Universiteit Leiden

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Centre for the Arts in Society


LUCAS members are experts in the fields of literary history and theory, film and media studies, and art, architectural, and book history.

Broadly speaking, the Institute’s research programme focuses on the relationships between the arts and society, including in historical perspective. Engaging with the cultural products (texts, objects, practices) of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, LUCAS research stretches across millennia, from classical antiquity to our contemporary world; therefore, our research clusters are grouped according to era. What binds these clusters is the endeavour to understand the relationship between cultural products, and their societal contexts and effects. Importantly, while our research agenda has a single programmatic umbrella (the interaction between the arts and society), it encourages a rich and diverse exploration of this core theme within and across three clusters with their own research agendas, methods, theories, and objects:

Classics (800 BCE−600 CE)





Medieval and Early Modern (600−1800)




Modern and Contemporary (1800−Present)




LUCAS promotes research that carries impact not only in its scholarly field, but in the broader community. Our members frequently lend their expertise and service to societal groups, both within and outside academia. For example, they publish popular blogs, consult with public bodies, contribute to regional and national newspapers, act as jury members for awards in the arts, sit on the boards of peer-reviewed journals, organise international conferences, give public lectures, and participate in non-university education. Research conducted at LUCAS, by members at all career levels, often attains national and international accolades, awards, and funding.

By conducting research with local and global intersections reaching across, and beyond, scholarly disciplines, LUCAS members strive to facilitate a deeper understanding of the cognitive, historical, cultural, creative, and social aspects of human life.

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