Philosophical Issues in Art History and Visual Culture - HA828

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
View Timetable
7 30 (15) DR M Newall




This module is available as a wild module



This module gives students an advanced understanding of a range of philosophical issues and concepts underpinning foundational concepts in high art, and broader visual culture. It seeks to apply a broadly analytic approach in philosophy to a range of subjects in high art and popular culture, often taken to be on the periphery of analytic philosophy of art. Topics of study may include: the uncanny, wonder, , concepts of genius and creativity, disgust, cuteness, interactivity, philosophical issues around teaching art, the aesthetics of cultural forms such as automotive design, and the place and nature of kitsch in low and high culture.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 30
Private Study Hours: 270
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Essay (4,000 words) – 80%
Seminar Participation Notes – (2,000 words) – 20%

Indicative reading

Bois, Y-A. and Rosalind E. Krauss, (1997). Formless: A User's Guide, New York: Zone Books
Dutton, D. (2009). The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution, Oxford: OUP
Gaiger, J. (2008). Aesthetics and Painting, London: Continuum
Greenberg, C. (1988-1993). The Collected Essays and Criticism, ed. John O’Brian, 4 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Gombrich, E.H. (2004). Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation, London: Phaidon Press
Kulka, T. (1996). Kitsch and Art, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press
Meskin, A. and Roy T. Cook (eds.), (2012). The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach, London: Wiley-Blackwell
Wölfflin, W. (1932). Principles of Art History: The Problem and Development of Style in Later Art, New York: Dover

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
- Demonstrate a systematic understanding of a range of philosophical issues and concepts underpinning foundational concepts in high art, and broader visual culture;
- Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of the conceptual tools and methods necessary for independent art historical and philosophical engagement in these areas;
- Demonstrate their ability to develop arguments, engage critically with relevant literature, and contextualise issues and materials within the framework of contemporary philosophical and art historical thought.

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