Academic year
2021/2022 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0426 (AF:360804 AR:190402)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
3rd Term
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This course is part of the optional courses of the Masters’ Degree Programme in History of Arts and Conservation of Artistic Heritage (contemporary curriculum). It will introduce students to some issues that, starting from the late twentieth century, have become increasingly important in the practice and theory of art. In particular: the postcolonial, feminism and gender identity, the posthuman, environmentalism. These are questions, often intertwined with each other, which invite us to deeply reconsider also the history of art and its methodologies from a global and inclusive perspective.
1. Knowledge and understanding:
Students will acquire an in-depth knowledge of a series of questions related to the history and theory of contemporary art, with a special focus on environmentalism, postcolonialism, feminism, gender and queer, posthumanism.
2. Capacity of applying knowledge and understanding:
Students will learn how to relate the history and theory of contemporary art with recently developed field of research – especially environmental, postcolonial, gender and posthuman studies. Each student will be asked to critically present and discuss one of the texts from the exam bibliography (of their choice) in front of their classroom and professor.
3. Capacity of formulating judgments:
Students will learn how to develop original or partly original ideas and how to elaborate a critical judgment concerning certain aspects of the history and theory of contemporary art, with a special focus on the topics discussed during the course.
4. Communicational skills:
Within the framework of seminar-like discussions, students will learn how to articulate ideas with the appropriate language and share them with the professor and fellow students.
5. Learning skills:
Students will acquire the appropriate conceptual and analytical skills that will allow them to analyse the issues discussed in class. They will learn how to study and discuss written texts, and how to express their own critical judgment by presenting one of the texts of the exam bibliography (of their choice) in front of their classmates and professor.
Good knowledge of the major historical events and the main movements of thought between the 19th and the 21st centuries, as a general framework in which the history of contemporary art and visual cultures is included.
The course aims to give a knowledge of contemporary art practice and theory in relation to global culture. In the last decades, the increasing complexity of political, social, and economic interactions worldwide has been shaping the way in which art is produced and circulated, shown and preserved, communicated and understood, on both a local and global basis. Today, artists have to confront with a whole set of new paradigms, disciplines, and media, which organically bring a change in their practice, both inducing different habits and gestures, and posing new questions and challenges. Contemporary art will be examined in the framework of four main theoretical perspectives that are often intertwined: (1) Postcolonialism, (2) Gender, Feminism, and Queer, (3) Posthumanism, (4) Environmentalism. These perspectives lead us to deeply reconsider the history of art, broadening its geographies, making it more inclusive, and going beyond pre-established canons and methods.
For attending and non-attending students
(The following essays are collected in the folder “dispensa” on Moodle and will be discussed during lessons):

History/es of Contemporary Art

• Alexander Alberro, ‘Periodizing Contemporary Art’, October, vol. 130 (Autumn 2009), pp. 55-60.
• Terry Smith, ‘Contemporary Art and Contemporaneity’, Critical Inquiry, vol. 32, no. 4 (Summer 2006), pp. 681-707.

