• Class Number 3596
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Robert Wellington
    • Dr Robert Wellington
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

How do we approach the writing of Art History? Methodologies of Art History introduces students to the history of our discipline; the ideas and theories that are essential knowledge for those wishing to pursue studies in Art History at a higher level. We will explore various approaches and examine in depth the methodological strategies adopted by Art Historians. These include iconographic, semiotic, formalist and materialist methodologies; critical theory, queer theory, feminist and post-colonial critiques; along with the historiography of the discipline focussing on the role of biography, the philosophy of aesthetics, and art criticism.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Critically examine art historical methodologies.
  2. Apply art historical methodologies to their own research and writing.
  3. Understand the discipline of art history as it developed from classical antiquity to the present.
  4. Speak with confidence about the methodologies of art history and defend particular view points.

Field Trips

Some classes take place at cultural institutions in Canberra. Students are required to make their own arrangements for attendance.

Readings are provided on Wattle.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  1. Research questionnaire: grade and written feedback.
  2. Wikipedia Entry: grade, in-text comments and voice feedback via Turnitin.
  3. Wattle forum: participation grade at the end of the course.
  4. Scripted presentation: written feedback using a presentation rubric.
  5. Research essay: in-text comments and voice feedback via Turnitin.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Referencing requirements

The standard referencing system for this course is the Chicago Manual of Style. Guidelines for essay writing and further information on how and why to cite your sources can be found at: http://art-cass.anu.edu.au/current_students/referenceguide.php

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Methodologies of Art History is a semester-length course, but it will be taught in two intensive blocks, the first in Week 1, from Monday to Wednesday, and the second in Week 8, from Monday to Wednesday . There will also be study days in weeks 9 and 11. Week 1: Monday Venue: Crawford Seminar Room 2 Seminar 1: Course introduction & Academic Skills and Learning Centre information session Time: 9-10 Led by: Robert Wellington & Jillian Schedneck (ASLC) Seminar 2: The History of Art History Time: 10-11 Led by: Robert Wellington Seminar 3: Tutorial discussion Time: 11-12 Led by: Robert Wellington Seminar 3: Philosophy of Art Time: 1-2 Led by: Robert Wellington Seminar 4: Iconography and Iconology Time: 2-3 Led by: Robert Wellington Seminar 5: Analysing objects at the Classics Museum Time: 3-5 Led by: Robert Wellington
2 Week 1: Tuesday Venue: Crawford Seminar Room 2 Seminar 1: Connoisseurship Time: 9-10 Led by: David Hansen Seminar 2: Resources Time: 10-11 Led by: Robert Wellington Seminar 3: Marxism Time: 11-12 Led by: Chaitanya Sambrani Seminar 3: Critical Theory Time: 1-2 Led by: Chaitanya Sambrani Seminar 4: Postmodernism: from formalism towards the politics of representation Time: 2-3 Led by: Andrew Montana Seminar 5: Critical Whiteness Time: 3-4 Led by: Keren Hammerschlag Seminar 5: Objects and identity Time: 4-5 Led by: Robert Wellington
3 Week 1: Wednesday Venue: Crawford Seminar Room 2 Seminar 1: First Nations research and curatorial methods Time: 9-10 Led by: Brenda Croft Seminar 2: Material Culture Time: 10-11 Led by: Robert Wellington Seminar 3: People and things Time: 11-12 Led by: Robert Wellington Exhibition Visit: Love and Desire - Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate Venue: NGA Time: 3-5 Led by: Robert Wellington/Keren Hammerschlag
4 Week 8: Monday Venue: Crawford Seminar Room 2 STUDENT PRESENTATIONS
5 Week 8: Tuesday Venue: Crawford Seminar Room 2 Seminar 1: Thesis writing Time: 9-10 Led by: Jillian Schedneck (ASLC) Seminar 2: Reading for research Time: 10-11 Led by: Jillian Schedneck (ASLC) Seminar 3: Argument and logic Time: 11-12 Led by: Robert Wellington Seminar 3: Digital art history Venue: Digital Humanities Lab, level 1, SRWB Time: 1-5 Led by: Robert Wellington/Katrina Grant
6 Week 8: Wednesday Venue: Crawford Seminar Room 2 Seminar 1: Staff research presentations Time: 9-12 Led by: Robert Wellington/Kate Warren/Keren Hammerschlag Seminar 2: Art Criticism Time: 2-3 Led by: David Hansen Seminar 3: Art criticism exercise Time: 3-5 Led by: David Hansen/Robert Wellington
7 Week 9: Tuesday 1) Venue: Crawford Seminar Room 2 Project workshop Time: 10-12 2) Venue: NLA study room Object analysis Led by: Robert Wellington
8 Week 11: Tuesday Venue: Crawford Seminar Room 2 Project workshop Time: 10-12

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Research Questionnaire 15 % 18/03/2019 01/04/2019 1,2
Wikipedia entry 10 % 06/05/2019 20/05/2019 1,2,3
Wattle forum participation 15 % 18/03/2019 10/06/2019 1,2
Scripted presentation – object analysis 30 % 29/04/2019 06/05/2019 1,2,4
Research Essay 30 % 27/05/2019 10/06/2019 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 18/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 01/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Research Questionnaire

