• Offered by School of Art and Design
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Art History
  • Areas of interest Art History, Gender Studies, Visual Arts
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

In this course we interrogate the position, place, and appearance of the human body in art and artistic production across temporalities, geographies, disciplines, and media. The human body is examined in its myriad states: anatomised and whole, dead and alive, healthy, diseased and disabled, naked and dressed, real and ideal. Attention is paid to the various ways the body has been sexed and gendered through artistic representation, along with the way artists have challenged and reinforced gendered binaries and stereotypes through creative practice. Cross-cultural perspectives will work to de-centre dominant Euro-American models of the normalised human body, while a transdisciplinary approach will allow for an examination of the representation of the human body across art, science, medicine, and beyond. We take an object-based approach, with students being encouraged to find images and objects of interest to them for focused examination. Together we endeavour to engage with established methodologies and develop new ways of thinking critically and writing sensitively about images and objects that sit at the intersection of art history and gender studies.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. analyse critically representations of the human body as a central subject in the history of Western art;
  2. examine the ways the human body has been sexed and gendered across temporalities, geographies, genres and media;
  3. demonstrate understanding of the cultural and historical contexts of different visual representations of the human body, past and present;
  4. apply theoretical approaches which foreground embodiment; and
  5. experiment with the nature and practice of transdisciplinarity, as it relates to the representation of the human body.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Positionality Statement (500 words) (10) [LO 2,3]
  2. Exhibition Proposal (1000 words) (20) [LO 1,2,3,5]
  3. Presentation, 8-10 mins (20) [LO 1,2,3]
  4. Research Essay (2000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  5. Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: lectures, seminars and tutorials; and

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing. Contact hours may include visits to major art institutions in Canberra.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 36 units of courses towards an ANU degree, or with the permission of the convenor. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ARTH6174 (Art. Medicine, Gender).

Prescribed Texts

No textbook required.

Preliminary Reading

Callen, Anthea. Spectacular Bodies: Science, Method and Meaning in the Work of Degas. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995.

Cartwright, Lisa. Screening the Body: Tracing Medicine’s Visual Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995.

Gilman, Sander. Difference and Pathology: Stereotypes of Sexuality, Race and Madness. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985.

Jordanova, Ludmilla. Sexual Visions: Images of Gender in Science and Medicine between the Eighteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.

Kemp, Martin and Marina Wallace. Spectacular Bodies: The Art and Science of the Human Body from Leonardo to Now. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2000.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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