Postcolonial, environmental, gender, posthuman

• Homi K. Bhabha, ‘La questione dell’altro. Stereotipo, discriminazione e discorso del colonialismo’, I luoghi della cultura, Meltemi, Roma, 2001, pp. 97-121 (or. ed. 1994).
• Okwui Enwezor, ‘The Postcolonial Constellation: Contemporary Art in a State of Permanent Transition’, Research in African Literatures, vol. 34, no. 4 (Winter 2003), pp. 57-82.
• T.J. Demos, ‘Decolonizzare la natura’, Kabul Magazine, 2021, pp. 51-58 (first ed. 2018; Eng. ed. 2016)
• Bruno Latour, ‘L’agency ai tempi dell’Antropocene’, Kabul Magazine, 2021, pp. 19-25 (first ed. 2018; Eng. ed. 2014).
• Donna Haraway, ‘Antropocene, Capitalocene, Piantagionocene, Chthulucene: creare kin’, Kabul Magazine, 2021, pp. 34-42 (first ed. 2018; Eng. ed. 2016)
• Timothy Morton, ‘Ecologia Queer’, Kabul Magazine, 2021, pp. 87-104 (first ed. 2018; Eng. ed. 2010).
• Jeffery Deitch, ‘Post Human’, exhibition catalogue (FAE-Musée d’Art Contemporain, Pully/Lausanne; Castello di Rivoli, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli; Deste Art Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens; Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, June 1992 – October 1993), 1992, 10 pp.
• Mike Kelley, ‘Playing with Dead Things: On the Uncanny’, Mike Kelley: The Uncanny, exhibition catalogue (Tale Liverpool, London, 20 febbraio – 3 maggio, 2004), Walther König, Köln, pp. 25-38.
• Rosi Braidotti, ‘La condizione postumana’, Il postumano, vol. 2 (Saperi e soggettività), DeriveApprodi, Rome, 2022 (Eng. ed. 2019), pp.13-50.
• Teresa Macrì, ‘Il corpo postumano’, Il corpo postorganico, Costa&Nolan, Genoa-Milan, 2006 (first ed. 1996), pp. 49-80.
• Rosi Braidotti, ‘Introduzione – La molteplicità: un’etica per la nostra epoca, oppure meglio cyborg che dea’, Donna Haraway, Manifesto Cyborg. Donne, tecnologie e biopolitiche del corpo, Feltrinelli, Milan, 2021 (prima ed. 1995; Eng. ed. 1991), pp. 9-38.
• Lucy R. Lippard, ‘Projecting a Feminist Criticism’, Art Journal, vol. 35, no. 4 (Summer 1976), pp. 337-339.
• Carla Lonzi, Autoritratto, et al./Edizioni, Milan, 2010 (first ed. 1969) [only pp. VII-XV e pp. 3-6].
• Linda Nochlin, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’, Art and Sexual Politics: Why Have There No Great Women Artists?, ed. by Thomas B. Hess, Elizabeth C. Baker, Collier Books, New York, 1973, pp. 1-39.
• Lea Vergine, L’altra metà dell’avanguardia 1910-1940, il Saggiatore, Milan, 2005 (first ed. 1980) [only pp. 15-19, 391-395].

Non-attending students and those who skip more than 30% of the lessons will prepare, in addition to the programme indicated above, one of the following books of their choice:

• Gaia Bindi, Arte, ambiente, ecologia, postmedia books, Milan, 2019.
• Nicolas Bourriaud, Inclusioni. Estetica del Capitalocene, postmedia books, Milan, 2020.
• Gabriela Galati, Duchamp Meets Turing. Arte, modernismo, postumano, postmedia books, Milan, 2017.
• Angela Maderna, L’altra metà dell'avanguardia quarant'anni dopo, postmedia books, Milan, 2020.

NB: It is advisable to contact the professor for specific requests or particular language needs.
Students will be evaluated through an oral exam – which will consist in questions about the topics studied on the books and essays of the bibliography, and (for attending students) about the issues discussed during classes. In addition, each student will be asked to present and critically read one of the texts of the exam bibliography (of their choice) in front of the class during the course.
During lessons, students are expected to actively participate in the discussion, commenting the texts, images and topics presented in class. The interpretative reading of theoretical texts and of images will be carried out in class as methodological exercise to facilitate learning. The theoretical texts discussed by the professor, as well as the images that will be projected in class as slides, will be made available to students on the online platform Moodle during the course (for copyright reasons images and texts cannot be made available in any other way). Any possible visits to exhibitions and lectures by other professors or experts in the field will be an integral part of the course – further information will be provided during classes.

Class attendance is recommended to all students. Those who skip more than 30% of the lessons will be considered non-attending students and will have to add one of the books of the suggested bibliography in preparation of the exam.

Ca’ Foscari follows the Italian law (Law 17/1999; Law 170/2010) for the support and accommodation services available to students with disabilities or specific learning disabilities. If you have either a motor, visual, hearing or another disability (Law 17/1999), or a specific learning disorder (Law 170/2010) and you require support (classroom assistance, technological aids for carrying out exams or personalized exams, accessible format material, note retrieval, specialist tutoring as study support, interpreters or other), please contact the Disability and DSA office

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Poverty and inequalities" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 05/02/2022