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Practices and Debates in Art History


Admission requirements

See Teaching and Examination Regulations.


This course revolves around current debates in the field of art history and visual studies, departing from the changing concept of art and touching upon the Euro-American focus of the discipline and the globalizing world, anthropological approaches to art, the geography of art, current focus points of museum studies, as well as notions such as the sublime and anachronism & euchronism. These topics will be exemplified and debated in a series of seminar meetings. Students will have to prepare readings, write 5 small essays and make a ‘pitch2peer’ video presentation in which students work together in small groups, focusing on a case study, topic or theme framed by various debates discussed in the course.

Course objectives

Students will:

  • acquire insight into a variety of theories, debates, and practices in Art History;

  • analyse and understand various scholarly positions and their consequences for the meanings and agency of art works;

  • position oneself in relation to these;

  • develop skills in oral presentation while defending viewpoints and arguments with regard to art works; this will be mainly achieved by means of the pitch2peervideo presentation.

  • present an analytical scholarly paper related to the course objectives.

  • Practice 21st-century skills such as collaborating, creative thinking, solving problems, self-regulating, social and cultural skills.


Please consult the timetable on the MA Arts and Culture website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture and seminar course with analysis and discussion of readings.

Attendance is compulsory. Students are allowed to miss a maximum of two seminars, provided they present a valid reason beforehand. Students who have missed more than two seminars will have to aply to the Examination Board of the Ma Arts and Culture in order to obtain permission to further follow and complete the course.

Course Load

The total course load is 140 hours (5 ec):

  • attending seminars and a half day presentation of the video presentations: 4 hours per week x 7 weeks = 28 hours;

  • compulsory readings for seminars = 420 pages a ca 7 pages per hour = 60 hours;

  • preparation for the presentation = 32 hours (group discussions and critical reading of texts, preparing the Pitch2Peer presentation;

  • preparing and writing of course portfolio, = 20 hours (editing course notes, rereading texts, collecting research material, searching for additional literature, composing and writing of course portfolio of ca. 2.500 words).

Assessment method

  • Presentation at the pitch2peer presentations, evaluation and class assignments (50%);

  • Written course portfolio of 5 x 400-500 words essays = ca. 2.500 words, excl. notes and references (50%).

pitch2peer presentation: instructions will be posted on BlackBoard.

The course consists of ca. 10 lectures, excluding the introduction; for the portfolio each student chooses 5 out of the 10 topics, and on the basis of the assignment given by the various instructors s/he is asked to write a 400-500 words essay (excl. notes, images, bibliographical references). The essays need to be uploaded via Turnitin.

ResMa students taking this course will write essays that reflect the demands of the Research Master. That is, they will have to formulate a more complex and original research question and include a critical positioning towards the state of the art of its subject (5 x 600 words excluding bibliography).


The final grade is established by determination of the weighted average and should be a 6.0 or higher. Marks under 5.0 for the individual assignments are not allowed.


Re-examination via the course portfolio.

For the time tables exams 2019-2020 see; Timetable

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.


  • Please note that if you do not hand in your essay before the first deadline, your essay will be considered as the resit.

  • For the time tables exams 2019-2020 see; Timetable


Blackboard will be used for providing the readings of the lectures, the visual presentations and instructions for the pitch2peer presentations in Week 43 (Study week 21-25 Oct.)

Reading list

The literature will be announced through blackboard during the course.


Students are required to register for this course via uSis, the course registration system of Leiden University. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.


Not applicable.


For more practical questions and information please contact the secretarial office of the Arts and Culture Department, Huizinga Building, Doelensteeg 16, room 003. Tel. 071-5272 2687.
Administrations Office Huizinga