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Critical museology


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

BA-degree obtained.


Building on a tradition of ‘critical museology’, this course seeks to provoke students into questioning what a museum is and does, and what it can be. The aim of this course is to familiarise students with the main current debates in critical museology, exploring topics such as the politics of representation and self-representation, the potential for social and historical criticism embedded in museum practices, claims to repatriation, new modes of exhibition-making, the critical perspective of audiences, communities and the nation-state.

Classes will explore recent controversial cases in the museum world. By the end of the term, students are expected to have gained critical insight into the various aspects involved in museum practices and to be able to apply these ideas and perspectives to contemporary cases.

Course objectives

  • Understanding and working appreciation of both theoretical and practical approaches to key issues in the field of cultural heritage and museum anthropology;

  • Ability to discuss and debate the concept and functions of the museum;

  • Ability to employ theoretically-informed perspectives to comment upon established museological practices;

  • Ability to demonstrate a familiarity with, and express opinions about, current museological debates.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • Lectures (2 ects);

  • Reading list (2 ects);

  • Written exhibition review (1 ects).


Course schedule details can be found in the MA time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Seminar.

Assessment method

  • Class/seminar participation;

  • Paper, max. 1,800 words.

Assessment deadline

The exhibition review is to be handed in in the last week of block 4.

Reading list

  • J. Clifford, “Museum as Contact Zones”, in: Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Harvard University Press (1997). pp. 188-219;

  • S. MacDonald (ed.), Blackwell Companion to Museum Studies. London: Blackwell (2006).


Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration can be found in the uSis manual.

Exchange and Study Abroad students: please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contractonderwijs: all information (costs, registration, entry requirements etc.) for those who are interested in taking this course as a Contractstudent is on the Contractonderwijs Archeologie webpage (in Dutch).

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact dr. Mariana Françozo.