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Critical museology


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Bachelor’s 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 within 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, among others.

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 different aspects involved in museum practices and to be able to apply these ideas and perspectives to contemporary cases.

Course objectives

  • Equip students with an understanding and a working appreciation of both theoretical and practical approaches to key issues in the field of museum anthropology and museum studies;

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

  • Demonstrate a familiarity with, and express informed opinions about, current museological debates.

For RMA-students, in addition to the above:

  • Employ theoretically-informed perspectives to critically discuss established and innovative museological practices.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • Lectures (1 ects);

  • Reading list (2 ects);

  • Written exhibition review (1 ects);

  • Written weekly assignments (1 ects).


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Seminar.

Assessment method


  • Assignments (30%);

  • Final paper/exhibition review (max. 1,500 words) (70%).


  • Assignments (30%). In addition to dealing with the mandatory readings, the assignment text must be clearly related to the student’s own research;

  • Final paper/exhibition review (max. 1,500 words) (70%). The exhibition review should be written as an academic, scholarly review (such as those published in journals such as Curator, Museum Anthropology etc.) and clearly employ theoretically-informed perspectives to reflect on the exhibition.

Assessment deadline

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the examination schedule.

Reading list

  • J. Clifford, “Museums 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.

Contact information

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