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World Art Studies


Admission requirements

Under construction of still subject to change.

Same as admission requirements for the BA Art History/BA Arts, Media and Society.
This course has replaced the course How the World Makes Art (2022-2023).


In current times, people from all corners of the globe are connected to each other. Humans but also animals and objects travel around the world, and so do more intangible things such as viruses, ideas, and concepts. Probably more than ever, we are aware that all bodies and all things are part of worldwide networks, and, consequentially, that everything and everybody is profoundly intertwined and entangled. This course aims to create awareness that art history is a truly global enterprise and that artworks par excellence manifest the confluence of, amongst others, different cultures, languages, world views, and ideas. It underscores that the discipline tangles infinite stories of art from across the world rather than presenting a single, linear, and western story.

In each lecture, we will depart from a distinct modern or contemporary artwork ranging from Picasso’s painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) to Ana Mendieta’s performances of the Silueta Series (1973-1980), and from Renzo Martens’s video Enjoy Poverty (2008) to Teresa Margolles’s Vaporización (2001). There are many elements that contribute to the singularity of these artworks: they are composed of different media and materials, address the observer in distinct ways, deal with diverse issues, and are made by artists with diverse cultural backgrounds. In this course we will look at the particularities of these artworks, yet we’ll be sensitive to the fact that they are complex entities (or actors as they will be called) where many different matters come together and many different relations are established. Artworks both act upon and are influenced by broader societal, political, environmental issues—such as climate change, immigration, and exploitation—and they relate to other artworks too. We’ll analyze the interactions between the artworks under analysis and these broader issues and we’ll explore how artworks move and move in the world.

The course will be structured around three themes that are core to art history: Art and World Views, Art’s Agency and Art and Identity.

Course objectives



Visit My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture series

Assessment method

  • Mid-term: written assignment (40%).
    Students should make groups and develop a 1500-word curatorial proposal related to the question of globalization for a contemporary art space in the Netherlands. The proposal should demonstrate the students’ awareness of previous global exhibitions yet reflect what the matter of globalization means anno 2023. The proposal could involve an exhibition, a discursive event, a publication, a website, etc. Choosing the format of the curatorial project is part of the assignment.

  • Final: written exam (60%).


  • An assignment consisting of a visual representation accompanied by an explanatory text of 500 words (explained in Lecture 1) (40%).

  • Written exam (60%).


The weighted average of the (constituent) examinations must be a passing grade. The mark for the final examination (or the main assignment) must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). The mark for all other constituent examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass).

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • James Elkins, Stories of Art. New York/London: Routledge 2002

  • Additional readings via BrightSpace


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.