Art History: Art: Politics: Transgression: 20th Century Avant-Gardes MLitt

Art History - Art - Politics - Transgression - 20th-Century-Avant-Gardes

Prestigious Scottish Funding Council Awards are available to high calibre applicants for this programme. The SFC has selected this programme in recognition of the high demand for students with these qualifications. The awards cover all tuition costs; for further information, please see: funded places.

This Masters is concerned with outlining and critically evaluating the concept of the ‘avant-garde’ both theoretically and in terms of its applicability to representative areas of 20th-century art. Dealing with art from the early twentieth century to the present, you will investigate concepts such as historical avant-garde, neo-avant-garde, and post-avant-garde, paying close attention to the theorists who have elaborated these ideas.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • Glasgow’s civic and university collections are some of the richest and most diverse in Europe and are of international standing. You are granted privileged access to the extensive collections in our own Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery.
  • You have the opportunity to take part in a project-based work placement, where you can explore a possible future career while meeting professional practitioners and developing your skills and experience.
  • If you want to learn from world-leading researchers and develop expert knowledge of 20th-century Avant-Gardes, this programme is for you.
  • Our research forum provides you with a lively and stimulating introduction to methodological debates within art history. It provides a sense of art history’s own history as well as contemporary concerns and practice, examining the beliefs and values that have informed various forms of historical and visual analysis and enquiry. It is focused around a series of seminars or workshops run by members of staff and visiting academics.

Programme structure

Closely focused on the visual and historical specificities of the subject, the core teaching will have you examining the politically oppositional and ‘transgressive’ impulses of the avant-garde.

You will interpret ‘transgression’ in the widest sense and in relation to a range of diverse historical contexts, including: the anti-art concerns of Dada; the political tensions arising from conflicts between nationalist and internationalist currents in European art of the early 20th century and the Nietzschian/Bataillean testing of the boundaries of conventional moral positions, particularly regarding sexual identity and the body.

The optional courses available are closely geared to the research interests of our staff. Their content will draw upon current exhibitions and debates. 

You will take five core courses and one optional course. This is followed by a period of self-study towards a dissertation 15,000 words in length (including footnotes but excluding bibliography) and will be on a topic chosen in consultation with the tutors and the programme convenor.

Core courses

  • Research methods in practice
  • Theories of the Avant Garde
  • Readings in Duchamp: anti-art, blasphemy, sexuality
  • Art, embodiment, transgression
  • Dada in Switzerland and Germany.

Optional courses

You may choose from the following options in the College of Arts

  • a Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII) course: 2D Digitisation (Theory and Practice)
  • a course from the MLitt Modernities: Modernism, Modernity & Post-Modernity run by English Literature 
  • a course from elsewhere in the College of Arts, subject to the approval of the programme convenor.

Or from courses run by History of Art

  • Art in the making: modern and Avant-Garde techniques
  • Independent study 
  • Work placement.

Core and optional courses

Core Courses 

Research Methods in Practice (HISTART5105)

Semester 1

This course will consist of teaching and learning sessions run by different staff and some guest speakers on a wide range of topics, both practical and theoretical. Bringing all taught postgraduate students in the subject together, it is intended to enable students effectively to engage with broad questions of research methods and their application in History of Art. It is designed and structured to meet the need for a critical, theoretical and methodological underpinning to postgraduate study and to equip students with vital practical research skills.

Convenor: Dr Debbie Lewer

Theories of the Avant-Garde (HISTART5069)

Semester 1

This course is concerned with setting out the main theoretical definitions and arguments surrounding the notion of the ‘avant-garde’ and its offshoots (the so-called ‘neo-avant-garde’ and ‘post-avant-garde’). The historical parameters of the topic, and its relation to concepts of modernism, modernity and postmodernism will be carefully examined. You will be introduced to a variety of arguments both endorsing and problematizing the concept, and, to this end, the emphasis in the seminars will be on focused readings from key texts on the subject.

As well as engaging with the idea of the avant-garde (as well as the neo-avant-garde and post-avant-garde) students will be encouraged to think about the concept in relation to a variety of related contexts (e.g. ‘The Avant-Garde and Subculture’, ‘Rhetorics of Transgression’ or ‘Marxism and the Avant-Garde’) and will be provided with a strong grasp of the historical development of actual avant-garde movements in tandem with the theories and declarations that helped legitimate them.

