Liberal Arts Programme

The IVS Liberal Arts Programme provides the interdisciplinary core that supplements the School’s studio-based professional studies, with the aim of producing graduates who will be critically thinking human beings, responsible and ethical citizens, and insightful and effective professionals.

IVS’ Vision emphasizes ‘creating a culture of excellence in research and innovation, contributing towards a just and tolerant society and enabling students to serve as instruments of positive change.’ These goals are best achieved by developing certain habits of mind: deep reflection, critical analysis, disciplined thinking and the ability to organize and articulate ideas. Developing strong critical-thinking capabilities is invaluable and enables human beings to constantly learn, adapt and conquer all manner of intellectual and professional challenges throughout their lives.

The Liberal Arts Programme is designed to engender these skills by providing a learning environment that facilitates consistent cognitive exercise, via critically engaging students in a wide variety of ideas and theories.

LA offers courses in the History, Theory and Critical studies in art, design and architecture, as well as in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Through the broad based and interdisciplinary Liberal Arts curriculum, students are exposed to the larger world of ideas via an introduction to various areas of study, such as history, critical theory, literature, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, history, politics, etc. Furthermore, the LA curriculum maintains a constant focus on research practices and academic reading and writing skills.

The students’ Liberal Arts programme of studies at IVS culminates in the form of the “Final Research Paper”, a 4000-5000 word written research project, which all students must undertake.

Foundation Year:

The Art History, Theory and Critical Studies and the Reading and Writing curriculum at IVS takes an expanded approach to the study of art, design, architecture and related issues, so that each course can be applicable to students working in different studio programmes. Given that we are not teaching liberal arts students but studio-based practitioners, this non-traditional form of liberal arts study allows us to maintain relevance to the distinctive practical courses at IVS and to maintain interest from students from across departments in their academic studies. The courses depend less on rote learning, than on developing skills in analysis and understanding the complexities of practices.

LA154 | Histories of Art, Design and Architecture I – prehistory and ancient civilisations, up till the roman

This is the first of the three modules of art, design and architectural history that is part of the LA core curriculum at IVS. The three modules provide broad surveys of movements and developments in cultural and civilizational histories that are manifest in the art, design and architecture from pre-history to pre-Contemporary. This, the first semester, takes the students up to the Roman era and covers ‘global’ histories that include a survey of the earliest civilizations and others that emerged later with common grounds, as well as analyses of parallel and opposing movements that took place in different regional, religious, socio-political and historical contexts.

LA254 | Histories of Art, Design and Architecture II – the gothic, up till salon des refuses

The second semester covers the period from the Middle Ages to the Salon des Refuses, placing particular emphasis on rapid changes that took place in the historical and visual culture during industrialization and early modernism. The course aims to offer the students a wide introduction to important terms, practices, movements and political issues that have propelled the development of art and visual culture historically. The students ability to apply the language and practice of art history to works of Art, Design and Architecture, will be developed throughout the course preparing them for their more focused courses that follow in the post-foundation years.

LA151 /LA251 | Academic Reading and Writing

The use of written language as a medium of communication is a skill that requires precision, continuous practice and constant revision.

Though we spend our entire professional lives honing this skill, we actually learn most of the important techniques of the craft of writing during the years of undergraduate education. Therefore, all LA courses contain an element of writing practice, but a few concentrate specifically on the transfer and reiteration of formal writing skills. This year-long course in Foundation aims to develop clear thinking in students by teaching effective reading habits, strategies for conducting research, methods of critical analysis, correct referencing practices, and writing skills. Over two semesters, instructors introduce a variety of readings which students read closely, analyse and respond to in writing. Students explore a range of genres from poetry, fiction, drama and personal essays to serious journalistic articles and academic writing. Both semesters of the course contain weekly reading content and writing exercises. Students are regularly evaluated on their reading and writing assignments, and are enabled to recognize and thereby avoid plagiarizing.

Post Foundation:

Post Foundation courses cover a diverse range of subjects and movements, which allow the faculty members to develop some focus on a particular issue, timeframe or creative practice. The emphasis in these courses is on analysis, analytical skills, vocabulary and context. Having been provided with broad surveys in the Foundation Year, students are now taught how to concentrate on and analyse individual works in their own particular historical, social, aesthetic, religious and political contexts. The Post Foundation curriculum also aims to initiate debate and an understanding of the place of creative practice in society, particularly Pakistani society. By developing courses on the political and social resonance of art, design, and architectural institutions, creative display and creative members of society, it is intended that students be able to connect their own practices to their social contexts.

