Art, Society, and Culture

ARTH 250/3.0

An introduction to the social conditions and cultural movements that shaped European visual art of the nineteenth century in its global context. The course will stress the tension between modernity and anti-modernism as well as competing views on the very nature of visual art.


This online course is an introduction to the social conditions and cultural movements that shaped nineteenth-century European visual arts in their global context. Two main themes will be stressed:  1) the tension between modernity and anti-modernism and 2) competing views on the very nature of the visual arts.  The dramatic social and political developments of the period were reflected in diverse cultural movements, some of which embraced change while others rejected it and looked to the past for artistic models.  Closely related to these cultural movements was the fundamental question of what comprised the visual arts.  For example, increased exposure to non-Western visual culture through colonization challenged European assumptions about art.

Although the course material is organized chronologically, it does not present a comprehensive survey of nineteenth-century European art.  Rather, emphasis will be placed on the social, political and cultural context of specific aspects of the visual arts of the period.  The course will be divided into eight units, most of which will be covered in either one or two week blocks.  Within each unit, material is subdivided into two or more topics of varying length. Topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to, the following:  Revolutionary and Napoleonic Propaganda, Industrialization and the English Countryside, The Harem and the Mosque, and the Arts and Crafts Movement.


4 Response Assignments (best 4 out of 5 assignments)50%
5 Quizzes20%
5 Discussion Forums10%


Learning Outcomes


  • of the social, political, cultural and technological developments of the period
  • of the 19th century Western art movements
  • of artists, their styles and artisitc interests
  • of issues relating to the categorization of the visual arts


  • of how social, political and technological factors affect the visual arts
  • of the non-linear development of the visual arts
  • of the factors contributing to the categorization of the visual arts


  • development of skill in historical analysis
  • development of crtical thinking skills
  • development of skill in formal analysis
  • development of writing skills


2Art & Politics
3New Approaches to the Natural World
4Realism and the Rise of the Middle Class
5Urbanization & The Concept of "Modernity"
6Exoticism & the Rise of Colonialism
7Medievalism & Social Reform
8New Ways of Seeing

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 9-10 hours a week in study and online activity for ARTH 250.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.


Moodle is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into Moodle to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the Moodle site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a good-quality computer (Windows XP/Vista/7, Pentium III, or Mac OS X 10.5, G4 or G5 processor, 256 MB RAM) with a high-speed internet connection, soundcard, speakers, and microphone, and up-to-date versions of free software (Explorer/Firefox, Java, Flash, Adobe Reader). See also Preparing For Your Course.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Dates and Deadlines section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for 2014-15 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Canadian students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $605.31; for a 6.0-unit course, $1210.62. See also Tuition and Payment.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.