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Art History: Art: Politics: Transgression: 20th Century Avant-Gardes - MLitt

Course content

This Masters is concerned with outlining and critically evaluating the concept of the ‘avant-garde’ both theoretically and in terms of its applicability to representative areas of 20th-century art. Dealing with art from the early twentieth century to the present, you will investigate concepts such as historical avant-garde, neo-avant-garde, and post-avant-garde, paying close attention to the theorists who have elaborated these ideas.

Why this programme

◾Glasgow’s civic and university collections are some of the richest and most diverse in Europe and are of international standing. You are granted privileged access to the extensive collections in our own Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery.
◾You have the opportunity to take part in a project-based work placement, where you can explore a possible future career while meeting professional practitioners and developing your skills and experience.
◾If you want to learn from world-leading researchers and develop expert knowledge of 20th-century Avant-Gardes, this programme is for you.
◾Our research forum provides you with a lively and stimulating introduction to methodological debates within art history. It provides a sense of art history’s own history as well as contemporary concerns and practice, examining the beliefs and values that have informed various forms of historical and visual analysis and enquiry. It is focused around a series of seminars or workshops run by members of staff and visiting academics.

Programme structure

Closely focused on the visual and historical specificities of the subject, the core teaching will have you examining the politically oppositional and ‘transgressive’ impulses of the avant-garde.

You will interpret ‘transgression’ in the widest sense and in relation to a range of diverse historical contexts, including: the anti-art concerns of Dada; the political tensions arising from conflicts between nationalist and internationalist currents in European art of the early 20th century and the Nietzschian/Bataillean testing of the boundaries of conventional moral positions, particularly regarding sexual identity and the body.

The optional courses available are closely geared to the research interests of our staff. Their content will draw upon current exhibitions and debates.

You will take five core courses and one optional course. This is followed by a period of self-study towards a dissertation 15,000 words in length (including footnotes but excluding bibliography) and will be on a topic chosen in consultation with the tutors and the programme convenor.

Core courses
◾Research methods in practice
◾Theories of the Avant Garde
◾Readings in Duchamp: anti-art, blasphemy, sexuality
◾Art, embodiment, transgression
◾Dada in Switzerland and Germany.

Optional courses

You may choose from the following options in the College of Arts
◾a Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII) course: 2D Digitisation (Theory and Practice)
◾a course from the MLitt Modernities: Modernism, Modernity & Post-Modernity run by English Literature
◾a course from elsewhere in the College of Arts, subject to the approval of the programme convenor.

Or from courses run by History of Art
◾Art in the making: modern and Avant-Garde techniques
◾Independent study
◾Work placement.

Study trip

Students on this programme are invited to take part in an optional study trip of approximately one week, which is funded by the student. Previous destinations include Berlin and Dublin.

Career prospects

Career opportunities include positions in curation, digitisation and research within museums and other cultural and heritage institutions. The programme also provides an excellent platform for you to move onto PhD studies and an academic career.

Visit the Art History: Art: Politics: Transgression: 20th Century Avant-Gardes - MLitt page on the University of Glasgow website for more details!

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