Cultural Forensics: Intent to Deceive

Subject UNIB20004 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1-hour lecture for 12 weeks and 1 x 2-hr tutorial per week for 11 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Robyn Sloggett


Robyn Sloggett

Subject Overview:

Art fraud is a serious problem for Australia's art market; it involves organized crime, damage to artists' reputations and the insertion of false documents into the historical record. This subject introduces the cross-disciplinary research methodologies involved in investigating works of art within a legal context. Leading researchers in diverse fields including physics, chemistry and cultural materials conservation present key theories and methods. Important elements from different disciplines explored include scientific concepts of verifiability and falsifiability; designing analytical pathways; and selecting appropriate scientific instrumentation, the history of technological developments in pigment and binder manufacture; the varying legal standards around Australia and internationally; and the importance of provenance and documentary evidence. This is the only undergraduate subject led by the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students should:

  • understand the philosophical, economic and social impacts of art fraud on the indivduals and communities producing art and on the art market.
  • understand and be able to use agreed industry definitions of original artwork from both legal and art historical perspectives.
  • have an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of application of scientific analytical procedures to the authentication process and understand the process of formulating and testing a hypothesis scientifically.

One 1500 word assignment due mid-semester (40%) and one 2500 word research essay due at the end of semester (60%).

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five working days, no late assessment will be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available online.

Recommended Texts:

Dutton, Denis (ed.) 1983 The Forger's Art: Forgery and the Philosophy of Art, University of California Press, Berkeley.
Hebborn, Eric 2004, The Art Forger's Handbook, Overlook Press, Woodstock, N.Y.
Lenain, Thierry 2011, Art forgery : the history of a modern obsession, Reaktion Books, London

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

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