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What Art History in China is (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant Research MA. Students from other departments are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.


This course introduces students to the methodology and historiography in Chinese visual art. Focusing on topics such as iconography, portraiture, social history of art, visuality, space and spectacle, originality and emulation, and body, it helps students understand debates and trends in the historical formation and current practice of the discipline. In each session, students will be introduced to a broad range of readings on general theory and case studies in Chinese visual art and discussion will be guided to consider their relevance critically.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Recognize major historical debates in the field of Chinese visual art, and understand the direction in which discipline is moving;

  • Identify primary and secondary sources related with their specific interests and engage them with the material and methods introduced in this class;

  • Develop three skills central to advanced art historical research: careful reading, confident oral presentation, and clear critical writing.

  • (For the Research MA students on Chinese visual art) equip students with in-depth knowledge and methodologies to develop their respective MA projects.


The timetable is available on the Asianstudies website

Mode of instruction


Attendance and participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

10 EC = 280 hours total

Contact hours Research MA: 6 hours
Weekly seminars: 14 × 2 hours (28 hours total )
Class preparation (complete assignments and readings): 78 hours
Preparation for presentation: ca. 28 hours
Written Work: 140 hours

Assessment method


  • Class participation and and written response

  • Class discussion groups

  • Final Paper (1) Paper Proposal (in class presentation) (2) Written research paper


  • Class participation and and written response 20%

  • Class discussion groups 20%

  • Final Paper 60% (1) Paper Proposal 10% (in class presentation) (2) Written research paper 50%


In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.

The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam/paper results, an exam/paper review will be organized.


Blackboard is used in the course.
Students must self-enrol on Blackboard, which is used for posting syllabus, class communications, and essay submission.

Note: there is no separate Blackboard page available for this ResMa course. Please subscribe to the Blackboard page of the regular MA course.

Reading list

See blackboard.

For the Research MA students additional readings will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ fields of interest. Extra sessions will be organized to discuss this extra literature.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration à la carte or contractonderwijs

A la carte nor contractonderwijs is possible for this course.


Dr. Fan Lin


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).