ART318 The Body in Art (8)

The representation of the human figure, clothed or unclad, is the mainspring of Western art, and a significantly absent 'other' in those artistic traditions which are non-figurative. Since the 1960s a number of critiques of traditional Western art have been mounted, in theory and in practice, which have argued that the representation of male and female forms both reflects and reinforces stereotypes which are prejudicial to those social groups who do not have hegemonic control of cultural production. This subject combines theories of representation and gender studies to consider the theoretical, social, and visual impact of changes in representation of the body; why the body has continued as a central motif throughout art history; and the role of censorship and pornography in art and society. While examples of 'the body' as represented in art will be drawn from a wide historical period and range of localities, the critical literature is contemporary, and derives from Kristeva, Irigaray, and Mulvey.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2018.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Communication and Creative Industries

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to consider the implications of social and gender identity of art historic depictions of the nude
  • be able to propose reasons and rationales for differences in style, intent and content
  • engage effectively with the subtext present in contemporary art in its use of human form
  • have gained an enhanced critical framework from which to view art as a social history


This subject will cover the following topics:

1. The Male Gaze/Historical depiction 2. Active and Passive 3. Nature and Culture 4. Gender Reclaimed 5. The Nude in Photography/film 6. Western/Non-Western depiction 7. Gender Identity/Gay and lesbian art 8. Censorship in Art/Art as pornography


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.