Length: 1500 words

Value: 15%

This exercise is designed to teach advanced research skills required for study at Honors and postgraduate level. Complete an online questionnaire that requires you to find information about an object of your choice. Honours students must choose an object that is central to the topic of their thesis. The questionnaire is accessed via Wattle. Note that all references and the bibliography should be set out according to the bibliography conventions of the library referencing style guides under the Chicago 16th A style: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

Assessment Rubrics

Word limit (where applicable): 1,500 words

Value: 15%

Presentation requirements: complete questionnaire on Wattle and submit

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 06/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 20/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Wikipedia entry

This task replaces the advertised catalogue entry—instead you get to publish your research online for the world to see! This exercise requires you to choose an artist or artwork and either edit an existing entry on Wikipedia to bring it up to academic standard, or post a new entry on Wikipedia, applying rigorous standards of research and writing. Honours students should choose a subject that relates directly to their thesis topic. Postgraduate students must consult with the course coordinator about the subject before proceeding with the exercise. Wikipedia entries will be submitted as pdfs via wattle. If students decide to edit an existing Wikipedia entry, then they must submit a pdf copy of the original unaltered entry, alongside their own new-and-improved version.

Assessment Rubrics

Word limit (where applicable): 1,000 words

Value: 10%

Presentation requirements: submit to Wattle

Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 18/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 10/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Wattle forum participation

While the face-to-face hours for this class are organised in blocks, students are required to participate in the Wattle forum, writing a brief synopsis, question about, or response to a series of key readings set over the duration of the semester.

Students are required to make at least one post in each of the following discussion topics:

  • The History of Art History
  • The History of Curatorship
  • Connoisseurship
  • Iconography
  • Marxism and Critical Theory
  • Postmodernism
  • Postcolonial Theory
  • Material Culture
  • Gender, Sexuality and Psychoanalysis
  • Digital Art History
  • Social History of Art
  • Art Criticism

Assessment Rubrics

Value: 15%

Presentation requirements: post to Wattle forum throughout the semester

Estimated return date: continuous assessment

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 29/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 06/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Scripted presentation – object analysis

The purpose of this exercise is to develop professional academic skills by writing a scripted presentation paper and delivering it to the class according to the professional standards of an academic conference – a key feature of intellectual life for museum curators, art historians and academics.

For Honours students the topic for your paper should relate to a key object that you are working for your thesis. For postgraduate students, select an object of your choice to focus on in consultation with the course convenor. The paper must include a close visual analysis of the object, drawing upon one or more of the approaches discussed in lectures and readings for the course. If you are interested in iconography, then you should look closely at the social and historical meanings of figurative elements of your object. If you choose to take a queer or feminist approach, for example, then you will need to bring these ideas to bear on your analysis.

Your research paper will be 15-minutes in length and must be accompanied by PowerPoint slideshow (or similar). Following the convention of an academic conference, speakers will be strictly limited to 20 minutes for their papers, it will not be possible to overrun as the tutor will make sure you keep to time. As such, your papers will need to be scripted (approximately 2,000 words) and practiced in advance to make sure you can stay within 15 minutes. As a guide, a slideshow for a 15-minute conference paper should have no more than 10 slides.

Please note that a conference paper is not written in the same tone as an essay. It must be scholarly, but the language you use can be a little more conversational to create a more engaging presentation for your audience. For an example of how professional museum curators and art historians present at a conference see the following link to a series of videos of a conference held at the Getty Research Institute in 2013: Objects in Motion in the Early Modern World

You will not be required to submit the paper for assessment.

Assessment Rubrics

Word limit (where applicable): 2,000 words

Value: 30%

Presentation requirements: presentation Monday week 8

Assessment Task 5

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 27/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 10/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Research Essay

Explore one of the art historical methodologies studied in this course through a 4000-word research paper. Choose from one of the following approaches and interrogate its relevance to the practice of art history today:

Marxism/Critical Theory

Social History of Art


Digital Art History

Post-Colonial Theory

Post-Modern Theory (this might include a number of approaches that fall under the umbrella of post-modernism, including post-structuralism, deconstruction, semiotics, etc.)

Does the approach you are focussing on remain a valid mode of inquiry today? If not, why not? If it is, then argue for its relevance. Honours students should take this opportunity to make a sustained interrogation of the methodology that will best inform their thesis. Essays much be formatted in 12 point font, double-spaced. You must cite the sources of your ideas with footnotes, and a bibliography.

Assessment Rubrics

Word limit (where applicable): 4,000 words

Value: 30%

Presentation requirements: Submit to Wattle

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Work submitted electronically will be responded to on Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Students who fail to score a pass, but are marked between 45 and 49% will have the opportunity to resubmit.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Robert Wellington

Research Interests

Dr Robert Wellington

Dr Robert Wellington

Research Interests

Dr Robert Wellington

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions