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Introduction to Non Western Art History Short Course

Course description

European art history is punctuated by the recurring influence of non-Western art; from the African masks that underpinned Cubism to the Chinese ornaments that populate early Impressionist paintings. Conversely, we can also find American traders in the Japanese ukiyo-e of the 19th Century, and Greek philosophers in the miniatures of Mughal India.

Art history means history without borders, and to do justice to the breadth of the topic means examining the fruitful, troubled and fluctuating dialogue 'East and West'. This course aims to introduce the student to an expanded model of art history that treats the art of native cultures and results of colonisation as indispensable to the discipline.

Who should attend Introduction to Non Western Art History short course?
All levels welcome. This course is ideal for students, graduates and those with a casual interest in art history. No pre-requisite material or knowledge is essential.

Clear, easy to understand lessons:

  • Our tutors will explain things in easy to understand, accessible English. If they need to use any special terminology they will make sure they explain what they mean.
  • New methods will be shown to students through live demonstrations, in a way thats crystal clear and easy to understand.

Experience life on campus

  • Network and share ideas with students from across the globe
  • Access the technology and materials relevant to your discipline
  • Shop in our college shops for any materials you might need
  • Ask questions of your tutor in real time
  • Receive feedback and critique on your assignments
  • Experience the many sights of London on your down time

A certificate of completion:

  • You've put the work in so we want to make sure you have something to show for it!
  • As long as you attend a minimum of 80% of your classes, we will provide you with a certificate of attendance
  • We always recommend you attend all of the classes so that you get the most out of the experience!
  • Certificates are great to complement your CV

Available dates

If no dates are showing then please sign up to our mailing list to find out about upcoming dates and new course developments.


Over the course we will cover:

  • The arts of Western Africa and their intimate, living link to cultures. How did the various art practices influence a formal style in early 20th Century Europe? What are the politics of their characterisation by groups like the Expressionists?
  • The multi-faith arts of India and their development through various kingdoms. How did later Indian rulers seek to expand their local arts? How did rife colonialism affect the themes of artists?
  • The arts of China, both religious and secular, including the deeply philosophical practice of scholarly painting. How can we compare such genres with later European styles, such as Impressionism and abstraction? How did later generations reflect on their heritage during Communism?
  • Distinct Japanese schools of art, and how they relate to earlier Chinese practice. How did strict isolation and forceful opening to trade affect the arts? How were Japanese formal styles accessed in late 19th Century France?
  • Finally, colonial painting itself. How did Western artists depict the cultures of the colonies? What are the politics of sight and narrative that support a colonial history? What are some postcolonial responses to such works in the contemporary era?

European movements that we touch on include Cubism, Expressionism, Romanticism, Impressionism and the general idea of 'Primitivism'.


Please bring to the first session:
A notebook and pen
Meet the Tutor:

This course aims to introduce an expanded model of art history that treats the art of native cultures and results of colonisation as indispensable to the discipline of Art history.

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