Fall 2021 - CA 117 E100

Modern Art History (3)

Class Number: 7338

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 6:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 1700, Vancouver

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 18, 2021
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    HCC 1900, Vancouver



An introduction to the visual arts of the nineteenth century. Formal and thematic approaches to the arts will be introduced, with attention to the social, institutional, national, and international contexts of art. Students with credit for CA (or FPA) 167 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.


This course provides an introduction to the complex ways in which social and political change, and ideologies of gender, class, race and ethnicity, worked to shape aspects of 19th century visual culture in Europe and North America. Emphasis will be placed on the roles played by industrialization, political revolution, rapid urban growth, global commerce, and the new media technologies of an expanding consumer culture in defining a wide range of visual culture. Throughout the term we will also examine different representations and debates around the idea of modernity and the “modern.” Since the time period under investigation has often been called “The First Modern Century”, we will pay particular attention to shifting ideas related to labour and leisure, urban social space and spectacle, and issues bearing on Eurocentrism and Euro- American expansion of empires in relation to Indigenous populations throughout the 19th century to turn of the twentieth century.

Importantly, this class is not intended to be all-inclusive in which each and every monument contributing to the “canon” of Western art is studied. Instead, we will also consider the constructed nature of the discipline of art history in order to trouble assumptions, both historical and contemporary, regarding the nature of art, its relation to different social and political institutions, and issues of patronage and viewing publics. Furthermore, through an introduction to critical and historical methods, students will develop the basic tools and terminology for analyzing visual culture, a skill set of crucial importance in understanding the barrage of images and technological stimulus at play in our postmodern world.


  • In-Class Midterm Exam 20%
  • Reflective Private Journal 30%
  • Annotated Bibliography Assignment 15%
  • Participation, Attendance, and Contribution to Group Project 10%
  • Final Exam 25%



Stephen Eisenman et al, Nineteenth Century Art, fifth edition. Thames & Hudson: 2019.
**The 2011 4th edition is OK too, but the pages will change slightly from those listed on the lecture schedule.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.