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World Art




Admissions requirements

None, but a 200-level course from the same track is recommended.


The field of World Art Studies understands and examines art as a panhuman phenomenon. Within this global and multidisciplinary perspective, anthropological approaches take a central place alongside art history. This course will give students an overview of the fundamental concepts, topics, methods, and issues in the anthropology of art through the analysis of influential theories and relevant case-studies from across the globe.

Over the 12 sessions, we will cover wide-ranging themes in visual art studies such as function, symbolism, style, communication, and creativity, from an anthropological angle. As we expand on the specific artistic traditions of several non-Western cultures (e.g. sub-Saharan Africa, indigenous Americas, China, and aboriginal Australia); we will focus on the different relationships between, among others, individual and society, technique and material, and, aesthetics and meaning.

During class discussions, students will be encouraged to come up with their own observations and reflect on possible implications. In the last two meetings, students will present their own case-study results using one or more of the approaches explored throughout the course.

Course objectives

During this course, participants will:

  • familiarize themselves with classic and current debates in the anthropology of art

  • learn to think critically about specific applications of anthropological approaches to visual art

  • be able to make use of anthropological concepts and methods to analyse and discuss artworks

  • understand the relevance of anthropology for the field of Word Art Studies


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

All participants must read the corresponding text for each session. During class discussion, they will be prompted to talk about the most relevant points and concepts of the text. A team of 2/3 will act as discussants/commentators, having to summarize the text and the main discussion issues, which they will then post on the Blackboard Discussion Board. The instructor will prepare and present slides with the key concepts, case studies, and wrap-up. There will be an out-classroom activity on week 4. On week 7, students will present their own case-studies in teams.


  • Class participation in discussion, proactivity (10 %) – individual, throughout the course.

  • Leading and summarizing class discussion as commentator – team work (20%) throughout the course

  • Final case-study presentation – team work (30%), week 7

  • A 2.000 word final paper, individual (40 %) – on the basis of a research question, and (theoretical) texts.

Compensation: all parts need to have a grade superior to 5.5.
Compensation: all parts need to have a grade of C- or higher.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

The instructors will provide the literature and internet resources related to the assigned papers for each team. A reader will be made available to students, in digital and/or paper format.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Larissa Mendoza Straffon,