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ARTH 293/3.0 Image/Self

Course applicable to the following Majors / Medials/ Minors:    ARTH (option) / LLCU*pending departmental approval / Con-Ed Teaching Subject (Visual Arts)
Course Instructor: Dr Ruth Cereceda - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This course is available in:   Summer and Winter term at the BISC
Course Prerequisites / Exclusions:   PREREQUISITE: Level 2 standing or above, or permission of the Department

This course will look at how self-representation has helped in creating both individual and collective identities and shaping the notions of private and public realms.


Course Highlights:

Visual thinking is core to this course and you will learn to extract the information you require from the primary sources.

Learn thow celebrities and polticians carefully curate their public images.

This course has never been more relevant! In the age of the Selfie, no art form is more popular than the portrait.

Explore how portraiture has been used historically to comment on the gender politics of the sitter, the artist and the viewer.


ARTH 293/3.0 Image/Self

From ancient Egyptian mummies to contemporary selfies, visual portraits have reflected and shaped ideals of personal and collective identity in diverse cultures and historical periods. This course explores the art of portraiture and its significance in human society. Specific case studies may vary.

Learning Outcomes

In the age of the selfie, no art form is more popular than portraiture. We all do it, we all interact with it, but what does it really tell us about ourselves? This course will explore some of the many ways in which representations of real human beings have played a role in art and culture throughout recorded history and in diverse societies around the world. While charting the history of this engaging art form, we will consider how portraits have helped to express ideals of personal and collective identity and shape ideas about private and public identity that continue to affect art and society today.

Students will explore topics related to the rise of the individual, the use of self-image to articulate shifting modes of subjectivity, the representation of post-conflict trauma and question the gender politics between artist, sitter and spectator. How images relate to contemporary identities, and current responses to traditional narratives will be addressed by studying the shift in emphasis and the cult of celebrity of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Experience has shown that bringing students into contact with a range of primary sources is essential to an understanding of the portraits studied on this course. Previous example of ELOs for this course include visits to the National Gallery, London and the Museé D’Orsay, Paris. These visits provided students with extensive primary sources, and students were encouraged to use these Impressionist collections as the focus of both their class presentations, and their essays.

The Bader International Study Centre (Queen’s University, Canada) is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment that is fair, positive, and supportive for all members of our community.
We strive to ensure all members’ views are valued and shared in a secure environment through a commitment to upholding equity*, diversity**, inclusion***, and advancing indigenous initiatives.
The BISC supports the fair treatment and opportunity for all by asserting the importance of non-discriminatory treatment either directly or indirectly on the ground of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.   

*Equity: Substantive fairness for everyone thereby ensuring that members of equity-seeking groups are able to achieve full participation in the university (BISC). 

**Diversity: The representation of the population with respect to designated groups. 

***Inclusion: The climate and acceptance of differences that comes with diversity i.e. different ways of living and working. 

Land acknowledgement: Queen’s University, Canada is situated on Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory.

Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
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Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment
Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2218
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