Course syllabus

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SEMESTER 1, 2019  15 points


4-5 pm Mondays and Thursdays, Engineering 1401/401-401.

2 x 1 hour lectures and 1 hour tutorial

Associate Professor Greg Minissale, Room 206-749, ph: 9236033  Office hours:Thurs 3-4 

Dr Caroline Vercoe, Room 206-747, ph: (09) 932 7501 Email: Office hours:  Tuesday 1-2 pm

Dr Ngarino Ellis, Room 206-745, ph. (09) 9236992 Email:   Of TBA

Associate Professor Linda Tyler  206-741, ph. (09) 9235189 Email: Office hours: Thurs 1-2pm


Talei Siilata, Office hours: Monday 2:00 - 3:00pm, Room 206-305 Email:

Anisha Verghese, Office hours: Monday 3:00 - 4:00pm, Room 206-303 Email:

Tuakana Mentor

Eden Tongia, Contact Eden through the Canvas link, Office hours: Friday 12:00- 2:00pm, Room 206-308

Arts + Mentors

Tama Abraham-

Daniel Payne-

Eliza Macdonald-

Maya Hay-

Tanuvi Garimella-

Heloisa De Freitas-

Zineida Hall-

Class Reps

Annika Siegers -

Rachel Simpson -

Facebook page

Art History Society 115 Art History Mentoring Session

 (Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)

DID YOU KNOW? This course will earn you 15 points of the BA of Global Studies:

AND this course is also listed as part of the Visual Literacy: Researching Images module!

Summary of Course Description:         

This course is the best way to become familiar with the world's knowledge and cultural and historical diversity. It will provide a broad survey of art and visual culture spanning the early modern world leading up to an examination of the contemporary world we live in today. This course is an important meeting of history, politics and art. In history and in different cultures images, materials and art practices are used to express and extend power and authority. Yet such images have also been used for revolution and change. In this unique course, students will be introduced to art, history and politics in a global context including Māori, Pacific, European and American, African and Asian traditions. Taking this comparative approach, the course provides students with the knowledge of the world's most important cultural traditions. It trains students to recognize how power manipulates vision, concepts and materials, and how artists have challenged this power.

The classes are structured within thematic topics which include the expression and representation of authority and power; the emergence of different perspectives on modernity and different cultural and political explorations of feminism and identity, migrations and diasporas.

 Course outcomes:

By the end of the course students will have acquired the following skills and competencies:

  1. To be able to visually analyse artworks, images and examples of visual culture using reliable methods and terms
  2. Confidence in comparing and contrasting artworks and examples of visual culture across cultures
  3. The ability to situate artworks in their social, historical, cultural and economic contexts
  4. The skills to sustain an argument and logically compose a narrative in essay writing
  5. Techniques to find and research quality resources and information in the library and online.

The course aims to be exciting and exploratory featuring digital media, online learning, discussion groups, multimedia bibliographies and tutorials to encourage fresh and innovative ways of learning, understanding and engaging with artworks.


NE = Ngarino Ellis CV = Caroline Vercoe

LT=Linda Tyler GM = Greg Minissale       





In this class we offer an overview of the course, introducing its central aims and concerns. 

For general introduction: Oxford Art Online


 2          POWER + AUTHORITY: Moko/tatau (NE)

This class will focus on the ways that signs and symbols of rank and authority are represented in Maori and Pacific cultures. There will be a particular focus on moko and tatau, both historically but also as practiced today. Our starting point is Epeli Hau’ofa’s concept of a sea of islands.




 3     POWER + AUTHORITY: Personal adornment (NE) 

This class will examine the ways in which Maori and Pacific peoples express ideas of power and authority through the making and wearing of different forms of body adornment.

MARCH, 14:

4     POWER + AUTHORITY: Māori and Pacific architecture (NE)

Architecture can embody and extend ideas about power and authority, both individual and also communal. In today’s class we will consider the architecture, design and symbolism, and relationships with the Pacific.



MARCH, 18:

5     POWER AND AUTHORITY: Maori and Pacific Carving and Sculpture  (CV)

 With a particular emphasis on carving and sculptural practice, this lecture will focus on the ways that art forms functioned in relation to indigenous pre-Christian religious practice. It will also deal with the impact and influence of colonial settlement in the Pacific.

MARCH, 21:

6     POWER + AUTHORITY: Textiles (CV)

In today’s class we’ll explore the importance and function of indigenous Pacific textile arts focusing on tapa (decorated bark cloth) and weaving in a range of Maori and Pacific contexts.



