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Unit information: The City (Level C Special Topic) in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

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.

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. articulate their knowledge of current art historical debates concerning the emergence of the modern city within visual representation.

Teaching details

1 x 2 hour seminar per week

1 x 1 hour workshop per week

Assessment Details

One 2000-word summative essay (75%) [ILOs 1-3]

One 1-hour exam (25%) [ILOs 1-3]

Reading and References

  • Goudeau, Jeroen, Mariette Verhoeven, and Wouter Weijers, Imagined and Real Jerusalem in Art and Architecture. Brill, 2014
  • Mitchell, Timothy, 'The World as Exhibition,' Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 31, no. 2, 1989, pp. 217–236.
  • Mundy, Barbara E., 'Moteuczoma Reborn: Biombo Paintings and Collective Memory in Colonial Mexico City,' Winterthur Portfolio, vol. 45, no. 2/3, 2011, pp. 161–176.
  • Nevola, Fabrizio, 'Review Essay: Street Life in Early Modern Europe,' Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 66, no. 4, 2013, pp. 1332–1345.
  • Norman, Diana, 'Pisa, Siena, and the Maremma: a neglected aspect of Ambrogio Lorenzetti's paintings in the Sala dei Nove', Renaissance Studies, Vol. 11 (1997), pp. 310–342
  • Young, James E. 'Memory/Monument' in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. by R Nelson and R Schiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), pp. 234-247
  • Dixon, Laurinda, Perilous Chastity: Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1995