Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


The aim of the course is to develop fresh perspectives in the history of art, by looking at art and art historical debates outside Western contexts and from the point of view of ethnic minorities. During this course, students will become familiar with the extent to which contexts shape our art historical thinking, as well learn to identify and understand the terminology and concepts that lie behind our current art historical thought. The course will increase the students ability to examine the history of visual culture from the global perspective. We will ask, for example, in what ways globalization or multiculturalism is visible and expressed in our visual surroundings; and how does cultural referencing, interaction or blending manifest itself in art history and contemporary art. 

Credits: 4

Schedule: 14.01.2021 - 08.04.2021

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Paula Hohti Erichsen, Tuija Peltomaa

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Tuija Peltomaa

Contact information for the course (valid 20.12.2020-21.12.2112):

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    We will look at selected examples from different continents and cultures (for example South America, Africa, India, China, Japan, Near East). We will study global art history and contemporary visual arts, as well as cultural meanings that are associated with a broad range of material artefacts, dress and bodily adornment. We will use a set of keywords to approach the complex questions that relate to the relationships between indigenous cultures, minorities and dominant cultures, as well as address problems of cultural dominance (such as colonialism, exoticism, orientalism, primitivism, otherness, cultural identity, diaspora, boundary, intercultural relations, and cultural changes in conflict areas). We will discuss how both otherness as well as shared experiences of humanity have been discussed.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    See -> News and Schedule -> Schedule

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Lectures and presentations. Group work, individual assignments, and role tasks in the class. Discussions based on examples, key words, concepts and texts introduced in the course. Successful completion of the course requires students to participate in 75% of the classes, as well as to complete a process-oriented independent assignment, where we examine how otherness and foreign cultures have been represented in Western art, and how cultural identities have been built in art and art history.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Evaluation 0 – 5. The lowest approved grade is 1.

    The evaluation is based on the student's personal progress, active participation in lectures (the synchronized online teaching with pre-scheduled zoom meetings, discussion and group work), as well as the ability to utilize and express verbally the lesson learned, and the key words and concepts introduced.

    You may be asked to prepare for the classes by familiarizing with given texts and other online material, or making annotations on a given theme.

    The process-oriented independent assignment (Learning Diary) consists of 4 separate parts. These and closer instructions are given as the course proceeds and published in MyCourses. See -> 

    One of the factors affecting grades is returning assignments within the required time.

    Active participation in the classes and taking part in the discussion is counted for your benefit.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Contact teaching 36 h, independent work 72h

  • Applies in this implementation:

    36 h synchronous online teaching including discussion and group work, 72 h independent work according to instructions.


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    During the course and in MyCourses

  • Applies in this implementation:

    The course material may include a selection of articles and other online material distributed via MyCourses course page during the course. 

    This and other optional supplementary material, including literature and videos, see -> Learning Resources

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Not required

Registration for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:


    Minimum amount of participants is 8 students.

    The order of priority for admitting students:

    1. Exchange students in Aalto ARTS, 2 places (applies to courses taught in English)
    2. Minor students (applies to compulsory courses in the minor)
    3. Degree students in Aalto ARTS
    4. Students from other schools in Aalto University and students who have applied for the course through different student mobility schemes (flexible study right (JOO) studies etc.)
    5. Other students

  • Applies in this implementation:

    The course is conducted entirely as distance learning due to the COVID-19 situation. Course meetings are arranged via the Zoom connection and other communication takes place via the MyCourses course page.

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    5 Gender Equality

    10 Reduced Inequality

    16 Peace and Justice Strong Institutions


Further Information
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Written assignments can also be done in Finnish or Swedish.

    Minimum amount of participants is 8 students.
    Two places are reserved for exchange students.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    The course is conducted entirely as distance learning due to the COVID-19 situation. Course meetings are arranged via the Zoom connection and other communication takes place via the MyCourses course page.

Details on the schedule