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Critical Museology


Admission requirements

Bachelor’s degree obtained.


Building on a tradition of ‘critical museology’, this course seeks to provoke students into questioning what a museum is and does, and what it can be. The aim of this course is to familiarise students with the main current debates within critical museology, exploring topics such as the politics of representation and self-representation, the potential for social and historical criticism embedded in museum practices, claims to repatriation, new modes of exhibition-making, the critical perspective of audiences, communities and the nation-state, among others.
Classes will explore recent controversial cases in the museum world. By the end of the term, students are expected to have gained critical insight into the different aspects involved in museum practices and to be able to apply these ideas and perspectives to contemporary cases.

Course objectives

Understanding and working appreciation of both theoretical and practical approaches to key issues in the field of cultural heritage and museum anthropology;
Ability to discuss and debate the concept and functions of the museum;
Ability to employ theoretically-informed perspectives to comment upon established museological practices;
Ability to demonstrate a familiarity with, and express opinions about, current museological debates.

Mode of instruction

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • Lectures (1 ects) – Compulsory attendance!

  • Reading list (2 ects);

  • Written exhibition review (1 ects);

  • Written weekly assignments (1 ects).


Tuesdays, from 4 February to 18 March, from 13h-15h.
Location details can be found in the MA time schedule .

Mode of instruction

Lectures, Seminar

Assessment method

  • Weekly assignments (30%);

  • Final paper (= exhibition review) (max. 1,500 words) (70%).

  • Assessment deadline: The exhibition review is to be handed in in the last week of the course.

  • Exam dates and assessment deadlines can be found in the examination schedule

Reading list

  • J. Clifford, “Museums as Contact Zones”, in: Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Harvard University Press (1997). pp. 188-219;

  • S. MacDonald (ed.), Blackwell Companion to Museum Studies. London: Blackwell (2006).


Register for this course via uSis an don Blackboard.

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact mw. dr. Mariana Françozo.