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Unit information: The City (Level C Special Topic) in 2018/19

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Unit name The City (Level C Special Topic)
Unit code HART10210
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Hunt
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History of Art (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Cities function as webs of power relations, centres of social development and technological innovation, expressions of cultural identities, sites of protest and anxiety, centres of migration; and as playgrounds and canvasses for artistic expression. Representations of the city in the visual arts chart the rapid social, political and cultural development of society accompanying the development of the urban environment. From depictions of the city in medieval times, to the French Impressionists, to today’s street artists, representation of the city fluctuates between a drive to map the networks and geographies of the city, and a desire to evoke the experiences and emotions of living in the urban metropolis. This unit will explore the development and picturing of the city in art from a trans-historical and transcultural stand-point.

Students will practice their oral presentation skills by giving a formative class presentation.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of current art historical study and research
  2. work with both visual and textual sources
  3. demonstrate skills in contributing to and learning from a small-group environment
  4. articulate their knowledge of current art historical debates concerning the emergence of the modern city within visual representation.

Teaching details


1 x 2hr seminars

1 x 1hr workshop

Assessment Details

4000-word essay (100%) [ILOs 1-4]

Reading and References

  • Clark, T.J. The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers, London, 1985
  • Dennis, Richard, 'Urban Modernity, Networks and Places' in History in Focus (2008)
  • Harrison Moore, A and Rowe, D (eds.) Architecture and Design in Europe and America 1750-2000 Boston and Oxford, Blackwell 2006
  • Nelson, R. and Schiff, R. Critical Terms for Art History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003)
  • Pollock, Griselda Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism and the History of Art Routledge, London & New York 1988
  • Rowe, Dorothy Representing Berlin: Sexuality and the City in Imperial and Weimar Germany Ashgate, Hampshire 2003