LA354 | Histories of Art, Design and Architecture III – 1855, up till modernism

This module, in the 3rd semester of study, surveys and discusses the development of modern Art, Design and Architecture, in light of the various cultural, historical, and socio-political events and technological advancements that brought about changes in the way we think about Art, Design and Architecture. One of the core objectives is to enable students to contextualize art works: to understand that works of art lose much of their meaning if separated from the time and place and historical context in which they were created. Moreover, this course aims in particular to situate the South Asian and Pakistani contemporary practices in context.

LA308 | Islamic and Pakistan Studies

This course undertakes the study of Religion and of Pakistan from multiple  perspectives:  historical,  social,  cultural,  political,  geostrategic, economic, environmental etc., and, continues to explore and contextualize the national project of Pakistan. And, within that project, the construction of the relationship between citizen, state, nationality and territory, in the years preceding and following 1947, leading up to the current moment. This course will try to analyse and understand this relationship as it is today and the historical and political work that has gone into creating it. The focus of this course is on a close reading of texts and primary research in order to give students a historical and critical foundation and framework from which to undertake an inquiry into the project of Pakistan. By the end of this course students should be aware of the complexities and nuances that govern nationalism and religiosity, with a deeper understanding of the current contexts; students should also feel ready to explore and deepen their own sense of identity.

LA457 | Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture

This semester-long course is dedicated to the study of international contemporary art since 1950. Its core aim is to develop students’ ability to critically analyse contemporary art from a range of political, historical, and aesthetic directions. Students will attain a fuller understanding of the breadth of contemporary art across various mediums including film, video, painting, architecture, sculpture, installation and performance. They will also examine the development of contemporary art within philosophy, politics and theory. The students will come away with a greater ability to interrogate the meaning of artworks, and to conceptualize their own work in discussion.

LA467 | Islamic Art and Architecture

This semester-long course offers a broad introductory survey of art and architecture produced in the Islamic world, from its formative period in the 8th century to the contemporary art practices taking place across the Middle East, Northern Africa and South and South- East Asia today. The course is taught as a series of lecture-based discussions. Lectures focus on the development of an ‘Islamic’ aesthetic in painting, architecture and design, along with the impact that historical events and various philosophies, within and outside the Islamic world, have had upon the production of art in the Islamic world. Emphasis will be placed upon understanding the complexity of the term ‘Islamic Art’, upon the contradictions inherent in such a classification (e.g. figural imagery being classified as ‘Islamic’) as well as the value of such a broad genre.

LA548 | Culture on Display

This course aims to contextualize and collate the History, Theory and Critical studies, as well as the various Humanities and Social Sciences, courses that the students have been undertaking by developing their sense of cultural institutions and the publics. It looks at how the development of Art, Design and Architecture is presided over by changes in the public sphere and institutional heritage. Beginning with a brief history of the museum in Europe, the course then looks more internationally at the design museum, public art displays, displays of fashion and textiles, the colonial museum, the rise of the curator, the contemporary art gallery and other exhibition spaces, and the development of museum technologies such as phone apps and audio guides. Besides providing the historical background of the rise of the public sphere and public consumption of culture on display, particular emphasis will be paid to contemporary culture, and to the Pakistani context. Most importantly, the course examines how issues related to class, nationality, gender and wealth play out within spaces of cultural display — how culture is used as a tool of power, and how culture is understood as a form of pedagogy.

LA612 / LA812 | Research Methodologies — pre requisite for Final Research Paper

This course is offered in the second semester of the students’ penultimate year (8th for Architecture and 6th for all other departments). It is designed to lead students into the Final Research Paper process by running them through the structure of the essay and guiding them through various research strategies. The course establishes the objectives for undertaking an undergraduate final research paper; it outlines the major elements of a research project and assesses the various types of research practices that can be undertaken. While a diverse range of peripheral subjects and ideas within the arts, design, architecture and the humanities are touched upon and discussed as possible areas of research, the course concentrates on enabling students to practice ways of conceiving and developing paper proposals, on effective critical reading of secondary texts and published essays, on critical writing practices, and on competent formatting. Given that the Final Research Paper at IVS contains a great deal of primary research, this course also guides the students in their development of primary research strategies including interviews, site visits, questionnaires and think tanks. It also encourages them to critically examine the ethics of research, and of academic representation.

LA768 / LA968 | Final Research Paper — the writing of a final essay project

The Final Research Paper constitutes the last leap that pushes students to the level of articulation and intellectual maturity towards which all tracks of the LA programme have been working. The essay requires both extensive reading of secondary sources as well as primary research. The research process encourages an understanding of the students’ roles as citizens, designers, artists and architects in Pakistan, and also prepares them for higher education and the professional work environments. The Final Research Paper is written over one semester (7th for all departments except Architecture, for whom it is the 9th semester) and submitted at the end of the Spring semester of a student’s final year. Weekly meetings with a departmental supervisor, and frequent meetings with the research coordinator, support the students throughout their progress. The Final Research Papers are graded by the departmental supervisor as well as a reader, a faculty member selected by the student from outside their department. Both the supervisor and the reader mark students according to set criteria including methodology, content and structure.


