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Politics and the Arts (Level 6)


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor and tutor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: a 1500-word essay (70%), 1000-word review of fieldwork (20%) and seminar participation (10%)

Module description

In this module we explore the relationship between politics and the arts. You will be introduced to classic and contemporary works of political art, drawn from literature, drama, film and photography among other fields. We will ask:

  • How do political scientists think about art?
  • How do artists think about politics?
  • Can art and artists influence politics?
  • Whose economic and political interests does art serve?
  • How does political art reconcile the tension between truth and artifice?
  • Is art always a force for good?
  • How does art address questions of representation, power and legitimacy?

This interactive module encourages you to think about what the study of politics can learn from the arts and what politics can teach us about the arts. You will be invited to think about art as a mode of political expression and to look at London’s arts scene through a political lens.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will have:

  • a deeper understanding of how political scientists think about the arts
  • a critical understanding how artists and cultural theorists think about politics
  • an understanding of how political ideas such as power, democracy and protest are represented in fields such as literature, drama and photography
  • engaged with London’s arts scene and reflected on the political significance of specific works of art shown in London.