Checking date: 28/04/2023

Course: 2024/2025

Social History of Art
Bachelor in History and Politics (Plan: 394 - Estudio: 352)


Department assigned to the subject: Humanities: History, Geography and Art Department

Type: Electives
ECTS Credits: 6.0 ECTS


Requirements (Subjects that are assumed to be known)
At the end of the course the student is expected to be able to: - Reflect on the complex social nature of art and its manifestations, both from an abstract and a especific point of view. - Acknowledge the relationship bewtween art as a cultural product, with its own institutions and practices, and the wider context of the society from which it emerges. - Recognize and diferentiate the main forms that art takes and connect them with the debates that discuss, from different disciplines and points of view, the influence of the context in artistic productions and, in general, the social, political and ideological importance of art. - Recognize the main artistic practices that deal with social, political, ideological or critical issues. - Locate the information necessary to correctly fulfill his or her duties, as well as interpret it in order to elaborate contents and well-formed opinions. - Communicate and argue with academic rigor on the contents of the course, both in oral and written form. - Work with neatness, efficiency and in depth, both on his or her own and in groups.
Skills and learning outcomes
Description of contents: programme
This course discusses art predominantly from a social, ideological and political perspective, in line with the theoretical groundings of the Bachelor in History and Politics. Despite following a chronological order, the course focuses with greater detail on the modern and contemporary eras, from the 18th century to our days. This is the period where the big social, ideological and political questions of our time meet the peculiar evolution of the arts. 1. The origins of art: context, interpretations, uses, definitions and limits. 2. Art and power in Early Civilizations and Classical Antiquity. 3. Art, religion and society in the Middle Ages. 4. Art, society and culture in the Early Modern Period. From artisans to artists: patronage. Art at the service of power and national identity. 5. Art and Revolution in the 18th century. The art institutions: academy, salon, museum. The emergence of the audience and the ¿democratization¿ of art. 6. Art, modernism and modernity in the 19th century. The art world and the art market: art as a commodity. Art at the service of ideology and politics: Romanticism and nationalism, realism and socialism, avant-garde and anarchism, etc. 7. Political uses of art in the 20th century: from macro to micropolítics. From revolutionary avant-garde to totalitarian instrumentalization. From fascist art to socialist realism. The Cultural Cold War. Art and mass culture: high and low art. The institutionalization of the avant-garde and the (re)emergence of critical art. Institutional Critique. Art and biopolitics: identity issues, the problem of the canon, feminism, postcolonialism, etc. 8. Social challenges of art in the 21st centurys. Globalization, digitalization and dematerialization.
Learning activities and methodology
LECTURES: The professor will present the theoretical grounds of the course, with the help of audiovisual material. SEMINARS: Students will analise and discuss texts and images proposed by the professor and will present their individual and collective assignments. 1. Individual assignment: analysis of an exhibition 2. Group assignment: presentation of a text on art from a social, ideological or political perspective. The text will be chosen by the students from a list provided by the teacher. 3. Individual essay: comparative study of two works of art from the perspective of their cultural context and meaning. The artworks will be chosen by the students and approved by the teacher. COLLECTIVE TUTORSHIP: Before the collective assignment, the group will meet with the teacher in order to discuss the presentation. A second meeting will be arranged if necessary. INDIVIDUAL TUTORSHIP: All students will meet at least once with the teacher. All aspects concerning the course can be tackled there: contents, assignments, etc.
Assessment System
  • % end-of-term-examination 50
  • % of continuous assessment (assigments, laboratory, practicals...) 50

Calendar of Continuous assessment

Extraordinary call: regulations
Basic Bibliography
  • BAL, Mieke. Looking in: The art of viewing. Gordon & Breach. 2001
  • BERGER, John. Modos de ver. Gustavo Gili. 2013
  • BRYSON, Norman. Visian and Painting: The Logic of the Gaze. Yale University Press. 1986
  • CLARK, Timothy. The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politics in France, 1848-1851. Thames & Hudson. 1973
  • CROW, Thomas. Pintura y sociedad. Nerea. 2000
  • CUSSET, François. Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze & Cía. y las mutaciones de la vida intelectual en Estados Unidos. Melusina. 2005
  • DUVIGNAUD, Jean. Sociología del arte. Península. 1969
  • EGBERT, Donal Drew. El Arte y la Izquierda en Europa. Gustavo Gili. 1981
  • FOSTER, Hal; BUCHLOH, Benjamin; KRAUSS, Rosalind; BOIS, Yve-Alain Bois. Arte desde 1900. Akal. 2006
  • FRANCASTEL, Pierre. Sociología del arte. Alianza-Emecé. 1975
  • FURIÓ, Vicenç. Sociología del Arte. Cátedra. 2000
  • GOMBRICH, Ernst. Los usos de las imágenes. Estudios sobre la función social del Arte y la comunicación visual. Debate. 2003
  • HAUSER, Arnold. Historia social de la literatura y el arte. Guadarrama. 1969
  • HAUSER, Arnold. Teorías del arte. Tendencias y métodos de la crítica moderna. Guadarrama. 1975
  • MARZO, Jorge Luis; MAYAYO, Patricia. Arte en España 1939-2015. Ideas, prácticas, políticas. Cátedra. 2015
  • MITCHELL, W. J. T.. What Do Pictures Want?. Chicago University Press. 2004
  • MOXEY, Keith. Visual Time. The image in History. Duke University Press. 2013
  • SAUNDERS, Frances Stonor. La CIA y la guerra fría cultural. Debate. 2013
Recursos electrónicosElectronic Resources *
Additional Bibliography
  • Burke, Peter. Visto y no visto. El uso de la imagen como documento histórico. Crítica. 2005
  • Matei Calinescu. Cinco caras de la modernidad : modernismo, vanguardia, decadencia, kitsch, posmodernismo.. Tecnos. 2002
(*) Access to some electronic resources may be restricted to members of the university community and require validation through Campus Global. If you try to connect from outside of the University you will need to set up a VPN

The course syllabus may change due academic events or other reasons.