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BA Art History and Japanese / Course details
Year of entry: 2024
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Art History is known for its strong interdisciplinary character. Students explore subjects, objects and texts from different cultures and different historical periods. Students benefit from our strengths in Renaissance Studies, Romanticism, modern and contemporary art, as well the intersections of art and science.
Teaching takes place in a variety of formats, and many course units benefit from unrivalled access to The John Rylands Library and The Whitworth, which contain world-famous works by Bacon, Blake, Gauguin, Munch, Picasso, Rembrandt, Turner, Van Gogh and other major artists. Teaching is supported by cutting-edge research: REF (2014) placed us in the top three Art History Departments in the UK.
On the Modern Languages side of the degree students will study compulsory language units (the number of credits will depend on whether students are ab-initio or post-A-Level and whether they are studying European or non-European languages) and the study of the culture and history of a specific region.
Teaching within Modern Languages in these latter areas is characterised particularly by the historically and politically contextualised study of culture and cultural practices, including in literature, visual culture and music, with thematic focus on such issues as the environment, popular culture, gender, immigration and transnationalisms, and religion. Crucial here is the understanding of language skills being informed by intercultural awareness and cultural knowledge being mediated by linguistic skills.
In the first, second and final year students will follow core compulsory and optional introductory modules on both sides of the degree. In their final year students will also have the option of taking a dissertation on either side of the degree alongside their core language units and other optional units. Students will be allocated a dissertation supervisor according to existing procedures for the respective subject areas. Students will also be able to take one free-choice unit at levels 2 and 3, though they will not be required to do so.
In the third year of the degree students will undertake a period of residence abroad according to the School's established residence abroad requirements and provision. It is likely that many students on this degree combination will want to undertake work placements with relevant organisations where possible; but students will also be able to take up the offer of a study placement at one of the existing partner universities in the region of study, or work as a British Council English-language assistant.
The course unit details listed below are those you may choose to study as part of this programme and are referred to as optional units. These are subject to change and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this programme. Although language units may show here as optional, they are a mandatory part of your modern languages degree and you will take the units relevant to your level of language in each year of study. It is compulsory to study language at all levels of your modern languages degree.
Your year abroad will offer the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of life in Japan, and further develop your language skills.
Join the Japan Society North West for an exciting range of cultural events such as sushi-making demonstrations, Taiko drumming workshops, food feasts, and an annual Japan Day celebration.
The University is home to over 30 international and language-related student societies offering a breadth of cultural activities and experiences.
The Manchester Art Group curates events, talks, exhibitions and trips, and aims to link up with contemporary art practice in Manchester and across the North West.
You could also join Arts Emergency, which aims to encourage the production of a new generation of thinkers by highlighting the reversal of decades of social and educational access to arts and humanities, or the Whitworth Young Contemporaries Student Society , which brings together students who have an interest in the arts, culture and creativity to make the Whitworth part of students' academic, cultural and social life.
Teaching and learning
Teaching takes place in a variety of formats, including lectures, small seminar groups, workshops, gallery visits, and one-to-one tutorials. Our aim throughout is to support your interests and to help you to improve your skills and become confident independent learners.
Seminars are normally very interactive they are an opportunity for you to discuss readings and ideas in a supportive environment and to build your skills and confidence. Some course units feature group projects culminating in online content development or a physical exhibition/display.
Your learning will be supported by material on our virtual learning environment, Blackboard, including access to core texts and recorded lectures.
Where possible our courses include fieldwork visits to galleries or special exhibitions throughout the UK. This means regular classes in Manchester at places like HOME, the City Art Gallery and the University's own Whitworth Art Gallery.
We offer several travel bursaries through the Lady Chorley Fund to assist final-year students with their dissertation research.
Coursework and assessment
You will be assessed in various ways, including:
- written and oral examinations;
- coursework essays;
- research reports;
- practical tests;
- learning logs;
- web contributions;
- seminar presentations and participation.
Many course units are assessed through a mixture of techniques.
In your final year, you can write a dissertation.
Written feedback is provided in the form of essay and exam cover sheets and, in the case of orally delivered seminar papers, a verbal report from the tutor. We provide feedback on both the content of your writing and the construction and clarity of the argument posed.
As a student here you'll gain both academic writing skills and insight into the development of arts-specific composition, such as catalogue entries, gallery interpretation, exhibition reviews and journalistic articles.
Course tutors are available without appointment in their office hours twice a week outside scheduled teaching hours, allowing you to gain advice and feedback on your work.
Course content for year 1
You will split your study time equally between the two sides of your degree.
This is a foundation year that introduces key art historical concepts and methods of analysis and interpretation as well as skills in academic writing.
It includes a substantial amount of gallery-based teaching.
The first and second-year language courses include an Independent Language Learning Programme for post-beginners, through which you build up a portfolio of independent work by making linguistic notes on, for example, Japanese videos, satellite TV, or newspapers.
