Spring 2020 - CA 314 D100

Readings in the History of Art and Culture (3)

Visual Culture in Romantic-Era Britain

Class Number: 8659

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    GCA 4390, GOLDCORP

  • Prerequisites:

    CA (or FPA) 117 (or 167), 186, 210W (or 210).



Investigates a selected historical topic in art and culture. May repeat for credit.


An exploration of a vast array of British art and material culture during the rise of empire and colonialism from approximately 1750 to 1832. Students will examine works of art and print culture (maps, portraits, landscapes, maritime views), and read texts contemporary with their production (travel journals, diaries, poems, novels), as well as recent scholarly interpretations. The aim of the course is to provide students with a better understanding of the ways in which images and objects mediated the experience of the world during the Romantic period. Topics will include: Northwest coast exploration and contact; colonial slavery and the art and literature of abolition; British art and the rise of the British empire; women and children in London, the provinces, and colonies; and the human and ecological costs of plundering the resources and cultural productions of others. Emphasis will be placed on critically examining how images or cultural objects might have been used or understood by different viewers, their formal qualities, historical context, circulation, and relevance to our own time.

Through class discussion, presentations, excursions to local collections, curating, research and writing assignments, seminar students will have the opportunity to intervene in the historical debates surrounding specific images, objects, and texts both individually and as a group. For the final curatorial project, students will collaborate by choosing a topic that relates to the course, and creating an exhibit using materials from Special Collections at Bennett library, SFU. The exhibit will take place in the glass display cases on the 3rd (main) floor entrance of the Bennett library and will also be available online.


  • Attendance and Participation 10%
  • Blogs (5 in total) 25%
  • Presentation on one of the weekly readings 10%
  • Group curatorial project: Bennett Library 15%
  • Proposal (abstract and annotated bibliography) 10%
  • Final research paper or project 30%

Registrar Notes:

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