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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF3109 Prehuman to Post-Anthropocene

20 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Catherine Karkov

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is mutually exclusive with

ARTF5109MPrehuman to Post-Anthropocene

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module explores the ways in which art has represented the human and its relation to the world, and especially to humanity’s pre- or supra-human others from the medieval period to the modern day. It analyses how different cultures and times have defined the human, the monstrous, the self and its others. What have the implications of these definitions been? What is a human? What is our place in and responsibility to the world around us and to indigenous or past cultures that maintain or project differing attitudes? We are now in an era that defines itself as both the Anthropocene and the posthuman; however global warming, human disregard for the environment, and human disregard for life itself are pushing us rapidly towards the post-Anthropocene. We end by considering what the post-Anthropocene might be and what it might look like.


This module asks students to think critically about the way the human and the non-human have been constituted in relation to each other over time and across multiple different cultures. It asks them to think about what it means to be human, the place of the human in the world, and the responsibility of the human to the world.

Learning outcomes
Students will be able to demonstrate:
1. Knowledge of the similarities and differences amongst the historical periods studied in this module.
2. An understanding of and critical approach to the different belief systems and social structures of the specific times and cultures studied in this module.
3. A recognition of the special, racial, ethnic, and gender assumptions that underlie the interpretation and display of material from the past.
4. An understanding of how the human relationship to and human responsibility for the planet have been constituted over time.
5. The ability to undertake independent research and to critically assess both primary and secondary sources.

Skills outcomes
The module develops students’ skills in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural thinking and analysis. It asks them to locate their visual analysis and interpretation of images in the context of differing belief systems and within the context of contemporaneous literary texts.


Phase 1. The pre-human: creation narratives and creatures from a pre-human past
Phase 2. The human and its others: what is a human, marginal worlds, human hierarchies and relationships with and understandings of the planet
Phase 3. the post-Anthropocene: a future beyond the human

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Weekly readings (50 hours); research for essay 1 (60 hours); research for essay 2 (70 hours)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback will be offered on the first essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,000- 2,000 word essay40.00
Essay3,000 - 4,000 word essay60.00
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: 30/06/2021 16:04:49


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