology; art history as a cumulative or iterative practice.

We will read a diverse range of material, and students are encouraged to develop essay topics in their own area of interest. This module can therefore be suitable for students in a specialist degree as well as the general MA.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should have acquired:

  • Knowledge of a range of art-historical methodologies and how they have been carried out in advanced scholarship

  • Ability to evaluate the effects of methodological choices and assumptions within art-historical research and writing

  • Ability to apply methodological considerations to a defined field within or connected to art history


Task Length % of module mark
Assessed Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Assessed Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on assessed work within the timeframes set out by the University - please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

The purpose of feedback is to help you to improve your future work. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further, you are warmly encouraged to meet your Supervisor during their Office Hours.

Indicative reading

Browse through some recent issues of broadly-based journals such as Art History or Art Bulletin, as well as more specialist journals in an area of your interest, and reflect upon the range of methodologies employed by the authors.

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.