HIST08016 2019 History / Theory (Undergraduate Thesis)

General Details

Full Title
History / Theory (Undergraduate Thesis)
Transcript Title
History / Theory (Undergraduat
80 %
Subject Area
HIST - History / Theory of Art
YADA - Yeats Academy Art Dsgn & Arch
08 - NFQ Level 8
10 - 10 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Angela Mehegan, Emmet O'Doherty, Louis McManus
Programme Membership
SG_AARTT_K08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Art SG_AARTT_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Art SG_AARTT_H08 202200 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Art SG_AARTT_K08 202200 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Art (Add-on)

The History/Theory module provides the student with the opportunity to thoroughly investigate issues, trends and concerns that  broadly inform the worlds of creative Fine Art production, practice and reception.  This module is concerned with the realisation of an advanced level discipline-specific Undergraduate Thesis/Extended Essay (6000-8000 words) which critically evaluates the cultural conditions and theoretical frameworks that underpin a piece of independent self-directed discipline-specific research in a cognate Fine Art-related field and/or discipline.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Formulate and implement a structured schedule for the articulation, evaluation and production of a piece of advanced level self-directed research.


Develop suitable critical strategies to test and validate relevant perspectives and concepts that inform the world of art production, practice and reception.


Employ strategies to communicate the nature and significance of the research objectives, methods, findings and conclusions through pertinent historical-interpretive research.


Define the area, rationale and value of the research through the integration of a literature review element.


Contextualise their own discipline area in terms of its interrelationship with other disciplinary fields and interact with external groups connected to the research.


Consider the value of  a range of theoretical frameworks that afford a perspective on the links between theory and Fine Art practice.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching and Learning Strategies for the History / Theory module are predominately seminar and tutorial based.  Seminars offer opportunities for more detailed thematic textual analysis, oral communication and structured debate and  group discussion. The scheduled 1-1 tutorials allow for focused interaction and subject-specific research.

Module Assessment Strategies

The extended essay is a sustained research document  and the nature of it may result in various deliverables and output.  Marks are awarded throughout the process and the grading is undertaken by both main supervisor and second readers. The realisation of a piece of academic writing involves diverse formative assessments based on student engagement at different stages over the course of the module. The assessment strategy focuses on the student's advanced evaluation of History/Theory of Art, through: 

  • Application of informed research and visual methodologies
  • Proficiency in information literacy skills
  • Advanced written composition 
  • Integration of Theory/Discourse
  • Evaluation of research objectives, rationale, methods and findings

Repeat Assessments

Repeat assessment of 10 ECTS  History/Theory module is capped. See IT Sligo Exams & Standards.

Indicative Syllabus

The 6000-8000 word Undergraduate Thesis/Extended Essay provides a framework for the in-depth exploration of issues, concepts and ideas pertinent to History/Theory of Art. The research is based on  the formulation  and execution of topic/line of enquiry/thesis investigated through the combination of primary and/or secondary research material/studies, a significant literature review element and the use of formal/contextual analyses of artwork/media/time/performance-based. The indicative syllabus addresses the above through:

  • Theme/Topic Generation Proposals: Student examples; Methods; Expectations & Functions, Frameworks for Developing Proposals
  • Methods & Theories of Art History: Proposal Writing. Intro. to Research Methodologies, Primary/Secondary Research approaches, Media, Display strategies, Concept of Agency, 
  • Contemporary Art: Aesthetics, Themes, Issues Trends & Concepts, Globalisation, Activism, Site-Specific, Materiality
  • Research Methodologies: Historical-Interpretative Methodology, The Role of Theory,  Research concepts: 'Memory, Place and the Everyday'
  • Text/Discourse Analysis: Examples of Proposals
  • Visual Interpretation Methodologies: Image Analysis, Peer-Presentation preparation
  • The student writer: Authorship, peer-review, plagiarism
  • Academic Writing Strategies: Literature Review & Topic in Context; 

Student-led seminars, discourse-based group discussions and one-one tutorials focus on the deployment, critical evaluation and integration of  theoretical frameworks relevant to the individual self-directed extended essay.

  • Peer-peer Presentation: Research, Description & Evaluation
  • One-to-one Tutorials: Content & Analysis
  • Draft Submissions: Information Literacy, Presentation

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Writing Assignment Literature Review Coursework Assessment Essay 10 % Week 6 1,3,4
2 1st Draft Presentation Coursework Assessment Oral Exam/Presentation 20 % Week 10 1,3,5
3 Undergraduate Thesis / Extended Essay Coursework Assessment Essay 70 % Week 15 1,2,5,6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Workshop / Seminar Lecture Theatre History Theory 1 Weekly 1.00
Tutorial Flat Classroom One-to-one 5 Weekly 5.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 6.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
2007-03-12 A Companion to Art Theory Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN 0631207627 ISBN-13 9780631207627

The Companion provides an accessible critical survey of Western visual art theory from sources in Classical, Medieval and Renaissance thought through to contemporary writings.

Required Reading
2009-03-16 Art theory Blackwell Pub
ISBN STANFORD:36105132283248

Indispensable reading for both art lovers and students, Art Theory, 2nd Edition explores Western thought about art from ancient times to the post-modern period. Wide-ranging and exceptionally balanced in its analysis, Art History relates theory to the practice as well as to the intellectual and cultural-historical currents of each period. This new edition expands the original to include more indepth coverage of contemporary art. Newly updated bibliography and suggestions for further reading Six chapters covering the major periods of Western art history: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the early modern period (Renaissance and Baroque), the Enlightenment, the nineteenth century, early twentieth-century modernism, and postmodernism. Geared to the needs of the general reader and beginning students

Required Reading
2010-03-15 Critical Terms for Art History, Second Edition University of Chicago Press
ISBN 0226571696 ISBN-13 9780226571690

"Art" has always been contested terrain, whether the object in question is a medieval tapestry or Duchamp's Fountain. But questions about the categories of "art" and "art history" acquired increased urgency during the 1970s, when new developments in critical theory and other intellectual projects dramatically transformed the discipline. The first edition of Critical Terms for Art History both mapped and contributed to those transformations, offering a spirited reassessment of the field's methods and terminology. Art history as a field has kept pace with debates over globalization and other social and political issues in recent years, making a second edition of this book not just timely, but crucial. Like its predecessor, this new edition consists of essays that cover a wide variety of "loaded" terms in the history of art, from sign to meaning, ritual to commodity. Each essay explains and comments on a single term, discussing the issues the term raises and putting the term into practice as an interpretive framework for a specific work of art. For example, Richard Shiff discusses "Originality" in Vija Celmins's To Fix the Image in Memory, a work made of eleven pairs of stones, each consisting of one "original" stone and one painted bronze replica. In addition to the twenty-two original essays, this edition includes nine new onesperformance, style, memory/monument, body, beauty, ugliness, identity, visual culture/visual studies, and social history of artas well as new introductory material. All help expand the book's scope while retaining its central goal of stimulating discussion of theoretical issues in art history and making that discussion accessible to both beginning students and senior scholars. Contributors: Mark Antliff, Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer, Stephen Bann, Homi K. Bhabha, Suzanne Preston Blier, Michael Camille, David Carrier, Craig Clunas, Whitney Davis, Jas Elsner, Ivan Gaskell, Ann Gibson, Charles Harrison, James D. Herbert, Amelia Jones, Wolfgang Kemp, Joseph Leo Koerner, Patricia Leighten, Paul Mattick Jr., Richard Meyer, W. J. T. Mitchell, Robert S. Nelson, Margaret Olin, William Pietz, Alex Potts, Donald Preziosi, Lisbet Rausing, Richard Shiff, Terry Smith, Kristine Stiles, David Summers, Paul Wood, James E. Young

Required Reading
2006-10-27 Developing effective research proposals Sage Publications Ltd
ISBN 1412921260 ISBN-13 9781412921268

Successful research requires effective and thorough preparation. In this expanded and updated Second Edition of Developing Effective Research Proposals, author Keith F. Punch offers an indispensable guide to the issues involved in proposal development and in presenting a well-considered plan for the execution of research. Dealing with both qualitative and quantitative approaches to empirical research across the social sciences, the Second Edition comprehensively covers the topics and concerns relevant to the subject and is organized around three central themes: What is a research proposal, who reads proposals and why; How can we go about developing a proposal?; and What might a finished proposal look like?

Required Reading
2012-09-19 Methods & Theories of Art History Laurence King Publishing
ISBN 1856698998 ISBN-13 9781856698993

Art historical theory is a forum of intense, often passionate debate. This book provides an accessible introduction to the range of critical theories used in analyzing art. It covers a broad range of approaches, presenting individual arguments, controversies, and divergent perspectives. This second edition has been updated to reflect recent scholarship in contemporary art. Clearly written, this book is ideal for the undergraduate student or anyone interested in the world of ideas.

Required Reading
2000-05-02 Researching the Visual SAGE
ISBN 0761958460 ISBN-13 9780761958468

`The book has a solid practical feel to it, and although it deals philosophically with leading theorists such as Foucault, Goffman, Bourdieu and Hall it grounds the practice of visual research into everyday use... Weaved cleverly throughout are numerous practical exercises which draw together the theoretical concepts and give them a grounded rational element. This book is a valuable research tool and I would anticipate that many researchers will find it a worthwhile addition to their armoury' - Mental Health Care Providing a comprehensive introduction to the entire field of visual research, this book reviews the contributions of traditions as diverse as semiotics, ethnomethodology, symbolic interactionism and

Required Reading
2009 The Art of Art History Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN 9780199229840 ISBN-13 0199229848

What is art history? Why, how and where did it originate, and how have its aims and methods changed over time? This work is a guide to understanding art history through a critical reading of the field's most influential texts over the past two centuries.

