FIN2042 : Fleshful Things: The Body and Visual Art

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The course will explore the diverse range of ways in which the body has been represented in visual art in the period c.1900 – 2000. It will provide a thematic approach to understanding the various ways (socio-political, medical, aesthetic and cultural) in which the body has appealed to artists, paying particular attention to the central role the body plays in artistic and cultural discourse as an object of knowledge that is an once personal and subjective yet also institutionalised and objective. The course will examine how the twentieth century revolutionised the human body and its representation. It will show how developments in politics, medicine, sexuality, technology and culture reshaped artistic interpretations of the body and its socio-cultural meanings. Students will gain an understanding of how artists use the body to express ideas about (among others) aesthetics, the self, society, healthcare and mortality. Students will also acquire knowledge of different aesthetic, historiographic, sociological and interdisciplinary approaches to studying the body in art.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus will examine the artistic representation of the human body and broadly cover the period 1900-2000. It will cover the following topics:

The History of the Body
The Sick Body
The Gendered Body
The Monstrous Body
The Enhanced Body
The Political Body
The Abject Body
The Pornographic Body
The Homosexual Body
The Post-Human Body

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading120:0020:00Seminar preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00Office Hours
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops23:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study181:0081:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
FIN3042Fleshful Things: The Body and Visual Art
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. Lectures: to allow definition of the scope of the syllabus, an introduction to a body of knowledge, and modelling of the level and nature of the analysis required.

2. Seminars: to encourage interaction and the development of cognitive and key skills; to allow preparation and presentation of directed research on specific issues and case studies.

3. Tutorials: to provide feedback and analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of submitted work, and increase awareness of the potential for individual development.

4.Workshops to allow for more innovative and cross-curricular teaching

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M502000 words
Written exercise2M502000 word visual analysis assignment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The coursework affords the student the opportunity to conduct research with seminar and peer support into particular areas of interest, to develop their organisational, group work and presentational skills in reporting back to the group and then to demonstrate their ability to think independently using their seminar discussion to inform their individual assignments. Assignments are targeted to develop critical thinking, the ability to develop an argument, visual analysis and theoretical comprehension.

Reading Lists