• Class Number 2814
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Chaitanya Sambrani
    • Dr Chaitanya Sambrani
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
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:

  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; and
  4. speak with confidence about the methodologies of art history and defend particular view points.

Research-Led Teaching

I have engaged with methodological issues in my professional career as art historian and curator since 1995. This has involved extensive work in Australia and Asia and occasional work in Europe and North America where a command of relevant methodologies has been a key requirement.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources

A stable internet connection and access to a computer/other device with web-camera and microphone are essential.


Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: Intensive lecture and seminar, 9:00-11:00 am and 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
2 Monday and Tuesday: Intensive lecture and seminar, 9:00-11:00 am and 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
4 Monday: Research questionnaire due (1500 words)
7 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: Intensive lecture and seminar, 9:00-11:00 am and 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
8 Tuesday and Wednesday: Intensive lecture and seminar, 9:00-11:00 am and 11:30 am to 1:30 pm Scripted presentation in class (approx. 2000 words)
9 Wednesday: Online workshop, 9:00-11:00 am and 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, Monday: Encyclopaedia/museum catalogue entry due (1000 words)
11 Monday: On-campus workshop 9:00-11:00 am and 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, and 2:00 to 5:00 pm
13 Assessment period Research essay due (4000 words)

Tutorial Registration

As this is an intensive course for Honours and MA students, students are not required to enrol for tutorials separately.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Research Questionnaire 15 % 15/03/2021 22/03/2021 1, 2
Critical Reading Forum 15 % * * 1, 2
Scripted Presentation 20 % 27/04/2021 07/05/2021 1, 2, 4
Encyclopaedia/ Catalogue Entry 10 % 03/05/2021 10/05/2021 1, 2, 3
Research Essay 40 % 03/06/2021 19/06/2021 1, 2, 3

* 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


Given this course is taught in intensive blocks, participation in all lecture, seminar and workshop sessions is required.

Students are also required to contribute one post of approx. 150 words on each of the topics posted under 'critical reading forum' on Wattle.


This course does not require students to sit a formal examination.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 15/03/2021
Return of Assessment: 22/03/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Research Questionnaire

This exercise is designed to teach advanced research skills required for study at honors and post-graduate level. Complete an online questionnaire that requires you to find information about an object of your choice. 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

Word limit: 1500 words

Value: 15%

Presentation requirements: submit on Wattle by 9 am on 15 March.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Critical Reading Forum

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 on each of the following topics:

  1. The History of Art History
  2. Connoisseurship
  3. Iconography
  4. Aesthetics/ Philosophy of Art
  5. Formalism
  6. Marxism and Critical Theory
  7. Postmodernism
  8. Postcolonial Theory
  9. Material Culture
  10. Gender and Sexuality
  11. Digital Art History
  12. Social History of Art
  13. Art Criticism

Word limit: approx. 1500 words (total)


Ongoing throughout semester.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 27/04/2021
Return of Assessment: 07/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4

Scripted Presentation

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.  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 20 minutes in length and must be accompanied by slides. 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 on time. As a guide, a slideshow for a 20-minute conference paper should have no more than 15 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 make for a more engaging experience 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 World2000 words

Word limit: approx. 2000 words

Value: 20%

Presentation requirements: deliver in class on 27 and 28 April

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 03/05/2021
Return of Assessment: 10/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Encyclopaedia/ Catalogue Entry

This exercise requires you to choose one work of art or design and write an entry for a scholarly encyclopaedia or a museum catalogue, applying rigorous standards of research and writing. You should imagine that you are producing this entry for a prestigious publication, or a catalogue from a prominent Australian or international museum.

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. 

Word limit: 1000 words

Value: 10%

Upload to Wattle by 9 am on 03 May

Assessment Task 5

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 03/06/2021
Return of Assessment: 19/06/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

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.  

Does the approach you are focussing on remain a valid mode of inquiry? 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(ies) 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.

  1. Connoisseurship
  2. Iconography/Iconology
  3. Formalism
  4. Marxism/Critical Theory
  5. Material Culture
  6. Digital Art History
  7. Psychoanalytical Theory
  8. Feminist and/or Queer Theory
  9. Structuralism, Semiotics and Deconstruction
  10. Postmodernism
  11. Postcolonial Theory

Word limit: 4,000 words

Value: 40%

Upload to Wattle via Turnitin by 9 am on 03 June

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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) 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

All work is to be submitted electronically and will be responded to via Wattle and email.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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


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 Chaitanya Sambrani

Research Interests

Modern and contemporary art in Asia

Art and nationhood

Art and postcoloniality

Art and urbanity

Dr Chaitanya Sambrani

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Chaitanya Sambrani

Research Interests

Dr Chaitanya Sambrani

By Appointment
By Appointment

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