Required Reading
2004-08-16 Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985 Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN 0631228683 ISBN-13 9780631228684

Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985 is a groundbreaking anthology that captures the essence and the edge of the contemporary art scene. Provides the first truly comprehensive and international anthology of theory in contemporary art of the last two decades. Brings together a broad selection of important contributions to the fields of contemporary art, theory, and culture from established and emergent art voices, including scholars, curators, critics, and artists from around the globe. Focuses on key theoretical and aesthetic issues in contemporary art, such as cultural/multicultural theory, identity politics, AIDS, post-colonialism, globalization, and spectatorship. Includes editorial material and 44 illustrations.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Costello D & Vickery J., (2007) ART: Key Contemporary Thinkers, Berg.

Emmison M & Smith P, eds.(2000) Researching the Visual: Images, Contexts and Interactions in Social and Cultural Enquiry, Sage.

Gaigler & Wood (2003) Art of the 20th Century: A Reader Yale Uni. Press.

Gray, C. & Malins, J., (2004) Visualizing Research: A Guide to the Research Process in Art and Design, Ashgate, Aldershot.

Heartney, E. ed., (2009)  Art & Today, Phaidon.

Hult, C.A. (1995) Researching and Writing in the Humanities and Arts Macmillan.

Kocur. Z. & S. Leung eds., (2012) Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1985, 2nd Edition, Wiley Blackwell.

Macleod K & L Holdridge, (2006) Thinking Through Art: Reflections on Art as Research, Routledge.

Nelson R S. & R. Shiff eds. (2003) Critical Terms for Art History, Uni. Chicago Press.

Rose G. (2001) Visual Methodologies, Sage Publ.

Preziosi D. (1998)  The Art of Art History A Critical Anthology OUP.

Stallabrass J. (2004) Art Incorporated: The Story of Contemporary Art Oxford Uni. Press.

Sullivan, G. (2005) Art Practice as Research: Inquiry in the Visual Arts Sage.

Smith H. & R. Dean (2009) Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts, Edinburgh Univ. Press

Journal Resources

Aesthetica combines editorials with critical debate on contemporary visual culture.

Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry: In depth analysis of contemporary art related to society, politics and philosophy.

Artforum / Artforum International Contemporary art magazine containing essays and reviews by noted critics and artists.

Art Bulletin and Art Journal  Peer reviewed articles on the visual arts. Published by the College Art Association (CAA).

E-fluxA publishing/curatorial platform and archive for contemporary art, culture and theory internationally.

Parkett International contemporary art explored by writers and critics.

URL Resources

Documents in Contemporary Art: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/series/whitechapel-documents-contemporary-art

DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) https://doaj.org/

IMMA The What Is_? Programme What is https://imma.ie/what-is-art/overview/  An introduction to some of the key concepts and themes in modern and contemporary art for all audiences.

Visual Thinking Strategies http://www.vtshome.org/

Read Write Think; an initiative of the International Reading Association  http://www.readwritethink.org/

Project Zero: Artful Thinking   http://www.pzartfulthinking.org/index.php

Association of Art Editors Style Guide https://www.artedit.org/style-guide.php

Journal for Artistic Research https://www.jar-online.net/


DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) https://doaj.org/



Art 21: https://art21.org/

ARTSTOR: https://www.artstor.org/

Other Resources

Documenta, Kasel www.documenta.de  ev+a, Limerick www.eva.ie  Frieze Art Fair, London www.friezeartfair.com Liverpool Biennial www.biennial.com/  Manifesta, European Biennale of Contemporary Art www.manifesta.org Skulptur Projekte Münster www.skulptur-projekte.de  Venice Biennale www.labiennale.org 

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead www.balticmill.com Centres Georges Pompidou, Paris www.cnac-gp.fr Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao www.guggenheim-bilbao.es ICA Institute of Contemporary Arts, London www.ica.org.uk Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin www.kw-berlin.de Maxxi, Rome www.maxxi.parc.beniculturali.it/english/museo.htm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York www.metmuseum.org  MOMA Museum of Modern Art, New York www.moma.org  Reina Sofia, Madrid www.museoreinasofia.es  Saatchi Gallery, London www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk Serpentine Gallery, London www.serpentinegallery.org Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York www.guggenheim.org Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam www.stedelijk.nl Tate Modern, London www.tate.org.uk Whitechapel Gallery, London www.whitechapel.org

VLE Moodle

Additional Information