Convenor: David Hopkins

Readings in Duchamp: Anti-Art, Blasphemy, Sexuality (HISTART5056)

Semester 1

'I want to grasp things with the mind the way the penis is grasped by the vagina'. [Marcel Duchamp: statement to Lawrence Steefel, 1960]

This startling assertion communicates the distinctive co-existence of conceptual rigour and moral/ social transgression that characterises Duchamp’s practice. This course is broadly committed to restoring this dimension to an account of Duchamp.

The literature on Duchamp is now very extensive and one of the central pedagogic concerns of the course will be to produce an in-depth historiographic assessment of the range and methodological variety of the existing literature on this key figure of twentieth century art. Historical contexts here range from hermeticism, popular/ commodity culture and science to specific Dada and Surrealist readings of Duchamp. Critical approaches range from the psycho-analytic and alchemical speculation of Arturo Schwarz to the post-structural readings of J-F Lyotard and Rosalind Krauss. However, as suggested above, the course will also be dedicated to a re-reading of Duchamp in line with current research trends. To this end, three key areas will be considered:

The strategic undermining of aesthetic protocols and the concept of ‘art’
The development of anti-Catholic and anti-religious themes and iconography
The investigation of gender and sexuality (especially in so far as fixed gender categories and mind/body or male/ female binaries are challenged.)
While the primary emphasis of the course will be historiographic and methodological, as befits a programme of study at this level, the material will be presented in a chronological framework so that students will emerge from the course with a strong sense of the overall development, and historical contexts, of Duchamp’s practice.

Convenor: Prof David Hopkins

Dada in Switzerland and Germany (HISTART5011)

Semester 2

This course will examine the origins of Dada in Zurich during the First World War and its subsequent development in Berlin during the period of the collapse of the German empire and the November Revolution. Aspects of Dada in Cologne and Hanover will also be considered.

In the context of Germany’s extreme political and cultural crises of c. 1914-1924, the function and validity of ‘art’ in contemporary life was thrown into question. Dada can be read as a series of responses to this situation. While this course will provide a sound grounding of knowledge of this pivotal period of the history of the European avant-garde, its aim is not to make a general ‘survey’ of Dada, but rather to encourage students to engage critically with a range of the most urgent questions that propelled Dada’s development. These include, for example, the radical critique of language and conventional sign systems enacted by Dada; the ‘failure’ of Expressionism; the theoretical concept and material practice of montage as a means for political change and cultural critique; the vexed relationship of the avant-garde with the ‘culture of the proletariat’ and the relationship of Dada with emerging theories of modernity.

Case studies of works by Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, George Grosz, Hannah Höch, Kurt Schwitters and others will be used in close connection with detailed readings of texts by cultural critics, artists and political theorists to address the questions raised by the course. Students will also be encouraged to evaluate current and recent methodological approaches to Dada and the wider avant-garde in this period.

Convenor: Dr Debbie Lewer

Picabia, Dada 4-5

Picabia, Dada 4-5

Art: Embodiment: Transgression (HISTART5004)

Semester 2

The purpose of this course is to investigate the special role of the body as a focus for transgressive art practice in the twentieth century. In particular, various forms of ‘body art’ from the 1960s onwards which attack normative notions of embodiment and identity, will be addressed. In keeping with the level of intellectual attainment expected of graduate students, an emphasis will be placed on theoretical and philosophical accounts of embodied experience which illuminate such artistic practice (including psychoanalysis, phenomenology, poststructuralism). As one of the range of options offered in ‘Art, Politics and Transgression’, this course is intended to open up questions relating to the fate(s) of avant-gardist practice in the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It asks students to consider body art from the point of view of both ‘art beyond aesthetics’ (Peter Osborne) and ‘aesthetics after art’ (Susan Buck-Morss).

Convenor: Dr Dominic Paterson

Dissertation (HISTART5018P)

Submitted at the end of August

The dissertation, or other substantial piece of work, encourages independent work through deeper study of a particular art historical, or related, problem and encourages the application of acquired research skills. It is expected that MLitt dissertations should make a contribution to some aspect of the subject. The dissertation is 15-20,000 words in length (including footnotes and bibliography) and will be on a topic chosen in consultation with the tutors and the programme director during Semester 1.

Optional courses

You may choose from the following options in the College of Arts:

  • a Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII) course: 2D Digitisation (Theory and Practice) run by the School of Humanities
  • a course from the MLitt Modernities: Literature, Theory & Culture run by the School of Critical Studies
  • a course from elsewhere in the College of Arts, subject to the approval of the programme convenor
  • Or from courses run by History of Art.

