Select Page

Cultural Institutions: An Interdisciplinary Seminar by Prof. Karl Kügle

Dates and time: 8 February, 15 February, 17 February, 1 March, 3 March, 15 March, 17 March, 10.00-12.45h
Venue: Utrecht University (details TBA)
Open to: RMa Students in Musicology and in the Humanities who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool). RMa Students who are members of the Huizinga Institute will have first access. PhD Candidates are allowed to register, however RMa Students will have first access.
Fee (nonmembers): € 250
Credits: 5 ECTS
Coordination: Prof. Karl Kügle

Cultural Institutions: An Interdisciplinary Seminar

This seminar will investigate institutions that played or play a significant role in cultural production such as courts, salons, the state, the churches, or various commercial and non-commercial corporate entities. It is interdisciplinary in the sense that it takes into account the full range of components (material, social, financial, religious, political, historical) that interact in a given cultural setting such as a Parisian salon around 1900, or the ducal chapel of St Mark’s in Venice around 1600. We shall pay attention to the elements of individual agency within an institutional framework, and apply recent research paradigms based on, e.g., the theories of Deleuze/Guattari or Latour to seemingly established or innovative institutions that are or have been vital in sponsoring or producing culture in both past and present. Potential subject matter extends from the inner workings of medieval courts to today’s corporate and crowd-funded cultural projects, with an emphasis on the role of music in all this where applicable.

Karl Kügle is Professor of Musicology at Utrecht University where he occupies the Chair in the History of Music prior to 1800. Since September 2016, he holds a contiguous appointment in the University of Oxford, where he is Senior Researcher in the Faculty of Music, Senior Research Fellow of Wadham College, and Principal Investigator of the ERC-funded MALMECC project ( dedicated to the transnational and transdisciplinary exploration of late-medieval court cultures. He also leads the HERA-financed international research project Sound Memories (2016-19).

This event is organised by the Huizinga Institute in cooperation with Research Group Musicology, Utrecht University, and Research MA Programme in Musicology, Utrecht University.


The seminar will consist of seven (bi-)weekly meetings under the leadership of Prof. Karl Kügle. The focus of the seminar will be on cultural institutions, broadly understood, from the late medieval period to today, and their later and contemporary equivalents (aristocratic and ecclesiastic courts, public entities, private patrons, corporate sponsors, commercial media). While music will occupy an important place in the seminar, it is precisely the interaction between the various arts (language-based, visual, architectural, performative), the administrative configuration of the relevant institution, and the multi-media quality of cultural production in past and present that will take centre-stage. The seminar will thus explore the relationship of the arts to politics, religion and socio-economic modes of production within the context of institutions through examining a few selected sites exemplifying nodes of cultural/artistic activity in past and present. We shall also historicize the notion of ‘art’, and de-construct the political and quasi-religious components at work in the various national and international canons, and the infrastructural array that supports them.

The seminar will be designed to appeal to students in the various literatures, music, art history, history, religious studies, museum studies, arts management, and beyond, and work within a chronological time frame from c.1250 to the present.

Detailed course outline and reading lists to follow.

Preparation, readings, written assignments, presentations in class, final essay, grading

Participants will work through about 50-60pp. of assigned readings per session. For the first five sessions, they will prepare short position papers to present in class (either in groups or individually), based on these readings. These short position papers will be designed to stimulate discussion in class. They will also submit short written assignments in preparation of each class.

Starting with session 3, students will develop an individual research topic in consultation with the instructor, based on their current research interests, previous academic training, and the theme of the seminar. By session 5, they will present their work-in-progress in class in the form of an oral (conference-style) presentation of about 15 minutes, directly followed by classroom discussion and feedback from the instructor. This secondary phase will terminate in session 7 when all participants will have presented and received feedback.

By 29 March 2017, 10 am, participants will deliver a written research paper (final essay) based on their work in class and their oral presentations, which they will have expanded into an essay of at least 3,500 words excluding footnotes and bibliography.

Grading will include attendance (5%), written assignments (10%), classroom presentations (10%), the conference-style formal presentation (25%) and the final essay (50%). Total credits to be acquired: 5 EC.