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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF2051 Seeing in Asia

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Maki Fukuoka

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Are there fundamental differences between the ways you see objects familiar to you and those from Asia? Are there ways in which the power and meanings of 'seeing' change in an Asian context, so that even though we are 'seeing' the same object, we understand the object differently? How do cultural and historical values and standards shape the act of seeing and how we interpret images?By engaging with wide-ranging historical and cultural examples drawn from a range of specialities from art to science, this module addresses the age-old problem of `nature` versus `nurture` through the perspective of Asian Culture


This module provides a broad introduction to issues of studying visual culture and art of Asia. We will de-naturalize and de-familiarize the act of seeing in the context of encounters with Asian objects. The goal of the module is to understand the complexities and dynamics imbued in the act of 'seeing' in Asian contexts, and to be aware of the processes of interpretation that we ourselves perform when we examine objects from Asia, using sustained engagements with select historical examples.

Learning outcomes
Students will re-engage with the concepts already familiar to them, such as 'linear perspective,' 'naturalism,' 'abstraction' and 'realism,' gaining a multifaceted understanding of how these concepts emerged and functioned differently in Asian historical contexts. By the end of the module, students should have a fuller grasp of the historical, cultural, and critical reading in the study of Asian art and visual culture.

Skills outcomes
Skilled visual and textual analysis
Ability to construct a sustained and coherent argument
Co-ordination and dissemination of a range of historical, contextual, and cultural information


Week 1: Complexities of 'Seeing' and 'Asia'
Week 2: Denaturalizing 'Seeing' and 'Asia'
Week 3: What is an Image?
Week 4: Image as text, text as image
Week 5: Possibilities and Limits of Seeing (Words for seeing)
Week 6: Reading week (Blindness in Asia)
Week 7: Conventions of Visual Representations (Norms and Ideals)
Week 8: Scientific Seeing and Norms (Objectivity and Subjectivity)
Week 9: Spirituality and Seeing
Week 10: Seeing a body (Orientalism)
Week 11: Representing a body (Self-orientalising)

Teaching methods

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

Private study

Students are expected to complete a set of reading each week as independent study and in preparation for lectures and seminars.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminar discussions and posting of biweekly responses on VLE allow for on-going monitoring of student progress. The successful completion of the final essay will also be monitored through submissions of abstract, bibliography, and individual tutoring during Weeks 10 and 11.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2500-3000 word essay50.00
Assignment500 word common place phrase book10.00
Assignment4 x 250 word alternate weekly reading response40.00
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: 29/04/2024 16:10:27


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