MA Contemporary Art and Art Theory of Asia and Africa

General

Read more about this programme on the school's website

Programme Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time


On this programme, students engage with some of the most dynamic and contemporary aspects of Asian and African art, as well as issues of collection, display, representation, tourist art, and shifts between regional, national and global identities. By focusing on theoretical and methodological questions, they are equipped with the terms and approaches needed for in-depth study of contemporary art. This is combined with the study of contemporary art from a range of Asian and African contexts.

The Department of the History of Art and Archaeology contains some of the world’s leading experts in contemporary Asian and African art, whose ground-breaking research informs and is informed by their teaching. Students benefit from the unparalleled knowledge and enthusiasm of the staff. As members of the School of Arts, they profit from the insights of scholars and students working in other related fields, such as contemporary global Media, Film and Music. They can also select from modules in other departments, taking advantage of SOAS’s unrivalled expertise in, for example, the film, cinema, languages and modern history of Asia and Africa.

A Masters from the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology provides students with expertise in the History of Art and/or Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Our postgraduates progress to work in arts, culture and heritage roles, including in galleries, museums, archives, conservation, publishing and arts administration. The large portfolio of transferable skills they acquire enables them to forge careers in a range of other fields across the world. Our Master's programmes are also an excellent foundation for MPhil/PhD research.

Employment

A Masters from the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology provides students with expertise in the History of Art and/or Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Our postgraduates progress to work in arts, culture and heritage roles, including in galleries, museums, archives, conservation, publishing and arts administration. The large portfolio of transferable skills they acquire enables them to forge careers in a range of other fields across the world. Our Master's programmes are also an excellent foundation for MPhil/PhD research.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • Asia House
  • Bonhams
  • British Museum
  • Christie's Hong Kong
  • Design Museum
  • Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
  • Hong Kong Museum Of Art
  • India Foundation For The Arts
  • Museum of East Asian Art
  • National Gallery National Museum of Singapore
  • People Projects Culture & Change
  • Schoeni Art Gallery
  • Sotheby's
  • Taiwan Embassy
  • The Alliance for Global Education
  • The British Embassy
  • The Chester Beatty Library
  • The National Museum Of Korea
  • The Royal Collection

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

  • Manager of Communications
  • Culture Programme Coordinator
  • Research Assistant
  • Social Anthropology Lecturer
  • Specialist - Indian Art
  • Architect
  • Art Historian
  • Development Specialist
  • Archivist
  • Gallery Director Innovation Programmes Learning Manager
  • Creative Director
  • Organisational Consultant
  • Travel writer
  • Art Collector
  • Chinese Painting Specialist
  • Professor of Silk Road History
  • Rights and Reproductions Officer
  • Public Education Coordinator
  • Senior Curator of Photographs

Structure

Occasionally the availability of optional modules changes as a result of staffing and other circumstances. Students who had signed up for such modules will be notified as soon as possible and given the opportunity to choose from available alternatives.

Students must complete 120 credits of MA taught modules in addition to the compulsory dissertation (60 credits).

Dissertation
  • Dissertation in History of Art and Archaeology: Contemporary Art and Art Theory of Asia and Africa
Taught Component
  • Choose modules to the value of 60 credits from the MA modules in the History of Art and Archaeology department related to Contemporary Art and Art Theory listed below.

and

  • Choose modules to the value of 15 credits from the MA modules in the History of Art and Archaeology department - not limited to Contemporary Art & Art Theory.

and

  • Choose modules to the value of 45 credits from the list of recommended options below or from the Open Options list if approved by programme convenor.

List of modules (subject to availability)

  • History of Art and Archaeology - Contemporary Art and Art Theory Options
    • Arts of Modern and Contemporary China (since 1800)
    • Contemporary Art and the Global
    • Discourses on Modern and Contemporary Art of the Middle East
    • Photography and the Image in Africa
    • Issues in Contemporary Southeast Asian Art
    • Modern and Contemporary Arts in Africa
    • Modern and Contemporary Korean Art
    • Theory and Method in Art History
  • Other Options in the History of Art and Archaeology
    • Arab Painting
    • Architectural Boundaries and the Body
    • Arts of Koryo and Chosen Korea
    • Ceramics in Chinese Culture: 10th - 18th Centuries
    • Chinese Porcelain: Trade, Transfer and Reception
    • (En)gendering Southeast Asia: Aesthetics and Politics of Sexual Difference
    • Illustrated Manuscript Cultures of Southeast Asia
    • Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (1)
    • Islam and the West: Artistic and Cultural Contacts
    • Popular Practice in the Edo Period Arts
    • The Indian Temple
    • Tibetan Buddhist Monuments in Context
    • Culture and Society of China
    • Culture and Society of East Africa
    • Culture and Society of South Asia
  • History
  • Media Studies
    • Communication, Culture and Politics in the Middle East: Theoretical and Analytical Approaches
    • Music, Urbanism and Conflict in Jaffa
    • Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters)
    • Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (2)
    • African Philosophy (PG)
    • The Story of African Film: Narrative Screen Media in Africa
    • Curating Africa: African Film and Video in the Age of Festivals
    • Literatures in African languages
    • Travelling Africa: Writing the Cape to Cairo
    • Modern Chinese Film and Theatre (PG)
    • Modern Film from Taiwan and the Chinese Diaspora (PG)
    • Traditional Chinese Language and Literature
    • Chinese 2 (PG)
    • Japanese Post-War Film Genres and the Avant-Garde
    • Japanese Transnational Cinema: From Kurosawa to Asia Extreme and Studio Ghibli
    • Trajectories of Modernity in Korean Literature (PG)
    • Arabic 300 (PG)
    • Intensive Turkish Language (PG)
    • Intermediate Persian Language (PG)
    • Bengali Language 2 (PG)
    • Culture and Conflict in Nepal
    • Hindi Language 3 (PG)
    • Indian Cinema: Its History and Social Context
    • Indian Cinema: Key Issues
    • Urdu Language 2 (PG)
  • Southeast Asia
    • Indonesian Language 2 (PG)
    • Thai Language 2 (PG)
    • Vietnamese Language 2 (PG)

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

The normal qualification for admission to the MA programme is an upper second class honours degree. Other qualifications, however, may be acceptable and the Department welcomes mature students. Students taking the MA degree may or may not have previous experience of our subjects. While knowledge of a relevant Asian or African language is not a requirement, for some modules it is an advantage for admission.

It is possible to include an element of language training within the MA programme by taking an Asian or African language as one of the two ‘minor’ modules. This option may be particularly desirable for those intending to progress to the PhD, who do not already have the necessary language skills.

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Nov 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read Less
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