Art History

Studying art history at Leuphana University means researching modern and contemporary art and its institutions from a critical cultural studies perspective. Thus, art history in Lüneburg is rooted in and reflects present concerns, both in terms of art history and society. Some of the fundamental questions we ask are: What is art? What forms and media does it use? What functions does it have? How does it influence society? How has art changed? Who does art belong to? What does art mean in a globalized world?

A unique feature of art history at Leuphana is its internationally recognized art space Kunstraum, where students actively participate in research projects and the realization of exhibitions by contemporary artists. Project-based seminars deepen this research-led practical focus in cooperation with museums and archives. In seminars on art criticism, we combine writing practices with theoretical reflections. We regularly organize excursions to international exhibitions (documenta, biennials, etc.). As we continue to rethink art history along a transcultural perspective, we engage in conversations and exchanges with artists, scholars, and activists around the globe. Our regular field trips have taken us to Havana, Dakar, Jerusalem/Tel Aviv/Ramallah, or Mumbai, for example.

In the Bachelor’s program, the introduction to art history as cultural studies forms the prelude to the specialization of “Art and Visual Culture.” With modules such as “Art and Aesthetic Processes,” “Art and its Institutions,” “Art and Contemporary History,” “Art Theory, Art Criticism and Aesthetics,” or “Transculturality,” we address central questions of the visual arts and the use of images up to the immediate present. The project modules “Art in Context” and “Project Module Kunstraum” enable students to collaborate with artists as well as with other actors and institutions in the arts from day one. By studying “Art and Visual Culture” in the B.A., our students gain the best prerequisites for a subsequent master's degree in art history or a master's degree in cultural studies and humanities. The B.A. also prepares for a professional career in art institutions and publishing houses as well as in art journalism.

In the Master’s program, art history is part of the study program “Critical Studies: Theory - Arts - History.” We combine the formal analysis of art with fundamental questions of representation and representability in aesthetic, artistic, but also epistemological, political, gender-specific, or transcultural terms. We investigate the institutional and social conditions of artistic production, its reception, and distribution, the origin of artworks and their ownership, the art market, and the effects of digitality. In the master's program “Critical Studies: Theory - Arts - History,” our students have the opportunity to study art in its interdisciplinary interweaving with cultural theory, economics, decoloniality, or ecology, among others. The research orientation of the master's degree qualifies for a career in the arts and the cultural field and/or for a doctorate in cultural studies and the humanities.

Detailed information on the course contents of the Bachelor’s and Master’s programs can be found in the subject-specific annex (FSA) and the module handbook. Instructions for writing a term paper in the field of Art History can be found here.