Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Anthropology and Art

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Anthropological Sciences

DESCRIPTION This unit is designed to provide students with a working set of principles, perspectives and approaches (both theoretical and historical) to approach art from an anthropological perspective. These include: Literacy and Orality; Structuralist approaches to Art; Inter-textuality (including the role of texts in the composition of art); the role of Patronage and Commoditization and its effect on art production, and finally the relation of Art to Power.

This unit will aim to:
• Offer students an insight into the social and cultural dimensions of art
• Enable students to examine the role that art plays in the construction of power in society.
• Provide students with a historical understanding of selected periods and/or artists.
• Alert students to current and classical theoretical perspectives and debates in the sociology and anthropology of art.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
• Provide an overview of the history of theorization of art t and reproduce that knowledge under examination conditions
• Pursue their own research agenda into one of the focused topics by means of a research assignment.
• Understand art as more than an aesthetic sentiment.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
• Read critically and selectively and make sense of a range of case studies in relation to classical and contemporary theoretical approaches to the anthropology of art
• Navigate with confidence online journal databases.
• Write an essay with a clear structure that makes use of theoretical knowledge.
• Develop the ability to synthesize knowledge and present it in a clear and concise manner in examination conditions.
• Apply anthropological perspectives to diverse areas of contemporary modern life.
• Be able to develop the capacity to work in a team through their presentations in the unit.

All of these skills are transferable and will prove invaluable to students in other subjects as well in any future careers they undertake.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

- Berger, J. 1973 Ways of Seeing. London: BBC Books.
- Coote J and Shelton, A. (eds) 1994. Anthropology, Art and Aesthetics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Apart from the list below, a Reader will be provided to the students as well as references to JSTOR now available from the UOM library

- Layton, R. 1991 The Anthropology of Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Weiner, J. (ed) 1995 Too Many Meanings: A critique of the Anthropology of Aesthetics. Special Issue of Social Analysis. 38
- Rosenberg, Pierre, and Keith Christiansen, eds. Poussin and Nature: Arcadian Visions. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007.
- Scott, Katie, and Genevieve Warwick, eds. Commemorating Poussin: Reception and Interpretation of the Artist. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
- Thompson, James. Nicolas Poussin. MMA Bulletin 50. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993.
- Verdi, Richard. Nicolas Poussin, 1594–1665. Exhibition catalogue. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1995.
- Louis Marin: Sublime Poussin
- Louis Marin: To Destroy Painting
- Daniel Arasse: On n’y voit rien
- Michael Baxandall: Giotto and the Orators: Humanist Observers of Painting in Italy and the Discovery of Pictorial Composition, 1350-1450. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971; Paintings and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy: A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972; Patterns of Intention: on the Historical Explanation of Pictures. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985; Shadows and Enlightenment. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.
- Bryson, Norman. Calligram: Essays in New Art History from France . Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
- Bryson, Norman and Susanne Kappeler, eds. Teaching the Text. London & Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983.
- Bryson, Norman. Vision and Painting: The Logic of the Gaze. New Haven: Yale University Press; London: Macmillan, 1983.
- Bryson, Norman. Word and Image: French Painting of the Ancien Regime. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981.
- Paperback, 1983.
- Claude Levi Strauss: Look, Listen, Read.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Essay Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Paul Sant Cassia

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.