Visual Countercultures: Graffiti, Kitsch and Conceptual Art - 2017

This unit contains mature content including Adult Themes, Drug use, Nudity, Sex / Sexual References and Violence and may not be suitable for some students.
Any student under the age of 16 who would like to enrol in this unit must first complete a Parental Consent Form.

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP1 , SP3
  • Availability for 2017: Sem2
  • Assessment: Assignment 1 (30%) , Assignment 2 (30%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 798.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,048.00

This unit was previously known as CLT220 Graffiti, Kitsch and Trash: Crimes of Style.

This unit introduces students to a range of theories that question traditional hierarchies of value and that enable a critical re-evaluation of the practices of everyday life. This unit theorises key topics such as: countercultures; oppositional cultures and post-subcultures; the politics of high versus popular and low culture; and counter-cultural practices in global and local contexts. The following practices, sites and objects are examined: graffiti, hip hop and crimes of style; graffiti and the cultural politics of public space; graffiti as a form of political activism and dissent; the relation between kitsch and high art; the politics of kitsch in the context of colonialism and Indigeneity; the cultural politics of tourist sites; gigantism and miniaturism; queer culture, camp and kitsch; and celebrity kitsch.

At the completion of this unit students will have developed the following skills:

  1. Demonstrate critical skills, informed by cultural theories, that will enable students to re-evaluate those practices of everyday life that are too often dismissed as worthless or ephemeral.
  2. Develop analytical skills that will enable students to examine and critique the presuppositions that constitute those hierarchies of value that classify, judge and position cultural objects and practices.
  3. Develop research skills that will enable students to present theorised, contextualised and informed accounts of key issues and problems in the context of subcultural and counter-visual practices.
  4. Demonstrate communication skills in order effectively and creatively to present research across different genres and cultural media.
  5. Employ cultural literacy skills that will educate students on the importance of issues of cultural difference and ethical relations across diverse social and political contexts.
  • Assignment 1 (30%)
  • Assignment 2 (30%)
  • Assignment 3 (40%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • CLT220 — Graffiti, Kitsch and Trash: Crimes of Style
  • Broadband access — Students are required to have regular access to a computer and the internet. Mobile devices alone are not sufficient.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Graffiti: crimes of style
2The cultural politics of graffiti and public space
3Kitsch, bad taste and distinction
4Kitsch, mechanical reproduction and modernity
5The politics of kitsch
6The House of Aboriginality
7Kitsch, gigantism and miniaturism
9Queer as kitsch
10Celebrity trash

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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