LA offers a choice of focused seminar courses to all students for two semesters in the third and fourth years. Every student chooses 1 out of 4-5 courses that are offered based on his/her individual interests at least twice in their entire programme of study at IVS. These courses may change every semester or year, depending on the specialists available to teach. Most Liberal Arts Electives require students to write a formal, methodically researched and referenced paper at the end of the semester. For a sense of the type and range of courses in the Liberal Arts Electives Programme, a list of Elective courses offered in past years is provided below by way of example.

LA529 / LA729 | Urdu Adab

This course introduces students to the world of Urdu prose literature, with readings in genres such as mazah (humour), afsana (short stories), drama (plays), and khutut (letters); the aim is to inculcate a serious understanding as well as an enjoyment of this literature. The course is introduced with a brief history of the Urdu language and its evolution in the Indo-Pak subcontinent. It is designed to take students through different genres of Urdu Adab by introducing them to the writings of various authors famous in their fields. Afsanay, character sketches of famous authors and humorous prose is studied. The main objective of the course is to increase the students’ interest in Urdu reading, writing and speaking. By the end of the course the students acquire a taste of Urdu literature, which most of them are unfamiliar with. They gain knowledge about different styles of writings, such as drama, afsanay, character sketches and travelogues based on reading, writing and discussions, thereby developing a deep understanding of the texts.

LA525 / LA725 | Sustainable Living

Students will be led through a serious exploration of climate change. Pakistan is now one of three countries that have been classified as the most affected by climate change: it is predicted that we in the subcontinent will experience severe weather conditions, floods, heavy downpours, heat waves and drought for the next decade. There are two contentious issues that the students must become aware of: climate change and how it will affect them in life and limited natural resources from which most of our daily products are made. Our current lifestyle leaves a footprint of environmental degradation. This includes waste generation, water pollution and air pollution. Each issue has its own ripple effect — the most important being contribution to climate change. Pakistan has been identified to be one of the most affected by climate change. Impacts include extreme weather, water scarcity and loss of natural resources. This course primarily focuses on understanding the significance of these impacts on available resources and our lives. Research, design and sustainable development can mitigate the impacts. As the world embraces the concept of sustainability at many levels to understand how to reduce its impact on Earth, solutions are emerging. While making products more sustainable is essential, individual behaviour also needs to embrace sustainability.

LA553 / LA753 | Introduction to Psychology

Psychology, as the study of human mind and behaviour, plays a vital role in understanding, creation, and interpretation of art and architecture while considering human needs and aesthetics. The objective of this course is to provide a basic understanding of psychology and its application in art and architecture and everyday life.

LA552 / LA752 | Critical Notions of Space and Place

Through a series of thematically driven inquiries, this course explores literal and metaphorical notions of space and place in contemporary visual culture. Specifically, students are asked to consider how artists and writers have negotiated geography, notions of centre and periphery, and other cultural signifiers as not only the subject of their work, but also as the framework for its reception. In addition to exploring a wide range of artists working in sculpture, installation, film, video, photography, and painting, we examine how curatorial notions of space have evolved in the age of globalisation not only as a reflection of historical and political change but, in some cases, as powerful agents and instigators of new ways of seeing and thinking. Through this course, students gain an understanding of ‘space and place,’ a theme that pervades much of contemporary artistic practice. In so doing, they engage with key critical thinkers and practitioners within this field of interest. Students choose and execute individual research projects, for which they conduct original research and about which they craft an original argument.

LA535 | Introduction to Performance Art

This course provides an extensive understanding of the respective movements in its history as well as the way performance is understood today. It also demonstrates how one is able to use space, place, time and most importantly your body to  produce  and  become your work within visual arts. We will be questioning and unpacking and repacking thoughts and philosophies regarding why and what performance art has done. As Roselee Goldberg says, “The history of performance art is integral to the history of art. It has changed the shape and direction of art history over the last 100 years, and it’s time that its extensive influence is properly understood. Throughout art history, performance (think Futurism, Dada, Surrealism…) has been the starting point for some of the most radical ideas that have changed the way we artists and audiences think about art. Whenever a certain school, be it Cubism, Minimalism, or conceptual art seemed to have reached an impasse, artists have turned to performance as a way of breaking down categories and indicating new directions”.

