AH30010 Writings on Art

Academic Year 2024/2025

This module is only open to art history majors for whom it is compulsory.

This module provides an overview of some of the principal trends in writing on art from the pre-modern to the present day. It thus builds upon the thematic modules undertaken in Levels 1 and 2, enabling students to place their cumulative experience in a methodological framework. The course develops students’ understanding of art history as a discipline while importantly positioning it in dialogue with diverse approaches and methods to underscore the interdisciplinary nature of the field. Topics include formalism, connoisseurship, feminism, queer theory, and decoloniality. The module aims to provide students with a theoretical and critical context for their final-year study of art history and to aid them in identifying the ideas that inform their own approaches to the subject. It attunes students to current and emerging approaches to art history.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this module, students should be able to demonstrate the following:

- an understanding of the methodologies employed in art history discussed in the module
- an ability to analyse and compare different art historical methodologies
- a familiarity with and understanding of a range of set texts and critical and theoretical sources relevant to the course
- an ability to independently seek out, research, and apply other art-historical methods and theoretical approaches

Indicative Module Content:

Writings in Pre-Modern Art
Vasari and the Biographical Tradition
Style and Form
Psychoanalytical Perspectives on Art
Marxism and Social Theory
Intersectional Feminisms
Queer Theory
Trans and Non-Binary Methods in Art History
From Postcolonial Theory to Decolonial Practice

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures, supplemented by occasional tutorials. Lectures will provide broad frameworks while tutorials will be devoted to assessed student presentations.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

All students wishing to take a major in art history are required to complete this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
AH20200 - The Modern to the Contemporary, AH20210 - Perspectives on Irish Art, AH20230 - European Architecture, AH20250 - Early Islamic Art, AH20250 - Early Islamic Art

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AH10070 - Dublin: Its Museums

Additional Information:
Module Pre-requisites:
DN520: AH20200 and either AH20230 or AH20250
DN530: AH20250 and AH20210

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade

Not yet recorded.

Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual feedback on Essay Abstract (due in Week 7) will allow students the opportunity to revise their approach in advance of submission of the final assignment. Final written: assignment: individual written feedback post-assessment available on request.

These primers are widely available for purchase. Copies are available in the James Joyce Library and in the School of Art History Reading Room (J007).

Fernie, Eric, Art History and its Methods. London, 1996.
Harrison, Charles and Paul Wood (eds), Art in Theory 1900–2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. London, 2003.
Hatt, M. and C. Klonk, Art History: A Critical Introduction to its Methods. Manchester, 2006.
Preziosi, Donald (ed.), The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology. Oxford, 1998.
Name Role
Ms Carla Briggs Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Philip Cottrell Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Roisin Kennedy Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Sean Leatherbury Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor John Loughman Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Conor Lucey Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Emily Mark-Fitzgerald Lecturer / Co-Lecturer