History of Art and Visual Culture (M.St.)

Theory and Methods in the History of Art

This M.St. core course will provide an advanced introduction to the major methodological issues and traditions of the discipline of art history through an examination of texts produced from antiquity to the present day. The course is organised around a series of 'critical terms' related to the production and reception of art. Students will discuss these terms and assigned readings in small weekly classes. The convenors also will offer a related lecture series entitled 'Art History: Concepts and Methods,' which will present the 'critical terms' in their historical and intellectual context. In lectures and classes, the convenors will consider works of art from a variety of cultures in order to demonstrate how historiographical and methodological questions are integral to the practice of art history.

Introductory Summer Reading List

Many of the following titles are collections of essays and extracts, with some overlap amongst them. Although each volume has its own distinctive range and critical approach, you should not feel obliged to consult all these books. At least some should be available for you to peruse in an accessible library.

Dip into at least some of these books over the summer in order to broaden your awareness of the variety of approaches and critical methods that have been brought to bear on images, objects and buildings produced in diverse periods and cultures. Read critically, but with an open mind: it is not necessarily the case that older writings are outdated, nor that more recent ones are superior. Push the boundaries of your own awareness by reading about media, approaches and contexts with which you are unfamiliar. Consider how your reading might bear upon the particular M.St. Special Option course you will be taking (and out of which may emerge, in due course, the subject of your M.St. dissertation). And while reading, of course, continue to look closely and thoughtfully at reproductions, as well as at works of art you are able to encounter at first hand in museums and galleries.

Adams, Laurie Schneider, The Methodologies of Art: An Introduction (1996).

Cheetham, Mark A.; Holly, Michael Ann; and Moxey, Keith, eds., The Subjects of Art History: Historical Objects in Contemporary Perspective (1998).

Edwards, Steve, ed., Art and its Histories: A Reader (1999).

Fernie, Eric, ed., Art History and Its Methods: A Critical Anthology (1995).

Harrison, Charles; Wood, Paul; and Gaiger, Jason, eds., Art in Theory, 1648-1815: An Anthology of Changing Ideas (2001).

Harrison, Charles, and Wood, Paul, eds., Art in Theory, 1815-1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas (1998).

Harrison, Charles, and Wood, Paul, eds., Art in Theory, 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas (Rev. ed.: 2003).

Mansfield, Elizabeth, ed., Art History and Its Institutions: Foundations of a Discipline (2002).

Nelson, Robert S., and Shiff, Richard, eds., Critical Terms for Art History (2nd ed.: 2003).

Podro, Michael, The Critical Historians of Art (1982).

Preziosi, Donald, ed., The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology (1998).

Smith, Paul, and Wilde, Carolyn, eds., A Companion to Art Theory (2002).