LA755 / LA955 | Rethinking War in Global Politics

This seventh-semester elective explores a variety of theories on War, and the violence associated with it, using a number of case studies ranging from Pakistan to the American military to Rwanda. The course includes an interdisciplinary and eclectic set of readings to understand the primal human tendency towards conflict. What makes people commit acts of unspeakable horror in the name of war? Who carries out the violence and who is affected by it? In what ways do institutions (both political and cultural) contribute to the production of war? The idea is not to carry out a clear historical or chronological examination, but rather to explore war in different political and historical contexts, across geographies, and reach our own conclusions about what brings people, countries, and ethnic groups to the brink of War, and how war is conducted. This course also examines what justifications are used to initiate war and whether it is ever justified in the first place. How do we, as a society, interact with the concept of war and violence? In what ways do art, literature and poetry try to capture the unspeakable horrors of war?

LA526 / LA726 | Philosophical Inquiry

This course allows students to explore some major questions in the domain of philosophy, specifically in respect to the understanding and interpretation of philosophical topics as metaphysics (e.g., being and nonbeing, the one and the many, the nature of reality, same and other, self and other); epistemology (e.g., the nature and possibility of knowledge, different ways of knowing, knowledge vs. opinion, truth and falsity); ethics (e.g., right and wrong action, good and bad, objectivism and relativism in ethics, social and political philosophies, the idea of value, the problem of evil); and aesthetics (e.g., the nature of beauty, aesthetic value, the possibility of aesthetic valuation). Accordingly, it focuses on how philosophical inquiry is a method of approaching the world and its phenomena.

The course aims to provide students with fundamental tools of philosophical inquiry. These tools ultimately allow students to acquire the skill set of closely reading and analysing texts, building coherent arguments, ascertaining rationality in thought, questioning unsaid assumptions and revisiting their own views on subjects of personal and social significance. It aims to cultivate a critical sensibility, enabling students to become competent and responsible should they desire to pursue a deeper understanding of philosophical topics or conduct research in related fields of study.

LA660 </ LA860 | The Avant-Garde: Between Art, Photographyand Film

Concentrating on the historical Avant-Garde, this course examines the development of the art and culture industry (kulturindustrie) from the beginning of the 20th century, through the series of radical artistic movements that arose in the period between the two World Wars (1918-1939), and shook the intellectual and cultural milieu of the time to its foundations. Focusing on the term avant-garde, its translation into ideas of art and revolution, and its manifestations particularly in France, Germany, the former Soviet Union and the United States, the course considers the origins, development and critical importance of movements such as Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Dada and Surrealism, through surveying key interventions in the fields of painting, sculpture, photography and film, with a special emphasis on the development of early photo and experimental film/video during this time. Critical texts from the period are also considered in conjunction, giving key insights into the ideas and concepts generated during this period.

LA661 / LA861 | History of World Cinema

The ‘History of World Cinema’ course offers an overview of cinema history, and explores the basic tools for analyzing its origin and transformation. Nowadays cinema is presented as cultural artifact, the industrial product of popular culture that both illuminates and mythologizes history and historical events. Throughout the course we will learn how to develop a historical appreciation of cinema based on a survey of cinematic traditions contained within narrative, documentary, and experimental forms. Students will acquire a critical, technical, and aesthetic vocabulary relating to particular cinematic practices and structures. In this course we will be looking at groundbreaking and thought-provoking films from global pioneering genres such as fantasy, comedy, the epic, horror, thriller, cult, documentary and animation, as well as defining aesthetic concepts such as ‘realism’ and ‘surrealism’, that have become key inspirations for cinematic cultural production around the world.

This course also covers early motion picture technology, the development of narrative, editing techniques, the growth of the studio system and national cinemas around the world, evaluating the importance of genre and its legacy throughout the history of cinema. In this introductory course, we will also investigate how intimate, personal styles of filmmaking converge with theories of globalization and post-colonialism. Through this course the construction of the past through cinema is examined: how it blends historiography and public history, and how this can be used as historical document, demonstrating the fault lines between public and academic history.

LA463 | Tracing Contemporary Art

This course surveys a broad scope of the larger frameworks, narratives and thematics explored within contemporary artistic practices, by tracing them back through the recent history of art (1930s onwards) in order to provide context, allowing for a broader understanding of the debates and critical dialogues generated around contemporary art today. Focusing on the work of both local and international contemporary artists, this semester-long seminar-based class explores the histories, emergence, connections and developments of some of the most prevalent artistic concerns and methodologies under investigation by artists and art practitioners, and which have come to dominate the debates around, and trajectories of, artistic practices today.

LA566 / LA766 | Politics and power in Literature

Many social and political themes have recurred across history and have transcended cultures and borders. Whether it is state propaganda to control the mind-set of the masses or misguided revolutions, the more things change, the more they remain the same. This is true for both social and political change. This course looks at some of the most famous literary critiques of power, ideology and authority, and how they continue to resound through the modern world especially Pakistan.

The course aims to familiarise students with famous literary critiques of popular culture, politics and society. It also aims to familiarise them with identifying recurring political and social themes in Pakistan and how these are reflected in Literature, both old and new.

