SOAS University of London is the leading Higher Education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East.

SOAS is a remarkable institution. With our vast repository of knowledge and expertise on our specialist regions, we are uniquely placed to inform and shape current thinking about the economic, political, cultural, security and religious challenges of our world. Our programmes are taught by respected academics engaged in fieldwork and research which influences government policy and the lives of individuals across the globe. SOAS scholars grapple with the pressing issues confronting two-thirds of humankind today: democracy, development, economy, finance, public and corporate policy, human rights, migration, identity, legal systems, poverty, religion, and social change.

30 September – 18 December 2024 (annually)

Asia’s Art Histories (online)

Module Synopsis

This online module will introduce you to the latest ideas, concepts and approaches shaping art history today through focused case studies from across Asian history. Each week Asia’s Art Histories will present you with six pre-recorded lectures from a diverse range of speakers, including leading scholars, curators, and art market professionals. Every week you will have one lecture on each of the following regions or themes: South Asia, China, Japan & Korea, Southeast Asia, Buddhism, or the Islamic world. All six case studies will focus on a common weekly theme. Recurrent themes include: art historical narratives, excavated objects and monuments, material cultures, visual cultures, analysing architecture and sculpture, religious practice and belief, gender and agency, modernities and the contemporary, collection histories, and curation & display.


In a live weekly seminar you will explore a set text on the weekly theme, examined alongside the wide range of materials and approaches considered in your lectures. In weekly online discussions you will work with your classmates to catalogue and analyse a single object from the previous week’s lectures. You could be discussing a Ming blue and white vase from Jingdezhen one week, a miniature portrait of a Mughal emperor the next, or a resist dyed Balinese Batik the week after that. The module also includes professionally filmed pre-recorded virtual visits to the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum.


Asia’s Art Histories is an accessible entry point in postgraduate study at SOAS, whether your next step is on our MA programme, or onto further modules on the Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art History. For those who have already studied with us on the Postgraduate Diploma programme, Asia’s Art Histories will consolidate your knowledge and skills, prepare you for further study at MA level, a career in the arts, or a pursuit of life-long learning.


Module Delivery

  • Asynchronous, online lectures given by SOAS academic staff, leading national and international scholars, museum curators, and art market professionals
  • Exclusive contributions from the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Recommended weekly readings
  • Live, weekly seminar discussions
  • Online discussion fora facilitated by module convenors
  • Weekly one-to-one tutorials with your module convenors



  • One written object analysis of 1,500 words or 15-minute oral presentation (20%)
  • One written assignment of 2,500 words (40%)
  • A reflective curatorial or cataloguing exercise (40%)


020 7898 4451