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Goths, Gothic and Gothic Heritage: from Architectural Style to Global Subculture


Admission requirements

Similar to the admission requirements for the MA Arts and Culture, ResMA Arts and Culture and ResMA Arts, Literature and Media. Students of MA Arts and Culture: Art History take priority.

If a student has no prior knowledge of what the Gothic and the neo-Gothic entail, we would advise him/her/them to read up on this before the first meeting.


Gothic is a truly versatile concept. It can pertain to buildings, art, styles of clothing, arts and crafts, music, literature, and even landscape. Each time it will mean something completely different. In this course we will study how Gothic emerged in the crownlands of twelfth-century France and spread throughout Western Europe. Medieval monuments were first labeled Gothic in a pejorative sense by fifteenth-century Italian critics and the term was much later appropriated, this time in a laudatory and legitimizing sense, to brand a contemporary design movement. While the course is not a class on “style,” per se, careful examination of Gothic monuments – religious, courtly and civic – nevertheless offers an opportunity to interrogate the constitutive role of stylistic classification, both as a disciplinary tool and as a construct that shapes societies with its overlay of ideology and aesthetics. We will also examine the diverse ways in which medieval Gothic art and architecture were revived and retheorized in the 18th and 19th centuries. Using a broad set of case studies, we will track the shifting associational values of the Gothic, paying special attention to the role played by architecture in politics and society. Many of the course themes will come together during a three-day excursion to Bruges (10-11-23 to 12-11-23) where the medieval and the neo-styles blend to perfection.

Course objectives

  • To train your academic skills, i.e. to gain insight into the historiography of this subject

  • To learn how to find, read and critically evaluate the relevant literature

  • To reflect and theorize on the subject

  • To think up and work out a case study

  • To present this case study in class with the use of PowerPoint

  • To talk about a building or artwork on site

  • To write an exhibition review

  • To learn how to evaluate presentations of other students and act as a referee

  • To write an academic paper


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Introductory lectures
Assignments to be discussed in class
Student talks
Three-day excursion to Bruges

Assessment method

Assignments, student talks and the Bruges excursion (10-11-23 to 12-11-23) are compulsory components of the course, even if they are not graded. Throughout the course students will hand in parts of their final paper for evaluation, guidance and feedback.

For this course you will write a 5000-word (7500 research master) paper on a building or art work of your choice that deals with an aspect of the Gothic (providing that it enables you to reflect on the medieval Gothic and the neo-Gothic). If a student fails the first attempt, the paper will have to be rewritten.

Reading list

The literature to be read for this course will be posted and made available through Brightspace. If you have no knowledge of Gothic or neo-Gothic art and architecture we do advise you to read up before our first meeting. Literature suggestions will be made available via 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

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


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

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


All other information.