LA564 / LA764 | Art in the Time of the Raj

This course examines the role of art and architecture, as well as its growth, in the sub-continent from 15th till 20th century, especially focusing on the Mughal Empire’s and East India Company’s rule and influence, in terms of how their colonial expansion and their ideology was documented in art. The discussion’s nucleus will be the cross- cultural discourse between the west and east, such as Baroque influences in miniature artworks, as well as Mughal aesthetics in the Romanticism period of Europe. Moreover, the course will also discuss the effects of East India Company’s influences on art and architecture, and the ‘Khar khaana’ school of thought on sub-continental art. Themes, such as propaganda art, theology, gender roles and conflict (focusing on the battles between the Mughals and Rajputs) will be discussed in relation to the art that was generated during this time. International and local texts will be discussed and analyzed, in order to unpack the different tangents of this timeline.

LA472 | Psychoanalysis and Art

Along with the theorists, artists strive to influence and address the intersection between psychoanalysis and the social world and explore the roles psychoanalysis might play in bringing about social justice and progressive social change through this shared universal platform and perhaps aids to blur boundaries of social reforms indoctrinated within into the negligible grey areas. For example, Sierras work questions the political, nationalistic ethics of origin to say; “A nation is actually nothing; countries don’t exist. When astronauts went into space they did not see a line between France and Spain; France is not painted pink and Spain blue. They are political constructions, and what’s inside a construction? Whatever you want to put there.

We become Plato within the lens of the Ethos to view art from different perspectives to gain a further understanding of not just the psychoanalytic theory into the cultural critique of art, literature and cinema; but to have a better understanding of the mind, the artist and the art.

LA669 / LA869 | Dialogues in Philosophies of Photography

What comes first, philosophy or art? Philosophy or technology? Philosophy or the production of history? This course examines key concepts in western cultural theory and philosophy relating to the theories, economies, technologies, and aesthetics of photography and film. This course will connect the work of theorists and philosophers with the social/political milieu of their times and consider them alongside works of art in photography and film.

This course will introduce students to key areas and modes of 20th and 21st Century philosophy alongside developments in the ideas and production of photographic imagery. It will foster a critical awareness of the crossovers between the production of political, theoretical and aesthetic ideas. The authors introduced will include: Walter Benjamin, Marshall McLuhan, Giorgio Agamben, Catherine Malabou, Michel Foucault, Paul Virilio, Susan Sontag, John Berger, Roland Barthes, Vilem Flusser, Hito Steyerl, Jacques Ranciere, Kaja Silverman, Jonathan Crary, Ariella Azoulay, Jeff Wall, Guy Debord.

LA671 / LA871 | Music and Ideas

The number 12 looms large in Music and the course contains 12 broad themes that will explore ideas from the ancient Greeks to the present day: Music of the Spheres, Music and Proportion, Music as Language, Music as Drama, Music and the Transcendental, Music as Song, Music as Rhythm, Music and Worship, Music and Chance, Music and Dialectics, Music with and beyond Words, Music as Art or Science? The approach taken in these exploratory lectures will be to stimulate students’ thoughts about what music is, what it contains, what it represents, how it communicates, and how it acts as a medium for the transmission of ideas. The course does not require students to read musical notation.

The course on Music and Ideas is offered as a broadening elective, suitable for a wide range of students – from all departments – who are curious to explore ideas associated with one of the arts and sciences of the ancient Quadrivium.

LA670 / LA870 | Past is Prologue: Theories in Historiography

This course will explore varieties of history writing over time and in different regions of the world. Drawing on a variety of materials, from conventional narrative histories to theoretical reflections to sources (Primary) other than written texts, we will consider history and historical methods as they have been conceived, disseminated, and challenged; questions of methodology and interpretation; genre and narrative; and the politics of memory. Understanding the past appears to be a universal human need, as a result, the telling of history has emerged independently in civilizations around the world. Historiography originated with the ancient Greeks, standards and interests of the Greeks historians dominated historical study and writing for centuries.

The course has been designed to provide advance knowledge to the students about the historiographical traditions from ancient (Greeks) to Post- Modern period. Students will not only examine the trends in the European historiography, but especial emphasis is being given to the pre and post partition historiographical trends of the sub– continent. The students will also study how during the last century historiography changed its focus from study of political events to social and mental structures.

