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Unit information: Art and Internationalism (Level H Special Subject) 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.

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Unit name Art and Internationalism (Level H Special Subject)
Unit code HART30042
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Brockington
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit explores new approaches to art in the wake of the 'transnational turn' in historical studies. It seeks to construct an 'imagined cosmopolis' (world capital) as an alternative to the nation-state, and to explore the role which art and artists might play in such a new world order. It focuses particularly on the period known as the 'long fin de siècle', the years between about 1870 and 1920, when both nationalism and internationalism were on the rise and locked into fierce debate about the future of civilisation. We will examine the careers of artists who were cosmopolitan in their approach to art (eg. Picasso, Sickert, Kandinsky, Whistler, Crane), and at the exhibitions, journals, societies and movements which promoted their art internationally. Key themes for discussion could include: the idea of art as as universal language; the sites of internationalism - the question of where a cosmopolis should be located; political theories such as anarchism and their impact on modern art; and the impact of the First World War on cultural internationalism in Europe.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an in-depth and detailed knowledge and understanding of the developing relationship between art and Internationalism as a movement;
  2. show an ability to work with primary sources;
  3. integrate both primary and secondary source material into a wider analysis;
  4. demonstrate the ability to learn independently within a small-group context;
  5. select pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate more general ideas;
  6. identify a particular academic interpretation, evaluate it critically and form an individual viewpoint;
  7. demonstrate writing, research, and presentation skills appropriate to level H/6.

Teaching details

1 x 2-hour seminar per week

1 x 1-hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

One 3000-word summative essay (50%) [ILOs 1-7]

One 2-hour exam (50%) [ILOs 1-7]

Reading and References

1. Brockington, Grace (ed.), Internationalism and the Arts in Britain and Europe at the Fin de Siècle (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009)

2. DaCosta Kaufmann, Thomas, Catherine Dossin, and Beatrice Joyeux-Prunel, Global Artistic Circulations and the History of Art (Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2015).

3. Iriye, Akira, Cultural Internationalism and World Order (Baltimore; London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997).

4. Nussbaum, Martha, et al, For Love of Country: debating the limits of patriotism (Boston : Beacon Press ,c1996)

5. Stephenson, Andrew, 'Edwardian Cosmopolitanism, ca. 1901-1912', in O'Neill and Hatt (eds), The Edwardian Sense: Art, Design, and Performance in Britain, 1901-1910 (Yale: YUP, 2010)

6. Cuddy-Keane, Melba (ed.), Modernism Keywords (2014): entries on 'Empire', 'International' and 'Universals'.