This enables you to develop not only your linguistic expertise, but also your skills in independent learning - a vital requirement in today's knowledge-based society.
The intensive language teaching programme puts a heavy emphasis on thoroughly covering core language structures to provide secure foundations for progression to higher levels in subsequent years.
Students take core courses introducing them to academic skills and providing essential knowledge of history and society.
You will take only the language units relevant to your level of language in each year of study.
Course units for year 1
|Ice Age to Baroque: Artworks in History||SALC10041||20||Mandatory|
|Rococo to Now: Artworks in History||SALC10042||20||Mandatory|
|Art History Tutorial 1||AHCP10381||20||Optional|
|Art History Tutorial 2||AHCP10382||20||Optional|
|Introduction to Japanese Studies||JAPA10030||20||Optional|
|Japanese Language 1||JAPA51011||20||Optional|
|Japanese Language 2||JAPA51022||20||Optional|
|Japanese Language 3||JAPA51031||20||Optional|
|Japanese Language 4||JAPA51042||20||Optional|
Course content for year 2
In Year 2 you can weigh you credits differently and do a maximum of two-thirds in one subject, and one-third in the other.
Take a mix of core and optional course units.
The objective is to provide you with a deeper understanding of theories and approaches in the study of art history, and a broad-based knowledge of both pre-modern and modern art, architecture and visual culture.
The language courses in year 2 continue to build competence and the Independent Language Learning Portfolio and learning partnerships are central to this process.
In addition, students develop their studies of Japan via a choice of courses in areas such as Japanese history, religion, society and culture, and begin to prepare for residence abroad.
Course units for year 2
|Art in Theory||AHCP20432||20||Mandatory|
|European Art History Fieldtrip||AHCP20701||20||Mandatory|
|Art in Britain||AHCP20221||20||Optional|
|Art in South Asia||AHCP20801||20||Optional|
|Renaissance and Baroque Architecture 1450-1750||AHCP22121||20||Optional|
|The Neo-Avant-Garde and the Crisis of Medium, 1945-1974||AHCP22812||20||Optional|
|Digital Ways of Seeing: Theory and Practice||AHCP24232||20||Optional|
|The Italian Renaissance||ITAL21012||20||Optional|
|Modern and Contemporary Japan: Social Dynamics||JAPA20121||20||Optional|
|Core Themes in Animated Film and Visual Culture of Postwar Japan||JAPA20132||20||Optional|
|Displaying 10 of 14 course units for year 2|
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Course content for year 3
Your third year of study is spent abroad under approved conditions.
Course units for year 3
|History of Art Dissertation||AHCP30000||40||Optional|
|The English Baroque: Architecture and Society 1660-1730||AHCP30012||20||Optional|
|Art and Ecologies||AHCP30052||20||Optional|
|Art After Modernism: Approaching Contemporary Art||AHCP30561||20||Optional|
|Women and Art in Italy 1280-1530||AHCP31031||20||Optional|
|The Art of Medieval Manuscripts||AHCP33612||20||Optional|
|Producing Digital Projects||AHCP33922||20||Optional|
|Advanced Readings in Japanese Studies||JAPA32000||20||Optional|
|Buddhism in Japan||JAPA33082||20||Optional|
|Displaying 10 of 11 course units for year 3|
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Course content for year 4
In Year 4 you can balance your credits to do a maximum of two-thirds in one subject area, and one-third in the other.
Take seminar courses that allow you in-depth contact with a wide range of subjects (many of which are the specialist areas of the members of teaching staff).
These 'Option' courses are focused on an area of study defined by genre, artistic identity, medium or approach.
They are taught in small groups and encourage participation and active learning.
Students will select from various Japanese modules in religion, historical, cultural and social science areas.
The language teaching programme continues to develop skills such as reading and writing Japanese and includes work on interpreting and on translation as practical skills.
Students also have the option to write a Japanese dissertation and an approved topic of their choice.
The rich cultural heritage and attractions of Manchester and the North-West are within easy reach.
The Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery offer unique access to the environment of the working museum and art gallery, as well as to important works of art.
The Whitworth is a major resource, and its outstanding collections of paintings, prints, textiles and wallpapers are used extensively in our teaching.
You can also explore original art in the city's famous galleries, such as the Lowry, Manchester Art Gallery and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.
The main library provision is the University Library, one of the UK's top university libraries with arguably the best access to electronic resources of any library in Europe. This is one of the largest academic libraries in Britain and houses a Special Collections Department (the John Rylands Library) on Deansgate which contains an internationally important and diverse collection of manuscripts, illustrated books and other material relevant to Art History.
Art History students also enjoy a discipline-specific library in the same building as our department providing a pleasant and quiet working environment for students.
Learn more on the Facilities page.