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Art and Environment in East Asia


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (60 EC or 120 EC). Students from other relevant MA programmes can be admitted if places are left; students from the MA Asian Studies have priority.


Over time, art has drawn inspiration from the environment and, in turn, has shaped and influenced people’s perception of it. Considering the contemporary climate crisis and focusing on the conditions and challenges in the East Asian context, this course promotes a critical inquiry into the role of art in mediating our relationship with the environment from the past to the present. In addition to exploring discussions on the depiction of nature intertwined with themes such as modernity, colonialism, nationhood, memory, and identity, we will examine artistic and design creations that interact with the surroundings and address pressing ecological concerns. Furthermore, this course takes into account the intricate interplay of various forces behind these practices and their impact on the way that artworks reach and engage the audience. Spanning various media, including paintings, photographs, films, architecture, landscape design, and installations, this examination of the correlation between art and the environment aims to cultivate an understanding of ongoing anthropogenic and anthropocentric realities while enriching our imagination for a sustainable future.

Course objectives

By the end of the module, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate visual literacy by examining the meanings, contexts, and functions of artworks that contribute to discussions on nature, the environment, and environmental issues.
2. Employ art-specific terminology and apply critical approaches to analyze and interpret artistic expressions across diverse themes related to the environment and surroundings.
3. Explore the intersections of art, architecture, and design with other disciplines, considering the social, political, economic, technical, and ecological contexts within the historical narrative.
4. Foster an appreciation for the intricate relationship between nature and culture, as well as human and non-human interactions, through reflective analysis of artistic representation and agency in art.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

Participation and reading discussions 20%
In-class presentations 20%
Research paper (5000 words) 60%


Only if the total weighted average is 5.49 or lower and this is the result of a paper graded 5.49 or lower, a re-sit of the paper is possible (50%).
No re-sits or resubmissions are possible for the other assignments.

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

The reading list will be available on Brightspace before the course starts.


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


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

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


All other information.