MARCH, 25:


POWER + AUTHORITY: Court Art and the Manchu emperors in China (LT)

This lecture looks at how the production of court art under three High Qing emperors, Kangxi (r. 1663–1722), Yongzheng (r. 1723–35), and Qianlong (r. 1736–95), with a focus on artistic parallels between the art of the Chinese and European courts. Later in the 18th and 19th centuries, great commercial cities such as Yangzhou and Shanghai became art centres where wealthy merchant-patrons encouraged artists to produce bold new works.


 MARCH, 28:


POWER + AUTHORITY: Ukiyo-e and the art of the Meiji Restoration in Japan (LT)

This lecture begins with the art produced when Edo (modern Tokyo) became the capital of samurai government in the seventeenth century and explores how images of “the floating world” came into ascendancy in the nineteenth century.





Power and Authority: African Art –1500-1700  (CV)

This lecture looks at art produced on the West Coast of Africa, with a particular emphasis on figurative art from Benin.



10  POWER + AUTHORITY 5: The Mughals in India 1550-1700  (GM)

This lecture explains how the Mughals were influenced by Central Asian, Persian and Indian cultural traditions in order to create an art form that effectively conveys power and authority through geometrical structures.



 APRIL, 8:

 11   POWER + AUTHORITY 6: Mughal Art, Social and material practices (GM)

 A study of how Mughal Indian artists worked together in the studios, materials used and painting styles and genres as well as relationships of the artists to patrons.

 April 11:






APRIL, 29:

 13   MODERNISMS: British Imperialism in India (SP)

 This lecture is looks at how the aims of British colonialism were supported by photography

MAY, 02:

 14  MODERNISMS: Modern Art in India (AV)

This lecture looks at how Indian artists negotiated the legacy of modernism and cultural identity in a variety of ways in the early twentieth century.



MAY 6:

 15  MODERNISMS: European and American Art (GM)

This lecture looks at how European and American artists dealt with the trauma of two World Wars

MAY 09:

 16   FEMINISMS: Gender  – Part 1 (NE )

 This lecture looks at the ways in which feminist art history in the US and UK emerged in the 1970s, and focuses on key questions: what is the identity of women artists and their practices over time, how did the field of art history set to exclude them, and how do we practice feminist art history?



 MAY 13:

 17   FEMINISMS: Gender  – Part 2 (NE)

 The waves of feminism were criticised by many indigenous and African-American writers, thinkers and artists as excluding them by virtue of their culture, race or ethnicity. In this class we look at this history through the work of artists such as Lorna Smith, Kara Walker, Shona Rapira-Davies and Robyn Kahukiwa.

MAY 16:

 18  MIGRATIONS + DIASPORAS:  Art and Diaspora (GM )

This lecture is devoted to an examination of how artists have explored notions of cultural identity experimenting with hybridity.



 MAY 20:

 19    MIGRATIONS + DIASPORAS: Contemporary Asian Art (LT )

From Political Pop in China to Takashi Murakami’s highly commercialised practice and Yayoi Kusama’s dot paintings and pumpkins, this lecture will analyse the phenomenon of contemporary Asian art. Direct political practices and performance art have emerged in recent decades, as exemplified by Chinese artists Ai Weiwei whose work has been highly critical of state policy and also drawn attention to the current refugee crisis.

MAY 23

 20 CONTEMPORARY ART: Contemporary Maori Art (CV)

This lecture considers the idea of contemporary Maori art, which emerged for many in the 1960s led by Maori who migrated from their rural turangawaewae/home to the cities. Themes in many of their works will be addressed including land, protest, and identity. Artists will include Ralph Hotere, Emare Karaka, Robyn Kahukiwa, Michael Parekowhai, Lisa Reihana and Shannon Te Ao. 



MAY 27:

 21      CONTEMPORARY ART:  Contemporary Pacific Art (CV)

 Today’s class focuses on contemporary Pacific art with a particular focus on Pacific artists in Aotearoa New Zealand.  Connections are made between gallery and non-gallery based art practices.

Artists include Fatu Feu’u, Michel Tuffery, Ani O’Neill, Niki Hastings-McFall, Kalisolaite Uhila and FAFSWAG.


MAY 30:

 22   CONTEMPORARY ART: Aboriginal Art (CV)

This lecture focuses on a range of works by Aboriginal artists. It highlights the diversity of art practice produced by Aboriginal artists in response to social, cultural and political issues. 





 24   Main concepts in Global Art Histories, exam skills and essay writing/best practice


One test (20%), one essay (30%), one exam (50%)




Course summary:

Date Details