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Visual culture


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Propedeuse (first year) Archaeology obtained.


Visual culture could be broadly defined as the study of the social construction of visual experience. During this course, visual culture will be explored through different approaches. One part of the course will focus on iconography, the method of art interpretation created by Erwin Panofsky (1892-1968). This will be the starting point and subsequently used to look at visual materials of archaeological provenience.

Mesoamerican visual assemblage, particularly the art of the Central and Southern parts of Mexico, will be analysed in order to bring illustration to iconographical and other visual culture methods. Towards the end, iconography’s scope of research will be shown, for instance, the possibility to look at other aspects of human culture, such as world vision, forms of social life, themes of personhood, and religious motivations, among others.
Respective approaches will allow reflection upon different targets of archaeological investigation, therefore, will open the possibility to apply the analytical apparatus to other world regions of interest.

Course objectives

  • Learn and 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).

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lectures;

  • 2,000 words of written homework;

  • Essay (1,500-1,800 words);

  • 140 pages of literature.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Active participation.

Assessment method

Ancient Mediterranean: 4 weekly articles of 500 words (block 3);
Ancient Mesoamerica: weekly short written assignments, in the end useful to write a final essay (block 4).

Assessment deadline

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the examination schedule.

Reading list

  • E. Panofsky, “Iconography and Iconology: An introduction to the Study of Renaissance Art” (Chapter 1) (1955) in: Meaning of the Visual Art. New York: Doubleday Anchor Books. pp. 26-54;

  • G. Rose, Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. London: Sage (2007).


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.

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact mw. dr. A. Rojas Martinez Gracida or mw. E.M. Mol MPhil.