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World Art Studies


Admission requirements

Same as admission requirements for the BA Art History/BA Arts, Media and Society.


Humans but also animals and objects, travel around the world, and so do more intangible things such as viruses, ideas, and concepts. Probably more than ever, we are aware that all bodies and all things are part of worldwide networks, and, consequentially, that everything and everybody is profoundly intertwined and entangled. This course aims to create awareness that art history is a truly global enterprise and that artworks par excellence manifest the confluence of, amongst others, different cultures, languages, world views, and ideas. It underscores that the discipline tangles infinite stories of art from across the world rather than presenting a single, linear, and Western story.

In each lecture, we will depart from a distinct modern or contemporary artwork ranging from Picasso’s painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) to Ana Mendieta’s performances of the Silueta Series (1973-1980), and Renzo Martens’s video Enjoy Poverty (2008). There are many elements that contribute to the singularity of these artworks: they are composed of different media and materials, address the observer in distinct ways, deal with diverse issues, and are made by artists with diverse cultural backgrounds. In this course, we will look at the particularities of these artworks, yet we’ll be sensitive to the fact that they are complex entities (or actors as they will be called) where many different matters come together and many different relations are established. Artworks both act upon and are influenced by broader societal, political, and environmental issues—such as climate change, immigration, and exploitation—and they relate to other artworks too. We’ll analyze the interactions between the artworks under analysis and these broader issues and we’ll explore how artworks move and move in the world.

The course will be structured around three core themes in art history: Art and World Views, Art’s Agency, and Art and Identity.

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • the richness, varieties, and development of art across the world;

  • major forms, materials and physical aspects of the visual arts;

  • some scholarly approaches to world art studies.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • identify and use the main sources and handbooks on world art studies;

  • critically analyse art from across the world.


Visit My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Assessment method


  • An assignment consisting of a visual representation accompanied by an explanatory text of 500 words (explained in Lecture 1)

  • Written examinaton with essay questions


  • Assignment visual representation and explanatory text: 40%

  • Written examinaton: 60%

The final mark for the course is established by (i) determination of the weighted average combined with (ii) additional requirements.

Additional requirements

  • The mark for all constituent examinations must be at least 6.0.


A resit/ rewrite can be done for constituent examinations which are failed. As far as applicable all resits take place at the same time, after the final (constituent) examination.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • James Elkins, Stories of Art. New York/London: Routledge 2002

  • Additional readings via BrightSpace


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.



Not applicable