LA673 | Conflict and Urban Society

It is believed that the hallmark of a democratic society lies in the ability of its citizens to gather and move about freely. In order for this to occur, citizens must be secure not only in their physical environment, but also of their rights in and to the space that they occupy. This course looks at the impact of conflict, war and violence on urban spaces and societies, deconstructing understandings of the word ‘conflict’ in an increasingly unstable world, in order to expand the perspective on what is at play and at stake in such sites. It examines how architectural/ artistic/design practices come to address such issues through their work, whether in form of investigation, dialogue, or creative problem solving. How does one begin to think about processes of reimagining and reconstruction (physical, socio-political, cultural) in post-conflict societies, and how does this differ from processes of engagement in societies where conflict is ongoing? What is the difference between short-term and sustained conflict, and how does this play out in the effects of each on complex urban environments? Most importantly perhaps, how can creative practices begin to engage with and address such issues in meaningful ways that can lead to the possibility of stability and unity in such divided spaces?

LA 577 | Screening the body: Gender, Race and Nation in Visual Culture

The course will explore the role of visuality in constructing gendered, racialized, sexed and colonized bodies in our era of modern biopolitics. It will investigate how these gendered and racialized bodies are produced in the service of colonialism, capitalism, nationalism, and practices of war, where the body is a direct locus of state control and subject to state policing, manipulation, mobilization and destruction.

Starting with a study of the social and cultural construction of women’s bodies, this course centers the understanding that gendered bodies are also racialized bodies, and ‘race’ as a concept is profoundly significant in the ways that women’s bodies are made visible/invisible. Drawing on feminist, queer, critical race and visual culture theory, the course takes an intersectional approach to think through the ways in which gendered representations of the body intersect with race, class, colonialism and nation to constitute particular ways of seeing and of devaluing bodies. This course, in thinking critically about the dominant regimes of representation, also pays attention to radical feminist art practice and the ways in which artists and cultural actors have challenged the colonizing gaze and its hegemonic modes of seeing, to explore and imagine new ways of self-representation.

LA576 | Sonic Force in Contemporary Art

This course is designed to examine the medium of sound in Western Contemporary Art. To understand its position, we will be studying a wide range of European and North American artworks from the late 20th and early 21st Century. Video, performance, installation and new media works from various art movements, accompanied by selected critical texts that review the development of the medium through philosophical, social, cultural, political and psychological analysis will help us comprehend the elusive medium, and propose possibilities for where it may be headed.

This course aims to create awareness and a critical understanding of how sound has been employed in the 20th and 21st Century Western art practice. By studying sonic force through various artworks that come from different art movements and ideologies, the students will have a deeper engagement with its abilities, and they will be able to recognize the logical connections between:

  1. how the unseen medium of sound is recognized and deployed in and outside the body, and how certain ideological shifts in the late 20th to the early 21st Century have pushed experimental expression.
  2. the ways in which sound can aid, alter or subvert content, and how it influences the way populations perceive and experience it, making it a popular tool to facilitate various agendas, and
  3. how the dissemination – knowing or unknowingly – crosses domains and disciplines, making it increasingly difficult to (re) trace and objectively define it.

LA575 / LA775 | Sustainable Cities and Communities

Sustainable, smart, green, and resilient cities – these are all the defining constructs of an exciting, emerging paradigm in urban planning, gaining traction worldwide. Here, strategic plans are replacing master plans – gated communities and urban sprawl, supported by private automobile friendly transportation infrastructure are being discouraged to promote mixed, integrated  neighborhoods  and walking and bicycling supportive streets, walkways and destinations. Sustainable cities of today while responding to complex social and political realities are in essence of by-product of what is now being termed as the most potent challenge facing mankind – climate change. Climate change phenomenon is resulting in mapping out of a development agenda that aims to interface aspects of social, environmental and economic dimensions of development. Cities offer the frontlines in the battle against climate change, simply because presently more than half of humanity resides in urban centers while it is estimated that by the year 2050, this figure will rise to two third – an alarming figure of 650 billion people. In addition, major sources contributing to green-house gas emissions that are warming up the planet, such as transportation, residential and commercial buildings, industry are based in cities. Sustainable Cities and Communities (Goal 11) has been identified as one of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) that are to define the global development agenda till the year 2030.

LA574 / LA774 | Truth and Fiction

Truth is often stranger than fiction, or so the maxim goes. And that is because every piece of fiction is based on a strange, but true, story. After all, every story told has to be grounded in reality seen. Just as there is often an element of truth in a work of fiction, behind the timelessness of a celebrated piece of literature is often the novelty of an interesting newspaper story. Journalism isn’t just the first draft of history – it’s also the first draft of literature. Though on opposite ends of the writing spectrum, journalism and literature meet in the space of feature writing. In many ways a ‘halfway house’ between journalism and literature, feature writing, also known as ‘long-form’ or ‘literary journalism,’ combines the curiosity that drives journalism with the techniques of style, structure, and character of essays and fiction. The basic elements of a news story provide an ideal foundation to develop a work of literary fiction, with the descriptive style of feature writing and reporting being an ideal tool for budding writers and students of literature.

