Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Arts


Art History


Bassnett, Sarah.

2nd Supervisor

Mahon, Patrick.

Joint Supervisor


Drawing on the ways that art history, art theory, and art criticism have used affect theory, I ask how an affective approach can align the undergraduate classroom art critique with the historical definition of aesthetics, or aesthesis, and create a space for sense and feeling. The first chapter reviews literature in the field and demonstrates the perceived benefits and drawbacks of current critique models. In the second chapter, I consider how affect has the potential to disrupt traditional approaches to critique in order to assist in rethinking stated goals, disrupt power dynamics in the classroom, and generate transformative knowledge. In the last chapter, I examine affect in relationship to sensory knowledge, and discuss how critique can engage the full spectrum of the senses, and create a space for students to experience art as embodied ritual, with potential to move them in a transformative way.

Summary for Lay Audience

This research examines current approaches to the critique in the undergraduate classroom. Specifically, I use theories about how feelings (affect) and the senses (sensory and embodied knowledge) are used in art history, art criticism, and curatorial studies. I draw from this theory in order to disrupt traditional critique approaches in the studio art classroom.