Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2009-2010 (archived)


Department: Anthropology


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2009/10 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Political & Economic Organization (ANTH2051) OR Kinship & Belief Systems (ANTH2041) OR Discovering World Prehistory (ARCH1121) OR From Roman Empire to Nation State (ARCH1101) . Prerequisite for Human Sciences students: completion of Level 2 BA Human Sciences.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with an advanced understanding of the archaeological and anthropological study of art, with particular reference to issues and methods that are common to both disciplines.


  • Lectures will cover topics relevant for providing students with an understanding of theories currently available for the study of art in both anthropology and archaeology.
  • Topics to be covered will include the relationship between religion and art.
  • interpreting rock art.
  • art in the landscape.
  • style.
  • the social and political context of interpretation.
  • Seminars will cover topics relevant to the content of the course. For Example:
  • Anthropological approaches to Art.
  • Rituals, religion and rationality.
  • Style.
  • Landscape.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Factual material: Engagement with the comparative study of art in past and present societies.
  • Understanding of the general principles governing the production of art.
  • Familiarity with a range of current theories in archaeology and anthropology and their application in the study of art.
  • Understanding of how archaeological and anthropological theory and method can be integrated to gain a fuller appreciation of the role of art in culture and social life.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Subject-specific skills:
  • Ability to synthesise archaeological and anthropological approaches and insights.
  • Advanced knowledge of current debates in both disciplines.
  • Evaluation and use of competing theories to elucidate previously unfamiliar data.
Key Skills:
  • Key skills:
  • Preparation and distribution of written summaries of key points in set topics.
  • Oral presentation:
  • Summarising and exemplifying ideas and arguments.
  • Responding to questions.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The formal components of the module use a range of teaching modes and methods, within an integrated framework to contribute to the intended learning outcomes as listed above.
  • The module benefits from a balance between lectures and seminars, geared to the specific needs of the material.
  • The lectures and seminars are carefully integrated.
  • Audio-visual aids (videos, slides, summaries and diagrams on overhead projection sheets etc.) are used where appropriate.
  • The informal components of the module utilise a variety of methods, including posting course documents and information on DUO, seminar presentations and associated oral discussions.
  • Lectures will cover topics relevant for providing students with an understanding of theories currently available for the study of art in both anthropology and archaeology.
  • Lectures provide a traditional method of communicating not only fact but clear understandings of process and the relationship between issues.
  • They are used for the primary delivery of material in art, anthropology and archaeology because they allow clear transmission of information in an active learning environment where students can question and seek clarification.
  • Lectures introduce students to issues, structure the subject matter and provide a grounding in principal issues so they can progress to further learning and study.
  • Lectures provide the framework for analysis and relevant background, theoretical and/or historical information, and are used to assist in the assimilation of technically demanding or conceptually difficult material.
  • Seminars provide an opportunity for students to discuss a series of topics and to make oral presentations.
  • Difficult, sensitive and unresolved issues can all be approached successfully through discussion in seminars.
  • Seminars will cover topics relevant to the content of the module.
  • Seminars imply a higher degree of student involvement and teach subject-specific and generic skills.
  • For anthropology students this medium cannot simply be replaced by texts or websites, though both are important adjuncts.
  • Summative essays test skills of understanding, analysis, information collection and presentation, while final written examinations test assimilated knowledge and understanding and the ability to write succinctly and analytically at short notice.
  • Students are required to submit two essays based on seminar presentations, each of 2000 words, one in the Michaelmas Term and one in the Epiphany Term (which together will contribute 33% towards your total mark for the module).
  • The remaining 67% comes from a two-hour examination in May/June).
  • Formative assessment takes place on a regular basis and may be regarded an integral part of the day-to-day teaching process.
  • Formative feedback is given on Summative Essays as well as on two seminar presentations, including a one page written handout for distribution in class, scheduled at appropriate times. Seminar presentations will give students an opportunity to develop oral skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 One per week 1 hour 22
Seminars 8 Distributed evenly in the first two terms 1 hour 8
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essays Component Weighting: 34%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1, based on seminar presentation 1500 words 50%
Essay 2, based on seminar presentation 1500 words 50%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 66%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Two-hour written examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Feedback on Summative Essays. Two seminar presentations, including a one-page written handout for distribution in class, scheduled at appropriate times.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University