Spring 2022 - CA 118 E100

Contemporary Art History (3)

Class Number: 7755

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 5:30 PM – 8:20 PM
    HCC 1700, Vancouver

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 14, 2022
    5:30 PM – 5:30 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby



A study of the visual arts from the twentieth century to the present, with attention to the artists, artworks, movements, and discourses that re-defined the functions and meanings of art. The debates of modernism, postmodernity, postcolonialism, feminism, and the avant-garde will be systematically explored. Students with credit for CA (or FPA) 168 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.


A critical survey of visual art and culture from about 1900 to the present. We will examine the different streams of the early avant-garde and the rise of global art history. This course will address the social, political, and philosophical questions raised by modernism, postmodernism and postcolonial theory and their influence on art in the Twentieth and Twenty-first centuries. Movements and art forms to be covered include Cubism, Soviet Constructivism, Surrealism, the Harlem Renaissance, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Land Art, Performance, installation, new media, sound art and environmental art.

The major part of the course consists of weekly lectures and screenings. They are supported by workshops in which students work in smaller groups to discuss weekly readings, lecture material, assignments, and work on exercises.


Through assignments and exams, students will be expected to: identify and classify works of art (artists’ names, dates, movements); understand and apply art historical terminology; analyse and develop arguments about the formal, material, cultural, philosophical, historical and political significance of important works of art from this period; evaluate and engage critically with various arguments made by historians and critics; and develop lucid and engaging close readings of artworks.


  • Mid-term exam 20%
  • Annotated Bibliography 20%
  • Group Poster Research Project 25%
  • Final Exam 25%
  • Participation 10%



H. H. Arnason and Elizabeth C. Mansfield, History of Modern Art, 7th edition. Boston: Pearson, 2013. Available at SFU Vancouver bookstore and on reserve at Belzberg Library. 
ISBN: 9780205259472

Other assigned readings will be available as pdfs through the course Canvas website (Canvas.sfu.ca).

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 spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this 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 spring 2022 term.