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Visual culture


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Propedeuse Archeologie (1st year) obtained.


Visual culture and its contextualisation will be treated from different methodological and theoretical viewpoints. During the first part (block III) examples in class will be Ancient Greek remains, while the second part (block IV) will focus on Mesoamerica. The different approaches and respective conclusions for this specific culture will be compared to what was developed in other cultures and historical settings.
Consequently the course will present students not only with current interpretations of Classical and Mesoamerican archaeologies but also open up the possibility to apply the analytical apparatus and theoretical perspectives to other regions.

Course objectives

  • Practise how to undertake a formal analysis of visual culture;

  • Applying different theoretical and methodological approaches to archaeological sources in order to gain insights into various cultural structures and developments (e.g. political, social, economic).


Course schedule details can be found in the bachelor 2 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Active participation.

Assessment method

Block III (Ancient Greece): 4 weekly articles (500 words);
Block IV (Mesoamerica): students will study literature, identify their own case study and write an interpretative essay about it.

Reading list

  • A.A. Donohue, Greek Sculpture and the Problem of Description. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press (2005);

  • N. Himmelmann-Wildschütz, Reading Greek Art. Essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press (1998);

  • J.M. Hurwit, The Athenian Acropolis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1992);

  • N. Spivey, Greek Art. London: Phaidon Press (1997);

  • J. Tanner, The Invention of Art History in Ancient Greece: Religion, Society and Artistic Rationalisation. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press (2006).

  • C. Fowler, The Archaeology of Personhood. An Anthropological Approach. Routledge/London/New York (2004);

  • Additional literature will be indicated during class.


Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration in uSis can be found in the uSis manual.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contractonderwijs: all information (costs, registration, entry requirements, etc.) for those who are interested in taking this course as a Contractstudent is on the Contractonderwijs Archeologie webpage (in Dutch).

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr M.E.R.G.N. Jansen or mw prof. dr N. Sojc.