KUN4570 – On Habit, Art and Architecture

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course will introduce the complexities of habit in relationship to art, architecture, design, and the built environment, as well as literature, theory, and philosophy.

We will explore how habit negotiates between matter and consciousness, automatism and will, freedom and necessity, fragility and domination, activity and passivity, nature and culture. Close attention will be paid to how habit can produce different durations and dispositions that delay judgment and render us indifferent to given hierarchies of ontology, significance, and meaning.

Topics that we might address include issues of dwelling, aesthetics, ecology, animality, territory, ethics, technology/technique, repetition, mediation, objectness, rhythm, temporality, and death. The course will look at a broad range of art and architectural examples from the modern and contemporary era, as well as drawing upon relevant art historical and theoretical writings on topic.

Learning outcome

After completion of the course you will:

  • Have a more nuanced understanding of the history of art and architecture in the modern and contemporary period.
  • Understand how modernism defines itself in relationship to the rhythms of habit’s movement between continuity and change, stability and flexibility.
  • See how notions of technology, automaticity, mediation and virtuality are central to issues of habit and vice versa
  • Have developed an ability to verbalize statements about works of art.
  • Be able to evaluate the critical and theoretical positions in the course literature from a comparative perspective.
  • Be able to produce a sophisticated exam essay that demonstrates both imagination and in depth research skills.
  • See the benefit of being able to use the course’s key concepts, terms and theory in your own master thesis.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

It is recommended that you have passed 60 studiepoeng (equal to ECTS) in Art History, Aestethics and/or Visual studies  before taking this course.

Overlapping courses


This course will be conducted primarily as a seminar with class discussion. There will be a three hour seminar once a week for 9 weeks or a two hour seminar once a week for 14 weeks.

Following the seminars is highly recommended. We expect you to meet prepared for classes and to participate actively.

In order to qualify to the final exam, you must complete these compulsory assignments:

  • Compulsory attendance at seminars. There is an attendance requirement for this course; you have to be present for at least 7 out of 9 / 10 out of 14 seminars. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of every class. You do not qualify for the final examination unless this compulsory requirement is fulfilled.
  • Meet with instructor to work out an exam essay topic by a stated deadline.
  • Submit a preliminary draft of your term paper by a stated deadline. The preliminary draft must be at 3-4 pages (à 2300 characters without spaces, not including illustrations, notes and reference).

This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The examination at KUN2570 is a semester essay.

The essay must consist of 10 pages (à 2300 characters without spaces, not including illustrations, notes and reference).

The assignment shall be handed in using Inspera. You must familiarize yourself with the login and submission procedures in timely manner before the exam. Read about Inspera below and on the semester page. 

When writing a semester essay you are entitled to individual guidance by you teacher. To be eligible for this guidance you must submit a draft of your paper that meets certain requirements. More detailed information about guidance and how to submit your draft will be given by the teacher during class or in Fronter.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

All courses are subject to continuous evaluation. The Department's assessments of courses are available at our web-pages, but generally only in Norwegian.

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Facts about this course






The course is offered on an irregular basis.

Teaching language