Art in the Making: Modern & Avant-Garde Techniques (HISTART5093)

Semester 2

The aim of this course is to present students with an in-depth and sophisticated understanding of the interrelation of materials, concepts and processes across a historical range of artworks, covering key avant-garde approaches particular to the 20th and 21st centuries. The course will address examples from twentieth-century avant-gardes through post-war art movements such as Abstract Expressionism, Post-Painterly Abstraction, Pop, Conceptual Art, appropriation, through to contemporary art. The course will study key examples ‘from the inside out’: through lectures which will establish theoretical and historical context; through detailed case studies; and, crucially, through hands-on experience of materials – where possible including the reconstruction, remaking or re-enacting of artworks. Such re-making, it should be emphasised, is not conceived in any way as an artistic activity but rather as an educational one. In some instances equivalents rather than replicas would be appropriate, or demonstrations or partial reconstructions rather than completed objects/works.

We will draw on the expertise of Glasgow-based artists through for example the Glasgow School of Art and the Glasgow Sculpture Studios. Preliminary discussions about collaboration have taken place and various exciting possibilities are being explored. Such collaborations will enable us to enhance the student learning experience and provide an opportunity to see how theoretical issues addressed on the course are dealt with in practice.

Course lectures will present course material through close analysis of major artistic examples. Seminars will encourage students to develop their own responses to these themes, and also to engage with theoretical and critical perspectives in the form of seminar readings (to be issued as a reader at the start of the course). In addition, a key part of the teaching strategy is the use of a course Moodle, which will provide students with a forum for debate and facilitate group learning.

Convenor: Dr Erma Hermens

Independent Study (HISTART5037)

Semester 2

The aim of this course is to make an extensive independent study of a particular subject area through the study of texts/ objects and assess their value to the establishment of particular theories or issues. It is anticipated that the choice of subject area will be linked to the individual student’s special interests.

The work on the elective project will be based on a series of guided reading with regular supervisory meetings / tutorials/ visits. These will support the development of literature review skills and the ability to summarise issues and approaches relating to a relatively broad field of study.

The approval process involves the student submitting a proposal (400 words with an indication of initial bibliography), which is then defined and approved through discussion between the student and tutor. The acceptance of a proposal will be at the discretion of the tutor and programme director.

Work Placement (HISTART5072)

Semester 2

Valuable work experience in a museum, gallery or other cultural institution is provided through the Work Placement. The Department has developed close links with a number of institutions, giving students the chance to engage in a project-based work placement, where they can explore a possible future career, while meeting professional practitioners and developing skills and experience. A work placement might also provide the opportunity to develop a research subject for a dissertation.

A project is drawn up between the host institution, the student and the programme convenor. Projects may involve archival, curatorial or related work. Considerable emphasis will be placed on practical skills.

Convenor: Liz Hancock

2D Digitisation (ARTMED5002)

Semester 2

Tutor: Dr Ian Anderson, Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII)

The availability of high-quality digital content is central to research and teaching developments in the arts and humanities. Archivists, curators and librarians are among the many groups that are heavily involved in creating digital resources from analogue collections. Skills in understanding the principles and best practice in the digitisation of primary textual and image resources have even broader value in the cultural and heritage sector. Students will examine the advantages of developing digital collections in the arts and humanities and issues involved in creating, curating, and managing access to such collections. For their project students will apply the practical skills they acquire to the digitisation of an analogue collection (print, image e.g. photographic or slide, music, manuscripts, or map). The focus will be on working with primary source material not otherwise available in digital form.

Academic staff

The programme is team-taught by University staff and external specialists.

David Hopkins Professor of Art History and Theory; Convenor of MLitt in Art: Politics: Transgression: 20th-Century Avant-Gardes

20th-century art and photography with particular reference to Dada and Surrealism; the history and theory of post-1945 art and 20th century photography. Special emphasis on Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and issues of gender (masculinity).

Recent publications include: Dada's Boys: Masculinity After Duchamp (London: Yale University Press: 2008)

 

Dr Debbie Lewer Lecturer

20th-century European art, especially German art, architecture and politics.

