Art history

Inhuman Bondage: the Image of Slavery 1750-1850

Module code: V4131
Level 6
30 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Seminar, Workshop
Assessment modes: Coursework, Unseen examination

In this module, you focus on the impact of slavery and the slave trade on western visual culture - until recently, a subject little considered in art-historical scholarship.

You consider not only the iconography of slavery and the representation of enslaved Africans and slave plantations, but also how the ideologies of slavery infused the commercial society that was the context for artistic production - to what extent were art and aesthetics directly or indirectly implicated in the slave trade?

The role of visual imagery in the campaign for the abolition of the slave trade in the late 18th century is of central concern to this module.

You look at a wide variety of visual culture, not just works of 'fine' art, but also prints, textiles, applied and decorative arts, and furniture, to assess the significance of this conventionally overlooked, but important and problematic subject.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate detailed and coherent critical evaluation of the visual culture relating to this subject within its historical context.
  • Develop an independently researched critical approach to the subject and present it in a variety of written and oral formats.
  • Demonstrate critical understanding of the differing approaches of current art-historical scholarship about this subject.