Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

The Human Image in World Art, 1650 to present HISTART4080

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course focuses on the most universal artistic subject - the human image - to explore the indigenous artistic heritage of non-European art from 1650 to the present.  Through statuary, masks and figural paintings, it will explore the global history of World Art's creation, trade, appreciation, collection and consumption. It will historically trace and problematise European representations of the ethnic Other, and the representation of European personhood in these artistic traditions.


1 x 1hr lecture over 10 weeks; 1 x 1hr seminar over 9 weeks; 1 x 2hr workshop as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in History of Art and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History of Art, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Essay (3,000 words) - 60%

Visual Test (45 minute duration) - 25%

Oral Presentation (10 minutes) - 15%

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to:


■ give students a broad familiarity with the canon of historical and contemporary indigenous non-European art  - and with specific highlight works or "masterpieces" of this canon.

■ develop students' capacities to recognise the cultural and historical specificity of representational choices in the treatment of the human form.

■ critically explore world art's interaction with the currents of world history and European colonialism, its position within museology and the history of collections, and its influential relationship in Western Art.

■ expand students' analytical thinking, writing skills and oral presentation skills.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ understand the key issues and debates in World Art's definition and study; its historical collection and display; its contemporary interpretation through exhibitions and public installations; and its cultural politics in a decolonialising world.

■ apply multi-disciplinary skills and concepts to analyse, understand and explain why specific world art works are held in high regard - technically, aesthetically and culturally.

■ utilise these same skills and concepts to identify and indicate the regional origin, and in many cases the broad historical period, of world art works.

■ apply these transferable skills of critical analysis and contextualisation within the context of an object based learning exercise utilising world art objects.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.