Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


The human body has long been the central subject of Western art. This unit discusses theories of the body and representation in the context of Western art practices. A wide range of art practices and subjects are referred to including the idealism of classical Greek sculpture, the impact of anatomical and medical practices on fine art in the Renaissance period, the relationship between pornographic images and fine art, and the frank exploration of sexuality and gender that occurs in many contemporary representations of the body.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) have a good knowledge of how the body has been represented in the history of art; (2) have a good knowledge of several theories of representation used in the art historical analysis of the body in art, and how these theories intersect with social ideology of the time; (3) use a range of different texts to develop through argument historical, critical and theoretical interpretations of depictions of the body in art; and (4) acquire a moderate level of competency in communication skills in interpersonal relations, oral discussion and essay writing on the body in art.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a 2500-word essay; (2) a 1500-word essay; and (3) a tutorial presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Darren Jorgensen
Unit rules
VISA1000 Great Moments in Art
or VISA1001 Art, Technology and Society
Advisable prior study
at least 6 points of Level 1 art history/theory units or equivalent
Contact hours
29 (lectures: 20 hrs
tutorials: 9 hrs)
Enrolled students can access unit material via the LMS (Learning Management System).

Adler, K. and Pointon, M., eds The Body Imaged: CUP 1994

Bond, A., ed. Body: Art Gallery of New South Wales 1997

Clark, K. The Nude: Penguin Books 1960

Elkins, J. Pictures of the Body: Stanford University Press 1999

Feher, M., ed. Fragments for a History of the Human Body, parts 1, 2 and 3: Zone Books 1989

Nead, L. The Female Nude Art, Obscenity and Sexuality: Routledge 1992

Sawday, J. The Body Emblazoned: Routledge 1995

Suleiman, S. The Female Body in Western Culture: Harvard University Press 1986

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.