Other Functions

Summer/Winter Programme

Depending on the need, LA also runs a Summer / Winter Programme to help students catch up on LA course requirements. Completing the Summer / Winter Course allows students to change a low or failing grade in LA to an “A”, should they earn it. It also allows students to catch up properly on missed learning during the regular term so that they may carry on their studies at IVS with confidence and without the burden of gaps and backlogs in their learning.

The Summer/Winter Programme offers courses for credit designed especially for currently enrolled IVS students. These courses provide them with an opportunity to strengthen both their skills as well as their grades in selected subjects. The particular advantage of Summer/ Winter courses is that students usually get extra attention from instructors and are able to complete an entire semester’s worth of content. Summer/Winter Programme courses are open to all students currently pursuing a degree at IVS. The course offerings may differ from year to year, depending on student need.

Please note that the LA Programme may not offer a course every Summer / Winter.

Co- and Extra-Curricular Activities

In keeping with its goal to guide the overall growth of IVS students, the LA Programme is also the forum where many of the student-led activities at IVS, especially drama, music, debate, special events, etc., may be centralized. Furthermore, LA study visits bring students from the different departments together as they explore the world through a common humanistic lens, beyond their specialized studio practices.

LA credits

LA requirements comprise 25% of the total credits required to earn a degree at IVS. Each student, from every department, has to take 33 credit hours of LA Courses (11 courses in all, including dissertation) during their degree programme at IVS. Low grades in LA mean the overall CGPA will remain low, seriously affecting passing, promotion and timely graduation. No IVS student can graduate without successfully completing all LA Programme requirements. LA courses are organized by year of study and not department — for example, 2nd year students from all five degree-awarding departments sit together in the 2nd year LA courses — thereby encouraging horizontal integration across departments.

LA credits

LA requirements comprise 25% of the total credits required to earn a degree at IVS. Each student, from every department, has to take 33 Credit Hours of LA Courses (11 Courses in all, including Final Research Paper) during his/her degree programme at IVS. Low grades in LA mean the overall CGPA will remain low, seriously affecting passing, promotion and timely graduation. No IVS student can graduate without successfully completing all LA Programme requirements.

LA courses are organized  by  school  Year  not  by  Department  — for example, 2nd Year students from all five degree-awarding departments sit together in the 2nd Year LA courses — thereby encouraging horizontal integration across Departments.

LA Grading and Attendance Policy

Students are given letter grades ranging from “A” (outstanding) to “D” (minimum pass) in LA courses. An “E” or failing grade in any LA course on a student’s transcript means that he/she cannot be promoted, or, graduate. LA course grades are based on: class participation, written work (in class and at home) and quizzes and exams. Regular attendance and punctuality in LA classes is absolutely necessary. Students are expected to have a minimum of 75% attendance in each course. LA classes begin at 8:30am sharp. Students arriving more than 15 minutes late are marked ‘late’ and those arriving 30 minutes later are marked ‘absent’. Three ‘lates’ comprise one ‘absent’. Except for special or extenuating circumstances, students with less than the required attendance will receive a failing grade, and will have to take the course again. The LA Grading and Attendance Policy is aligned with the IVS policy.


Please note that according to Section 1.2 (a) of IVS Grading Policy (page 3), in case of failing LA course(s):

(i) A student who has received an ‘E’ grade in a theory course(s) will be re-examined in that course at the end of the same semester. A student cannot get more than a ‘C’ grade in the remedial.

(ii) No remedial exam will be offered if a student fails course(s) due to attendance being less than 75%.

(iii) Remedial exam will also not be offered to those students who fail a course due to plagiarism, cheating or academic dishonesty.

(iv) If a Student’s Grade Report contains ‘E’ in more than two theory courses, even after remedial, he/she will not be promoted to the next semester and will be asked to repeat the courses when offered next. The course fee for the repeated course(s) will be charged per credit hours at the prevailing rates.


IVS does not tolerate plagiarism, which is defined as misleadingly claiming authorship, or using someone else’s ideas or work, without proper acknowledgment. Without proper attribution, a student may NOT replicate another’s work, paraphrase another’s ideas, or appropriate images in a manner that violates the specific rules against plagiarism at IVS. In the case of a serious violation or repeated infractions from the same student, the instructor will report the case(s) to the Programme / Department Head / Coordinator. Depending on the circumstances of the case the Programme / Department Head / Coordinator may then report the student to the administration, which may choose to impose further penalties, including suspension or expulsion.

Similarity Index allowed: 20%, however, this 20% needs to be properly cited. For further details please see the IVS Grading Policy.

