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The Global Imagination


Admission requirements

Not applicable


What happens when we read a work of art within a regional, a national, a transnational, or a global framework. Why do some critics insist that works of art express a well-defined cultural identity, while others criticise the notion of cultural identity in art theory? How should we understand the tensions between the materialist and culturalist approaches to the global imagination?

To answer these questions, two instructors (specialised in art and literature, respectively) will offer historical and theoretical reflections to create an understanding of the issues that are at stake in debates about the arts of globalization, decolonialization and posthumanism. This course invites students from various disciplinary backgrounds to participate in the complex academic discourses that address art and literature today in an intercultural, global contexts. They will be asked to develop their own responses to these discussions through specific case studies selected per week.

The three-hour seminars will be based on an essay from a leading journal in the field of critical / cultural studies (Third Text), complemented with other journal articles, book chapters and exhibition catalogues to frame the case studies under discussion.

We will reflect on questions such as: Do the contributions to a journal such as Third Text succeed in addressing the complex cultural realities that emerge when different worldviews meet, and what challenges this approaches pose to Euro- and ethnocentric aesthetic criteria? To what extent is the global debate on art and literature shaped by poststructuralist theories? Which theoretical discourses respond to the agendas of the artists, writers, thinkers, and activists in the less privileged regions and communities of the world?

We hope to welcome you as young researchers-to-be actively participating the seminars, discussions and the practical small assignments in the class.

Course objectives

  • Students will obtain insights in contemporary debates on art and literature produced in the era of globalization;

  • Students will have developed an understanding of the different theoretical approaches that play a role in the contemporary art theory, literary theory, cultural analysis, postcolonial theory, etc.;

  • Students will learn to problematise these approaches and to recognise and produce productive research questions;

  • Students will become acquainted with some important contemporary art works and literature that intervene in the debates on interculturality and globalisation;

  • Students are able to initiate and carry out a research project on a particular case study, frame it meaningfully and to position themselves critically within the contemporary scholarly debates.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method


  • Acive participation

  • Abstract

  • Group podcast

  • Final paper

  • For ResMa students: a longer final paper (+ 1000 words)


  • Acive participation (pass/fail)

  • Abstract (10%)

  • Group podcast (30%)

  • Final paper (60%)


The final paper can be resit for 60%, only if the other components have been fulfilled.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

TBA on Brightspace


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.
Registration À la carte education and Contract teaching not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal.


Not applicable