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Practical matters How to find us prof. dr. B.P. (Barend) van Heusden

prof. dr. B.P. (Barend) van Heusden

Profielfoto van prof. dr. B.P. (Barend) van Heusden
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Courses taught in 2022-2023

Arts, Culture, and Media

Ba 1: Life Imagined: the Arts in Culture - An introductory course on the functioning of the arts in Western and global culture from prehistory to the present.

Ba2: Empirical Methods: Arts, Policy, and Education - The core question of the course Arts, Policy and Education is how the values produced by the arts in society both condition, and are conditioned by arts policy and arts education. The course integrates the sociological and cognitive perspectives on the arts students have already made acquaintance with in the first year courses. Students learn to connect both approaches within the framework of public arts (or cultural) policy and arts education. For this purposes the course focuses on identifying the social and cognitive effects of the arts which are of importance from a public policy and educational point of view. Students make acquaintance with the systems theory approach and connect it with the cognitive perspective on the arts and with institutional art theories (Becker, Bourdieu and Actor-Network theory). Furthermore, students analyse concrete cases of arts policy and education.

Ma 1: Arts and Brain in Culture - an advanced course on arts and cognition. The cognitive underpinnings of art and culture are notoriously difficult to research empirically. The reasons for this are twofold: 1. There is an absence of an agreed upon theory and 2. There exists a vast complexity of cultural and artistic behavior. In this course, we will deal with both issues. First we critically discuss the theoretical frameworks available for the empirical study of human cultural and artistic cognition (Dutton, Ramachandran, Zeki, Donald, Noë, Kandel, Dissanayake). Secondly, we investigate quantitative and qualitative empirical methods used to study artistic and cultural cognitive processes. 

ReMa 1: Theories of Culture and Research - a course on the study of culture. Culture is studied in the Humanities and it is studied in the Social Sciences and in Biology. Yet it is conceived very differently within these major academic domains. In this this course we investigate what culture is, and how its nature accounts for the (many) different perspectives that can be chosen in approaching it scientifically. For many Humanities scholars the prevailing approach is still hermeneutics, which can roughly be defined as the method of systematic (and more or less critical) interpretation. For many others, especially those working on culture in terms of fields and institutions, or mental processes, Social Science approaches are sometimes more evident, with their combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. Yet especially qualitative methods in the social sciences are more akin to the interpretative methods of the humanities than one might expect. The boundaries are not always, therefore, so easy to draw. We analyze a number of approaches and inquire after the epistemological assumptions. How do they think about the nature of culture (media, the arts), about science (theory, concepts, observation), and what is their aim: what do they want to achieve? What are their main assumptions and procedures? What is, besides their epistemological orientation, their position regarding academic research in the field of culture?

Last modified:16 August 2022 09.12 a.m.