Recent publications include: ‘Hugo Ball, Iconoclasm and the Origins of Dada in Zurich’, Oxford Art Journal (2009), 32.1

 

Dr Dominic Paterson Postdoctoral Research Assistant in 20th and 21st Century Art

Dr Paterson wrote his doctoral thesis on the place of aesthetics in the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault, and his research interests include critical theory as well as modern and contemporary art. Amongst his publications are essays on Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Matthew Barney, and Marcel Duchamp amongst others, as well as recent texts on artists including Christine Borland, Ben Rivers, Martin Soto Climent, Anne-Marie Copestake, Claire Barclay, Kate Davis and Faith Wilding. He is a regular contributor to MAP magazine as a writer and critic.

Recent publications include: 'Siting Lucy Gunning's Quarry', www.picture-this.org.uk (March 2011); 'Chapter One: Martin Soto Climent', MAP (No. 22, Summer 2010); 'Duchamp Under the Hammer: readymades, iconoclasm and authenticity', in Art, Conservation and Authenticities, E. Hermens and T. Fiske (eds), (London: Archetype, 2009)

 

Resources and facilities

Art History Resource Centre

1st Floor, No. 7 University Gardens
0141 330 4524

History of Art Resource Centre study areaResources

As an adjunct to the outstanding resources available within Glasgow University Library, the History of Art Resource and Postgraduate Centre serves the study needs of Undergraduates, Postgraduates and research and teaching staff.

The centre is administered by professional librarians who are always prepared to give advice and guidance on bibliographic matters or other resource requirements. They administer a collection of over 82,000 teaching slides, 5,000 books, selected periodical holdings and 15,000 exhibition and gallery catalogues. 

An online catalogue of the book collection is available at: http://www.librarything.com/catalog/UofGHistoryofArt.

This catalogue is in the process of being created. Please contact either of the centre's managers if you can't find what you need.

Students must pay a £3 subscription fee each year to access the Resource Centre. This fee contributes towards the purchase of new resources and can be payed when using the centre for the first time.

Books, Journals, Exhibition Catalogues and Theses 

Loan Periods

Maximum items at any time: 5 volumes

Postgraduate: 1 Month

Honours and Postgraduate readers are also able to consult examples of dissertation or thesis work completed by former students. These can provide a useful guide to layout and strategy for major written projects. PhD theses are held by Glasgow University Library.

Powerpoint Presentations and Slides

Powerpoint presentations relevant to certain taught courses are also available for consultation. Should a Lecturer direct you to them, they will be available for review on the Resource Centre computers. At periods of high demand, a time booking system will be imposed to regulate their use. The powerpoint presentations are useful for retrospective study in preparation for visual tests, although bibliographic and electronic resources are also stressed at all stages of learning. 

The Resource Centre's slide collection is being digitized. If you have questions regarding access to this collection, please ask one of the managers.

IT Facilities

A small computer cluster provides links to University and Main Library services, including collection databases worldwide. The Resource Centre and Postgraduate room have Wi-fi access.

Postgraduate Study Space

Postgraduates have a dedicated room for their use containing study space, computers, a scanner, lockers and a digital projector. Keys for the lockers are available from the Resource Centre managers by paying a £5 deposit.

Please contact the managers for the security code to the study space room.

 

Entry requirements

for entry in 2015

Entry requirements for postgraduate taught programmes are a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject unless otherwise specified.

Note: A minimum 2.1 in History of Art or a related subject is required. You should also submit a writing sample of 2-3000 words, a CV and a personal statement.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 7.0
  • 2 subtests not lower than 7.0 and no other sub-test lower than 6.5
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 24
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 185 overall; two sub-tests no less than 185; no other sub-test less than 176
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 185 overall; two sub-tests no less than 185; no other sub-test less than 176
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 68no sub-test less than 60

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

FAQs

What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk

 

For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office: pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2015-16 (subject to change and for guidance only)

MLitt

Home and EU
Full time fee£6800
Part time 20 credits£756
International
Full time fee£14500

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

Career opportunities include positions in curation, digitisation and research within museums and other cultural and heritage institutions. The programme also provides an excellent platform for you to move onto PhD studies and an academic career.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk. See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
Glasgow
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU) 24 July 2015
  • UK and EU applications 28 August 2015
    (with the exception of those programmes offering SFC funded places)

Classes start September 2015 for most programmes and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 7.0
  • 2 subtests not lower than 7.0 and no other sub-test lower than 6.5
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 24
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 185 overall; two sub-tests no less than 185; no other sub-test less than 176
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 185 overall; two sub-tests no less than 185; no other sub-test less than 176
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 68no sub-test less than 60

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

FAQs

What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk

 

For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office: pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk

Please note: applications for SFC funded places are open for entry in September 2015.

Apply now