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World Art Studies


Admission requirements

Same as admission requirements for the BA Art History.


The visual arts are a worldwide phenomenon having deep roots in time. Indeed, art is found in all human societies, both past and present, with the oldest evidence of artistic activity going back 100,000 years. How do we study the global phenomenon of art? This is the central question of the emerging field of World Art Studies, to which this lecture series provides an introduction. The course does not provide a survey of the art of the world. Instead, it raises fundamental questions concerning the panhuman occurrence of art and discusses various approaches that attempt to answer these questions. The course is structured around three core themes that are relevant to the study of art as a worldwide phenomenon: the origins of art, intercultural comparison of art in its context, and interculturalization in art, meaning the artistic cross-fertilization between cultures.

In addition to attending the weekly classes, students will independently read various texts on art as a worldwide phenomenon.

Course objectives

  • Students develop a sense of the visual arts as a panhuman phenomenon in both space and time.

  • Students acquire knowledge about the basic questions to be addressed when analyzing art as a worldwide phenomenon and learn to become capable of applying appropriate methodology when answering such questions.

  • Students learn to understand both commonalities and cultural differences in the creation, use, and perception of art across the globe.

  • Students acquiring basic knowledge of the sociocultural contexts in which the visual arts are produced and deployed.

  • Students develop a sense of the dynamics of art, especially the mutual exchanges between various art traditions.


  • Monday 17:15-18:45 hrs

The timetable is available on the [core curriculum]((

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

24 hrs: Attending lectures (2 hrs weekly x 12 weeks)
24 hrs: Lecture preparations (reading texts)
90 hrs: Studying the literature (450 pp à 5 pp/hr)
02 hrs: Exam
140 hrs

Assessment method

  • Mid-term written assignment (40% of the grade): essay 1500 words

  • Final exam (60% of the grade): written exam (essay questions)


Compensation: The weighted average of the (constituent) examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). The mark for the final examination (or the main assignment) must be at least 6.0 at (= a pass). The mark for all other constituent examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). However, it is possible to compensate for one constituent examination a 5.0 (but not a mark lower than 5.0) with the grade of another constituent examination which has the same weight in the average as the constituent examination it compensates.


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

Exam review

Date and place will be announced on Blackboard


Blackboard will provide course materials. Both power points with illustrations and reading materials will be made available.

Reading list

World Art Studies: Exploring Concepts and Approaches, ed. Kitty Zijlmans & Wilfried van Damme. Amsterdam: Valiz, 2008.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


Prof.dr. W.J.L.M. (Wilfried) van Damme


Not applicable.