Art History (ARHI) 301

Canadian Visual Culture (Revision 2)

ARHI 301

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online or individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: Completion of a junior level English, History, or Art History, or Cultural Studies course.

Precluded Course: ARHI 301 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for CLST 301.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Art History home page

ARHI 301 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Using contemporary scholarship, this course reexamines Canadian art history in light of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary meanings of culture. Using the study of visual language, the examines mass-produced images such as photographs and prints, as well as the technologies of display that influence perceptions of nationhood, citizenship and Indigeneity.


  • Unit 1: Introduction: What Is Visual Culture?
  • Unit 2: Historical Background: A Survey of Key Events and Themes
  • Unit 3: Points of Contact: Early Canadian Settlement
  • Unit 4: Frontier/Metropole: Constructing a Visual Identity in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
  • Unit 5: Canadian Modernism in the Twentieth Century: Nationalism and the Group of Seven
  • Unit 6: Colonialism and Practices of Display
  • Unit 7: Representing Nation and Identity Through the Lens
  • Unit 8: Post-modern Issues: Race and Gender in Canadian Art


To receive credit for ARHI 301, you must complete six written assignments (four critical responses, a term paper proposal, and a major term paper) and write a final examination. Your final grade is determined by a weighted average of the grades you receive on these activities. You must achieve a minimum of D (50%) on the final examination and an overall grade of D (50 percent) for the entire course.

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 Critical Response 5%
Assignment 2 Critical Response 5%
Assignment 3 Critical Response 5%
Assignment 4 Term Paper Proposal 10%
Assignment 5 Critical Response 5%
Assignment 6 Term Paper 35%
Final Exam 35%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Belton , Robert J. Sights of Resistance: Approaches to Canadian Visual Culture. Calgary: Calgary University Press, 2001. The text is provided as a PDF, and students are encouraged to download it to their own device at the beginning of the course.

Other materials

Required readings are provided in electronic format, either as PDFs or via links to websites and the AU Library periodicals databases.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ARHI 301 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on each part of the examination.

Activity Weighting
Part 1 Exam (Take Home Essay of 3000 Words) 50%
Part 2 Exam (Invigilated Written Exam) 50%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, April 11, 2017

View previous syllabus