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Hybrid Technics: Traditional and Modern Art in China



Familiarity with Chinese art (via courses followed in BA2 and BA1), Art history (of any region/period), Chinese history and literature (especially of the 19th- and 20th-centuries) will enhance participation in this course, but no one is an absolute prerequisite. The same is true for any knowledge of Chinese languages (modern/classical). Students are expected to exert critical thinking, and to plan their individual engagement/production (final paper) with good strategy and originality. Evaluation will be based on class discussion, familiarity with the material and the elaboration of a workable approach in the assessment of artists, trends and specific issues as elements of a larger art historical / sociological / cultural context for the writing of a final paper.


This course uses common antithetical pairs, such as traditional/modern, local/global, in order to consider a number of historical, cultural and social shifts in China towards variably hybrid categories of art’s content, form, mediation and circulation. The course does not present China as a special case of hybridization. Rather, China is set within the context of global evidence of this process, which this course tracks from ca. 1800 onwards (in topical order; in chronological order as far as possible). The guiding aim of the course is to consider—to accept or to repudiate—China’s early modern and recent participation in (rather than beside) global forces of hybridity, itself a major diagnostic tool for understanding the ascent of modernity.

Study aims

The aims of the course is to familiarize students with the main cultural issues that emerged in the development of the visual and artistic production of China in the last two centuries. Students will learn to interpret the leading media and techniques of art during this period by applying their acquired knowledge of materials, technologies and insights from art history visual studies and sociology.


Classes will introduce works and styles with the aid of slides/Blackboard. Students are expected to play an active role in presenting their views and to engage in the critical discussion of this artistic production. Readings will be set for preparation between classes. Students are expected to read these set texts in out-of-class hours and to discuss what they have read when the class assembles. Each week’s assignment will demand a minimum input of three to four hours, including preparatory reading and familiarization with visual material.


See Timetable on the website of Chinastudies for time and location.

Teaching method



  • Classwork (presentation): 20%

  • Essay plan, deadline early November: 20%

  • Final Essay (deadline mid-December) 60%


Yes, Blackboard

Reading materials

  • Readings will be available on a reserve shelf in the East-Asian Library


Registration through uSis. Not registered, means no permission to follow this course. See also Registrationprocedures for courses and exams for registrationdeadlines and more information on (un)registering for courses.