Postcolonial Visual Art

Subject AHIS40006 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2
Total Time Commitment:



Admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth year honours in art history.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Susan Lowish

Subject Overview:

This subject focuses on contemporary cross-cultural visual art in relation to its colonial heritage. Responses to the colonial archive are a significant current in late 20th and early 21st century culture. In many different contexts and in a range of visual media (film, photography and painting) artists have critiqued and deconstructed dominant Western myths and stereotypes of race. In this subject we will address such responses, and the issues that they raise about relationships between cultures. The theoretical issues that inform this subject include the relationship between aesthetics and politics, forms of resistance, the structure and operation of racial stereotypes in visual cultures, questions of cultural agency, the relationship between postcolonialism and feminism, cultural hybridity, and cross-cultural borrowing and appropriation. The subject focuses on the work of artists and filmmakers from across the globe. Students should complete the subject with an understanding of both the broad theoretical issues and historical/regional specificity of cross-cultural visual art forms.

  • become familiar with major post-colonial artists and photographers;
  • be able to comprehend and discern the relationship between post-colonial and colonial visual cultures;
  • be able to understand the major theoretical debates in the study of cross-cultural art; and
  • be able to recognize the ways in which discussions in the field of post-colonial visual art intersect with debates in the interdisciplinary field of post-colonial studies.

A class paper of 2000 words 40% (due during the semester), and an essay of 3000 words 60% (due in the examination period). Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% (or 10 out of 12) classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Any student who fails to meet this hurdle without valid reason will not be eligible to pass the subject. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject. Essays submitted after the due date without an extension will be penalised 2% per day. Essays submitted after two weeks of the assessment due date without a formally approved application for special consideration or an extension will only be marked on a pass/fail basis if accepted.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
  • be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion;
  • be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision; and
  • be able to participate in team work through involvement in syndicate groups and group discussions.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Art Curatorship (Coursework and Minor Thesis)
150 Point Master of Art Curatorship (Coursework and Minor Thesis)
200 Point Master of Art Curatorship (Coursework and Minor Thesis)
Art History
Art History
Art History
Cultural Studies
Cultural Studies
Screen and Cultural Studies

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