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Visual culture


Compulsory attendance


Prerequisites and restrictions

Students must have completed the propedeuse.


Visual culture and its contextualisation will be treated from different methodological and theoretical viewpoints. During the first part (block III) examples in class will be Ancient Greek remains, while the second part (block IV) will focus on Mesoamerica. The different approaches and respective conclusions for this specific culture will be compared to what was developed in other cultures and historical settings.
Consequently the course will present students not only with current interpretations of Classical and Mesoamerican archaeologies but also open up the possibility to apply the analytical apparatus and theoretical perspectives to other regions.

The course also includes attending prof. Sojc’s oration lecture on 4 February, 3 pm in the “Groot Auditorium” (Academiegebouw).

Learning outcomes

  • 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).

Mode of delivery

  • Lectures;

  • Active participation.


Block III (Ancient Greece): four weekly articles (500 words).
Block IV (Mesoamerica): students will study literature, identify their own case study and write an interpretative essay about it.

Reading list

Ancient Greece:

  • A.A. Donohue, Greek Sculpture and the Problem of Description. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press (2005);

  • N. Himmelmann-Wildschütz, Reading Greek Art. Essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press (1998);

  • J.M. Hurwit, The Athenian Acropolis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1992);

  • N. Spivey, Greek Art. London: Phaidon Press (1997);

  • J. Tanner, The Invention of Art History in Ancient Greece: Religion, Society and Artistic Rationalisation. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press (2006).


  • C. Fowler, The Archaeology of Personhood. An Anthropological Approach. Routledge/London/New York (2004);

  • Additional literature will be indicated during class.

Time schedule

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


The “Ancient Greece” part of the course will be taught in English, the “Mesoamerica” part will be taught in Dutch.