The IDSVA Course of Study comprises three interrelated academic programs: Seminars, Topological Studies, and Independent Studies. Each of these programs focuses on the historical relation between art and ideas. Over the three-year course of study, the programs overlap and intersect.
Seminars serve as the backbone of IDSVA’s course of study through a shared language centered on the critique of Western Metaphysics. Seminars occur during the Fall and Spring Semesters and are held in synchronous online sessions led by world-renowned faculty.
Topological Studies bring together a global understanding of the trans-historical relations between art and ideas and the places in which they intersect. Residency intensives are held in Rome, Spannocchia Castle (Tuscany), Venice, Paris, Athens, Madrid, Mexico City, New York City, and Marrakech.
Independent Studies are conducted under the direction of an expert in the given field of inquiry. Topics range from questions in Western philosophy to contemporary Chinese art, African tribal philosophy, and Caribbean Shamanism. Independent Studies open the seminar and topological studies programs to unlimited diversity and position IDSVA students to develop ideas toward the dissertation.
The Course of Study comprises 60 credits over three years. At the end of the third year, candidates are required to pass oral and written qualifying exams before starting the dissertation. The dissertation is typically submitted within two years following completion of the Course of Study. The PhD degree is granted upon successful defense of the dissertation. Dissertations are research-based scholarly manuscripts comprising 80,000-100,000 words. They are theoretical and interpretative works based on a chosen topic approved during the qualifying exams, supervised by individual dissertation directors. Total time to complete the degree, including the course of study period, is about five years.
Note on studio practice: Around half of IDSVA students are artists with an ongoing studio practice. Even though that practice cannot directly be included in the dissertation manuscript, students usually choose research topics which intimately inform what they do in the studio.
Western Metaphysics has long been recognized as the dominant mode of modern human consciousness. More recently, a growing number of artist-philosophers from around the world have come to realize that the age-old issues concerning hierarchy and inequality will continue to persist as long as Western Metaphysics dominates human consciousness.
This is why the IDSVA curriculum focuses on Western Metaphysics. If we are going to overcome Western Metaphysics, we must know it for what it is.
As for exploring “other thinking” as it exists in Western and non-Western art practices, histories, and philosophies, IDSVA independent studies and dissertations remain a continually expanding source of the possibilities for a new mode of thought, a New Philosophy or New Philosophies. These explorations are brought before the IDSVA community by way of independent study and dissertation presentations, special symposia, visiting faculty lectures, and worldwide residencies.
"IDSVA's course of study is striking, as is the program's immense attention to detail and sensitivity in the teaching of theory."