nl en

Hybrid Technics: traditional, modern, local and global art in China



Students will be expected to exert critical thinking. Comparison with and incorporation of areas of specific interest to the student’s curriculum are encouraged. Evaluation will be based on class discussion, familiarity with the material and the elaboration of an individual approach in the assessment of artists, trends and specific issues as elements of a larger socio-political context though the writing of the final paper.


Chinese contemporary art has enjoyed major global attention in the last decade. Artists from China have become a regular feature at exhibitions and cultural events around the world and the media often report sales of their works have reached record prices at international auctions.

Much less is said concerning the origins and historical development of this recent success story.

This course uses the antithetical pairs traditional/modern and local/global to consider a number of historical, cultural and social shifts in China towards variably hybrid categories of art’s content, form, mediation and circulation. The course does not present China as a special case of hybridization. Rather, China is set within the context of global evidence of this process, which this course tracks from ca. 1800 onwards (usually in topical rather than chronological order). The major goal of the course is to understand China’s early modern and recent participation in (rather than beside) global forces of hybridity, itself a major diagnostic tool for understanding the ascent of modernity.

This course will provide an historical and cultural framework to allow the reading and de-codification of such artistic production. It will present the main works, figures, cultural policies and institutions against the background of the political and social changes experienced by the P.R.C. since its founding, exploring the complex connections existing between art and society which define the unique character and meaning of this art.

Study aims

The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the main cultural issues emerged in the development of the visual and artistic production of China in the last 2 centuries. Students will learn to interpret the leading media and techniques of art during this period by applying their acquired knowledge of materials, technologies and insights from art history visual studies and sociology.


Classes will introduce works and styles with the aid of slides/Blackboard. Students are expected to play an active role in presenting their views and to engage in the critical discussion of this artistic production. Readings will be set for preparation between classes. Students are expected to read these set texts in out-of-class hours and to discuss what they have read when the class assembles. Each week’s assignment will demand a minimum input of three to four hours, including preparatory reading and familiarization with visual material.


See Timetable TCC

Teaching method



  • Classwork (presentation): 20%

  • Essay plan, deadline early November: 20%

  • Final Essay (deadline mid-December) 60%


Yes, Blackboard

Reading materials

  • Readings will be available on a reserve shelf in the East-Asian Library


Meld je voor dit college op tijd aan via uSis. Niet ingeschreven, betekent geen toestemming tot het volgen van dit college. Zie ook ‘Aanmeldprocedures voor colleges en tentamens’ voor inschrijvingsdeadlines en meer informatie over in- en uitschrijven voor colleges.