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2020/21 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF5191M Anthropology, Art and Representation

30 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Dr Will Rea

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

On completion of this module students will have a good grasp of anthropological perspectives on the category art. The course avoids the common view that the anthropology of art is only concerned with tribal or ethnographic art. Rather it uses anthropological and cultural theory to introduce students to a comparative perspective on cultural representation. Students will be introduced to a number of case studies ranging from post-colonial cinema to audience perspectives on African masquerades, via the global marketing of world music. The anthropology of art has long been a fertile and vital area of contention around cultural value and cross-cultural relationships. It has not been merely an academic area of enquiry, but one caught up in the debates and controversies in the public sphere, about museum exhibitions, what constitutes art and the relative values of art traditions from various parts of the world. In addition the anthropology of art provides a comparative perspective on the way in which art is represented in the west. The issue of cultural representation is therefore of crucial importance to an understanding of the way in which Euro-America interacts with the rest of world. Specific objects and “texts” are highlighted and their interpretation linked to larger questions concerning gender, embodiment, technology and representation.


On completion students will
- have gained an insight and understanding to the debates surrounding the relationship between anthropology and art;
- be given a broad view of anthropology and its relationship with the material object;
- learn about comparative methods in dealing with objects, and the ways in which the artefact is considered in other places around the wo

Learning outcomes
- Verbal and written fluency in constructing logical, coherent and complex argument and analysis
- Participation in group discussions
- Co-ordination and dissemination of arrange of historical, contextual and visual information
- Critical appraisal and contextualisation of material informed by recent critical approaches to the subject area
- Using bibliographies informed by recent research
- Working independently with confidence to develop complex arguments orally and in writing.


In this course students will follow a syllabus that looks like this: The artefact vs. the work of art/aesthetics/Bodies, objects, tattoo/Vision and landscape/Aesthetics II/World Hybridity/Sociology and travel locality and the ethnographic museum.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours270.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

This is a reading intensive course. A comprehensive reading list will be provided and students will be expected to devote at least 18 hours per week to reading, understanding key texts, preparing for seminars and researching the issues that stem from previous seminar/lecture material.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Attendance register
Discussion and tutorial
Poster presentation.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay5200-5600 word essay80.00
Poster Presentation(None)20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:33:46


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