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Study information

Global Modernisms

Module titleGlobal Modernisms
Module codeAHV3007
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Rosalind Hayes ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module explores the relationship between Modernism and global art from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. How did modern art emerge as a response to new political structures and historical and regional traditions? How did new approaches to architecture and design shape everyday life in the conflicting spheres of nationalism and internationalism? In studying key modernist movements across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia, we will consider larger questions of visual culture and its relationship to urbanism and mass consumption; imperialism and socialism; race and ethnicity; gender and sexuality; and postcolonial historiography and theory.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Drawing on historical and theoretical engagements with mass culture, urbanism and postcolonialism, this module aims to:  

  • introduce you to diverse approaches to Modernism around the world 

  • explore Modernism’s relationship to history and tradition, and the emergence of new forms of art at the turn of the twentieth century 

  • consider how ideas and practices of transnationalism resulted in the production and dissemination of modern art in a range of social and geopolitical contexts 

  • examine the critical legacy of global exchange and question notions of aesthetic development 

  • reconsider hierarchies of the modernist canon, and explore a range of lesser-studied media such as avant-garde magazines, industrial design and social housing. 

The course is structured thematically and draws on interdisciplinary approaches to art history and visual culture, and includes readings from the fields of anthropology, intellectual history, postcolonial and gender studies, and sociology.  

The module delivery is primarily through lectures and seminars,  and may include visits to RAMM and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum (or virtual field study as appropriate). You will be encouraged to conduct object-based research in these significant collections of global art and modern popular culture. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. critically evaluate key historiographical and theoretical debates in Modernism
  • 2. situate works of visual and material culture in a global context
  • 3. demonstrate an understanding of the social history of art, architecture and design in the twentieth century
  • 4. articulate your own critical position relative to recent and current debates on Modernism, global art, and theories of consumption, gender, and postcolonialism

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. display confidence with the analysis of a wide range of artistic works
  • 6. research independently and interpret a range of primary and secondary sources
  • 7. apply a variety of interdisciplinary methodologies and theoretical approaches to the interpretation of visual and material culture
  • 8. understand and apply specialist terms, methodologies, and concepts

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. through writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose and manage your own research time
  • 10. through research for essays, demonstrate basic proficiency in information retrieval and analysis, and object-based research
  • 11. develop confidence in verbal communication through oral presentations and seminar discussions
  • 12. develop skills for private study and collaborative work

Syllabus plan

Lectures are organised thematically in order to address key trends and scholarly debates in Modernism, as well as emerging approaches to global art. Examples will be drawn from a wide range of visual and material culture, and will address the intersection of art history, anthropology, sociology, and critical theory. Major themes include:

  • Urbanism and Mass Consumption
  • Modern Art and Sexuality
  • Postcolonial Approaches to Modern Art and Visual Culture
  • Modernist Engagement with the Past

Seminars will explore case studies in more detail, and will also serve to analyse critical readings relative to the study of Global Modernisms. Engagement with relevant museum collections will focus on the relationship between ethnography and modernist movements around the world.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching61 hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching111 hour seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching11:1 tutorial follow up
Scheduled learning and teaching4Study visits to RAMM and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum
Guided independent study 128Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short essay750 words1-12Written feedback. Tutorial
Oral presentation5-10 minutes1-12Written feedback. Tutorial

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research scrapbook251,000 word research account and scrapbook1-12Written feedback.
Essay752,000 words1-12Written feedback. Tutorial.

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research scrapbook1,000 word research account + scrapbook1-12Referral/Deferral period
EssayEssay, 2,000 words1-12Referral/Deferral period
Repeat study/mitifatio

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996.
  • Araeen, Rasheed. “Modernity, Modernism, and Africa's Place in the History of Art of our Age,” in Third Text, Vol. 19, Issue 4 (Jul. 2005), pp. 411–417.
  • Bauman, Zygmunt. Modernity and Ambivalence. Oxford: Polity Press, 1991.
  • Benjamin, Walter. Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. New York: Schocken Books, 1968.
  • CÃ?��Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?��Ã?�Ã?§elik, Zeynep. Empire, Architecture, and the City: French-Ottoman Encounters, 1830-1914. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008.
  • Chakrabarty, Dipesh. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial thought and historical difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.
  • Clifford, James. The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-century ethnography, literature, and art. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988.
  • Hobsbawm, Eric. Fractured Times: Culture and Society in the Twentieth Century. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2013.
  • Loos, Adolf. Ornament and Crime: Selected Essays. Riverside, CA: Ariadne Press, 1998.
  • Mitter, Partha. The Triumph of Modernism: India’s Artists and the Avant-Garde, 1922-1947. London: Reaktion, 2007.
  • Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1978.
  • Schapiro, Meyer. Modern Art: 19th and 20th Centuries. London: Chatto and Windus, 1978.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Art history, visual culture, modernism, empire, global

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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