Unit description

Introduces students to the art-historical debates that are central to modern visual culture. The onset of modernity enacted radical changes in the production and interpretation of the visual arts. Students will explore the reasons for, and the ramifications of, these changes, and in the process will become familiar with broader theoretical issues concerning the legacy of Western art and the role of visual culture in a range of 19th- and early 20th-century societies.

Unit content

  • Modernity, capitalism and the avant-garde
  • Craft versus fine art
  • Primitivism and colonisation
  • The aesthetics of abstraction
  • Utopian visions: art as social critique
  • The photographic medium as art

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Prescribed texts

Session 2

  • No prescribed texts.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.

Teaching and assessment


Teaching method
Lecture on-site 1 hour (12 weeks)
Tutorial on-site 2 hours (12 weeks)
Annotated bibliography50%

Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2016 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 1

Fee paying courses
For POSTGRADUATE or UNDERGRADUATE full fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees


Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.