1st Semester
Course Code Course Title     Credit Hours
LA154 Histories of Art, Design and Architecture I

— Pre-history and Ancient Civilizations, up till Roman

LA151 Academic Reading and Writing 1.5
Total Credits 4.5
2nd Semester
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
LA254 Histories of Art, Design & Architecture II

— Gothic up till Salon de Refuses

LA251 Academic Reading and Writing 1.5
Total Credits 4.5
3rd Semester
Course Code Course Title  Credit Hours
LA354 Histories of Art, Design and Architecture III

— 1855 up till Modernism

LA308 Islamic and Pakistan Studies 3
Total Credits 6
4th Semester
Course Code  Course Title  Credit Hours





Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture

Islamic Art and Architecture

Tracing Contemporary Art (Not for Architecture)

Psychoanalysis and Art

Total Credits 3
5th Semester
Course Code  Course Title  Credit Hours
 LA548 History of Art: Culture on Display  3
LA552 | LA752

LA566 | LA766

LA529 | LA729

LA526 | LA726

LA575 | LA775

General Electives:

Critical Notions of Space and Place

Politics and Power in Literature

Urdu Adab

Philosophical Inquiry

Sustainable Cities and Communities







Art History Electives:

Art in the Time of the Raj

Introduction to Performance Art

Culture on Display

Sonic Force in Contemporary Art

Screening the Body: Gender, Race and Nation in
Visual Culture

Total Credits  6
6th Semester
Course Code Course Title  Credit Hours
LA612 /LA812 Research Methodologies

(Pre-Req for Final Research Paper)






Dialogues in Philosophies of Photography

Past in Prologue: Theories in Historiography

Introductory  Psychology

Music and Ideas

LA673 Conflict and Urban Society  3
Total Credits 9
7th Semester
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
LA768/LA968 Final Research Paper 3
Total Credits 3
Head, Associate Professor

Zarmeene Shah

MA, Modern Art (MODA): Critical and Curatorial Studies, GSAS, Columbia University, New York, USA BFA, IVS, Pak

Assistant Professor

Shahana Rajani

University of British Columbia, M.A., Critical and Curatorial Studies and Art History (2011- 2013). University of Cambridge, B.A., History of Art (2006-2009). M.A. Cantab (2013)

Assistant Professor

Anum Ather Jamal

MA, Contemporary Art Practices, Coventry University, UK BFA, IVS, Pak

Assistant Professor

Omer Wasim

MA, Critical Studies, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), USA BFA, Interdisciplinary Sculpture, concentration Video and Film Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), USA


Emaan Mahmud



Rooham Jamali

MA, Critical Media and Cultural Studies from SOAS, University of London, UK B. Des, IVS, Pak

Academic Programme Assistant

Jessica Anum

BBA (Hons.), Iqra University, Pak

Althea Thauberger

PhD (ABD). European Graduate School, Saas Fee, Switzerland. MFA University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C. BFA Photography, Concordia University, Montréal.


Dr. Bushra Khan

PhD, Psychology, Karachi University, Pak Post Magistral Diploma, Clinical Psychology (PMDCP), KU, Pak MA, Clinical Psychology, KU, Pak


Faizan Hashmi

MA, Public Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore MA, International Business Law, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore, Singapore BA (Hons.), Law, School of Law, University of Liverpool, UK


Farhan Anwar

MA, Urban and Regional Planning, NED, Pak

BE, Civil Engineering, NED, Pak

Meher Marker Noshirwani

MA, Sociology, University of Essex, UK BA (Hons.), Sociology, City of London Polytechnic, UK


Naheed Ateed

MA, Islamic Studies, SOAS University of London, UK MA, Islamic Studies, KU, Pak BA, Urdu and Psychology, St. Joseph’s College, Pak


Nazish Shekha

MSc (in progress), School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK PGD International Environmental Law, United Nations Institute for Training and Research BSc Environmental Science, King’s College London, University of London, UK


Omer Jamil

Bachelor of Liberal Arts, double major in Music and International Relations, Knox College, Galesburg, IL, USA

Sabina Qazi

MA, English Literature, KU, Pak BA (Hons.), KU, Pak

Saleem Islam

MA, English Literature, KU, Pak BS, Economics, State University of New York, Brockport, NY, USA


Samina Zareen Ahmed Qureshi

MA, History of Art, University College, London, UK BA (Hons.), Open University, UK


Sara Vaqar Pagganwala

BFA, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, UK

Shahana Rajani

MA, Art History and Curatorial Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, CA BA, History of Art, MA (Cantab), Homerton College, University of Cambridge, UK


Shalalae Jamil

MFA, Film, Video and News Media, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA BA, Photography, Bennington College, USA

Sophia Balagamwala

MFA, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA BA, Political Science and Visual Studies, University of Toronto, CA


Zeerak Ahmed


MFA, Creative Practice, Plymouth University, UK BA, Major: Studio Art, Minor: Political Science, Hiram College, Ohio, USA.