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FS35ZF: IMAGES ADEQUATE TO OUR PREDICAMENT: ART FOR THE ANTHROPOCENE (2021-2022)

Last modified: 31 Aug 2021 11:54


Course Overview

Through the effects of technological progress, industrialisation, deforestation, mining, our dependence on fossil fuels and plastics, and the testing of nuclear weapons, humans have become geological agents – radically transforming the Earth System in ways that will leave a trace for millions of years to come. This realisation has come to be known as the ‘Anthropocene’ – the time of humans. The implications – materially, emotionally and intellectually – are vast and complex. How do writers and artists respond to this complexity? What role can literature, film and visual art play in our understanding of it? This course addresses these and other questions. By studying select works of literature, film and visual art from the last sixty years alongside critical, theoretical and scientific writing on the Anthropocene, can we identify those images that might be thought adequate to our predicament?

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Mr Alan Macpherson

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme
  • Film And Visual Culture (FS)
  • Programme Level 3

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?

Yes

One or more of these courses have a limited number of places. Priority access will be given to students for whom this course is compulsory. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for more details on this process.


Course Description

For Paul Crutzen, the atmospheric chemist who brought the term into the public imaginary, the ‘Anthropocene’ names the current period in the Earth’s history, during which ‘humans and our societies have become a global geophysical force’. The implications of this recognition are vast and complex. They include the blurring of distinctions between culture and nature, between the time of humans and the vertigo inducing concept of deep time – geological time both past and future. The Anthropocene forces us to rethink agency, no longer the preserve of human ‘subjects’, agency, it can now be convincingly argued, extends to all lifeforms and beyond, to the products of human innovation: the plastics, chemicals, radioactive nuclides that act, in one way or another, in unintended and unexpected ways. How do writers and artists respond to this complexity? What role does literature, film and visual art play in our understanding of it? Timothy Clark has suggested that the disruption of Anthropocenic effects could mark a limit in art and literature; the edge of human imagination. At the same time, Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin argue that art is of crucial importance in enabling us to ‘feel with and think through the Anthropocene’. By engaging with contemporary research and thinking on the Anthropocene from both science and the humanities, and by studying select works of literature, film and visual art from the last sixty years, this course will consider these and other questions, seeking out images that might be thought adequate to our predicament. Writers, filmmakers and artists studied may include: Kathleen Jamie, Robert Macfarlane, China Mieville, Cormac McCarthy, Ilana Halperin, Olafur Eliasson, Dalziel and Scullion, Werner Herzog, Jennifer Baichwal and Agnes Varda among others.


In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 2 Seminars during University weeks 26 - 35, 39

More Information about Week Numbers


In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

Essay

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 50
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Feedback Word Count 3500
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
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Tutorial/Seminar Participation

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 10
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Feedback
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
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Portfolio

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 20
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Oral Presentation: Group

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 20
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ReflectionApplyStudents will participate in reflective discussion and lead seminar discussion.
ReflectionCreateStudents will be able to produce either a slide-based presentation or video essay.
ConceptualEvaluateStudents will develop knowledge of the role of literature, art and film in negotiating our understanding of the Anthropocene and its implications.
FactualAnalyseStudents will develop knowledge of the concept and theory of the Anthropocene, drawn from research in both science and the humanities.
ConceptualUnderstandStudents will use appropriate methodologies and synthesise ideas drawn from a variety of sources.
ConceptualAnalyseStudents will critically interpret the work of significant writers, artists and filmmakers of the last sixty years.

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