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LUCAS seminar. Aby Warburg and the Weimar Republic: cultural theory for the 21st century


Admission requirements

See ResMA Arts and Culture programme and Exam regulations.


To open the ResMa Arts and Culture / Literary Studies curriculum, a joint seminar is offered for Res Ma students: the LUCAS seminar, in which themes are addressed that reflect the research interests of the LUCAS Institute: art and agency, multimediality and the global approach to art and literature. This year we have chosen to devote the seminar to the work of the German historian of art and culture Aby Warburg (1866-1929) and his contemporaries in the interbellum, in particular Walter Benjamin and Carl Einstein. Together they opened up an entirely new range of enquiries, from the study of photography to that of non-Western art; from the art and literature of the primitive, the marginalized and the ephemeral to the study of popular visual culture and politics. Because of their close contacts with contemporary artists such as the surrealists, they were not only at the centre of new ways of studying cultures of the past, but also part of the artistic avant-garde of their time, and asked the questions that still occupy the disciplines united in LUCAS today. Although, due to Nazism and its aftermath the reception of their work was partly delayed, they have now moved to the centre stage of present-day analysis and theory of art, media, literature and culture.

  • Students will acquire a firm grasp of the ideas of the main figures studied in this seminar in their time and context, and of their relevance for the study of the arts, media and literature today

  • Students will be able to apply their ideas in their own work, as evidenced in oral presentations and written essays

  • Students will acquire some understanding of the connections between the disciplines involved in LUCAS


See the timetable

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Close reading seminars

Course Load

280 hours, consisting of:

13 × 3 hours lectures
120 hours literature study
120 hours preparation presentations and final paper

Assessment method

  • oral presentations in class (30%)

  • final paper (70%)



Reading list

  • Texts from:
    • The Renewal of Pagan Antiquity : contributions to the cultural history of the European Renaissance / Aby Warburg ; introd. by Kurt W. Forster ; transl. [from the German] by David Britt. Los Angeles: Getty Center, 1999.
    • special October issue devoted Carl Einstein
    • other readings will be posted on the Blackboard site of this seminar.

Complete literature list will be published on Blackboard.


Via uSis&


Prof. dr. C. van Eck